Annie Dillard

Annie Dillard in her book The Writing Life says “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives”. Her book The Writing Life is a beautiful and poignant meditation on a life well lived. The Writing Life reminds us of the trade-offs between presence and productivity that we’re constantly having to make. The book doesn’t teach a writer how to write. It shows how a writer lives her life.

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives” reminds us that what we do each day eventually becomes our life. Therefore how we spend each day in the singular, becomes how we spend our life in the total. And while things may seem either uneventful, or important, judged by a single day: judged by a lifetime of single days, they add up  to  either a life well lived, or a life squandered.

Walking in the woods each day with your dog, observing in the present moment, with all your senses aroused, feeling the breeze to your back, the sun on your face, the beauty of the woods, the smell of the flowers and the activities of the critters skirmishing to and fro may not seem to be a productive day by today’s fast paced consumerism, or technology standards, but, looking back on a lifetime of such glorious days, would by all but the most cynical of soul, or dead of heart would be a life well lived.

Consumerism and Silicon Valley has turned our world upside down and with it turned bad into good and good into bad. Today we are made to feel that if we are not doing something, something important, something productive then we are failing.  We believe that buying things is our purpose.

Most of us know however that no matter how many believe a lie; a lie is still a lie. Technology and Consumerism is not the solution to fixing a world gone crazy, it is instead the reason.

Annie DillardAuthor Steven Monahan is a former fortune 100 executive. Then entrepreneur. Now writer. Steven is the author The One Thing Workbook #38 Amazon books, Art Of The Black Dog and Black Swan Coming.

6 Things You Must Create to Market Your Book

6 Things You Must Create to Market Your Book from Black Swan Publishing:

You’ve written and published your book. Now comes the fun part, marketing it.

Writers are good at writing a book, but frankly, not so good at marketing it. In the publishing industry authors generally do not write their own marketing copy. Writing marketing copy is much different than writing a book, and it requires different writing skills. We suggest you hire a professional copywriter to do that. [ At Black Swan Publishing we can do that for you if you do not know a good copywriter.}

Here are the 6 things a copywriter can help you with.

The goal of marketing copy is to sell the book. Because authors are emotionally invested in their books, it can be difficult for them to objectively write copy that will successfully market their books. Copywriters bring professional experience in crafting strategic marketing copy to attract readers.


  1. A Tagline that serves as a quick, one-line marketing pitch for your target audience.
  1. A BISAC Category (Book Industry Standards and Communications category) based on your book’s genre that is used by the book-selling industry to identify and group your book by its subject matter.
  2. Five Keywords based on your book’s genre and themes that help improve discoverability on
  3. A Book Description that displays on your book’s detail page and highlights your book’s major marketable themes.
  4. Back Cover Text that grabs readers’ attention and sets your book apart from others in the market.
  5. An Author Biography that shares your background and establishes your credibility as an author.


If we can help you publish your book, or anything else in that area please, drop me an email. Love to meet you at Starbucks, share a coffee and learn about your book idea.

Steven Monahan,

CEO Black Swan Publishing, Atlanta Georgia

6 Things You Must Create to Market Your Book


Book Publishers in Atlanta Georgia

book publishers atlanta georgiaLooking for Book publishers in Atlanta Georgia?

You are then at the right place. We are  BLACK SWAN PUBLISHING, ATLANTA, GA., the book publishing arm of Black Swan Global Media,where  we take the concept of bespoke self-publishing to the highest level.

Hi, I’m Steven Monahan –  CEO Black Swan Global Media.

Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, I was a corporate executive with three of the largest global fortune 500 firms. I left the corporate rat race years ago and became a self-reliant entrepreneur; author of 5 books and founder of Black Swan Global Media, Atlanta, Georgia.

At Black Swan Global Media, in Atlanta, GA. we help people become purveyors of Ideas, purveyors of Knowledge. We help people become self-reliant. How? We help people become published authors; experts in their field. With authority as an author they then chart their own security and future. Their future is in their control. Writers and other creatives will not only survive this Tsunami of change blowing across society; they will thrive in it.


Black Swan Publishing is a Bespoke publishing boutique. What is Bespoke?

Bespoke: Something commissioned to a particular specification. Custom designed or altered to the clients particular, tastes, or usage.

