Eric Maisel on Creativity, Life Purpose, Blog Tours and Sleep Thinking
Susan Bratton

Episode 37 - Eric Maisel on Creativity, Life Purpose, Blog Tours and Sleep Thinking

Meet Eric Maisel, Author, Podcaster, Creativity Coach & Meaning Expert. Susan and Eric talk about "being creative" and working with "creatives" in the Internet, media and agency world. As the author of "Fearless Creating," "Creativity for Life," "Sleep Thinking," and "Coaching the Artist Within," Eric intimately knows the intricacies of the personality of the "creative type." 

In this show, you learn about what makes someone "creative." And why it's important to have meaning in the work you do in order to avoid the existential crisis so common among those who are creative.

Eric sheds light on “creating and relating,” offering ideas about how to be an effective and productive creative person. He calls this “loving, knowing and doing.” Moreover he discusses the oft-combined creative streak coupled with depression issues we find in creative people. He proffers in his book, "Van Gogh Blues," the idea that depression in creative people most often comes not from biological, psychological or social issues, but rather, existential issues.

Dr. Maisel encourages all of us, creative or not, to “nominate ourselves as the hero on our own journey.” He emplores us to “get out of our cultural trance” and live our lives in a way that is personally meaningful and gratifying. That’s great advice for all of us. Especially when we’re on a fast-tracking treadmill in the Web 2.0 world. In his book and on the podcast, Eric shares some meaning statement examples. Ones he reads from his fans will make you shiver with their authenticity.

Last but not least, Eric describes the efficacy of a blog tour. He uses blog tours to promote his books in a very compelling manner and always sells out his first printing through the blog tour. This is an interesting concept that can be applied to promoting nearly any product and showcases the power of the blogosphere.

If you want to be more creative in your life, or if you work with or have friends or family members that are "creative types," this show will give you key insights into their personalities.

You might really enjoy Eric's shows on Personal Life Media: The Joy of Living Creatively: Tapping Your Innovation and Imagination and Purpose Centered Life: A Plan for Authentic Living.



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[musical interlude]

Susan Bratton: Welcome to “Dishy Mix”. I'm your host, Susan Bratton. It's great to have you on today. We're going to be talking about creativity and meaning. On today show, you're going to get to meet Dr. Eric Maisel.

I first heard Eric as I was driving along Highway 101 heading up to San Francisco one day, probably about a year ago and he was on National Public Radio. He was talking about creativity. Eric is a leading creativity coach among other things. He was so impressive to me that I called him up and I said, “Hi. You don’t know me but here's who I am. Have you ever thought about doing a podcast? You're fabulous on radio and you have so much. You're a content-rich man.”

It turns out that we were able to launch Eric’s show, and not just one but two shows that you're going to learn about today. But really, this show is about information for you, about creativity, about meaning. How that connects into our lives in many amazing ways and why it's so important for us, specifically, in a world of digital marketing and media and Web 2.0?

So on today’s show, we're going to talk, of course, about creativity and meaning and life purpose. We're going to talk a little bit about depression and existential crisis. At the very end, we're going to talk about what Eric does to market his books through blog tours. It's a really fascinating use of the Web and the blogosphere and I think it will be a really fun tactic for you to possibly consider in some of the work that you do.

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Eric Maisel: In business, creativity is usually defined as innovation or problem-solving or making new things. These are the most typical ways that creativity translates in the business environment. So if you think of creativity as innovation and problem-solving, then I think you end up with a limited point of view and you end up perhaps choosing jobs and living a life that allows you to innovate and problem-solve, but that doesn’t have to allow you to realize your human potential.

It turns out for the contemporary, sensitive creative person with only a handful of ways that this actually feel satisfying and creating is one of them. Relating is another one. So we have to touch a little phrase of creating and relating as probably the two primary meaning containers for human beings today.

