Friday, September 21, 2012

Interview with Anne L. Holmes

Anne Holmes, “Boomer in Chief” of the National Association of Baby Boomer Women, is one busy lady, and I don’t know how she manages to do it all. I think she has a few pints of “Wonder Woman” blood flowing through her veins!    

Today, we have the opportunity to peek into the personal life of this amazing Baby Boomer Role Model, and I hope that your enjoyment in reading the interview comes close to my pleasure in conducting it.

MAB-In researching the National Association of Baby Boomer Women, I came across numerous entities in which you are involved—,,,, and

There may be more that I didn’t readily locate. How do you ever find time for sleeping at night?

Anne- I actually sleep seven hours every night. No matter what time I go to bed, I don’t get up until seven hours later. I’m a bit of a night person, or at least I used to be. So sometimes that means I don’t get up until 9 (AM, not PM. I’m not so much of a night person that I sleep all day and work all night!).

MAB- I just wonder--is there some secret to setting your brain into neutral at night with so many irons in the fire?

Anne-Good question! Years ago, I used to have a bit of difficulty getting to sleep. These days, it’s much easier, since I’ve passed the stage in life where I have to get kids ready for bed and make sure everything is set up for a fast getaway in the morning…

Now it’s pretty much a matter of following my own relaxing rituals: I start by making sure to do something quiet and relaxing towards the end of the evening. That might include chatting with a friend we’ve invited over for dinner or watching an UPLIFTING or funny TV show with my husband. (I stay away from crime drama and nasty stuff at night.)

Either way, I do it while drinking a mug of hot decaf Earl Grey or Constant Comment tea. (If time permits, I like to do both.)

Then somewhere after 11 PM, I really get serious about relaxation: My “getting ready for bed” ritual includes a 15-20 minute soak in the tub, with some aromatherapy bath salts designed to promote sleep.   I make the water as hot as possible, climb in and read a book. (This is when I get a lot of my NABBW book review reading done.)

I follow the bath with a lot of lotion – pretty much slather it on from head to toe.  Once I’m all warm and relaxed, I find it’s a lot easier to get to -- and stay -- asleep. 

While they don’t have to be the same, I highly recommend developing your own nighttime rituals as a way to set your brain into neutral and encourage good sleep experiences.

MAB-Your background indicates impressive experience in marketing and communications. How did you happen to zero in on servicing the baby boomer industry and having a heart for boomer issues?

Anne-My interest in people – especially women -- who have attained 50+ years of age started with research I did in grad school. I was getting my MS in communications , and I happened to take an elective in gerontology. The information was fascinating, and I was hooked! As a result, I did my thesis research on how women 50+ preferred to receive news and other information. I wanted to find out if they got their news and information differently than did the 18-34 demographic.

Back then, of course, we Boomers were not yet 50+.  In fact, I referred to my research pool as “my little old ladies.” Clearly, I had no idea back then that becoming 50 does not mean we are old… LOL!

Anyway, my professors at the University of Wisconsin thought my research was interesting, but none of my potential employers were too terribly focused on that demographic. So when I graduated,  I had to temporarily put aside my interests in order to find a job. I started working at ad agencies, where I hardly ever had a client who cared a whit for the “50+ demographic.”

I officially renewed my interest in 50+ women a few years ago, by starting a blog. You can still see it at; though these days, I no longer have time to write all the posts myself.

Following that, things just began to fall into place. I learned of the opportunity to buy the NABBW businesses a couple of years ago, and we jumped at the chance.

And, of course, these days marketers and businesses are starting to realize that 50+ consumers are a force that continues to buy and influence buying decisions. Now that the “pig in a python” Baby Boomers are 50, that demographic is “hot” and thus being knowledgeable about -- and  interested in -- the 50+ market is a lot more marketable.

Frankly, this is not something I foresaw back in the 70s when I was doing my research. I should have, though…we Baby Boomers have continuously changed the marketplace ever since we were born.

MAB-I see that you are the co-author of a new book, Activate Your Breakthrough! 23 Success Principles for Baby Boomer Women Business Owners & Entrepreneurs. Please tell us more about your book and how it will be helpful to us, purchase locations & links. 

Anne-This book is a collaboration between my mastermind partner, Ronda Del Boccio, and me. Ronda and I got to know each other years ago when we both coached on behalf of one of the big name Internet marketing coaches. She was the coach he referred clients  to when they wanted to write books, while I coached people who wanted to start a business. (My Boomerpreneur website went live after I stopped working for that coach and started coaching under my own name. )

As an authoring coach, Ronda has been after me for years to buckle down and write a book. Finally, she suggested a way that we could “kickstart” the process: She asked me for notes from a teleseminar I’d developed on how to think like an entrepreneur. 

