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The Free Trade Experiment

Posted on 27 Nov 2012 | Author Stefanie | Comments 6 comments | Tags

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The Free Trade ExperimentI just found this book that I thought was really interesting.  It’s called ‘Predictably Irrational’ by Dan Ariely.  He’s a pretty interesting guy.  He is the James B. Duke Professor of Behavioral Economics at Duke University and a founding member of the Center for Advanced Hindsight.  He did an experiment with giving away free items that marketers should read about.

Here’s a brief summary of one of his chapters:

The Free Trade Experiment

One of the chapters in Ariely’s book discusses the amazing power of giving away things for free. We all know that getting something for free makes people feel good. But Ariely takes it a step further and explains how attached people get to their zero-cost item, and psychologically, zero is very special.

Ariely wanted to find a way to explore his theory, so on Halloween, the author conducted an interesting experiment on trick-or-treaters.  After all – kids get zero cost (free) items every Halloween.  So he started out with a giving out three Hershey’s Kisses when the children first started to come to his door. But then he offered to make a deal.

He gave them a choice.  Each child could trade one Kiss for a mini Snickers bar or two Kisses for a full  sized chocolate bar. The result: after seeing the size difference in the chocolate, almost all of them traded the two Kisses for a full-sized bar.

As this is an experiment, Ariely changed the terms of the deal halfway through the night.

This time, the kids could now trade one (instead of two) of their three Kisses for the larger bar, OR get a mini-Snickers without having to give up anything in return. In terms of sheer volume of chocolate, the trade for the larger bar was still by far the better deal.

Here’s what’s interesting; when faced with this choice, most of them refused the trade, even though it cost them overall. Ariely later performed this experiment on his MIT students, and the majority there as well made the same mistake.

So what happened?

Ariely speculates that the underlying reason for the chocolate miscalculation was anxiety. He believes that people are naturally risk averse. He says, “there’s no visible possibility of loss when we choose something for free.” Therefore, most people are drawn to it.

I found this interesting because I know through consulting that when you give too much away free, you can ‘train’ people not to buy from you. In essence, they come to EXPECT all your products and services and help for free.  They might even get upset if you suggest a price to them.  Accordingly, when I consult, I walk the line with clients of suggesting what times we give for free, and what we just charge a small fee for and then strategically decide when we should begin to introduce the paid for items.

Having said that, I typically will include a free item to give people an incentive to buy.  Perhaps we can take this experiment to heart and offer our FREE items in a way where people can trade up for other items.  Like – download these 2 e-books and get this one for free.  OR sign up on this form to get a free item a month sent to you.  OR trade that for X.  It would be interesting to see what people choose.

OR even do something like what places like GROUPON does, where they offer deals, but only if the majority of people want it.  So everyone saves, but if only a few people want the 50% off then it doesn’t go on sale.  This company basically has the consumer emailing out to other consumers asking others if they want it in order for everyone to get the 50% off.  I might try this by asking my list which product or program item do THEY want a SALE on – the majority vote wins!  Great way to have people get involved and interacting.

Please let me know what your own FREE item experiences are.

All the best,

Article Written by Stefanie Hartman
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2012 © Stefanie Hartman Enterprises Inc. You may republish this article, if you keep the article intact as is and credit the authors name and website: “Stefanie Hartman” and website: Thank you.

Popularity: 13% [?]

It’s who you know for your book promotion

Posted on 08 Sep 2011 | Author Stefanie | Comments 3 comments | Tags

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Here is the second great installment I found on book tours, from a company that is closing their doors soon, so I thought I would pass it on to you guys!

There was a study by Microsoft on their IM service and it proved that we really are closer to people than we realize. In this article Kevin talks about asking people for help. I agree with him especially if you make people feel included in the excitement and they begin to have a vested interest in your book doing well, After all this is an exciting time. Ask all your friends, family, neighbors for a favor. Don’t forget you do the exercise at the end. Enjoy.

All the best,

Book Promotion: It’s Who You Know

In our last segment, we talked about how you, the author, must develop an airtight answer to the first question anyone you meet on the book promotion trail will ask you:

“Tell me about your book.”

In this segment, we’re going to discuss whom will be doing the asking. If book promotion is an act of matchmaking your book to the right readers, today’s segment is about how to find those “right readers.” The answer, you’ll see, is a lot closer to home than you think.

Everyone knows somebody. And by “somebody” I don’t mean Oprah or John Stewart or the Bestseller Fairy. I mean the circles of humanity we all have in our lives. Those circles are the first 75-100 readers of your book. They have the potential to be much greater if you ask them to be then work with them to make it happen

As an author who spends much of their time at the keyboard or in their imagination, it may not seem like your world is teeming with allies. But it is. Try this.

