My Mom, a Mary Poppins doppleganger, inspires increased book sales using a unique personal trait

A word-of-mouth marketing example from the lens of Ann Narcisian Videan
to inspire your book “village.”


A vintage Rocky Mountain Post article about my mom, who entertained at parties as Mary Poppins. Do you have a unique trait you can leverage to market yourself or your book?

I’m counting on this post to inspire you to find your own special talents, traits, experiences, or even your looks—like my mother did—to entice your audience to talk about you. Find something unique that also pertains to your book and, víola!, instant word-of-mouth book book marketing.

I hear you thinking, “What?!”

Think for a second. Say you looked like Mary Poppins, and wrote a book about professional organizing. You could relate the movie theme to your book marketing. “Spit, spot!” Organizing made easy! Everyone  who wants a magically clean room/home can relate to the scene of the Banks’ children putting away their toys while their nanny sings, right? A unique, fun, emotional mental image. Exactly the techniques to compel readers into talking about you.

Or, maybe you’re a musician. How can you use that to tie into your books? I wrote a “soundtrack” to complement my first book, Rhythms & Muse. That became a Wow! moment for my readers. My next chat-worthy project will use my art skills. I’m creating customized faerie doors and short stories, as well as a faerie door coloring book, to complement my book Song of the Ocarina. (It’s book 1 in my Delfaerune Rhapsody series about New Zealand Fae who use Earth energy and music to make magic.)

Think now, what about you or your book would inspire someone to say, “Wow, that’s cool!” or to write a newspaper article about you? I encourage you to put some thought into this and come up with something outrageous to drive word-of-mouth marketing.

What do you do, or what’s in your book, that would entice readers to talk about you?


Write on!
Ann Narcisian Videan
Write • Edit • Self-publish • Word-of-mouth
Check out my Book Shepherding sessions.

What do John Denver and Fred Stobaugh have in common?

They both wrote touching music for their wives.

John Denver's guitar at the MIM

Though probably not on “This Old Guitar,” displayed at the Musical Instrument Museum,” Denver did compose “Annie’s Song” for his wife. Just like Fred composed “Sweet Lorraine.”

One of my all-time favorite John Denver songs, “Annie’s Song,” he wrote for his wife at the time, Annie Martell Denver. It became Denver’s second number-one song in the United States, so ranked for two weeks in July 1974. [It carries a specific connection for me, too, as it inspired a pivotal scene for my Rhythms & Muse novel.]

Fred Stobaugh wrote “Sweet Lorraine” after the passing of his wife of 73 years in 2013. He entered it into Green Shoe Studios‘ songwriting contest, by sending in an old-school, hand-written letter. Touched by the heartfelt lyrics, Green Shoe brought Fred’s song to life through its generous creativity and production. The song reached #1 in the iTunes singer/songwriter category in August 2013.

For the whole story, see the sweet little documentary, “A Letter from Fred,” on YouTube.

I simply needed to share this, even if it is a year old. Prepare for inspiration and subsequent tears.

Can you share a similar story?


Write on! (or in this case, “Far-r-r-r Out!)
Ann Narcisian Videan
Write • Edit • Self-publish • Word-of-mouth

#7 Writing Tip: Is your written content legal?

That quote you pulled from the Internet to use in your marketing, or your book…can you legally use it?

I can use this shot of my daughter in a high school production of "Clue," because I took it. The play title is royalty free, but if I quoted any of her lines here, I'd need to pay royalties, since someone else wrote the words.     @2013 ANVidean

I can use this shot of my daughter Codi (the “Police Chief” in her high school production of “Clue”), because I took it. The play title is royalty free, but if I quoted any of her lines here, I’d need to pay royalties, since someone else wrote the words. @2013 ANVidean

Do you think if you simply provide a source, you’re covered? It’s likely you’re not. You may need to ask permission, or even pay royalties to use it.

When I wrote my novel, Rhythms & Muse, I included famous advertising quotes, celebrity names, song titles, even some lyrics. Not wanting to borrow trouble later, I sought out the advice of a copyright attorney to see what I needed to do to use these snippets of other people’s material. I used Etherton Law Group, but can also recommend Kevin Keener an intellectual property attorney at Keener, McPhail, Salles, LLC.

Advertising quotes

The lawyer informed me I could not use ad quotes, no matter how much people banter them about in common conversation. I had to find a way around it, like in this excerpt from the novel.

      “You mean like, that anti-stomach acid commercial with the Italian guy sitting on the bed saying he can’t believe he ate…’” Alex started.
      Suzanne continued, “Yeah, yeah. …the entire bowl of spaghetti.” She laughed. “Something like that.”
            “Well, I can’t believe I dreamed this whole thing about Matt.”

