Creative Collaborations by Kirsten Oliphant [book review]

Collaboration (or “collab” as the cool kids call it) is something of a buzz word in the digital world. And I’ve heard it so often I didn’t question it when I saw Kirsten Oliphant’s new book Creative Collaborations. I just said, “collaborations, yes please.”

Creative Collaborations

But now I have questions. As I read through Oliphant’s creative collaborations suggestions (for example affiliate partnerships, Twitter chats, and in-person events) I began wondering what on earth a collaboration is. What do I think it is?

Maybe I don’t know. I see the word everywhere on social media. Influencers work it into their Instagram bios (“DM me for collabs” or “Collaborations? Email me”) and it makes me want to collab too. But now I wonder…what does collab mean? And what are creative collaborations?

The Internet says collaboration is the action of working with someone to produce or create something. OK, that makes sense. And Oliphant says it’s like roller derby. I had to think about this for a bit because I don’t know anything about roller derby but I think I get it: you stop being a lone wolf and instead become a teammate. You work with others to achieve a common goal.

That sounds nice in theory, but isn’t setting up creative collaborations with your competitors risky?

Yes, it could be. Oliphant says the secret to successful collaboration is trust.

“Your team is only ever as good as the trust you have for one another. Rogue players, even great players, playing singularly hurt the team as a whole. They don’t just break apart strong defensive walls; they break trust.”

The risks: you could get burned, you could have your work stolen, you could be let down. All of this could happen when you work with others. However, there are also potential benefits: you could grow strategic partnerships that bring you further than you could go on your own, you could make new friends, you could join a tribe where you feel encouraged, strengthened, and inspired to keep moving forward.

So now you must decide, are creative collaborations worth the risk? Are you willing to work with others towards common goals to be the rising tides, lifting all boats?

Throughout Creative Collaborations, Oliphant overviews different types of collaborations, builds an argument for why we need creative collaborations, teaches the difference between good and bad collaborations, cautions about legal implications when collaborating, and gives tips for creating life-changing collaborations. If you’re wondering how collaborations can change your business (and maybe your life), you will love this book.


Creative Collaborations: How to Form Lasting and Lucrative Partnerships without Being Smarmy synopsis

Is your career as a creative solopreneur going nowhere fast? Harness the power of collaboration to supercharge your audience and income.

Has fear of rejection kept you from reaching out to influencers? Are you worried about making a bad first impression? Author, blogger, and podcaster Kirsten Oliphant has landed career-changing speaking gigs and industry leading guests with her simple outreach methods. And now she’s here to help you do the same.

Creative Collaborations: How to Form Lasting and Lucrative Partnerships without Being Smarmy is a game-changing resource for finding potential collaborators. With Kirsten’s guidance, you’ll explore the many advantages of collaboration and the common pitfalls to avoid. Inside, you’ll learn how to craft the perfect pitch and maintain long-lasting, mutually beneficial partnerships.

In Creative Collaborations, you’ll discover:

  • Why you need to start collaborating and which kinds of partnerships you can start pursuing right away
  • Which commonly taught outreach methods will only waste your time and what you should focus on instead
  • The framework for an attention-grabbing pitch that will get you results
  • Insights and best practices from successful authors and social media experts
  • How to protect yourself from collaborations gone awry, and much, much more!

The book also comes with a free companion course that contains videos, resources, and other guides to help you take the next step in your collaborative solopreneurial career. Creative Collaborations is your step-by-step guidebook for expanding your network the right way. If you like expert advice, extra motivation, and practical actions you can take immediately, then you’ll love Kirsten Oliphant’s inspirational resource.

Buy Creative Collaborations by Kirsten Oliphant to open up new worlds of opportunity today!

Collaboration (or "collab" as the cool kids call it) is something of a buzz word in the digital world. And I've heard it so often I didn't question it when I saw Kirsten Oliphant's new book Creative Collaborations. I just said, "collaborations, yes please." But now I have questions. As I read through Oliphant's creative collaborations suggestions (for example affiliate partnerships, Twitter chats, and in-person events) I began wondering what on earth a collaboration is. What do I think it is?

175 Best Multifunction Electric Pressure Cooker Recipes [book review]

175 Best Multifunction Electric Pressure Cooker Recipes Header

Even though I have, like, two hours between getting home and going to bed on weeknights, I’m still trying to cook well-balanced meals. My issue? I’m not a fast cook! So you can see why I’m interested in the idea of pressure cooking, and why 175 Best Multifunction Electric Pressure Cooker Recipes caught my eye. I LOVE my slow cooker but the everyone’s into Instant Pot’s now. What on earth is that!?

