As of today, July 17, 2020, our company, Stephanie Gunning Enterprises LLC, is no longer offering “referral fees” / “commissions” / “overrides” / “mandatory gifts” to any individuals who refer clients to us.
To clarify our position: At SGE LLC we have never had a formal affiliate program. However, there has been some confusion among some of our allies and colleagues that our occasional voluntary “thank you” gifts were formal commissions. To avoid future confusion and ill feelings with these friends of ours, we simply won’t be offering them anymore—from this date forward.
If you have been a referrer, we hope you will continue to tell your friends and colleagues about our services, and we encourage you to do so because you respect the quality of our work product. We value the trust that you place in us when you send someone you know to us.
Past agreed-upon gifts to referrers for introductions to new clients up through July 17, 2020, will be honored. In general, these will be paid as the income is paid to our company, and not prior to that date. That said, the date on which any gift is offered to a referrer is ultimately subject to our discretion and not the date on which any specific introduction has been made.
All legal contracts with SGE LLC clients are private matters between our company and our clients. We are committed to our clients’ well-being, confidentiality, and publishing success, and we are very proud of our recent achievements on behalf of our many award-winning clients.
A main reason for our issuance of this official statement of policy is that we believe offering commissions to referrers sometimes may blur the lines of relationships with our treasured clients and create the appearance of professional conflicts of interest.
If you have been a past referrer to us for editing, proposal writing, publishing consulting in the past, or any other service, we thank you heartily for your kindness in sending your friends and loved ones to do business with us. We appreciate your support and promise always to do our level best to take good care of those whom you send to us for the types of services we offer.
All the above said, Stephanie Gunning and SGE LLC reserve the right to decline to do business with anyone of our choosing. We reserve the right to alter this policy at our discretion in the future. This is an internal matter.
We wish all of our past clients and referral partners well.
Writing is love. It’s the beating heart pulsing on paper. It is music, magic, and mystery, an effort to gain mastery of forces, of impulses, of desires, of ideas, of life. To those who feel an intense magnetic pull to write, little explanation of the phenomenon is required. You know who you are. You also know the pull is only the beginning. There is a reason others look upon those who write as they would mythical creatures, like unicorns and dragons: Writers have the power to name and to reveal. Once you sense this possibility in yourself, you likely will be hooked on it forever.
Yes, writers are admired. But writers should also be suspect. Watch out. Everything is fair game to writers. Their lives—meaning anything and everything they feel, think, do, experience, observe, or dream about—can and probably will show up in their poems, plays, films, essays, and books. As admirable as they may be, writers can also be dangerous.
As a writer myself, I feel I’m always trying to capture fireflies in a jar. But how does one capture a dynamic, moving force like life or an emotion in images without it losing its vitality? How can one put a frame around a picture that has no beginning and no end? I always do my best to approximate my perceptions in words. But some days I’m a better writer than on other days. Some days my writing sucks. On the best days, there’s nothing like the feeling of writing.
No one can stop you from writing if you want to write. That’s one of the beautiful things about it. You might think that someone else has to give you permission. That’s a false belief. Writers really get better at writing when they stop looking for approval—both their own and others’. For encouragement, I used to keep a note stuck up above my desk that read: “Be bold.” Then there was the time in a Chinese restaurant that I got a fortune cookie informing me, “One day you will write a book.” I taped that above my computer screen. Whatever message you need to hear to grant yourself the freedom to write whatever you want to write, tell it to yourself.
It’s only human nature to compare ourselves to other people and study their habits. It’s human to want to belong to a tribe, to fit in. For these reasons, it is fun to observe how other writers write and live. How do they do it? What does it mean to them? Am I the same way? I hope you’ll be excited to flip around in this book and see what random pages you land on.
When I began compiling quotations for The Writer’s Book of Inspiration, I was impressed with the extraordinary highs and lows creative writers experience while pursuing the craft. Some describe virtually tearing their hair out in desperation, others are pragmatic, even mercenary, and compulsive, and many express delight and spiritual wonder. The ones I love best are those that provoked me to laugh and to think. They all made me proud to call myself a writer and lifted my self-esteem. In these remarks from men and women of different ages, races, and eras, I felt a mirror being held up to my daily life as a craftsperson, an artist, and a living human being. There is tremendous humanity to be found in how they go about and often struggle at doing their best work. Nothing else matters more, when you get right down to it than being human—with all that it means.
The literary life is a path of self-discovery and revelation. If you have chosen to walk this well-worn path, remember to step a little bit outside of the bounds of cultural expectations from time to time. Trample the grass—or better, take off your shoes and feel the grass between your toes. Never rush and always daydream. Nap at strange hours. Design your own rituals. Ignore the ringing telephone, and other forms of buzzing, chiming, beeping technology. Let yourself forget what day of the week it is. Travel. Read. Cultivate relationships with odd and curious people. Whatever it is you feel, whatever you think or believe, make the blank page your friend and no matter where you go, you’ll be at home and have something to do. Be surprised by life.