What distinguishes an effective, productive, creative person from the next person is that the person loves the thing that he or she is doing, knows it, that he has had some kind of apprenticeship or even lifelong apprenticeship in it and actually does the work. So I try to reduce that to loving, knowing, and doing as a kind of shorthand for what distinguishes a creative person from a would-be creative person or the kind of person that he is just like the psychoanalyst Otto Rank quote, “an artist [xx] somebody who flees from the responsibility of creating.”

[musical interlude]

Susan Bratton: Hi, Eric.

Eric Maisel: Hi, Susan. How are you?

Susan Bratton: Very, very good, Eric. It's so nice for you to be able to bring your knowledge and the work that you do to our particular audience of creative people. So for those of you who haven’t heard ever of Eric, he's written more than 30 books, talk about prolific, and he's very well educated in so many ways. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Psychology. He has Masters degrees in Creative Writing and Counseling. He has a Doctorate in Counseling Psychology. He's a licensed Marriage and Family therapist. He's a professional creativity coach and trainer of creativity coaches.

Of course, he does a column for our Calendar magazine regular segments on Art of the Song - Creativity Radio. He presents his workshops worldwide and he produces two shows on the Personal Life Media Network. The first is the “Joy of Living Creatively”, tapping your innovation and imagination. The second is “A Purpose-Centered Life: A Plan for Authentic Living”.

It turns out that I've learned from Eric that creativity and meaning are inextricably intertwined. So Eric, I wanted to start off the show today just talking to you specifically about creativity. Can you just define that for us?

Eric Maisel: Actually defining things bored us usually but here, it's really important because there's so many conflicting and contradictory definitions of creativity. People actually get confused and ultimately live their lives not exactly the way they would like to live it because they’ve defined creativity one way [xx] another.

In business, creativity is usually defined as innovation or problem-solving or making new things. These are the most typical ways that creativity translates in the business environment. You have a technique that you need to create and it needs to be innovative to stay ahead of the marketplace where you have some structural problems that need solving and you creatively solve it. That’s the way creativity is usually thought of in business.

The way I think of it and the way I think that people actually mean it is that creativity is realizing human potential. It's the new way we talked about what in the ‘50s and ’60s was to human potential movement. So if you think of creativity as innovation and problem-solving, then I think you end up with a limited point of view. You end up perhaps choosing jobs and living a life that allows you to innovate and problem-solve, but that doesn’t actually allow you to realize your human potential.

Susan Bratton: I like that, I'm glad I asked you. One of the things that I've noticed is that when I'm creative, when I realized that I’ve done something that’s very creative, I feel really good about myself. Is that common and why is it so?

Eric Maisel: I think I want to start answering that from a slightly place and that’s the idea of making meaning. I think we're ready for a paradigm shift away from the metaphor that we've been using for thousands of years as a specie - the metaphor “seeking meaning”, looking for meaning. That meaning is out there somewhere and that perhaps our religion will teach it to us or some guru will teach it to us or self-help book will teach it to us, but somewhere it's out there.

I think we're ready to describe that metaphor and act as if we know enough already. We know what our cherished principles are; we know how we want to represent ourselves in life; we know how we want to make ourselves proud. So we step up to plate and make meaning rather than seek meaning.

When you get that in mind, that there's meaning to make and that there's no meaning that exists until you make it, then you begin to think through, “What are the meaning avenues open to me? What are ways of making meaning that actually satisfy me?” It turns out for the contemporary sensitive creative person, there are only a handful of ways that actually feels satisfying and creating is one of them. Relating is another one. So we have the sort of catchy little phrase of creating and relating as probably the two primary meaning containers for human beings today.

Susan Bratton: Creating and relating, it's really interesting there's such a tie to digital marketing with regard to those two words. Last week, we talked to Patricia Martin about the “Ren Gen”--the Renaissance generation--and their interest in being aligned in a creative way with brands and also in relating around Web experiences, social networking, connection, and intimacy. If marketers want to reach their customers in a way that’s authentic, it's almost like it turns to being creating and relating to.

Do you think there's something to that? Is it just random that I'm noticing it and connecting it?

