The Color of Money


Here is proof  that the color of money can be fun.  Our self publishing course “Self Fulfilled – How to be a Self Publisher” focuses on how to turn passions into profit.  One lesson in the course tells how my mom’s passion was always antique dolls.  Since she attended many doll exhibitions, I suggested she publish a coloring book on antique dolls.  She could sell the books at the doll exhibitions which not only defrayed her costs but turned her doll activities into tax deductible events.

sandra strait

The color of money. Image from my sister’s website that helps reduce tension through art.

Stupid idea right? Who can make money from coloring books?

The Daily Mail article entitled “The colour of money: British author sells more than a million copies around the world of her colouring-in books for grown-ups”(1) shows that coloring books can be very profitable. The article tells how  Johanna Basford’s coloring book for adults, “Secret Garden”, sold over a million copies (at about $10 per book).  The book has been translated into 14 different languages.  In Paris it outsold France’s best-selling cookery books.

The International Business Times article “Secret Garden’ Coloring Book Outsells Harper Lee As Adults Seek ‘Digital Detox” (2) tells how here the second book has sold 1.4 million copies and has been translated into 22 languages.  The article says:  “With all the hype surrounding Harper Lee’s “Go Set a Watchman,” it might be a surprise that the book that is outselling it on Amazon is an adult coloring book: Johanna Basford’s “Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book.”

Major name brands including Absolut Vodka, Sony, Nike, Smart Car and Tate Modern have licensed many of her illustrations. Plus she has developed a website (3) and blog features intricate and whimsical illustrations for adults to color.

A basic behind her success is that Ms. Basford started drawing as a way to relax!

There is a real demand for things that give adults some creativity without required training or perceived skill, and that take them back to their childhood.  This demand can create opportunity for writers and self publishers.

My sister, Sandra, has tapped into this market as well. She created a website and blog based around an art form used for relaxation.

Part of our Self Publishing Course “SP 303, Lesson 6” started a series on social networking and looked at her success.

The lesson starts:  “Social networking in self publishing is a socially acceptable way to create wealth, make friends and have fun.”

life imitates doodles

(From my sister’s website

This site had 755 followers, 1,460,549 views (and rising) when this lesson was written.

My sister, Sandra Kay Strait, (Babsis to me) is a genius and a remarkable artist.  While I love writing every day, Babsis loves to create art.  When she quit her day job, she turned her hand to creating a website that she has expanded only through social networking.

She has done really well and uses her blog above, plus Life Imitates Doodles WordPress with 218 followers and 163,097 views  (this blog is for people on older PCs who have trouble with Blogger).  She posts exactly the same content on both blogs, except for giveaways, which are only on Blogger.

She uses Flickr, has 1,406 contacts and has had over 4 million views…to be exact 4,613,672.

Her Life Imitates Doodles Google+ account has 55 followers and has had 41,138 views.  (She set up this page just to reserve the Life Imitates Doodles name.)

On Twitter she has 1,981 followers.

Her personal Facebook page has 547 friends. Her Life Imitates Doodles Facebook page has 475 Likes.

At Tumblr she has 147 followers.  At Pinterest she has 1,139 followers.

At her main Google+ page “Rooibas Google+”  she has 863 followers and has had an incredible 7 million view (actually 7,421,032)!

In other words. over 11 million visits so far, all created through social networking.

To begin a social networking series of lessons, I asked her this question:  “What is the center of your system?”

Here is her reply:  “The center of my system would be my blogs.  I can post there in great detail, placing decent sized photos of my artwork and going into detail about my artistic choices and processes.  I write reviews on paper and drawing products, hold giveaways–ones where I supply the prize, and also ones that I host for companies such as Exaclair, Inc. or Jetpens, and I share my artwork, often with a tutorial that will help others who want to try my techniques.  I also regularly post links to posts on other sites that are similar, so people can come to my site and find resources for tutorials and giveaways and reviews on subjects we all have in common.