Sandra Rogers is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice , specializing in object relations and transpersonal psychotherapy. Schooled in the depth psychology of Carl Jung and the archetypal psychology of James Hillman at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, California, she believes that self-knowledge, including an awareness of the personal unconscious, opens the door to living an effective, authentic life.
The idea for the Queen archetype sprang from her long-held interest in the Crone archetype (the third in the classic Triple Goddess paradigm), which she found most women strongly rejected. The Queen is a new developmental stage sandwiched between the Mother and the Crone that is now available to women at midlife because women have so many more healthy, generative years in which to express their power and experience to benefit not only their own children but their communities, corporations, and the wider world.
By aligning with this archetypal energy, women can access their now highly developed power and skills to enhance and deepen their lives.
In her practice, Sandra often uses dreamwork, clinical hypnosis, guided imagery, and art therapy to help deepen the work. She believes that by helping her clients find their strengths and unique qualities they can become more self-aware and access their inner wisdom, heal were they need to, and reach their goals.
Inviting the Queen holds exercises that lead the reader through levels of consciousness associated with the seven chakras in their bodies as a means of beginning to embody the Queen, ultimately operating from her higher perspective in their daily lives.
Susan Nicholas, M.D., M.B.A., is the founder of the Human Consciousness Consortium. Author of The Duality of Being: Perspectives from Multidimensional Travel and a new series of conscious illustrated children’s books, she is a reiki healer, a life coach, and a public speaker on issues of consciousness.
Susan is a former clinical fellow in cardiothoracic surgery at Stanford University and general surgery resident and research fellow at UCSF Medical Center. She is a graduate of the University of Iowa College of Medicine and Emory University Goizueta Business School. She has also done healthcare equity investment analysis.
The Duality of Being details aspects of her life and how her emotions and mindset were altered by the convoluted journey she made into higher realms of consciousness through her out-of-body travels. She shares what she’s learned that has improved her quality of life, decisions, and relationships. Many who travel as she does have had near-death experiences. Her own multidimensional trips began spontaneously. From depression, her state now is one of joy and equanimity. Hers is a hopeful vision of what is possible for all of us.
2:55 Susan explains what happened to her in her life that lead to having an out-of-body experience.
9:36 Susan talks about the shift that happened in her life.
11:00 Susan describes her first out-of-body experience.
13:50 We discuss awareness and the role it plays in having this type of experience.
16:53 Susan describes some of her challenging experiences and what she’s learned from them.
20:15 We discuss the lower frequency version of earth that some people travel to.
33:35 Susan talks about the relationship she has to her body.
38:30 We discuss life after multidimensional travel.
47:15 Susan tells us the secret about our feelings.
For Episode 20 of the Executive Shaman Podcast hosted by psychologist Dr. Krystal White, author of The Letter Code, we had a serious discussion of the nature of expressing in your own voice when you write–and offering a few tools to get there. This topic is not about boasting or arrogance; it’s about hitting that sweet spot when you stop trying to defend yourself and start writing truthfully.
Lori Morrison, author of the new Amazon bestseller The Shaman’s Guide to Power Animals,is a resonance healer and award-winning memoirist (Lori: A Memoir, 2017). Our conversation celebrates the publication, which project is the culmination of a writing and editing process that began over a year ago. I invited her to share her ideas.
5:50 Lori explains what a shaman is.
7:40 We explore the four types of power animals.
9:29 We talk about how the book changes your awareness.
12:16 Lori discusses the ways power animals show up.
13:35 Lori tells the story of how she found her home
15:25 Can your pet be your power animal?
15:53 Lori talks about pets and the afterlife.
18:43 Lori reveals the secrets of bees.
22:21 We talk about the format of the book.
26:20 Lori talks about her granddaughter’s experience with power animals.
29:00 We discuss the Yucatán Peninsula.
30:10 What do you do when you find your power animal?
30:29 Lori talks about crystals.
31:29 What type of responsibility comes with finding your power animal?
34:32 We learn the moving message Whale has for humanity.
Dr. Krystal White has written an inspired relationship-hacking book to help us decipher WHY we love THE WAY we love. Her genius is understanding our bonding styles and what drives us to feel fulfilled. THE LETTER CODE is how we get our most important needs met.
Do you lean in, lean away, stand on the same spot, or face to face? You could be a Letter A, a Letter W, a Letter Y, or a Letter H.
Last Thursday, I taught a webinar for the community of social media strategist and entrepreneur Laura Rubinstein, founder of Social Buzz Club. In anticipation of the presentation I poured through the web pages of Kindle to hunt for the most noteworthy features. My overarching take, as a result of this exercise, is that the entire Kindle platform has evolved nicely. Occasional annoyances crop up. But it’s a generous iteration. Here is an article I’ve written to explain. NOTE: The KDP environs are constantly shifting, so don’t get complacent.
not a secret that digital technology and the internet are the bomb! Totally
disruptive. Totally innovative. Totally liberating. Totally exciting… to some
We, the unapologetic self-publishers of 2019, want to tear down the barriers to success with getting our books published and in the hands of eager readers.