Eric Maisel: No, I don’t think it's randomized. I think that what individual creative performing artist, another creative people learned over time is that even though they may feel best in solitude working on their canvas or working on their novel, even though that’s their preferred mode, that isn’t meaning enough. We have enough cases throughout history of artists who were wonderful creators but who were seriously depressed because they couldn't maintain relationships. I think that we're getting savvier and we understand that creating is not enough for us. We also need love and friendship and relationships and marketplace connections and networking and all of that to have a more complete life.

One of the interesting things that I'm involved in that’s coming up in the fall, you may or may not know that UNESCO, that United Nations agency, designated a dozen cities in the world as “creative cities” and more cities are applying. I think another 20 cities have applied to receive that designation. There's a Creative Cities Conference in San Jose happening in the fall and I'll be doing the keynote there and chatting about things.

What cultural tourism professionals are looking at are the ways that cities can support their artists and artists can support their cities and people who are traveling tourists can have a different, more intimate experience of the arts scene, different from just coming in to museums or coming in to a symphony. So I think there's a lot of interest and energy and I think sensible discussion about the connections between creating and relating going on.

Susan Bratton: In the digital media world, we work a lot with “creatives”. They are art directors or the creative directors that work in our agencies. All of the work that’s done is ultimately produced and conceived based on consumer insights, market research, planning by creatives. So we're working with creative people all the time. What is a creative person, not just by job title, but you work with artists and writers, creative people of all kind.

How do you describe or define a creative person? How do they self-define?

Eric Maisel: It's actually too much to say because in the creativity literature, it turns out that there are about 75 personality traits that comprise the creative personality.

Susan Bratton: Wow! Is there any way we can go take a quiz?

Eric Maisel: Exactly. You have to run down the whole list of risk-taking and introspection and the certain kind of discipline and this whole array of things that amount to a creative. I don’t think that there's a way to talk about it simply except in the following way: I think that what distinguishes an effective, productive, creative person from the next person is that the person loves the thing that he or she is doing, knows it that it has had some kind of apprenticeship or even lifelong apprenticeship in it and actually does the work.

So I try to reduce that to loving, knowing and doing as a kind of shorthand for what distinguishes a creative person from a would-be creative person or the kind of person that the psychoanalyst Otto Rank quote, an artist [xx] somebody who flees from the responsibility of creating. So the person who is creative needs to love what he or she is doing or does naturally love what he or she is doing and knows a lot. They tend to know more than the next person about that domain and then gets up and does the work for many hours a day.

Susan Bratton: That was one of the things Patricia also said was that in all the research that she did about creative people, that the one thing that separated them--the true creatives from everyone else--was that they aspired to produce creative things.

Eric Maisel: Absolutely, and there are interesting social psychological studies done of creative and high IQ adolescence. The distinction was made between teenagers who, by the report of their teachers, were naturally creative or were creative whether or not they scored high on IQ test. Then, high IQ students and what was looked at was their aspirations. The high IQ students had the most conventional aspirations. They wanted to do things that were culturally normed, whereas the creatives wanted to do idiosyncratic work irrespective of whether it made any money. There was a clear difference in outlook and goals among the two groups.

When we're talking about creativity, we're not talking about sheer intelligence. We're talking about a certain kind of self-appointed, self-nominated meaning-making person who wants to ask certain questions of the universe and attempt to answer them.

Susan Bratton: So how can we support people like this? My daughter is one, an iconoclast. I always get that confused with my friend, Michael Tchong’s company.

Eric Maisel: [xx] iconoclast system.

Susan Bratton: We work with people who are creative. You're new book, “The Van Gogh Blues: The Creative Persons’ Path Through Depression”--that’s a tongue twister--how come depression is linked to creativity and how do we tenderly support our creative brethren? What do we need to know and understand about them to get the most out of them because we rely on them? But also, the support them in their needs set.

Eric Maisel: Unfortunately, Susan, there were nine questions there. So I'm going to take one and that’s the depression. Let me start there. As you know or as you may not know, because it gets a little hidden in contemporary discourse, there are different kinds of depressions. Depressions are categorized to a degree as biological depression, psychological depression, social depression, and existential depression.