Make a list of:

  • Your friends and family members, the ones who will say “I’ll buy that” when you tell them you’ve got a book.
  • Your colleagues at work. Same criteria.
  • Anyone you are friendly with via your kids. Again, same criteria.
  • Friendly faces through hobbies and community work—at the ski club, dance class, church, neighborhood association.
  • Old friends from childhood, high school, or college.
  • Anyone you talk with regularly via social media (Facebook, Twitter or the like).

Unless you’re a hermit or just not very nice (I’m afraid I can’t help you there), you’ve probably got a good list of several dozen names. These names are where you begin.

Let’s take another look at that list and ask these questions.

  • Who on this list works for or knows someone well at the local media (newspaper, TV, radio)?
  • Who leads a social group (book group, synagogue committee, monthly dinner with friends) or professional association that would like to have an author as the meeting’s entertainment?
  • Who on this list has a blog, an active and well-read Twitter feed, runs an email mailing list, or has more than 300 friends on Facebook?
  • Who is a natural-born host who would love to throw you a book party?
  • Who knows someone in another part of the country whom would do any of these things for you as well?

Separate out that smaller list. Three months before your book becomes available, get in touch. Thank them for their support, their friendship. Tell them you’ve spend a goodly part of the last year or two writing this book and it means the world to you. It would mean the world all over again if you could enlist their help in matchmaking your book with the right readers via one of the means described above—if they could talk about/recommend your book in a way that’s comfortable to them.

You’re not asking List A to spam or make nuisances of themselves on behalf of your book. You’re asking to speak with sincerity and an open heart about the creative project of someone they like—you. Handled with honesty and grace, no one will hold it against them.

Those who don’t make the cut should get a separate email after the book comes out asking them to buy it. Because it would mean the world to you. And remember what we learned in the last segment about talking about your book. Succinct, precise, but leave a little to the imagination

Book promotion is a block party. If you’re lucky, the party is thrown by someone else (the New York Times, your well-paid publicist, Oprah) and you just show up. You don’t even have to bring potato salad. But that’s simply not the case for most writers, and everyone knows that. Which is why most publishers, publicists, booksellers and members of the media will be most impressed by the effort you put in yourself, by your willingness to bring what you have to the party, or to throw it yourself.

I know perhaps you are shy and it’s no fun to ask for favors. This is the time to get over it. If you can’t ask the people closest to you to invest in your book, how do you expect complete strangers to invest their time and money in reading it?

Why do this? Because effort breeds effort and work begets work. You want readers. You have to begin with the most obvious candidates. Starting there means a) at least you have someone interested in your book, and b) the more excited you can get those readers (who know you and are predisposed to support your efforts) about being part of the block party that is the promotion of your book, the more likely they’ll be to invite others.

An author friend of ours once spoke to 175 book clubs over a year’s worth of promotion for his second novel. Why, I asked, when he had a wife, two young children and a day job as a professor, not to mention writing a third book, to return to?

“I wanted to be the one responsible for my book’s success or failure. I figured as long as I kept the water running, the bathtub would eventually fill up. If it didn’t, it wasn’t anyone’s fault but mine.”

Exercise:  Make a list of everyone in your life who wishes you and your writing career well. Separate that list into two groups:

  • Group A, those that know someone, head up a group or would be willing to help in a larger way; and
  • Group B, those you just want to buy the book. launched a ten-part series on Book Promotion called “Everything you Wanted to Know about Book Promotion but were Afraid to Ask” written by CEO Kevin Smokler. Kevin has been advising authors and publishers on marketing and promotion for nearly a decade and has written and lectured on the topic throughout North America.

Popularity: 4% [?]

Something BIG is brewing…

Posted on 24 May 2010 | Author Stefanie | Comments 1 comment | Tags

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I am back from speaking out of town and I am planning something BIG. 

Unfortunately as some of my colleagues (and competitors) are on my list, and may be reading this, I cannot reveal everything for you in this post.  But TRUST me it’s important for YOU, and what I am creating could possibly be the BIG BREAK you are looking for.

Imagine you booked a seat in FIRST CLASS in an airplane and you will be in the air for the next 10 hours sitting right next to YOUR IDOL.  And he was willing to tell you ANYTHING you asked.  You had your dreams, materials with you so he could even go over your stuff with you…

HOW would you spend that time so you could walk away a richer person, spiritually, inner growth wise and financially?

TELL ME BELOW so I can make your wish come true.  Your thoughtful answers will help me get you what you need RIGHT NOW (please answer it on the link below).

THINK – If I was to put you in a room with someone who started from scratch and sold over a billion dollars worth of books and licensing products, as well as someone who was the behind the scenes person to help grow another multi-millionaire speaker, author….

And they were open to sharing their secrets….

And CLOSE the door (so you could talk in private). REAL private – as this is no seminar.

This could be your BIG BREAK!


What SPECIFICALLY would you most want to know or learn so you could do it yourself?

Think beyond “tell me how did you do it” and get as specific as possible. 

What info would you want to walk away with?

