Bob Baker's Artist Empowerment Blog

Let's Get Metaphysical

"Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into." -Wayne Dyer

It was just several years ago when I apprehensively dipped my toe into the pool of writing about it. I tried to slip it into the conversation when readers were looking the other way.

I'm talking about the expanding core of what I write and speak about. It's evolved from talking about marketing tactics (such as press kits, cover letters and package design) to encouraging musicians and creative people of all stripes to embrace positive thinking. Now I also touch on concepts that border on being "metaphysical" or "spiritual" in nature.

Coming Out of the Touchy-Feely Closet

The good news is, I'm not alone in delving into these less tangible topics. Enlightened people have been talking about them for centuries. But only in recent years have I noticed authors and speakers more openly expressing the principles to artists, writers and performers.

Examples: Author Joe Taylor Jr wrote recently about Music Miracles and the Power of Intention, and soon after David Hooper responded with Manifesting Music Business Success on his blog.

What's most amusing to me is that three different people located in different parts of the country, who spend a lot of waking hours thinking about music career success, have come to similar conclusions: We live in an abundant world, and with the right mindset, we can tap into its many gifts and rewards -- while giving back at least as much as we take.

No Gurus Allowed

If you've seen the movie What the Bleep Do We Know? or read books by Wayne Dyer or Deepak Chopra, you know what I'm talking about. This isn't about promoting a religion. In fact, it's not about religion at all. I don't sit around and burn incense and meditate all day. I don't pretend to have all the answers to life's great mysteries.

I'm just a regular guy who has learned to open his mind to the possibilities that everyone has access to. And that's probably the biggest thing that has influenced my writing in recent years: understanding that answers, solutions and opportunities aren't "out there" somewhere. They reside within, and it's up to each one of us to stop searching high and low for the Holy Grail and look under our own noses for the real keys to success and happiness.

The DIY Mindset

This philosophy dovetails perfectly with the "do it yourself" movement that is sweeping the planet. People are learning that they no longer have to rely on gatekeepers or lucky breaks to influence their progress.

Hot tip: Want to connect with the most powerful person who can impact your career in the arts? Look in the mirror.

"All the breaks you need in life wait within your imagination. Imagination is the workshop of your mind, capable of turning mind energy into accomplishment and wealth." -Napoleon Hill

The Psychology of Crowds

It's the day after Thanksgiving -- widely known in the USA as one of the busiest shopping days of the year. And it's always amazed me. Why do people go out in droves to crowded malls and risk trampling just to save a few bucks on a DVD player or crock pot?

One answer has everything to do with crowd psychology.

I learned this lesson years ago as I watched people file out after comedy shows. (Yes, in a former life I performed stand-up comedy and music parodies regularly.) I sold my own comedy tapes and usually parked near the exit to catch anyone who wanted to buy the recording I had plugged onstage.

One show in particular stands out. The audience was about a hundred people strong. Nearly half of them marched right past me. Then one person stopped to buy a tape. Then another.

One of the buyers noticed I had a stack of promo photos and asked how much it would be for an autographed copy. No one had ever asked that before, so I said, "If you buy the tape, I'll give you an autographed picture free."

The other buyer overhead the conversation and said, "Then I'll take one too." By then, other patrons who were filing out had stopped to see what was going on. I heard a number of remarks along the lines of "What's going on? Oh, he's selling tapes. Let's stop and get one." Within minutes, there was a long and growing line. Each person saw that I was signing photos and wanted one too.

It was an eye-opening experience. What was so appealing to the second half of the audience that the first half couldn't care less about? You know the answer:

They were at first curious just to see what all the commotion was about, then interested in getting a piece of what so many other people were enjoying

Stephen Bucaro writes about the importance of "consensus" when selling: "Consensus involves getting prospective customers to believe that 'everybody's doing it.' Everybody is just waiting in line to purchase your product. Everybody can't be wrong, so the product must be fantastic!"

And Mel Torment of Finger Records writes, "The packed house, frothing crowd mentality creates a sheep-like response, and when everyone suddenly thinks a band is cool, it is automatically assumed that so and so is the only band that matters ..."

This topic may be worth covering over a number of blog posts. So check back for more thoughts on the psychology of crowds. In the meantime, start thinking about ways you can stimulate curiosity and attract a crowd feeding frenzy with your music, art, craft, performance, books, etc.