The one we seem to talk about the most is biological depression because anti-depressants are America’s drug of choice and the pharmaceuticals get to pretty much hold the conversation and other players in the game don’t get to be heard very well. So mostly we hear about biological depression.

What I think is the case is that creative people are not more biologically or psychologically or socially-inclined to be depressed, but they are 100% existentially-inclined to be depressed. That’s because they often feel like what they're doing doesn’t quite matter, that they themselves don’t matter, and the meaning drains out of their enterprise. If you try to work for two years on a novel and two years is a long time, all along and not quite knowing if the book is turning out well or whether anyone wants it, it's very hard to maintain meaning in your enterprise over those two years.

There was the equivalent kind of meaning crisis in every art discipline. For actors, it's the crisis of being chronically unemployed. For visual artists, there's a crisis of having their one-of-a-kind painting hanging in some backroom of some psychiatrist’s office and not being seen by a lot of people. So all kinds of meaning issues in the lives of creative people, and they experience it that way. They experience life as a series of meaning-crisis that’s why they have this, I think, pretty persistent background case of the existential blues.

So let me put a period there and then we can move on to other thoughts.

Susan Bratton: That’s great, it's helpful. So what I'm going to do now is take a break. When we come back, I really want to talk about meaning. Perhaps we're not having an existential crisis, but we want to ponder our life meaning and I know you have some questions that you can help us guide through our own questioning process. So I want to talk about that. I also want to talk about your Blog Tour and how you promote your books because I think that’s very specifically very interesting to our audience.

So we're going to take a break and when we come back, we're going to hear more from Dr. Eric Maisel. I want to also remind you that I'd love for you to share this show or any “Dishy Mix” episodes with a friend. I've recently also started a “Dishy Mix” page in Facebook and I'd love you to friend me and I'd love you to friend “Dishy Mix”. So, please, if you're a Facebook user or been thinking about doing that, come on and look for me and join my page and let's play together on that. I'll always let you know who’s coming up on the shows. I don’t want you to miss an episode as good as Dr. Eric Maisel.

All right, let's take a break to thank our sponsors and then we'll come back and talk some more about making meaning.

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Susan Bratton: All right, we're back and this is Dr. Eric Maisel. When we left, we were talking about dealing with creativity and creative people and it turns out that actually the underlying issue is meaning. So Eric, talk to us about life meaning. What are we supposed to have, like a statement of our life? How do we know how to have meaning in our life and what that meaning is? Where do we start?

Eric Maisel: The starting place is a funny place. First, we have to nominate ourselves as we hear of our own journey. That is, we have to decide that we're going to be the sole arbiter of meaning in our life which sounds, in a way, easy to do. Yet, as you can imagine, people--certainly, children and adolescents--are buffeted by all kinds of data coming in from parents and from the coach or, certainly, from the technological coach of the stuff that they're doing all day long on their computers.

So it's very hard to step aside from that, to get out of the cultural trends and make decisions about what's going to be meaningful for you and also to make the wholehearted and really strong-spine decision that you're going to be the sole arbiter of meaning in life. That isn’t to say you can't listen to other people or hear other people’s opinion, etc. But you have to return to yourself as the person who decides.

It turns out to be very crucial especially in that moment between high school and college, for instance. That’s one of the moments when people give up on their own meaning. They had thought that they’re going to be X, Y, and Z in high school. They thought they're going to go into let's say acting or painting or writing, one of the creative professions. As they hit college, they're bombarded by messages often from their parents that they ought to do a rational thing. They ought to do a thing that makes some money and do the arts on the side.

They take that in, they understand that their parents were saying something that’s important, at least, to them and they make this switch from being a fine artist to a graphic artist or switch from being a novelist to being a journalist. In other words, they try to make a sensible decision but actually give up their own meaning path in that moment, it happens a lot. So the first step is to notice to what extent we're provoked by other people’s ideas of meaning and influenced by that and to try to separate ourselves from that and return to our own best understanding of what's important.