She took the notes, on what I consider to be crucially important success principles, added a narrative that pulls it all together into book format, and published it through Amazon Kindle.

Thus, at the moment, the only way to purchase this book is on Amazon in their Kindle format.

But, you don’t need to have a Kindle reader to read it – there are a number of devices, including Amazon’s own Kindle Cloud Reader, that make it possible to read this book even without a Kindle device.

The book sells for a mere $2.99 – and it’s a true bargain at that price. I’d highly recommend it if you are a Baby Boomer woman who is giving any serious thought to starting your own business. Its purpose is to help you develop the mindset necessary to succeed in your own business. It helps you think like a business owner, rather than like an employee.

Based on my coaching experiences, I’d say that’s one of the biggest threats to a start-up business’s success: Being willing to do what it takes to think like an owner – to take the action that makes things happen. 

My own mother started a business in her 50s after a divorce and went bankrupt as a result of this very thing: She had a vision of herself as a successful business owner sitting at a beautiful desk, wearing pearls and designer clothes and managing her staff. She didn’t realize that when you’re in start-up mode, you have to be willing to get down in the trenches and get your hands dirty. And that the hours are not merely 9 to 5…

Watching her fail and lose all her money in the process – even though when we realized what was happening my brother and I stepped in and tried to help her turn things around --  was one of the hardest things I’ve experienced in my adult life.

The title’s long, but it makes clear what the book is about: Activate Your Breakthrough! 23 Success Principles for Baby Boomer Women Business Owners & Entrepreneurs. I’m happy to say that earlier this year it spent a few weeks on the Amazon best-seller list in its niche category.

MAB-At,  expert articles in many categories are offered including: Arts & Entertainment, Books & Authoring, Family & Relationships, Fashion & Beauty, Giving Back, Health & Fitness, Home & Garden…just to name a few. Is there any one category that seems to generate the most interest to baby boomer women?

Anne-We have thousands of articles on the NABBW site, written by our 30+ experts.  We have that many experts because Baby Boomer women are not a homogenous group. They have interests and experiences that range all over the map. There are Harley riding "biker mammas" who are Baby Boomers – and there are women who live for the symphony and the art galleries. There are doers and there are viewers.

We try to have something for everyone, though for some reason we seem to attract a disproportionate amount of Baby Boomer authors.

So no, I can’t say that we have any one category that dominates.

MAB-What’s next for Anne Holmes? Are there any professional goals or passions that you have yet to fulfill?

Anne-I’m easily bored – don’t like to do the same thing for very long. So, of course, I have goals and passions that are yet to be reached. But I can’t tell you what they are. I like to keep a bit of mystery in my life. You know how they put in all the movies:  “If I told you, then I ‘d have to kill you.”

MAB-Would you share one favorite item from your bucket list?

Anne-Sure! Someday, I’d like to take a cruise around the world. I love traveling, especially being onboard a large ship, where I receive constant pampering and don’t have to grocery shop, cook meals or clean the house.  Thus, the concept of spending something like three months at sea, visiting 40 or more ports of call in South America, the South Pacific, New Zealand, Australia, Asia and Africa sounds like a blast.

I can’t see this happening in the near future, but I’d love to do it while I’m still fully mobile and have the energy needed to get off the ship at each port and go exploring.

With technology the way it is, I might even be able to keep running the NABBW while I was at sea…

Of course, I’d want a nice luxurious stateroom and plenty of attentive staff for the onboard times. I’d keep a log of our daily experiences and take plenty of pictures along the way – then somehow I’d turn the whole experience into a book… Maybe a nice, juicy novel. Got any suggestions for how to get the novel started?

MAB-Yes, begin with an irresistible hook that makes every reader eagerly dive into the story! Most readers today are rapidly bored by a slow buildup approach. Grab them right out of the gate, and they will stay with you as you navigate the twists and turns of your story—just a piece of advice that I learned the hard way!

Anne, thank you so much for joining us today. It is such a pleasure learning more about you, and I encourage everyone to visit the following informative and entertaining Anne L. Holmes-produced sites:, the forum at, the monthly newsletter at and the highly popular new Facebook page, at

Anne was candid about sharing some of her own life experiences. I hope that you are considering writing about your own to pass along to loved ones. If we don't, our stories are forever lost. There is no going back--no rewind. Learn the secrets to a smooth-sailing memoir project in 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!
and begin capturing your stories today. Visit the home page to access the links to various formats (print, Nook & Kindle), and let's get started!!

Have a fabulous weekend, and God bless!
Mary Anne 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

KDP Select-Promoting Your Book on Free Days

In my last post, I discussed the Kindle Free Promotion days for my first novel, Eyelash.  I had studied several accounts by other authors about the pros and cons of participating in this type of promotion, and I have to be perfectly honest here—this experience seriously generated very high and equally low emotions.