Celebrity names

Since it is against the CreateSpace Terms of Agreement, I ended up not using celebrity names at all. This forced me—in a fun, creative way—to allude to recognizable characteristics:

“Great. Now, if your local studio doesn’t work out for some reason, we’ll make arrangements to do all recording at our LA studios. I’m hoping for ‘Frankies’ place, though,” Mr. Grandberg said, his unexpected smile lighting up behind the cigar. “Recording at the home studio of my all-time favorite crooner – rest his soul – would be a rare privilege, not to mention the great PR it would make for the single.”

I also used recognizable nicknames, as in this excerpt:

      “Hey, Lex, I have great news!”
      “You mean, the King of Rock and Roll really does live?”
      Suzanne laughed. “No. I’ve patched things up with Kathy.”

I found out Priscilla Presley owns the rights to her late husband’s name, and she requires you to get permission or pay to state his name, depending on how you use it. (Can you say “amass a fortune?”)

Another interesting and frustrating discovery: if you’re self-published, Disney won’t allow you to use any character name. Period. You can’t even pay to use it. [sigh] That led me to sections like this:

“Look, she’s surrounded by all her little dorks right over there. Anyone of them would be glad to have her in their little cottage cooking and cleaning for them. See?” She started pointing one by one to the jocks. “Doofy.  Dippy. Dweeby. Dullard…”

Music artists, song titles, and lyrics

You can use the name of musical artists and their song titles without sourcing or paying royalties. But, if you plan to use any portion of the lyrics, you must pay for their use. This involves contacting music rights management firms like ASCAP, BMI or Hal Leonard in writing, with detailed specifics about how the information will be used.

I ended up paying a few hundred dollars to use a few lines of lyrics from John Denver’s “Annie’s Song,” Ewan MacColl’s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” as sung by Roberta Flack, and Tim Rice’s “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” from the play/movie Jesus Christ Superstar.

Of course, I own full rights to my own original lyrics appearing in the book, and the book’s “soundtrack” of original tunes I wrote and recorded on CD.

Even quotes from famous people are often copyrighted, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you use anyone else’s materials in your writing, be sure to clarify its use with a qualified copyright lawyer. If someone else uses your work, you want them to source it or pay for it, now don’t you?

P.S. If you’re the first to comment, answering the following four questions correctly, I’ll send you a $10 gift certificate from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. Can you guess:

  1. The name of the product I alluded to in the ad above?
  2. The name of the crooner who actually owned a home on Hayden Lake in Idaho? (It’s not Frank Sinatra, despite my using “Frankie’s place.”)
  3. The real name of the King of Rock and Roll?
  4. The Disney character I suggest who cooks and cleans house for her little guys?

#6 Writing Tip: Authors and readers profit from free book downloads

Authors and e-book readers, do you use Kindle Select (KS) and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL)?

“Why would I,” you ask?

Two compelling reasons.

  • Readers receive free e-book borrows.
  • Authors gain enhanced visibility and potential sales.

Here’s how it works:

Readers, if you are an Amazon Prime member you can borrow from a collection of more than 180,000 books in the KOLL. Besides my own novel, Rhythms & Muse [big cheesy grin], the library includes 100-plus current and former New York Times best sellers — to read for free — as frequently as a book a month, with no due dates.

Watch this price drop to zero tomorrow for Amazon Prime members who want to borrow my book.

Watch this price drop to zero this weekend for Amazon Prime members who want to borrow my book.

Authors, simply give exclusive rights to Kindle for 90 days, enroll your titles, and promote free downloads to gain visibility. The best part, though, is you actually earn a share of the multimillion-dollar KDP Select Global Fund every time your book is borrowed from the KOLL on Amazon.

I’ve had several authors tell me their books get borrowed thousands of times over a couple of days through this program, and they can sell one book for every three borrowed. In the first Valentine’s Day 2012 promo I did the last weekend of January 2013, 994 readers downloaded Rhythms & Muse. [I’ll report later what happens, sales-wise.] Looks like we have everything to gain here, especially happy readers.

Authors… Readers… What are you waiting for?

If you have had an exceptional experience using KS or KOLL, the rest of us would like to hear about it in the comments below.


P.S. Readers, in the spirit of letting you take advantage of this truly cool offering right away, I’ve scheduled my own KS promos. [Put this in the realm of “well-how-the-heck-will-you-know-about-it-if-I-don’t-tell-you” shameless promotion.] Yep, you can borrow my women’s fiction e-book this weekend — Fri., Feb. 1 through Sun., Feb. 3, 2013 — by searching for Rhythms & Muse at the KOLL.

Rhythms & Muse synopsis:

Alex, a Grammy-winning vocalist, lives the glamorous lifestyle, but hates it. Her dreams guide her life, but she doesn’t listen until one actually manifests. Will intuition, flashbacks to her 1970s high-school days in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and an ambitious current-day plan to reconnect with her former music partner and muse, help her find fulfillment?