Then the next step is something you alluded to and that’s to try to make a kind of life purpose sentence or life plan statement, some kind of statement that captures our most principles. A lot of people have tried this because I've written about this in a couple of different books and I've heard from lots of people. Some people come up with very concise life plan, statements. Other people write a whole page as a life plan statement.

Absolutely, the most fascinating one that I've heard about is that a third grade teacher decided that she would talk to her third grade students about existential matters, about the sorts of things that I write about. Then she took them out to a nearby stream and had them collect stones and bring the stones back. She had them inscribe on the stones their little life purpose statement for the year.

Susan Bratton: Oh, man, that’s great.

Eric Maisel: She said, this entirely settled them down for the year that they would go back to their stone and recognize what they had intended for this year, whether it was to work well or be confident or whatever it was that they wrote for themselves. By having that totem, that written reminder on their stone about how they wanted to represent themselves for the year, they could self-regulate and go back to being the way they actually wanted to be. So that’s the purpose of that’s life plan statement or life purpose statement is to have something to return to, to refresh you mind as to what kind of meaning you want to make and how you want to be.

Then the next things is to try to find work that matches your meaning goals and that’s very hard to do in the real world. The real world bites and doesn’t really accommodate our meaning needs so often, what we have to do is have two or three meaning outlets that take care of our meaning needs because our day job maybe interesting and provocative and all of that but not actually meet our meaning needs so I have to do something else on the side. Some other kind of work that meets our meaning needs.

Then the fourth idea is one that I think is really interesting and that’s the idea of investing meaning. That is consciously saying to yourself, “I'm going to invest the coming hour or the coming day or this week or this certain kind of meaning.” That way we take charge of time better and we also begin to use increments of time in more useful way so that if you have 30-minute free, instead of glancing at the newspaper and getting depressed about the headlines or checking 13 emails or what have you, you use those 30 minutes to work on your novel. It may not sound like a lot of time, but overtime, it's a tremendous amount of time.

So when we learn how to invest meaning in small increments of time, we actually capture and we cover a lot of the time in our life and can get lots more done on a meaning level.

Susan Bratton: So in which of your books have you written some questions we can ask ourselves and some meaning statement examples?

Eric Maisel: I believe that the questions are in the book called “Coaching the Artist Within” and I believe that there are an array of meaning statements in the book that you've mentioned, “The Van Gogh Blues”.

Susan Bratton: Yes, that’s where I saw the meaning statements.

Eric Maisel: Yes, and I have a few of them in front of me and they're generic because I made them up to sound generic and then I'll give you a more personalized couple that I have, that just came in by email today. So here are some generic ones from the book. One is “I intend to be a decent person who makes use of his native gift and who lives the full life of creative accomplishment and loving relationships.” It sounds exactly like what we've been talking about namely creating and relating as lynchpins of a meaningful life.

Another one and this is one that sounds true to me and would be a possible meaning statement for someone. “I intend to stand up for basic principles, of fairness and justice, while manifesting my creative potential and relating to others in a human way.” Again, creating and relating as centerpiece ideas, but as I say, those sound a little generic because I made them up for the book to sound generic.

But now, here are some that are really personalized and they're only going to be resonant to the people who wrote them. They may not be resonant to every listener, but I got one today because people send me their life purpose statements because they find the profit of writing as interesting, so they sent it along to me. So a painter sent me one of hers today and hers was, “I will triumph over the evil that was done to me which gave me false limitations. I will participate in loving relationships and I will live well and make a meaningful life by working hard to become the best painter I can be through drawing and painting five or six days a week.”

Susan Bratton: Well, I got goosebumps from that. It was very touching.