“With every blog post, I also post a link on several media sites–Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google+, Flickr, and Twitter  On the media sites, people can see a thumbnail of my artwork, the title on the post and, depending on the site, some of the text.  As people scan the media sites of their choice, they see enough of my post to tell if my blog entry will be of interest.  Obviously, a photo or drawing helps catch attention, and the title is very important.  If it doesn’t catch interest, then I don’t get engagement–people won’t click through and read my blog entry.

“While there is engagement on many of the sites–people commenting in response on Facebook or Flickr, etc., I hope to bring them to my blog, where they will get the most from what I am posting.

“To do this I’m relying on two ways to draw people.  My art, as it appears in thumbnail form on the media, and regularity.  I never have drawings or photos on my resource link lists, but I post those on a regular basis.  It was daily for quite some time, but I now only post the list three days a week.  I try to have the lists post at exactly the same time each day, and on the same three days.  My artwork posts are more likely to pull in new viewers who see the thumbnails, but my regular posts will keep people coming back.  I have followers who visit my blog each day, looking for interesting articles.  I get views, and I’m helping other people get traffic to their blogs.”

This is a continuing and interactive course, so be sure to send me your questions as they’ll help Sandra and me shape the next lessons.


Seven P Secrets of Self Publishing

When you write, you can work anywhere. 


Here I am working poolside in the winter, at our Florida farm.

gary scott

Here I am with our hound Ma, working during the summer at our North Carolina farm.

Learn how to earn everywhere, while living anywhere you choose.  I have been able to earn by writing in Hong Kong, England, the Isle of Man, Dominican Republic and Ecuador to name a few of the place I have lived.  Everywhere I have been… too numerous to share here, I have been able to work.

All I need is my laptop.

That’s all you need too… a laptop to be free!

Before computers, a pencil and pad did the job.

Freedom is just one benefit you can gain from writing.

Another benefit is income.   Writing has brought me both our farms, free and clear… plus a lot more.

Another good example of earning potential is my friend Hugh Howey.   He was working for $10 an hour in a book store when he self published his novel Wool, typing in a storage room during his lunch breaks.

Soon he was earning over $100,000 a month on  This helped secure a six-figure book deal from Simon & Schuster, and an option for film by Ridley Scott, director of Blade Runner and Alien.

That’s what he’s doing now.

Hugh Howey

Hugh and I playing chess (he beats me badly).

Writers like High are great inspirations.

A couple of years ago Hugh  left Florida, and moved to South Africa.  He had a sailing catamaran built for him and now can sail the world while he continues to write.

Hugh explained it like this: And that’s the miracle of working as a writer: I can do it from anywhere and everywhere. The past few years, I’ve done a lot of writing from airplanes and airports while on business trips abroad.  SAND was entirely written overseas while traveling through seven different countries; I think it’s a better story because of those inspirations.  In upcoming years, I may be writing near your home port.

Hugh’s a super star writer and his success could not happen to a more deserving and talented person.  He pours enormous energy into being worthy of his readership.  But you do not have to be a million dollar a year earner or a traveler to benefit from writing.

The good news is… you do not need a huge success to have a rich and fulfilled lifestyle.  Self Publishing can bring you a life that most people only dream of, as a journeyman writer, instead of a super star.

May I hastily add that the path to stardom begins as a journeyman… so the journeyman’s path brings success without stardom… but can also lead to stardom.

What most success stories like Hugh’s rarely explain is the many hours of writing that was devoted before their self published book sales soared.   Hugh, like most writers were journeymen first.  Stardom came later.

Here are sevens secrets that can help you become a journeyman writer. 

The secrets are a writer’s armory of tools that allows almost anyone to create successful publications for income, freedom and fulfillment.

Take Merri’s and my publishing business as an example.  

Merri and I are not writing stars.  We are journeymen who have for more than 40 years, year in and year out, earned solid income writing and self publishing dozens of publications about multiple subjects.

Some years that income has been more than solid… over a million dollars.  Yet in terms of stardom, we are hardly known.

In a moment you’ll see why that’s fine for us and probably will be for you too.

First some history.

Merri became involved in self publishing over 40 years ago… first helping a veterinarian publish a book on a very specific market… animal acupuncture. Then she showed a needle point artist how to sell more books to an even more specific audience… “needle point enthusiasts”  about her needle point work to an audience larger than the population of the city she lived in.  This led Merri to eventually become Executive Editor of an award winning magazine in Florida.