Amazon review:

“Ann…has a gift for setting the scene and characters so that you feel like you have visited these places, and know these people in her book. I particularly liked the shift back and forth in time during the book — it reminds us that whichever paths we take in our lives, we are still the same person within. This book brought back memories of high school.”

#2 Writing Tip: Use your book cover as a profile picture

Rhythms & Muse’s back cover. You want to click on it so you can read it, don’t you? I’ll let you watch my Facebook page at Ann Narcisian Videan for the front cover to appear in a few days, or check it out at

Change your profile picture to your book cover.

Twice a month I meet with a group of established Phoenix, AZ-area writers in my Alliance of Literary Writers, Authors and Yabbering Scribes (ALWAYS) “tribe.” We share writing tips, ideas and resources, which I pass along to you.

The authors attending our May 22, 2012, gathering came up with a number of great ideas, which I will parse out in the near future, but Eduardo Cervino shared a real winner, an easy way to gain a bit more visibility.

He suggested authors change their profile photo to their book cover every once in a while on their social media sites. You know when you see the same image over and over, you tend to ignore it? A change in scenery can pique interest and entice your friends and followers to actually click on your little image to see it in better detail, especially a book cover.

Just make sure you offer valuable information next to the photo, such as a photo description in Facebook which includes your Web site address.

Thank you, Ed! I’m going to do this whenever I’m running a special promotion or on the  verge of a big book event.

Do you have a savvy writing tip to share for authors or freelancers? Please post a comment. (And, don’t forget to ALWAYS write!)

Meet authors to talk books and writing

I’m one of 20 authors featured at this event and can’t wait to talk about books and writing with you!

Join me for the 2nd Annual Arizona Dreamin’ readers conference Fri. and Sat., June 1-2, 2012, in Chandler, Ariz. This  glorified “Girl’s Night Out” allows you to rub elbows with authors – including me – who write fiction in diverse genres, which involve a thread of romance.

For just $35, expect to:

• Meet 20 authors of various genres of romance. Choose 6 you find the most interesting for “Book Clubs” (10 readers with one author in 30-minute sessions to ask questions and talk about their books).

• Enjoy a free Hospitality Suite with snacks and beverages.

• Meet Jimmy Thomas, international book-cover model, and have your photo taken for a charitable donation.

• Munch out with an all-you-can-eat buffet dinner.

• Provide input for the “Man of Our Dreams” cover model competition during dinner.

• Win huge raffle baskets.

• Take home a FREE goody bag!

• Meet with two publishers to see if there is a book in you.

• Visit our event bookstore with discounted pricing.

Windmill Inns & Suites

3535 W. Chandler Boulevard
Chandler, AZ 85226

Learn more.

Coffee CommuniTea: Echo Coffee, Scottsdale, AZ

Inviting entrance and patio at Echo Coffee. ©2011 ANVidean

Today’s Cup o’ Tea
Echo Coffee
Fresh. Local. Organic.

Perks (what I really like!)

  • Knowledgeable owner:  Steve Belt
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Calm, light, peaceful environment
  • Modern décor
  • Local art
  • Organic tea selection

Share a cuppa (the stories)
Owner: Steve Belt
The tipping point for Steve to open a coffee shop, per his blog, was a Twitter tweet. He said, “I researched nearly every significant coffee shop in the Phoenix area, tasted a ton of coffee, and watched how each shop’s customer service was handled… Batch after batch, I roasted and tasted, roasted and tasted, until I developed a very strong idea of what I wanted my coffees to taste like.”

Steve will give you a mini lesson on roasting coffee, if you ask. ©2011 ANVidean

His research led to the decision that the shop would “not only need to be good, but great.” I think he’s hit the mark.

What’s Brewing (coffee, tea, food)

  • Coffee roasted on-site
  • A tea selection
  • Organic pastries
  • Cold and hot sandwiches
  • Salads

The Grind (what I would change)

Percolation Factor (the activity/environment/energy/service)

Owner Steve Belt showcases local artists' work. ©2011 ANVidean

  • The servers and baristas were friendly and helpful.
  • It’s a busy place with customers enjoying their coffee, working and chatting comfortably.
  • Steve holds a periodic Barista Jam. The Feb. 2011 event featured a latte art competition, a tasting opportunity with one original coffee roasted four different ways, and included a visit from Walter the Bus, a 13-foot-tall VW bus accommodating 50 people on its upper deck.

