I was conceived in 2010 and born in 2011. My purpose at the time was to help patients of Dr. Harvey Mishner, one of those rare MDs who preferred to give a patient tools to live a healthy lifestyle rather than prescriptions for drug wars against diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
I was buttoned up and polished, then wrapped in a perky cover. The young woman looks healthy and happy and full of good energy, yes? I’m so proud of her.
You’ll have to spend some time to really get to know me, what I’m made of, what my values are. By gathering wisdom from a wide variety of excellent sources, I have a wealth of health guidance.
These resources include research from medical journals, behavioral change psychology, and case studies derived from Dr. Mishner’s patient experiences. Success practices in the Japanese business world (the “kaizen method”) work beautifully in my strategy to help people gain health, one small step at a time. Author Barbara Dee’s experience as a dietitian and college graduate of Nutrition Science, as well as years of working with clients as a Master Certified Life Coach, formed the context and framework for my no-nonsense content.
While I am an infinite fountain of knowledge, I decided to distill everything into a bite-sized book, something a reader could digest and absorb very quickly. Initially, and for many years, I lived only a digital life, greeting the world as an e-book.
I was not just any e-book, I was a gift! Patients, friends, anyone interested in health could go to the doctor’s web site and download me, for free! It was nice to feel so helpful, so generous with my useful information.
A little part of me wanted more fame, I admit, but mainly I wanted the opportunity to help a much larger group of people, so I set up shop in the Amazon Kindle store. Now that was an adventure! I started attracting readers from all over the world, and my price tag was low enough to make it easy for them to invest in my treasure trove of health wisdom.
I’m a tiny bit sad that no effort was put into marketing me. Zip. I was released out into the world with well wishes, left to sink or swim. This meant that I had to succeed on my own merits. I had to knock the socks off of my readers so they would leave a good review and tell their friends. Luckily, I was well-equipped to do just that.
Let me share with you a peek inside. This is some of my content that readers found so engaging:
“The kaizen method works in complete and harmonious alignment with the way our brain works. Small and continuous improvements are at the heart of small or big change, and when this is the path of change, it has been found that momentum is increased.
Imagine if you needed to change course while steering a large boat. If you slowed down enough to make a sharp turn, you would lose all momentum. Then you have to expend a lot of energy to overcome inertia and get back to making any forward progress. But if instead you made a small course correction, you would proceed in the new direction more gradually, but without losing momentum.
When it comes to making lifestyle changes, momentum is affected by things like motivation, optimism and the psychological will to change. One of the biggest drags on our momentum is fear. In her book This Year I Will…, M.J. Ryan writes, “Whenever we initiate change, even a positive one, we activate fear in our emotional brain. If the fear is big enough, the fight-or-flight response will go off and we’ll run from what we are trying to do.”
Our own mind can work against us! We say we want to develop healthier habits that would be good for us, and yet we are often guilty of self-sabotage.
Ryan notes that “Small steps don’t set off fight-or-flight, but rather keep us in the thinking brain…” This is how we keep fear from taking over. Ah yes, Bob Wiley (played hilariously by Bill Murray) practiced this in the 1991 movie, What About Bob? As instructed by his psychiatrist, Bob verbally coached himself to take “…Baby steps get on the bus, baby steps down the aisle, baby steps…” In this manner he conquered his many fears and made slow and steady progress towards better mental health.
Ryan’s advice echoes the kaizen approach of making small, steady improvements. You want to stretch yourself out of your comfort zone, but not so far out that you experience stress, fear, or overwhelm.
Can you commit to that? Identifying small steps and then taking them? In the following six short chapters, you will learn how to name and take your next small step, and the next, as you develop healthier habits and embrace a healthy lifestyle. You will learn how to be consistent with your steps forward, and what to do when you find you’ve taken a step backward.”
So that’s a sample of the stuff I’m made of. All of my health guidance is gimmick-fee, evergreen, and proven to work. My author updated and tweaked a few things (no major edits) and I was released as a “new edition” in 2013, when I was two years old.
Again, no fireworks, no blast-off launch—yet sales have been steady over the years. In the world of books, “health and diet” is always a popular category and always will be. This morning I checked my Amazon Kindle sales—it’s so fun to think a Floridian like me is being found and read in Australia! Amazon converts the AUD (Australian dollar) automatically and deposits the funds in my author’s royalties account. She never checks the sales reports—just smiles when the email from Amazon tells her each month that I’ve earned her anywhere from $50-$250. Yep, that’s what I do.
I’ve been told that I have a magnetic personality. Well, actually, that I’d make a terrific “lead magnet.” I understand that means that I could charm a potential reader to try me, and then guide them right on over to another offer related to improving health—maybe a coaching program, an exercise instruction course…yoga mats!
And now…now I am extra excited about my job to help more people gain health while helping my author gain wealth. That’s because I have a new cover, some updated content, and a beautiful new illustration of a “Wheel of Wellness” in my Appendix section. (Thank you, Zoe Radford, a wonderful graphics designer and friend.) But that’s not the big news.
The breaking news is that I am about to debut as a paperback! Finally, my dream to one day become a real book has come true. I’ll always do the digital dance as an e-book, also, but I love the idea of being directly held in the hands of my readers. I’m going to have pages and pages to turn, ink to read, and a spine to show off on book shelves all over the world.
I can only imagine how many more people I can reach. Many authors report that about half of their book sales come from e-books, and half from print books. Every reader has their own preferences, which is actually fabulous. I am just excited to be able to serve people whether they prefer my e-book or paperback version.
My author’s excitement is nearly as palpable as my own. You see, my digital price tag is $6.49. As a paperback, I retail at $12.95. It’s great that readers can get the high-value content that could literally save their lives and spend just a few dollars.
When I have my new physical form, I will be able to travel and have so many more opportunities to meet people. I can sit in the back of a room while a healthy-lifestyle speaker motivates their audience. And what fun it will be to be inscribed, to be treated as “special” —which I really am!
My author has promised me a book launch, maybe even a signing party! (Should I go glossy or matte?)
So, while I’ve given you my 9-year life story, it’s truly just the beginning for me. I have a bright future ahead and can only imagine all the new doors of opportunity which will fly open for me. Wish me luck!
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