Best Advice-When you read the information on enrolling a book in KDP Select, digest it carefully. Review the FAQ section and then decide whether or not you really want to travel down this road. Don’t be confused by the sample numbers given. It is questionable whether or not this experience will be a big money-maker for you unless tons of people borrow your book on Amazon Prime.

The Results-I set my free promotion for Eyelash to run on Kindle on 8/15 and 8/16/12.  In advance, I sent the information out to every site that I could access to help promote the free days. I was astounded as I saw the download numbers rolling in during the first day. After 2,000 free downloads, I asked my husband if he thought the total would reach 2,500. He was certain that it would.

By the end of the promotion, there were 13,181 downloads! Eyelash was #14 on the Kindle Best Seller List for Overall Fiction (free) at 9:21 p.m. on 8/16/12, #14 for all Kindle e-books (free) at 10:29 p.m., and #4 in Religious Fiction-Romance (free) at 5:45 p.m. I snapped screen shots from the Kindle Best Seller list so I could always look back and see what my eyes could hardly believe!

The good, the bad and the ugly:

The Good-Obviously, I was thrilled because of the great response and tremendous exposure to new readers. It absolutely translated into additional sales and interest in Never Say Perfect, my second novel. Sales for Eyelash dramatically increased once the promo period ended and the book was no longer free.
I had read that it was good to choose an older title to offer for the free promo days because it would lead to sales of one’s newer publications. This is definitely true. I'd like to offer a gigantic thank you to those who were nice enough to download during the promotion and also to help spread the word to others.

The Bad-Eyelash was my very first novel—my kindergarten-like literary experiment and a project I had published for the pure fun of it. I simply wrote it and had a blast without really knowing and understanding certain necessary pointers. We live in an age of desire for instant gratification, and when I wrote Eyelash, I seriously didn’t understand the importance of grabbing the reader on the first page or chapter or two. I was an advocate of the slow buildup, but have since learned that this approach generally will not keep the reader interested.

In writing my second novel, I studied from many resources that one must seize the reader and keep them spellbound to the end. Great improvements in this area were achieved in Never Say Perfect. As I write Never Say Hopeless, I am concentrating on this same aspect and also in remembering that the reader doesn’t want to be inundated with information that doesn’t aid the story in its progress. What I may see as entertaining little vignettes within the main story could also be viewed as useless drivel to some readers. There is a learning curve involved in most new endeavors--a painful fact.

The Ugly-I thought I was prepared for reading negative reviews from people who may be anti-Christian fiction or perhaps just didn’t “get” my humor or my first attempt at writing. Part of my problem is that I don’t have a mean bone in my body. If I don’t like something but, with a gun held to my head, am forced to comment, I try to find a polite way of expressing my thoughts. This is not the case with some folks out there in Readerland.

I am fully cognizant of the fact that one book does not generally please every reader. We all have different tastes, likes, dislikes and preferences in how a book progresses. As writers, we eventually have to face the fact that some people will simply hate our work; however, it’s nice if they keep that thought to themselves and don’t attempt to malign the book and author to others via nasty Amazon reviews. It takes solid, impenetrable skin to read those reviews and not feel sadness. We just want everyone to like the products that we have slaved over, even if we know this is asking the impossible.

Conclusion-Will I enroll Never Say Perfect on Kindle Select and run a free promotion in the future? It is, after all, a better book in every way, but I’m not sure. The jury is still out on this. Perhaps when Never Say Hopeless is published, I’ll be brave enough to cast NSP out into the waters of scrutiny to the critical masses for free for a couple of days. I’ll have to evaluate the thickness of my skin at that time. In the interim, I’m making Never Say Hopeless the most amazing story it can possibly be! With God’s help, we press forward and strive to learn new ways to excel and  to glorify Him. Although I know I can't please every reader with every book, my goal is to continue producing material to which many people (probably baby boomer generation women) can relate in some way, to offer hope and inspiration and a temporary escape from any difficulties that may be dampening their spirits. I am thankful for those who loved Eyelash, and I am also overwhelmed by the amazing response to 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!, a book that helps in memoir writing, based on wearing my Certified Lifewriting Instructor hat. Thank you to everyone who has responded so positively to this publication and shared it with others. You are awesome readers!

Great News-Watch for new, exciting blog posts featuring Anne Holmes of the National Association of Baby Boomer Women and Bob Soukup, a Florida senior citizen whose legs display his family history in the form of tattoos. There will be several fascinating interviews posted in the near future. Stop by and see us soon, and may God bless you as you travel life’s roller coaster paths!