The Grounds (location)
2902 N. 68th St., Suite 135
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

Tea Times (hours)
6 a.m.–10 p.m. daily

Yelp rating: 4 stars


I love connecting people and ideas, so I’ve been creating small villages my entire life. Really, what better places can writers and musicians find to create “village” than independent coffee/tea shops? I wrote most of my Rhythms & Muse novel in coffee/tea venues, so it seemed natural to create this blog. Whether you came here to find a new favorite hangout, or suggest a spot not yet not posted, may you find Coffee CommuniTea exactly to your taste!

Coffee CommuniTea: Rocket Bakery On First, Spokane, WA

Today’s Cup o’ Tea
Rocket Bakery On First

Rocket Bakery On First. Photo by Nathan on Urban Spoon

Perks (what I really like!)
• Great open-air space
• Free Wi-Fi
• Located in a charming old brick building in downtown Spokane, within walking distance of Riverfront Park (site of 1974 World’s Fair)

Share a cuppa (the stories)
• Locally owned bakery and coffeehouse with nine neighborhood locations in the Spokane area, since 1992.

What’s Brewing (coffee, tea, food)
• All baked goods made by scratch with only wholesome ingredients
• Wide selection of delicious food choices
• Good tea selection and specialty drinks

The Grind (what I would change)
• More accessible Wi-Fi (I couldn’t get on during my second visit, perhaps because of a an over-protective firewall?)

Percolation Factor (the activity/environment/energy/service)
• Lots of activity from loyal, local patrons.

The Grounds (location)
1325 W. 1st Ave.
Spokane, WA

Tea Times (hours)
Open daily 6 a.m.-6 p.m.

Yelp rating:
4 stars


I love connecting people and ideas, so I’ve been creating small villages my entire life. Really, what better places can writers and musicians find to create “village” than independent coffee/tea shops? I wrote most of my Rhythms & Muse novel in coffee/tea venues, so it seemed natural to create this blog. Whether you came here to find a new favorite hangout, or suggest a spot not yet not posted, may you find Coffee CommuniTea exactly to your taste!

Dare! Find a small-town main street offering more than Coeur d’Alene’s.

While my family visited Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, we spent quite a it of time in Downtown Coeur d’Alene, the lively little town which sets the scene for more than half of my Rhythms & Muse novel.

In addition to its most beautiful City Beach at the west end of downtown, Cd’A’s seven-block main street, aka Sherman Ave., offers a plethora of great experiences:

  • Hudson’s Hamburgers, with it’s 100-year legacy, is a destination for the most delicious, juicy burgers worldwide!
    (I very much regret I couldn’t find a good way to include Hudson’s iin Rhythms & Muse. Those burgers are one of my favorite reasons for visiting Cd’A. A point of interest: the Hudson family, including current proprietors Steve and Todd, lived next to my family in Fairway Hills the entire time I lived up there.)
  • Calypsos Coffee & Creamery, a great coffee venue right off Sherman on Lakeside Ave., where I held my book signing.
  • A number of charming retail shops, including:

    Looking west down Sherman Ave. from 5th St.(?) ©2011 ANVidean

    • Gallery Northwest, filled with lovely unique artwork crafted by local artists
    • Summers Glass gorgeous dichroic glass jewelry and art, beads, and more
    • Possibilities wine and gift-basket shop
    • Coeur d’Alene Chocolates, a family-owned shop with the most beautifully delicious treats I’ve ever seen.

      The sandy City Beach at the west end of Sherman Ave. offers a pristine view of the towering Coeur d’Alene Resort, and Tubbs Hill. ©2011 ANVidean

  • The Coeur d’Alene Resort, a lovely destination towering over the north end of Lake Cd’A right at the foot of downtown, with a  marina and one of the largest boardwalks in the world. It’s connected via skywalk to an indoor shopping mall featuring mid-to-high-end restaurants and shops.

I’ll be doing future posts to provide additional details on some of these distinctive hot spots, so watch the blog.

Do you have a Cd’A story or photo to share? Comment below, or send your .jpg image to me at and I’ll post it in the future.


Rhythms & Muse novel and music CD:

One of America’s most beautiful downtown beaches

My family just returned from a too-short visit to the beautiful northwest. We hung out in Spokane, WA, and Coeur d’Alene, ID, for a week… seeing friends, tracking down old haunts, and visiting places and activities mentioned in my Rhythms & Muse novel.

Lake Coeur d’Alene    ©2011 ANVidean

One lazy afternoon, we strolled the Centennial Trail through the City Park, soaking in sights like this one. But what’s so uber cool about this…? Downtown Coeur d’Alene is just about two blocks to the east of this scene.

Can you see why lovely Lake Cd’A certainly served as high inspiration for a major portion of my novel? Who wouldn’t want to spend time near this blue water?

Do you have a Cd’A story or photo to share? Comment below, or send your .jpg image to me at and I’ll post it in a future blog.


Rhythms & Muse novel and music CD: