The pros and cons of FOCUS

There is an axiom that goes something like, “What you focus on expands,” and in today’s blog, I wanted to share with your some examples from my life where focus was applied.  The converse is also true – what you DON’T focus on declines.

So, this post may be somewhat of a zen-isque retrospective, but if you hang in there, you can hopefully get some  useful insights on when and where to use focus.

Living the “Vi Life”
My experiment in Network Marketing

It was in December two years ago that my friend Paige introduced me to a new network marketing company specializing in weight loss milk shakes and related products. The company was called ViSalus on on January 1, 2012, I signed up as an Independent Distributor under their Executive package for $499.

My wife, Carla, actually did not want me doing anything else because it moved my focus.  Admittedly, I have issues with adult attention deficit disorder, so she was keenly aware that another ‘distraction’ might not be best for my psychological well being.

Gary Vincent with ViSalus Co-founder Nick Sarnicola

Gary Vincent with ViSalus Co-founder Nick Sarnicola

Despite her advice for my mental health, I proceeded to become said distributor and gave 100% of my FOCUS to growing the business at my website: http://www.ViFitChallenge.com.  I became a poster-boy for weight loss and encouraged others to join me on the challenge.

The result of this focused effort was astounding.  Within four months, I became a Regional Director and qualified for a company-paid-for BMW. I also enjoyed frequent travel to lovely destinations such as Charlotte, North Carolina and Miami, Florida to learn and network.

It was during this time that I earned several thousands of dollars and made a great number of friends along the way.  In fact, it was one of the most lucrative business experiments I ever tried.  That was until…

VIP – The rise of the Storage Empire!

Agelations: Unlocking the Secret Strategies of the Rich to Help You Succeed in Business & In Life by Gary Lee Vincent & George Cunningham

Some of you reading this know my work in Real Estate Investing from my Agelations book and home study courses that I coauthored a few  years ago. Since 2004, I have been actively involved in real estate with my FOCUS varing across different properties and endeavors.

One of my more successful ventures was a property my wife and I developed in Fairmont, West Virginia, called “VIP Storage.”  This was a small self storage facility built in the community of Boothsville and featured seventy-five lockers.

This original facility was built in two phases between 2009 and 2010; and quickly filled up.  For several years, we simply managed a nearly full facility and contemplated how to create a second property near the first one.

In the Summer of 2012 (near the peak of my ViSalus success), we found a location to construct our VIP II facility and began a four month acquisition and planning phase.  In October, the deal to purchase the property was finally approved by the bank and from October to April 2014, we spent constructing it and dealing with all of the fallout of excavation, contractor management, public relations, and finance.

Ultimately the combined VIP I and II would be a $700,000.00+ endeavor and pursuing it would take 100% of my FOCUS.  The effort nearly killed me and busted my sanity, sending me into depression and driving me AWAY from other successful things, such as ViSalus and writing/authoring.

Proportionally, the more successful VIP II came (from inception to market stabilization), the more I drifted from my marketing work with ViSalus and the less I wrote.

Ultimately, for VIP II to succeed, my ViSalus business had to take the ultimate sacrifice with me not at the helm.  The end result was a gradual decline in sales and an increase in attrition (customer dropoffs), since I was not there to actively sponsor and mentor them.

Finding the balance

Now that the development of VIP II is over, brought managers in to help with the day-to-day operation of this.  I am still involved, of course, but with significantly less FOCUS.

This frees up my time to pursue one of my loves – writing and author development (i.e. publishing) through the Burning Bulb Publishing cooperative.

Although 2012-2013 noticed a steep decline in book sales and new Burning Bulb Products, I am pleased to say that FOCUS towards Burning Bulb has never been better.

Boston Posh by Wol-vriey

Boston Posh a Bizarro-genre novel by Wol-vriey. Cover designed by Gary Lee Vincent

After the completion of VIP II, I helped Burning Bulb with the release of three titles (Vegan Zombie Apocalypse by Wol-vriey, Westward Hoes by various authors, and Boston Posh, also by Wol-vriey.)  I also worked on a fourth installment to my DARKENED Vampire SeriesDarkened Souls, am developing a comic book with Rich Bottles Jr. and Stuart Brown, and have help Burning Bulb release a new version of its webpage at http://www.BurningBulbPublishing.com and a new Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/burningbulbpublishing.com .