My story allowed Merri and me to work and live from Hong Kong to London to Europe to Eastern Europe, then the Caribbean and then Ecuador… making millions in the process of following our adventures… having fun… while helping a large readership adapt to a rapidly changing world.

That’s what self publishing can bring, profit, adventure and fulfillment, a great feeling of worth and wonder.

Self Publishing has created exactly the lifestyle we desire allowing us to span the world and work with meaning and purpose.

Self Publishing has become a new business art form. 

The seven secrets can help you start your own self publishing business now.

Everything in publishing is new and exciting and changing.  Publishing is being recreated by the wonderful power of destructive technology.

Everything is new… except the seven secrets. 

Change in the publishing industry is disturbing many.   We love this evolution due to these seven secrets we call the 7Ps.  The 7 Ps are so fundamental to writing and publishing that new technology enhances rather than reduces their power.

The First P is Passion.

Whatever your passion, you can immerse yourself in it AND create income with self publishing.  This can be your direct ticket to the kind of fulfillment you’ve always wanted.

Whether you want to travel the world or live as a recluse, work 12 hours a day or not work much at all,  you can set your schedule to succeed, if you’re willing to learn these seven secrets.

You can start part-time with any dream, passion, and budget.  Once you’ve created a product, you’ll enjoy the “multiple effect” of producing profits over and over again.

So the question is… What do you love to do?

What’s Your Passion:  An example is that thirty years ago, a client of Merri’s had a passion to help people who were in pain?  He published a series of pamphlets explaining various chiropractic disorders in very simple terms.  For example: “What Is Whiplash?”

The pamphlets contained solid information, but were simple 5″ x 7″ brochures with drawings and explanations. He sold them with a rack to chiropractors, who put them in their offices for patients to read.  These little self-published items sold year in and year out for decades.

There are thousands of ideas of this sort that can lead to big business.  It’s just a matter of defining and then acting on your passion.

Although I can work when I please and go where I wish, for me the most important reason for being a publisher is the satisfaction it brings. 

I love the projects I take on, so work doesn’t feel like, well… work.

What do you love?  If you love golf, then you can write and sell publications about golf.  Love travel, fishing, dogs, dolls, or art?  Write and sell publications in these fields.

Are you concerned about crime, war, poverty or environmental issues?  You can publish information products that help reduce these concerns.

Would you like to help the world be a more spiritual place?  Publish a newsletter, write a book (or hire someone to write it for you), record a tape… publish something that enlightens people.

Whatever your passion, you can immerse yourself in it and earn income by publishing for ereaders, print on demand, CDs, lists, bound books, or any format you choose.

Be immersed in your passion and get paid well for it. 

This is why stardom is not the main goal for most writers and self publishers.  Extra income, more freedom and fulfillment are usually more than enough enough.

The seven Ps are:

#1: Passion

#2: Problem

#3: Person

#4: Profitably Priced Product

#5: Prospecting Pathway

#6: Promise

#7: Presentation

The first time I exposed others to the secrets in Self Publishing was in a weekend “Writer’s Camp” seminar.  We offered the camp for $1,500. 80 delegates enrolled.  People from all walks of life attended—chiropractors, businessmen, investors, doctors, realtors, inventors, airline pilots, engineers, and housewives.

Merri and I were so overwhelmed by the response, we decided to make it available to a larger audience.  We created a written course based on our current self publishing activity called “Self Fulfilled – How to be a Self Publisher.”  Then we recorded the weekend “Writer’s Camp” seminar.

Thousands have used the course as it has evolved over the decades.

You can receive both the written course and the recorded weekend seminar, in an MP3 file, in a special “Live Well and Free Anywhere” program I am making available to you.  The normal fee is $299 for the written course and $299 for the recorded workshop.   I’ll send you both the course and the recorded workshop and my course on how to expand the profits of what you write called “Eventful Business” (also $299) all for $299.  You save $598.

We are so confident that you’ll gain from this offer that if you are not fully satisfied, simply email us within 60 days for a full refund .

These courses are not theoretical.  They describe, step-by-step, how Merri and I built a million-dollar international business and how we are running this self publishing business right now.   We use the 7Ps today just as we did four decades ago to create a strong annual income.

This correspondence course is for those who would like their own international self publishing micro business for fun and profit. If you want fun, freedom, extra income and fulfillment with your own full or part time writing or want to build your existing business, by writing to sell you can profit from this course.  The course can help who want their own business or who want to have a business together or a family business.  This is the perfect course for those who can no longer find employment, who are looking for ways to earn abroad and who wish to retire and supplement their income.

Whether you are retired, an investor, chiropractor, doctor, dentist, professional or already own your own business, this offers another way to make money, to turn your passion into profit. We guarantee that we have shared all we know to help you start and run your own international business.  Enjoy and live a life of following your Passion to Profit… through writing.

Here is a special offer. 

Whatever your passion, however you do business, chances are you’ll be writing either to create a product or to sell a product. 

You save more than $598 because you also receive a recorded webinar conducted by our webmaster David Cross (at no extra cost).

David-cross-images tags:"2012-4-20"

David Cross

David has been our webmaster since our website began in the 1990s.  He is Merri’s and my business partner. We could not run our business as we do without him.

Learn the tactics we use in our web business that condenses 27 years of practical experience about search engine optimization, and writing for search engines.

For the last 27 years David has worked with companies large and small – IBM, Agora Publishing, AstraZeneca and many small business owners.  He has worked in 22 countries, and lived in six of them.

David’s clients span the globe and represent companies and charities both large and small.  From corporate giants to small, one-woman businesses and everything from finance, healthcare, publishing, technology, real estate, veterinarians, alternative health centers and everything in between.

David is an essential part of our web based business.

Myles Norin, CEO of Agora, Inc.  wrote:  “I have found David’s knowledge and experience unmatched in the industry.  Without David’s expertise and guidance for the past 7 years, we would not be nearly as successful as we are.”

As Senior Internet Consultant to Agora Inc. in Baltimore, MD, he worked closely with Agora’s publishers and marketers and – over a 7-year period – helped to propel Agora’s online revenues from around $20 million to well over $300 million.

David’s webinar will help you gain benefits in your micro business that large internet marketing companies use.  In this practical recorded workshop you will learn valuable skills to help your micro business.

There has never been a time when the opportunity for small businesses abroad has been so outstanding.  Expand your borders now!  Increase your economic security freedom, independence and success.

If you are not fully satisfied that this offers you enormous value simply email us for a full refund within 60 days.  You can keep all three courses as our thanks for giving our courses a try.

You also receive a report  “How to use Relaxed Concentration to Brainstorm Business Ideas” and a recorded workshop “How to Become and Remain Rich With Relaxed Concentration” at no additional cost.

Plus you get more in the program.

You receive regular writing and self publishing updates for a year.  Businesses usually need to evolve.  Merri and I continue to publish and have our independent businesses.  Some basics have remained for decades, but new strategies occur all the time throughout the year.  We’ll be sending along updates that share our most recent experiences as we learn and continue to grow our international micro business from Smalltown USA.

My special offer to you in this “Live Well and Free Anywhere Program”, is that you receive:

  • “Self Fulfilled – How to Write to Sell” course
  • Video Workshop by our webmaster David Cross,
  • The entire weekend “Writer’s Camp” in MP3,
  • MP3 Workshop “How to Gain Added Success With Relaxed Concentration”
  • The business course “Eventful Business”
  • Any updates to any of the courses, workshops, reports or recordings for a year

We are so confident that you’ll gain from this offer that if you are not fully satisfied, simply email us within the first three months for a full refund. 

Order “Self Fulfilled – How to Publish to Sell” and a full year of update lessons $299.  Click Here.      

See success stories from Self Publishers and a few who have attended the “Writer’s Camp” that you will receive on MP3.


(1) Daily Mail – British author sells million copies of colouring book

(2) International Business Times – Secret garden coloring book outsells Harper Lee as adults seek digital detox

(3) Johanna Basford Website