Black Swan – You write the book… we do the rest

At BLACK SWAN PUBLISHING we take the concept of “BESPOKE” self-publishing to the highest level. Writers and authors can now order bespoke designed, self-published books to their tastes from the comfort of their own homes.

Publishing and marketing fiction and nonfiction books. For already published authors, or authors who want to self-publish their first book.

We personally handle the creative and technical process from beginning to end, including book layout, custom cover design, inside layout and structure, editing, publishing, marketing and national and global distribution of your book to Amazon Books, Barnes & Nobel, Kindle and other book retailers in the USA, UK, Europe and India. 

Some of Black Swan’s Published Books

VengeanceVENGEANCE is an intriguing Southern mystery-family, secrets, lies, and, of course, murder. Juicy reading.” Cathy Maxwell, NYT bestselling author “loved it. Humorous, intense, the ending was a great surprise. Tremendous talent.


THE ART OF DANCE THE ART OF LIFEThe Art of Dance – The Art of Life – is a beautiful and thoughtful book. Quick read.  Read some of the most inspiring quotes ever written on the art of the dance.  It answers the age old questions. Is there a purpose to your life? If so, what is it? And most important, how do you find it?

The Art of Dance is the Art of living a joyful life. It is the courage of letting go of life as society teaches us and instead flowing with the music, the energy and the Zen of life. Dance is the performing art of life. To dance is to reach for a word that doesn’t exist, “To sing the heart song of a thousand generations, To feel the meaning of a moment in time” – Beth Jones


RESCUE RENEW REHOMERescue Renew Rehome – How to Rescue, Renew and Rehome America’s 8 million homeless animals. Includes the Green Pets America 20-point program for creating no-kill communities. Great review. Written by Steven Monahan based on his 12 years in no kill death row rescue in Atlanta, Georgia.


how to think outside the boxHow to Think Outside the Box – They tell us to get ahead is this fast changing world we need to learn to change our thinking – to think outside the box as it were. That’s all well and good but “THEY” just never say how. This fast read book teaches you how in record time to learn to Think Outside the Box, society keeps trying to push us into.


constitution of the united states of america

Constitution of the United States. This short special edition print book contains the actual Constitution of the United States, plus the Declaration of Independence in full. Large print. Beautiful multi-color vibrant America Eagle Cover. Read the two most important documents in America. Know your rights. Don’t let politicians and Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump tell you what to think. Read these two short documents and be an informed and educated citizen.


seSelf-Reliance. The original and best ever self-help book for those who have independent minds and want to remain free and self-reliant in a world that is politically correct and trying to make you just like them. Read this classic essay written by Ralph Waldo Emerson.


Want More Information? Email Steven Monahan, CEO at:

Self Publishing Atlanta Ga.

Looking for quality self-publishing in Atlanta Ga.? Look no further than Black Swan Publishing. BLACK SWAN PUBLISHING Atlanta, GA is helping Atlanta’s creatives publish their prized books at a reasonable price. The whole process can be done in 30 to 45 days depending on the size of the book. And once the publishing costs are paid you then pay only for each book ordered.

The whole process can be done in 30 to 45 days depending on the size of the book. And once the publishing costs are paid you then pay only for each book ordered.

Steve Monahan, CEO of Black Swan Publishing is a writer and published author himself.

Steve learned to outfox the gatekeepers at the few remaining old line, un-creative publishing houses in New York to publish his own books. Many of the worlds best authors are now using the creative and timely services of self-publishing as well.

Under Steven’s direction as an artist and author himself, Steven created Black Swan Publishing to take the concept of bespoke self-publishing to the highest level. He started publishing his books, then books for his writer friends and now he publishes globally for those wanting to publish their book: be it fiction or non-fiction, business, self-help, or murder mystery.

Bespoke: Something commissioned to a particular specification. Custom designed or altered to the clients particular, tastes, or usage.

At BLACK SWAN PUBLISHING, Atlanta, Ga. the book publishing group of Black Swan Global Media, we take the concept of “BESPOKE” self-publishing to the highest level. Writers and authors can now order bespoke designed, self-published books to their tastes from the comfort of their own homes.

Publishing and marketing fiction and nonfiction books, for authors who want to self-publish their first book. We personally handle the creative and technical process from beginning to end, including book layout, custom cover design, inside layout and structure, editing, publishing, marketing and national and global distribution of your book to Amazon Books, Barnes & Nobel, Kindle and other book retailers in the USA, UK, Europe and India. 