This, of course, takes a lot of FOCUS, but the one thing I learned over the past two years is to try to balance things and respect that focusing on one may very well mean leaving other wonderful things behind.

Never give up your dreams, but choose your focus wisely.

Until next time, Cheers!

Gary Lee Vincent

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Demons, Dolls, & Milkshakes Review

Demons, Dolls, & Milkshakes by Nelson W. Pyles

☆☆☆☆☆ Not your Disney’s “Stitch” (but that’s a good thing)

When I heard that the nemesis of this book was an ugly doll named Stitch, I thought to myself, “Crap Nelson, I loved your shorter works in The Big Book of Bizarro and Westward Hoes, but please tell me you’re not doing Disney fan fiction?”

Just kidding, of course. Demons, Dolls, & Milkshakes is a far cry from Lilo & Stitch and definitely NOT a children’s story.

Pyles does not disappoint in blending several highly unlikely elements into a cohesive, shall I say “Milkshake” of pure literary entertainment. And, given that the demon is from New Jersey makes the story far more believable and almost realistic.

Nelson did a good job with this Bizarro-meets-horror-meets-comedy piece. It’s definitely worth checking out and a far cry from bland. Have yourself a good chuckle and pick it up.

– Gary Lee Vincent, Author Darkened Hills

Demons, Dolls, & Milkshakes can be purchased from amazon here.


American Hustle – The Movie

American HustleEvery now and then, you realize what a small world it is and how we are all interconnected on this small planet.

This post is simply to congratulate actress Becki Dennis Buchman for her role in the movie American Hustle, which is released early in Boston today (December 19, 2013) and tomorrow (FRIDAY) in theatres across the country.

Here’s the iMDB synopsis for those unfamiliar with the film:

“A fictional film set in the alluring world of one of the most stunning scandals to rock our nation, American Hustle tells the story of brilliant con man Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale), who along with his equally cunning and seductive British partner Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) is forced to work for a wild FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper). DiMaso pushes them into a world of Jersey powerbrokers and mafia that’s as dangerous as it is enchanting. Jeremy Renner is Carmine Polito, the passionate, volatile, New Jersey political operator caught between the con-artists and Feds. Irving’s unpredictable wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) could be the one to pull the thread that brings the entire world crashing down. Written by Sony Pictures Entertainment

You can catch Becki’s part about halfway through the movie.  She is pushing a kid in a stroller while talking to Amy Adams.

Anyway, the reason I wanted to point this out, is that I originally met Becki during her acting role in my music video The Man Behind The Mask which was also shot in the Boston area!  (See, small world)

Here’s that video, by-the-way, in case you missed it back in 2010:

Great job, Becki, for landing a role in a major Hollywood production!


The Man Behind The Mask appears on the album Somewhere Down The Road  by Gary Lee Vincent.   Available on iTunes and amazon.com.


Book trailer service for authors

I am contemplating the idea of offering a service by Burning Bulb Publishing to produce book trailers for aspiring authors.

These trailers would be basic – containing background music, key story photography, and words representing what the book is about – but not over produced with elaborate effects.  The end result would be a service that an author could buy at a very reasonable price (say around $39.00 for a one minute video).

This past weekend, I experimented with this ‘basic’ approach and created one for my upcoming novel, Darkened Souls.

The trailer is below for your inspection:

I am open to feedback on this.  Let me know if you like the idea and if the video is good enough for a basic book trailer by voting below. You can also email me privately if you want me to do one for you.


Achieving Results

A great many things can happen from the beginning of a week through the end of one.  Coming off my last post, I thought it would be a good idea to write a “Thanksgiving” blog of sorts and let the folks out there know what all I have cooked up over the past five days.

For those who have been following my news, we had a rough patch over in Warren/Niles, but worked through it.  Although it was a holiday week for most people, I buckled down and decided to make it a productive one.

So, without further delay, here’s what happened this week:

A new Burning Bulb website –

burning_bulb_publishing_enhanced_logoI am very pleased to announce that we have a BRAND NEW Burning Bulb Publishing website, now hosted on WordPress!  That’s right!  When a person visits www.BurningBulbPublishing.com, they will now be looking at our new and improved publishing house page.  Hosting our cooperative of authors via a WordPress blog now lets us update more frequently and showcase our books in a more dynamic way.  I hope you like it and if you do, please let others know.  Look for a Facebook page to come soon.  🙂

A new book from Wol-vriey –

Boston PoshOver the past several weeks, Rich Bottles Jr. and I have been hard at work preparing for the release of a new Bizarro thriller from the ever-so-talented Wol-vriey!