*Please answer this today – really make it count.  Only 20 people will actually be able to get their answers.


What plan or credibility item would you want to walk away with?

Some examples:

- Be part of a new best-seller book with other incredible authors.
- A marketing plan
- Back-end profit center strategy
- Video testimonial from a big name
- Book launch website created for you
- Feedback on your project(s)
- Sample licensing contracts
- Be their best friend

Very soon, I will be able to reveal what I am planning for 20 lucky people.

Good luck!!!



Popularity: unranked [?]

Olympic Gifts – Publishing

Posted on 26 Feb 2010 | Author Stefanie | Comments 3 comments | Tags

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Ha Ha here’s a video from my publisher and CEO of Morgan James Publishing.  I sent a big Canadian care-package to his office & family.

Morgan James recently gave me a contract to publish Canadian & American authors with them to get international HUGE distribution.  I was thrilled!

Thanks guys!  Love you too!  You are so good to me and my people.


live coverage of Olympics –

Popularity: 5% [?]

Gift Vouchers to Win!

Posted on 26 Oct 2009 | Author Stefanie | Comments 33 comments | Tags

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I have some gift vouchers for something amazing!

Maybe it’d be right for you…

Several months back, I flew to New York and volunteered my time to be part of a small business expert community which truly serves small business owners and entrepreneurs whether starting out or already up and running.

There are literally hours and hours of candid, real world video advice from experts in every area.

Visit: to see just who I’m talking about. It’s not public yet, but for contributing, I can get you to-the-front-of-the-line today BEFORE it officially launches and you get a deal on a LIFETIME access.  You can see some sneak peeks with over 100 videos of small business experts…including me….to see at what’s it all about.

You can check-out my videos at this first of its kind Multi-Media Educational Hub for Small Business Entrepreneurs where you’ll find never before seen videos of go-to experts, such as Michael Gerber, Declan Dunn, Jen Groover and on and on and on…

What’s even nicer of them, they offered me gift vouchers to give away. I sincerely recommend you take full advantage of this – we’re talking a year of access.

GIFT VOUCHERS: I have 5 gift vouchers to give away to some lucky people, who will receive access to the Brainstorm Level of Home Business Brains for a whole year at NO CHARGE!

TO WIN A VOUCHER Submit a comment and tell me what’s your biggest business challenge, what you’d love to learn from me in the future or what I can give you more of and submit your name. We put all names in a hat and will randomly select 5 winners next week.  Value $147.

== > And the first person to post automatically gets one! Cause you’re cool!

Secondly: How would you like to experience a 10-day Business Makeover by 24 First-class Experts and Luminaries… and Expect a Revenue Take-off in Your Business Within 90 Days of Implementing Their Personal Development and Business Growth Advice, Tips, Insights, Tactics and Strategies.

This is a new twist on a great concept,  The line up and topics are stellar and this is the time to get unstuck and pointed in the right direction… with confidence, precision, and finally some peace of mind – Ask the experts your questions personally.

I highly recommend this for you, for your business and for those dependent on you, I hope you’ll act on this transformational opportunity…

Click the link below to get the full details and register:

And Third: Meet in Vegas this Halloween! One of my favorite people on the planet – Rick Frishman is gearing up for the Author 101 Event in Las Vegas.

This is the biggest Author 101 that I have seen- they are expecting 450 people – so register as its CHEAP, and network your butt off.  Remember I’ll introduce you around as I will be there speaking at the event.

Are you curious about what publishers like Harper Collins, Morgan James, Adams Media, Wiley, Random House, and Simon & Schuster are looking for? What is the best way to get your manuscript read when you’re an unpublished author? Want to know the biggest mistakes to avoid when writing book proposals? You’ll be engaged as these top pros share their expertise, reveal the inner workings of the publishing industry, and discuss various approaches to common marketing and publishing challenges.

Join me in Vegas I’ll see you there:

Good Luck


Popularity: 4% [?]

How Is the Change in Publishing Companies Going to Affect You as an Author?

Posted on 07 Jul 2009 | Author Stefanie | Comments No comments | Tags

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How Is the Change in Publishing Companies Going to Affect You as an Author?

The Times Are Changing

I’ve been loving seeing all your comments for my publishing house names – keep them rolling in by adding your comment right here! (Remember, the winner gets a shot at a big time publishing contract (we’re talking the works – distribution through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Amazon Kindle and major bookstores) for you or someone you know.

While I was at the book expo in New York I spent a lot of time with my publisher, Morgan James – putting together some exciting stuff that I’ll be announcing soon – a very big deal that will be great for everyone on my list!

While I was there I learned a lot about traditional publishing – and it appears that the publishing world is being transformed just as much as the marketing world is these days. It’s pretty clear to me that the model for publishing is going to change – illustrated even more deeply by some news I heard while I was there… Continue Reading

Popularity: 7% [?]

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