Email Steven at



Reading Habits of Successful People

This is an article on The Reading Habits of Successful People.

And 5 Top Books They Read.

Reading Habits of Successful People

Want to know one big and important habit that almost all ultra-successful people have in common? …They read a lot.

In fact, when Warren Buffett was once asked about the key to success, he pointed to a stack of nearby books and said, “Read 500 pages like every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.”

Buffett takes this habit to the extreme — he read between 600 and 1000 pages per day when he was beginning his investing career and still devotes about 80% of each day to reading.

And he’s not alone. Here are just a few top business leaders and entrepreneurs who make reading a major part of their daily lifestyle:

Bill Gates reads about 50 books per year, which breaks down to 1 per week

Mark Cuban reads more than 3 hours every day

Elon Musk is an avid reader and when asked how he learned to build rockets, he said: “I read books.”

Mark Zuckerberg resolved to read a book every 2 weeks throughout 2015

Oprah Winfrey selects one of her favorite books every month for her Book Club members to read and discuss

And these aren’t just isolated examples. A study of 1200 wealthy people found that they all have reading as a pastime in common.

But successful people don’t just read anything. They are highly selective about what they read, opting to be educated over being entertained. They believe that books are a gateway to learning and knowledge.

In fact, there is a notable difference between the reading habits of the wealthy and the not-so-wealthy. According to Tom Corley, author of Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals, rich people (annual income of $160,000 or more and a liquid net worth of $3.2 million-plus) read for self-improvement, education, and success. Whereas poor people (annual income of $35,000 or less and a liquid net worth of $5,000 or less) read primarily to be entertained.

Successful people tend to choose educational books and publications over novels, tabloids, and magazines. And in particular they obsess over biographies and autobiographies of other successful people for guidance and inspiration.

There are many examples of successful people dropping out of school or foregoing a formal education, but it is clear that they never stop learning. And reading is a key part of their success.

If reading as a pathway to success isn’t enough to get you motivated, consider these health benefits of reading: Reading has been shown to help prevent stress, depression, and dementia while enhancing confidence, empathy, decision-making, and overall life satisfaction.

As a bonus for reading this far here is a list of the 5 Top Money Success Books for High Achievers, By Inc.

Out of hundreds, the editors of SUCCESS have narrowed their list to 5 must-read books for financial success and high achievers. The task wasn’t easy, although their criteria were simple. These are books they read, made a difference in their lives. They chose books that take a comprehensive approach to money, life and personal development because they know that one-dimensional success really isn’t a success at all.

Reading books regularly, one per week, and applying their techniques and success strategies are the best ways to discover and stay focused on your life’s journey.

1. How to Win Friends and Influence People

First published in 1937, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie was an overnight success with staying power. Today, this book is regarded as one of the all-time best for its lessons on dealing with people.

The chapter titles seem, at first, a little manipulative: “Six ways to make people like you,” “12 ways to win people to your way of thinking.” But the reality of Carnegie’s teachings is that none will work if the intent is manipulation. The word “genuine” appears repeatedly throughout the book. Only with authenticity and honesty will Carnegie’s methods work consistently.

How to Win Friends and Influence People is packed with anecdotes from historical leaders and lessons learned or taught by some of history’s greatest businessmen. And the methods of calling a person by his or her name, or looking at the situation from the other’s point of view is timeless and works both in business and in personal life.

Carnegie’s book is a classic. Though he credits many people for inspiring his ideas, his methods are the foundation for many of today’s personal-development and business-management books.

2. The Richest Man in Babylon

Too often, life doesn’t turn out as expected. And money, or the lack of money, plays a large role in people’s ability to handle life’s ups and downs. Perhaps that’s why, in the 1920s, banks and insurance companies decided to distribute short parables written to educate people on important financial principles. The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason began in 1926 as a series of pamphlets, the most famous ones later compiled into one of the best-loved money guides of all time.

The book begins with two men realizing that, while they lived a meager existence, one of their childhood friends had become known as the wealthiest man in Babylon. Despite growing up in similar circumstances, their friend seemed to have created a life of gold while they barely scratched out a living.

The situation is all too familiar even today. And like the men who’d come to the realization that they’d failed to think beyond the day at hand, readers have the opportunity to sit at the feet of the richest man in Babylon and learn how to build wealth. They learn how to plan for the future, make wise investments and how to view money as a tool rather than a measure of success.