In fact, we are just DAYS AWAY from the release of Wol-vriey’s newest book – BOSTON POSH – and believe me, folks, this one tops it all!  It was certainly one of my more favorite reads this year and we hope to have it available on amazon in early December.  You can read all about it here.

A new history of the Incan Empire textbook from Luis Morató Peña –

Los Inkas Hijos del Dios Sol en la Penumbra: Historia del Tawantinsuyu My father-in-law presented me with an idea for a South American history textbook back in February this year (2013).  This was a very challenging project, as it was to be a full color text book written entirely in Spanish for a targeted audience of college-level students.  It took SEVERAL months of work, but our final “FINAL” was released to amazon.com this week.  For those of you who are interested – and can understand Spanish – be sure to check out:  Los Inkas Hijos del Dios Sol en la Penumbra: Historia del Tawantinsuyu (Spanish Edition) by Luis Morató Peña

Completion of Darkened Hills IV – Darkened Souls

Darkened SoulsWhat’s that? You heard me right!  Last but not least, I am very, VERY excited to announce that I have just completed my first round DRAFT of Darkened Hills IV – Darkened Souls!

It still needs to go through some editing, of course, but I think fans of the series will really enjoy the direction this installment takes.

I don’t want to give too much away right now other than to tell you to watch this page or the series website – www.DarkenedHills.com – for a press release in the near future.

Closing thoughts…

In closing, I just wanted to say thank you to each and every one of you who read our books and follow our follies. Yes, it’s a lot of work, but it is a labor of love.  I also want to say that I am thankful for the people who I work with – the authors and editors (you know who you are) – who work very hard with little (if any) pay.  I recognize your efforts and appreciate your belief in Burning Bulb and in sticking it out with me as we launch some amazing stuff.

So, no real ‘down time’ for me during this particular holiday, but A LOT to show for it.   Until next time… CHEERS!


Working through discouragement

Eerie Frequency Booth PicI am not a motivational speaker by trade, nor do I post a bunch of frivolous false impressions of how rosy life is.  For those who know me, I typically speak my mind.

I also do not like to dwell in the negative, which is why there are very few posts that I make that complain or put on the pretense of being a ‘victim of circumstance’.   I usually don’t think it’s worth the time to complain when I can be doing something more productive.

However, after the weekend I just went through, this might be a good time to pause and let my readers and friends know about some of the struggles an author goes though, as this is definitely newsworthy, educational, and in a way, entertaining.

I just came back from the Eerie Frequency Expo in Niles, OH.  Author and touring partner Rich Bottles Jr. accompanied me on the trip. Rich and I are both from West Virginia and the trip to Warren/Niles is over two hundred miles each way.

The Niles gig was the sixth and final stop on our Fall 2013 Tour.  There were actually supposed to be seven stops, but the West Virginia Book Festival (our crown jewel event) was cancelled this year (and may be cancelled permanently) by the promoter – the Kanawha Public Library due to funding.

Now of the six events, another was cancelled (a Uniontown show), and the three prior events – all conventions – had practically zero attendance.  Mind you, this was not just for our books, but zero attendance from the population in general.

I cannot begin to describe to you how discouraging it is to put your heart and soul into a product/book/etc. travel thousands of miles (over the course of a tour) and not have anyone show up. In all honesty, it screws with your head.

Broken glass in balcony doorAlthough these are downers, I believe the icing on the cake was this past event.  There were police raids at the event hotel on both nights of our stay, and last night ended with someone going through the balcony window in the room next to where I was staying.  (See broken glass in room on upper right of picture.)

During the ordeal, I quite expected to see some damage to my truck, as there was fighting and carrying on by all sorts of crazies.  This was, of course, at the hotel and not at the actual event venue.

So, now for the lesson…

I am not going to say that 2013 was a fantastic  year for book sales or conventions – no it blew, in fact.  It was disappointing for me, my touring friends, and our published authors at Burning Bulb Publishing.  We are a small press, but one who believes in each other and in putting out the very best, most interesting books we can, for the best price we can.  Ones that are edited nicely, typeset well, and have killer covers.  We do that well.

As for the conventions (cons)… that’s a different story.  I believe that the cons we have attended all had a couple things in common (and promoters, pay attention):

  1. They were marketed well to the VENDORS and not to the general public
  2. They CHARGED the general public (in addition to the vendors) for admission to the venue
  3. They were in locations that people WHO READ were not

For this, I take 100% responsibility for making poor choices in the cons I picked.  I chose locations within a three-hour drive versus biting the bullet and going to where the cons are properly marketed and draw in huge crowds.

It would be very easy to throw in the towel, especially after this last run, where we had lower-then-average sales at the past four of six con-stops, however… despite the discouragement and the hardship, Burning Bulb will:

  • Release Boston Posh by Wol-vriey in December 2013
  • Release Darkened Hills 4 (official title Darkened Souls) by your’s truly in December 2013
  • Release St. Albans Fire (a new erotic thriller) by your’s truly in Spring 2014
  • Release The Tailsman comic by your’s truly, Rich Bottles Jr., and Stuart Brown in Summer 2014
  • Only attend cons that have a track record of decent attendance and customer/fan interaction

This is my commitment to Burning Bulb’s future and to our writers and fans.  You deserve the best and we will deliver.

Never let bad venues or low turnout destroy your dreams.  Adjust and come back to the ring swinging!

Cheers!

Gary's Autograph


BOOK SIGNING: Eerie Frequency Expo / Ohio Pop Culture Con, November 23-24, 2013

eerie_frequency_flyer

Come join Burning Bulb Publishing authors Gary Lee Vincent and Rich Bottles Jr. at the Eerie Frequency Expo in Niles, OH, Saturday and Sunday, November 23-24, 2013.

Darkened Hills By Gary Lee VincentDarkened Hollows by Gary Lee VincentDarkened Waters by Gary Lee Vincent

Gary will be signing copies of books from his hit vampire series DARKENED.  Novels from the series include  –Darkened HillsDarkened Hollows, and Darkened Waters.

He will also be signing copies of his H.P. Lovecraft tribute / Bizarro / adventure novel Passageway.

Rich will be signing copies of his latest release – The Manacled – along with Lumberjacked and Hellhole West Virginia.

The Manacled by Rich Bottles Jr.

Both will be talking about and signing their collaborative projects:

The Big Book of Bizarro   and Westward Hoes

Where

The Eerie Frequency Expo is held at the Eastwood Expo Center in Niles Ohio on November 23rd and 24th, 2013.

Contact Info:

Event website:  http://www.eeriefrequencyexpo.com/


Bradley’s Book Signing at Uniontown Mall Cancelled

Cancelled

Dear Friends,

I have been advised that there has been a last minute cancellation of our tour stop at Bradley’s Book Outlet at the Uniontown Mall scheduled for Saturday, October 18, 2013 from 2PM-4PM.

Rich and I had looked forward to seeing you there and hope to see you soon at another event.

Regards,
Gary Lee Vincent


Work underway on “The Tailsman” comic book!

Sly Franko's Horse

Hello Western & Bizarro-lit fans,

I am pleased to announce that my short story, The Tailsman, will be adapted into a comic book by Burning Bulb Publishing!

Episode #1: The Sioux City Shithouse Monster will feature the awesome artwork of Stuart Brown with comic adaption by famed horror/bizarro author Rich Bottles Jr!  This is one comic you will want to pick up, trust me.

The original story is featured in the Burning Bulb Publishing anthology Westward Hoes.

Westward Hoes

 


2013 Fall Book Tour Announced

I am pleased to announce that I will be appearing at several locations across Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, and Ohio in the upcoming months.  Come out to one of these fine places for a day of fun and say ‘hello’ while you’re there.  Here’s the tour schedule so far…

  • Saturday, October 12, 2013

    Western Maryland Indie Lit Festival*
    Frostburg State University
    Center For Creative Writing
    Downtown Frostburg, MD
    www.frostburg.edu/cwcenter/indie-lit-festival/
    Note: I will be part of a sci-fi/horror writer’s panel at 1PM

  • Saturday, October 19, 2013

    Bradley’s Book Store at the Uniontown Mall*
    1368 Mall Run Rd.
    Uniontown, PA  15401
    2PM – 4PM

  • Saturday, November 23 –
    Sunday, November 24, 2013

    Eerie Frequency Expo

    Eerie Frequency Film, Toy, Comic, & Pop Culture Expo
    Eastwood Expo Center
    Niles, OH
    www.eeriefrequencyexpo.com

* Indicates an appearance with horror author Rich Bottles Jr.