OK, so I learned it’s a pressure cooker. And you already knew that. But here’s the thing. Everyone’s saying it has changed their lives. That’s bold. And I want in on that.

Except for one thing…

I’m afraid of pressure cookers

Did you hear me? I’m afraid of pressure cookers.

They’re intimidating!

But…well everyone else says they’ll change my life, so I thought I had better at least give it a try.

Reading through 175 Best Multifunction Electric Pressure Cooker Recipes helped calm my pressure-cooker concerns. Author Marilyn Haugen spends the first 15 or so pages going over pressure cooker basics, walking newbies like me through best practices, what to expect, and the different types of cooking you can do in your pressure cooker. Hmm…it does seem quite liberating…keep reading….

The recipes are divided into obvious sections: breakfasts, soups, stews and chilis, main courses, side dishes, paleo dishes, vegetarian and vegan dishes, desserts, and stocks and sauces. Each recipe has between two and seven simple steps and offer tips and alterations on the recipe page. After reading through a few I felt ready to attempt my first pressure cooker recipe.

I grabbed my inherited 1970s pressure cooker from the pots and pans cupboard, set out my ingredients, and placed my 175 Best Multifunction Electric Pressure Cooker Recipes book on the counter for reference. And then…I panicked.

What if this pressure cooker’s too old and it explodes!?

I decided to watch a few YouTube videos before starting. Watching other people use the same pressure cooker would help my confidence right?

Well I’m happy to report it worked. Wow, there’s nothing to it. This was going to be SO easy. And then I remembered what the book said and got downright excited to get cooking.

“It’s perfect for busy people who want to get a nutritious meal on the table with little effort and minimal cleanup.”

OK, I’m convinced. Pressure cooking is for me!

For my first recipe I thought I’d start simple: Easy Weekday Creamy Steel-Cut Oatmeal. Yum. Something I eat already and can make in FIVE MINUTES. Wow. This is life-changing stuff. So I set to work, and it went AWESOME! I thought the steam from the pressure cooking was going to be crazy but it wasn’t and it also wasn’t scary. I just followed the directions.

Except for one thing.

At some point I must have flipped the recipe page, I don’t know, maybe I was flipping through looking for what I would make next or something, because I noticed I was no longer making Easy Weekday Creamy Steel-Cut Oatmeal but was instead attempting Steel-Cut Oats and Farro with Dates and Coconut. Whoops. Comparing the two recipes I realized I didn’t mess anything up, I just took it all to the next level. Jumped straight to Intermediate.

What a wonderful accident. Tasty too.

Next up? Country Sausage Scotch Eggs.

Whoa.


175 Best Multifunction Electric Pressure Cooker Recipes synopsis

Delicious meals in a fraction of the time that stovetop or roasting methods take.

With their many function features (some have as many as 7), electric pressure cookers help make delicious and healthy foods that are not only easy and quick to prepare, but use much less energy. Clean up is minimal, too.

Bestselling small appliance cookbook author Marilyn Haugen uses her expertise to create rewarding recipes for this ingenious small appliance. There are recipes for every meal of the day. In a hurry? Done. Low and slow? Got it. The perfect stew or roast? No problem. Entertaining? How about Coq au Vin with Creamy Mashed Potatoes?

Haugen has created super time-friendly recipes for those frantic mornings like Sausage, Hash Browns and Pepper Casserole or Quinoa, Millet and Almond Bowls. And even on the busiest of work weeks, Beef Barbacoa Tacos with Chiles can be on the table in no time flat. Butternut Squash, Quinoa and Pomegranate Casserole made the night before can just be reheated.

These inviting recipes are sure to become family favorites that will be requested time and time again. The home chef can impress family and friends with the wide variety of satisfying dishes effortlessly created in an electric pressure cooker.

Even though I have, like, two hours between getting home and going to bed on weeknights, I'm still trying to cook well-balanced meals. My issue? I'm not a fast cook! So you can see why I'm interested in the idea of pressure cooking, and why 175 Best Multifunction Electric Pressure Cooker Recipes caught my eye. I LOVE my slow cooker but the everyone's into Instant Pot's now. What on earth is that!?

How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically

I’ve written about why I write book reviews before but let’s flip the switch and concentrate on how to get great book reviews. Exciting, right!?

How to Get Great Book Reviews

Is reviewing a book on how to get great book reviews too meta?

I don’t care. If you’re an author you need this book.

First of all, this isn’t something you read once and memorize. It’s the text book of getting book reviews. Covering the gambit in six sections plus appendices, How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically addresses everything from Your Review-Getting Arsenal to You Have Your Review. Now What?

But perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself. Why do you need great book reviews? If you’ve gone through the trouble of doing all the writing isn’t your work done?

Nope. Sorry. Now you get to do MARKETING!!! (My favourite part.)

Why You Need to Get Great Book Reviews

I’m borrowing from the book’s argument here, but I hold it as well.

  • Reviews are platform builders
  • Regardless of negative or positive, stars or lattes, reviews give you the chance to be a better writer, learn more about your genre, and know your target reader better.

  • Reviews are resources for endorsements
  • Blurbs, praise, bullets, whatever. Need some nice quotes? You can get the with book reviews!

  • Reviews can be networking tools
  • Both getting and giving reviews gives you contacts with editors of review journals, contacts with other reviewers who are potential reviewers of your books, contacts with other authors who need quotations for their books or referrals.

    Once you’re convinced you should get great book reviews, then you’re ready for the rest of the book. It walks you through alllllllllllllll the things you need to think through and plan for. It’s a lot, but they payoff is worth it. Not only that, but once you have the reviews the fun is not over! You can reap the benefits of past reviews for years to come.

    If it’s time to market your book, get this book.


    How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career Synopsis

    How To Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically is the culmination of a nearly two decades Carolyn Howard-Johnson spent helping writers avoid pitfalls, misconceptions, and out-and-out scams perpetrated on unsuspecting authors…and helping them reach their dreams of great reviews, great book tours, and great launches. It turns out that How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically is the essence for a successful marketing campaign that includes all those things and—more importantly—for building the readership necessary for a prosperous writing career.

    Is reviewing a book on how to get great book reviews too meta?  I don’t care. If you’re an author you need this book.  First of all, this isn’t something you read once and memorize. It’s the text book of getting book reviews. Covering the gambit in six sections plus appendices, How to Get Great Book Reviews addresses everything from Your Review-Getting Arsenal to You Have Your Review. Now What?

What’s an ISBN?

Do I need an ISBN? Do I want an ISBN? Do I have to have an ISBN? What’s an ISBN? Does someone else take care of the ISBN? What’s my responsibility anyway?

ISBN Explained

“What’s an ISBN?” This is a great question! ISBN is an industry acronym, short for International Standard Book Number. I know, jargon. You’re not supposed to use industry jargon. But we’ll let this one pass—just know that ISBN is a number your book gets when you publish it.

Oh wait, so all books get them? So I need an ISBN?

It depends. If you’re publishing your book and selling it on your own, then you don’t have to get one. However, if you want things like distribution and placement in bookstores, then you do need to have one.

Don’t worry if you already published your book without getting an ISBN—you can still get one post-publishing. It’s fine. As long as you have the number you can add it as a sticker to your book or give the number to the distributor. Really, it’s fine.

What if I wrote a book but someone else is publishing it?

Whoever publishes the book obtains the ISBN. Think of it this way. Whoever is taking the financial risk on the book is the person, business, or organization who applies for the ISBN.

Does one ISBN cover an ebook, a paperback, and an audio book of the same book?

No. You will need three separate ISBN’s. Also, if you publish an updated edition you’ll also need a new ISBN for that. Oh, and also a hardcover and in 17 different languages? Yes, all different ISBNs.

Where do I get an ISBN?

Every country has its own way of doing it. In Canada, you apply for an ISBN through the Library and Archives Canada at no cost. In other countries there may be a fee or service charge.

Is an ISBN the same as a bar code?

No. A bar code is a graphic with vertical lines that gets scanned at a retail outlet. The ISBN is a 13-digit number. That said, you can have your ISBN translated into a bar code.

Still more questions? No problem, just let me know. But I hope this has at least unravelled part of the mystery to the question what’s an ISBN. Crazy-boring, hey?

Other resources

“What’s an ISBN?” This is a great question! ISBN is an industry acronym, short for International Standard Book Number. I know, jargon. You’re not supposed to use industry jargon. But we’ll let this one pass—just know that ISBN is a number your book gets when you publish it.