Eric Maisel: Yes. Then a singer-songwriter sent me one today and hers was sort of rest on the word “instrument” because she plays and she also use her own instrument as a singer[sp]. So her statement was, “My instrument is tuned for the world to move through me. I care for my instrument to keep it tuned. I take care in how I place my instrument in the world.” As I say, that might make zero cents to someone else, but to her that captures the way she wants to represent herself in the world and it captures something for her about how to keep meaning afloat in her world.

Susan Bratton: Beautiful. Thank you so much and thanks to the two people who let you share those with us as well. It's really touching. I want to get to the Blog Tour and before I do, I have a feeling that there are a lot of people listening to you right now who would like to have more of you and, luckily enough, they can. I want you to tell us about “The Joy of Living Creatively” and “Purpose-Centered Life” and what you do every week with your show on our Personal Life Media Network.

Eric Maisel: On each of the shows, I've decided to run multi-episodes series because I thought that was interesting to do. So I try to run 9-episode series on each of the shows. Upcoming on “The Joy of Living Creatively”, there's going to be a 9-part episode called “Lessons from San Francisco” and they are lessons for creative people with San Francisco as the background. The lessons come from a book of mine called “A Writer’s San Francisco”. After that, I'm going to do a similar series called “Lessons from Paris” again based on a book of mine called “A Writer’s Paris” and it's a variety of, I think, very useful lessons set against a Paris background.

Then I'm going to do a series on relationships skills for creative people, how to deal in the marketplace if you're a creative person. That’ll be the series following the two I just mentioned. Then I've a fourth series down the road called “Creative Recovery” which are going to be a look at the first comprehensive addiction recovery program for creative people that, I think, has ever been put together. I did a book on that with the co-author, Susan Raeburn, who’s an addiction specialist, and that book will be coming out from Shambhala in the fall and it's called “Creative Recovery”.

So those are the things that I'll be talking about, “The Joy of Living Creatively”. On “Your Purpose-Centered Life”, we're going to be looking primarily next at the idea of sleep thinking, how to use sleep thinking to solve problems and to become a more productive person. I did a book called “Sleep Thinking”. I have an elaborate program that allows you to make use of your thinking rather than you're dreaming. The sleep thinking program stands in contradistinction to the kind of work that usually gets done about dreaming.

So that will be I think, an interesting series that will be coming up on “Your Purpose-Centered Life”.

Susan Bratton: Yes, I can't wait for that. That sounds good, like 18 steps to making sure that you're coming up with creative things.

Eric Maisel: That’s right. About only three of the steps really matters so you can skip some of the steps.

Susan Bratton: Even better. So “A Purpose-Centered Life: A Plan for Authentic Living”, is this in the show where you're really turning you say--it's weekly lessons to help you turn your passion into action and your principles into a life plan you can sustain. It really works to support thinking through your meaning statement. Right?

Eric Maisel: Exactly. I'm working on a meaning book now where I try get clear on, make clear the distinction that I made earlier between seeking meaning and making meaning and try to really create a vocabulary of meanings that people can use either internally or with others. It turns out if we can't name a thing, it's very hard to talk about it.

So if we don’t have phrases like meaning investments or meaning sparks or meaning drains or meaning losses, language like that, we don’t even know what's going on in our own system. So those are the kinds of things that I'll be talking about in the book that I'm doing and also be talking about on that show.

Susan Bratton: The thing that I always really like about your approach for purpose-centered life is that not everyone is a Christian. The Rick Warren book, what was it called or else I'd get it mixed up, “Your Purpose-Driven Life”?

Eric Maisel: Correct.

Susan Bratton: “Your Purpose-Driven Life”, that’s really about creating purpose through your evangelism around God and Christianity and that’s not right for everyone. So I like your rationalist, secular, humanist, free-thinking, skeptic goal approach to finding meaning. You can layer in your religious beliefs to that but it's not the place you start, it's almost the opposite of that.

Eric Maisel: That’s right. I started at the opposite end and then I have pulled out from what's called the Western traditions of the various religions. Lots of interesting quotes where, I think, the smart thinkers in these traditions demand of believers that they make meaning. Even though there might be a God in that religion, God is not going to tell you whether to get brown bread or white bread today. God is not going to micromanage your life. You still must make both the small decisions and the big meaning making decisions in your life. So I think both believer and the agnostic and the atheist can find something of use in what I'll be talking about on that series.

Susan Bratton: Nice. Well, there are a couple of other books that I just want to mention of yours. I like “Sleep Thinking”. I haven’t read that yet and I'm going to get that. “Fearless Creativity for Life”, these are all very appealing books and you don’t have to even consider youself just “a creative” person to get a lot out of these. You can be an everyday person.

Eric Maisel: That’s right and it tries to look at a specific aspect of our creative nature and the creative process. So does [sp] creative, for instance, focuses on anxiety and the creative process and how to manage anxiety. So I try to deal with the real things that matter to us.

Susan Bratton: You thoroughly understand people who are in this category. It's very impressive. I want to finish off with--you've written over 30 books so you're doing these Blog Tours with your books. Just describe to us how they work and why you do them and what it takes for you to get it done?

Eric Maisel: The why is that it's a good marketing tool and I think this is simple why. The second why is that I actually learned a lot about my book as I do the Tour which is a useful secondary gain from it. The way it works is as follows: I find host blog, bloggers who are willing to host me for a day. And what host means is I prepare a template interview which every host can use and then each individual host customizes the interviews by asking me additional questions.

I ask them to hold it four additional questions because I would run out of time if I try to answer every additional question they could ask. So they ask my four additional questions, I answer them, and then they cut and paste the interview to have it match their needs. “The Van Gogh Blues” Book Tour that I'm on now is an 8-week book tour. I go all over the world. I, of course, don’t leave home but I go all over the world, really to all continents, to bloggers everywhere.

I think that it is such a good marketing tool of it. Everybody I've talked to who is a book person who has tried it has managed to sell out the first edition of their book via the Book Tour itself. That’s very big news because for those of you who are savvy about books and how well or poorly they sell, it's very unusual for the first printing of a book to sell out in the first month or two of its existence. So although it's only anecdotal evidence, I think it's a very effective marketing tool.

Another thing I do is gather the blog hosts together into an affinity group so they can chat among themselves and generate ideas and energy and anything else that they might want to do to promote the book. So that gives you a nucleus of another 20 or 30 publicists for the book who are thinking about the book and wanting it to do well.

Susan Bratton: I know you've been using Yahoo! Groups for that?

Eric Maisel: I do use Yahoo! Groups for that.

Susan Bratton: I was thinking that you might want to do a social networking implementation on where all of your bloggers could have their identity on your site and talk amongst themselves and connect with each other in more than just Yahoo! Groups.

Eric Maisel: I think it's a great idea. I think that’s sort of one out of time and my webmaster’s time to quite pull that off and just put [xx].
Susan Bratton: Oh, yes, for this one, no. But I'm thinking maybe in the future, that can be your next step.

Eric Maisel: That’s right.

Susan Bratton: That’s neat. Well, I'm participating in the Blog Tour today and I'll be writing about not only about “The Van Gogh Blues” but probably a little bit about every thing as it relates to my community. So thanks for letting me participate in that, I like supporting you.

Eric Maisel: You're very welcome and thank you.

Susan Bratton: All right. Well, we've had a really good time today. We're out of time and, Eric, is there any last thing that I should have ask you or did you feel like we did a good job covering it?

Eric Maisel: We did a good job. I think I would just like to invite people to come to my site which is my name dot-com.

Susan Bratton: And that’s You can find Eric on Amazon, you find them on his website, you can find his shows in iTunes and on You can also send Eric an email to [email protected]. Of course, I always welcome them as well, [email protected]. Remember, come see me on Facebook.

If you want transcripts of this show, they're at If you want to call us about anything, you can call us at (206) 350-5333. All right, Eric, let's go make some meaning.

Eric Maisel: OK.

Susan Bratton: All right. Have a great day, thanks again. This is your host, Susan Bratton. You're with Eric Maisel and I will see you next week.

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