The User Experience Matters and Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Makes Good
Lots of people are afraid of technology because they find it cold, counterintuitive, and awkward to use. But technology is always improving, so shunning it does us no good. When we can find an instance of a place where the user’s experience of online design—an abstraction called UX by graphic designers—is logical, straightforward, and flows seamlessly in a clear progression, we should celebrate that to the max. KDP has drastically improved UX.
Whatever you think about Amazon “taking over the world” and Jeff Bezos’ rapid climb to the top of the social hierarchy in the United States, I think you’d have to admit that he understood the possibility of online technology to make our lives simpler and flowing before we did. That’s why he is such a powerful influencer — so wealthy.
The admirably seamless UX is nowhere more evident in the Amazon stratosphere than in its publishing arm, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). When all the other stores were poo-pooing self-publishing, KDP started studying our writing and marketing habits and finding ways to serve us and invite us into partnership with them. The opportunity to partner with self-publishers on an open platform was an early opportunity missed by the arrogance of Barnes and Noble, which had the largest brick and mortar footprint across the nation. Now that everyone buys books online, B&N has been playing catch up in self-publishing systems. And as B&N catches up, KDP is forced to become even better so that we (self-publishers) remain loyal to it.
DIY authors are a hot commodity because we drive a lot of internet traffic to online stores. Knowing that we have options is liberating!
Self-Publishing Resources Expand
Let’s review the last decade of history. In this current “space race” of digital self-publishing, Amazon smartly bought a group of smaller companies and fit their offerings together to create a publishing jigsaw puzzle—the original print-on-demand paperback company, Book Source, was renamed CreateSpace. It remained known as such until Fall 2018, when this system was retired and everybody’s production files began to be rolled into Kindle Paperbacks — where royalty rates increased to a desirable 60 percent of retail price! NOTE: As of this writing, I believe all books on CreateSpace now have been transferred automatically to Kindle Paperbacks. None are left in the old platform–however, you can request your royalty statements.
Amazon (Kindle’s umbrella corporation) also chose (a few years ago) to buy Goodreads (a social platform where authors can interface with readers), then Audible (an audio publishing company), and more. At each step ordinary self-publishers have been invited to participate and empowered to do it for little to no money upfront.
Until this month, there have been a few elements of production that had to be done outside the web-based platform of KDP, but as software designers cobbled those together, these features have been integrated. Now KDP is quite robust. (I’m still making new discoveries on an almost daily basis — it’s fun, fun, fun.)
Writing and Design Come Together
A tipping point has been reached where the upgrades to the back-office publishing experience have made it possible to write and design books almost simultaneously, meaning that with a push of a button a respectable-looking book can be published in mere days.
The improvements on KDP benefit consumers too—because frankly, as convenient as portable reading devices like the Kindle are, the appearance of self-published ebooks has always been pretty awful. To keep the content “reflowable” (meaning, it can morph in size and appearance) the formatting had to be very plain. It was hard to add more bells and whistles to a book design that had to be converted into a software that couldn’t accommodate them. Until. Recently. Now conversion of ebooks is better in Kindle, and there are KDP design studios that make it possible to do “non-flowable” (or static, if you prefer) versions of heavily illustrated ebooks, such as graphic novels, children’s picture books, comic books, photography books, and more.
Progress leads to perfection, I suppose.
My one gripe this week is how the proofs of the new Kindle Paperbacks come with ugly “Not-for-resale” ribbons running around them and a big clunky neutral bar code flopped down over the very content an author is attempting to proof. Yes, there are idiots out there who try to sell their own paperback proofs (duh) instead of ordering their real book. But all of us shouldn’t get punished.
My praise for the week is how the customer service personnel seem to be more on their game. You can get to them through the dashboard in KDP or through the Author Central Author Pages.
Advertising Tools Join In
With the upgrades to its systems, DIY paperback publishers now have access to advertising tools on Amazon. Beta testing is being done (or has just been concluded, I’m not quite sure) on features for the ebook, like the X-Ray, where clickable links add value.
The thing I like about KDP is that when the company wants us to adopt a new behavior they create an inducement to do so. And those inducements usually are tools that increase our sales.
Savvy self-publishers need to know their own goals first so that they can discern which tools genuinely matter for them. Having tools available may empower some people more than others, depending on aptitudes for technology. This said, the good news is that help is definitely available, so authors can delegate tasks to support personnel that lie outside their own comfort zone. If they want to.
Stay in the Know
Taking a good close look at KDP’s dashboard every month or two can be beneficial to those who recognize that the space is constantly evolving; the best publishing practice is to be mindful of your books and not neglect them by fitting a quick analysis to the beginning or end of your week or after big marketing pushes. Try thinking of online publishing as like a video game. The more you know about the possibilities, the more likely you are to ring bells and be a winner.
Stay in touch with your books. Modify your description, pricing, and keywords periodically (how about monthly?!). And try out the new tools to assess them. Remember, KDP exists because it has always seemed like you and me and others like us wanted it.
If you’re new, don’t be shy. Come play with the rest of the kids in the DIY playground.