Story Sparks: Finding Your Best Story Ideas [book review]

Story Sparks Finding Your Best Story Ideas & Turning Them into Compelling Fiction by Denise Jaden

Story Sparks. S.P.A.R.K.S. An acronym of author Denise Jaden’s own making, this concise 166-page book talks us and then walks us through how to come up with ideas and keep the idea train running at full steam.

Seek. Jaden encourages us to change our mindset from coming up with ideas to finding them. Transforming into an Idea Seeker. This means you go out, you search, you look for inspiration. Then when your list feels sufficient, you create. Treating ideas like something to be discovered transformed the idea process into something to enjoy rather than stress over.

Passion. What inspires you? Jaden challenges us to look for what we’re already passionate about and write from that place, rather than writing about what we think we should write. She says for our readers to feel deep emotions, we must write with deep emotions and passion. So, which ideas propel you to write?

Allies. Who do you trust to bounce ideas off of? Anyone? Jaden says we need allies on our writing venture. We need them not only to test ideas but to help spark new ones. But what if our ally steals our idea? Jaden says although we need to choose our allies with care, we shouldn’t worry about idea theft. “Each writer may start with the exact same idea, but each uses that idea to say something unique, perhaps even wildly different or opposed, based on their worldview,” (20).

Resonance. This is the part where we’re warned not to write a book because it’s trendy or selling right now. It won’t resonate. Instead, she says we need to think about what our story satisfies in readers. Don’t worry about the selling part right now, focus on the writing. What about our story will resonate with our readers? Can we make it better? More dangerous? Add higher stakes? Can something go wrong?

Kinetic Energy. At the end of the journey comes the momentum. Action happens first, then momentum grows. Jaden says, “As these elements come together, this ‘kinetic’ energy gives your ideas a unique momentum that will carry you through the actual writing of the story and make the process seem almost easy or effortless,” (31).

And that’s just part one. The following four parts are filled with great tips and inspiration for fanning the spark into a flame, developing the fire along with habits, and useful resources like prompts, themes, and even lists of names.

Reading through Story Sparks: Finding Your Best Story Ideas and Turning Them into Compelling Fiction I stopped multiple times to jot down ideas, brainstorms, and topics to think about. I couldn’t believe how inspired I was—and that was just from reading! I worked through several of the exercises Jaden suggests and found them fruitful. This is a valuable read for anyone battling writer’s block, perfectionism, or just looking for new ways to keep their ideas fresh.


Story Sparks: Finding Your Best Story Ideas and Turning Them into Compelling Fiction

Anyone who has been hamster-wheeling a story idea for years or has hundreds of pages exploring various approaches on their hard drive knows there must be a better way. There is. Successful young adult novelist Denise Jaden shows exactly how to create the captivating stories that prevent dispiriting wasted time. Busting the “visitation from the muses” myth, she shows that inspiration is a skill that can be learned by understanding how story ideas work (or don’t), fertilizing the ground for fresh and sound ideas, and moving swiftly through stuck points. Practical and inspiring, Jaden’s approach celebrates the imaginative sparks that make innovations of all kinds possible while pinpointing the precise tools writers need to fan their unique creative flames.

Jaden shares, “I think the idea that everyone has a story in them is universal. I speak with many people who say, “I could never write a book,” but when I start to delve into their lives and the possibilities for stories within them, something lights up.” The truth is, finding great story ideas does not have to be a gift or a talent grown from birth. It is a skill, and it can be learned.

In Story Sparks, you will…

  • Learn how and why stories resonate with us
  • Discover new and fun ways to come up with story ideas
  • Get help in choosing from ideas and then following through with them
  • Troubleshoot ideas for potential pitfalls
  • Find a lengthy appendix of ideas for getting unstuck

Denise Jaden, author of Story Sparks and Fast Fiction, fast-drafted her debut novel, Losing Faith (Simon Schuster), in twenty-one days during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Her second fast-drafted novel was published in 2012. She runs a fast-drafting challenge on her blog each March and lives outside Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Story Sparks: Finding Your Best Story Ideas and Turning Them into Compelling Fiction releases August 25, 2017.

Story Sparks. S.P.A.R.K.S. An acronym of author Denise Jaden’s own making, this concise 166-page book talks us and then walks us through how to come up with ideas and keep the idea train running at full steam.