Meet Obstacles (and Go Around Them)

I'm a big fan of Curt Rosengren and his Occupational Adventure blog. A couple of months ago, he wrote two great posts on overcoming fear and steering around obstacles -- a topic that most creative people can learn from.

In Fearless choices, not fearful choices, he writes ...

It's so easy to stop with the assumption that it can't be done. Rather than assuming that [our goal] is forever out of our reach -- based on either past experience or beliefs we have absorbed along the way -- we can stop and ask ourselves, "OK, if it doesn't work this way, how else could it work?

And in a post titled Develop a 5 to 1 habit, Curt explains ...

When I talk to people about pursuing their passions, I often encounter an endless litany of "reasons why I can't." It seems to be wired into us to look for obstacles and declare them reality.

One of the ways to change that perspective is to develop a 5 to 1 habit. For every obstacle you recognize, commit to writing down five ideas for getting around that obstacle.

Great attitude. Roadblocks are rarely eternal or insurmountable. Most of what holds artists, writers and performers back comes from within -- a false perception, a weak belief, a negative expectation.

These disempowering ways of thinking can be deeply ingrained. So you may at first have to force yourself to think in more optimistic terms. Stick with it and you'll eventually think less fearful thoughts automatically.

Thought nugget: Don't buy into the so-called obstacles you encounter. Find another route. If you can't work your way through or over a speed bump, find a creative way to drive around it. And then keep going!

Readers and Buyers and Fans ... Oh My!

Even though this was written for authors interested in my Self-Publishing Tips & Resources site, you should find some useful ideas here, no matter what area of creativity you indulge in.

The Three Most Important Types of People Who Can Make Your Book a Success

If you were to ask most authors and publishers to name three people who can most influence a book's success, you'd likely get responses such as, "a buyer at Borders or Barnes & Noble" or "the book editor at the New York Times" or "one of Oprah's TV show producers."

These are understandable answers. But I encourage you to consider three other types of people. And I'll even go out on a limb and suggest that they are the three kinds of folks who will most dramatically affect the notoriety and sales of your book.

They are readers and buyers and fans. They're so crucial to your success, I'll examine each one in detail.


As the name implies, readers are simply people who have read what you've written. I list them separately because not all readers are buyers or fans, although they certainly can be both. A reader can be someone who borrows your book from a friend, checks out your book from a library, or reads a sample of your work online. They may end up enjoying what you've written, or they may not.

Readers are all important. The more people who absorb your words, the more likely you are to generate positive word of mouth and sales -- that is, if what you've written connects with enough of the people who read your stuff.

That's the key thing to keep in mind here: Your primary goal isn't to make sales (in my opinion). It should be to get as many people as possible to read what you've written, by any means necessary. You can accomplish this by:
  • Making book excerpts available on your web site
  • Giving away short printed excerpts at your live appearances
  • Offering book excerpts to appropriate magazines and newspapers
  • Giving free review copies of your book to people who may influence others to read and purchase your title
Think about the many ways you can get people to read what you've written. If many of them like what they read, you'll soon have a lot more buyers and fans. Which brings us to ...


This type of person is obviously someone who spends money to purchase your book. While buyers often consider themselves readers and fans, they don't always. For example, many children's books are bought by parents and given to the ultimate readers: their kids. Many other books -- such as Spencer Johnson's Who Moved My Cheese? and John C. Maxwell's The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership -- are purchased by parents, friends, employers and others as gifts given to people who they feel need them.

Therefore, it's important to know that not all buyers are readers. So when marketing your book, don't think only about the end user. Consider the various types of people who would want to purchase your book as a gift for the eventual reader. Then focus some of your promotion efforts on making these potential buyers aware of the great book you have for their favorite readers.


This type of book lover is most often a buyer and almost always a reader. But what sets this valuable individual apart is that they really, really like you. Or, to be more accurate, they really like the words you've written.

Fans are crucial to your success as an author. Critical acclaim and media exposure are great, but nothing beats having lots of regular people raving about your book and recommending it to friends.

Some of the best ways to cultivate fans include:
  • Using your web site to collect the names and addresses of people who enjoy what you've written (and following up with them on a regular basis)
  • Turning your live events into opportunities to personally connect with your readers
  • Encouraging group discussions of your topic and providing handouts to guide people who are interested
  • Thinking of every interaction you have with the public as a chance to start a relationship with a new fan
So, what are the three types of people that can most influence your book's success? You know who they are and why they're important. And, hopefully, now you have some ideas on how to grab their attention and attract more of them.

To your publishing success!