With time-tested principles and an engaging format, The Richest Man in Babylon is an excellent introduction to finance, and a classic.

3. Think and Grow Rich

Napoleon Hill, inspired by business legend Andrew Carnegie, spent 20 years of his life studying the lives of some of history’s most successful people. The culmination of his research was the in-depth series, The Laws of Success. In 1937, Hill published another book, Think and Grow Rich, founded on the same philosophies of success. This book condensed the wealth of knowledge he’s accumulated into 13 principles for successful living.

Shorter and perhaps easier to get through than its predecessor, Think and Grow Rich is as applicable today as it was when it was first released. The title’s principles are founded on Hill’s belief in the power of the mind, and his famous quotes, such as, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve,” have changed the way millions of people view their lives. When read in its entirety and its principles put into action, Think and Grow Rich not only helps people change their views on life, but also the way they behave and, ultimately, their reality.

More than 30 million copies of Think and Grow Rich have been bought by business students, entrepreneurs and goal-setters around the world. When it was re-released in 2004, it rocketed once again to the top, holding a place on Business Week’s Best Seller list for paperback business books for more than 20 months.

Think and Grow Rich is a timeless classic that should be read by everyone interested in improving their lives and reaching their goals. I have read it every year for the past 30 years. We also use it at my Mastermind group.

4. The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom: Practical and Spiritual Steps So You Can Stop Worrying

Suze Orman (Crown, 1997) As a financial expert, Suze offers advice on the nuts and bolts of managing money. But whether you’re watching her on television or reading her advice in O, The Oprah Magazine, or in one of her best-selling books, such as 9 Steps to Financial Freedom, her message is clear: Wealth is an attitude and money isn’t the key to acquiring true financial freedom.

In this acclaimed book, Orman challenges readers to face their financial fears and acknowledge the importance of planning for the future. With a three-pronged approach, Orman tackles the mental, physical and spiritual issues that keep people from reaching financial freedom. Also available in audio format, 9 Steps to Financial Freedom encourages personal growth while offering the education necessary to begin the process of building a rich life.

Again, it’s the total approach to financial success that sets this and the other financial books on this list apart. Acquiring wealth isn’t as simple as piling up the green stuff. Your beliefs about money, yourself and the world around you have as much to do with wealth as do the riches you acquire.

5. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

While Stephen Covey wasn’t the first to write a book on becoming a better, more effective person. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People marked the beginning of a revitalized interest in personal development. In a 15th anniversary edition released in 2004 and more than 15 million copies sold, this book has helped millions change their perspective and their lives.

Unlike many authors of books in this genre, Covey doesn’t promise a simple, quick fix for creating a better life. In fact, mastering the seven habits he outlines could take a lifetime. But as with many personal-development efforts, it’s what you learn as you work toward becoming a truly effective person that matters.

The habits are divided into three sections: Private Victory, Public Victory, and Renewal. Private Victory focuses on the individual’s view of himself. The first three habits are: becoming proactive, beginning with the end in mind, and putting first things first. These habits will challenge you to take responsibility for your thoughts, beliefs, and actions. The Public Victory section focuses on creating meaningful, mutually beneficial relationships. And because being effective requires energy and focus, the seventh habit, “Sharpening the Saw,” encourages you to engage in activities that promote mental and physical renewal.

These 5 books are classics, but older. Much has been discovered the past 5 years on using our mind to create success. And much has been learned from Quantum Physics on the concept of what reality is and that there can be multiple realities to choose from each and every moment.

I want to add one more new book to this list of 5 books to read to achieve success.

As I’ve matured, had ups and downs in life and business I have become focused on doing what makes me happy and fulfilled, rather than doing what the world says I and everyone else should be doing to be successful.

I recommend you read Before Happiness, by Shawn Anchor. I really enjoyed this book.  I plan to introduce it to my Mastermind group I lead, in Atlanta, GA. as a must read for this year

I read about 2 to 3 books a month. Most are books one self-improvement books, innovation, quantum theory, psychology and future technologies. But The Happiness Advantage is one of the few where the hard scientific evidence of his Harvard and business studies in the real world really resonated with me. This is a self- help book – meets quantum science – meets positive psychology.

The point that impacted me most is the fact that while the human brain receives eleven million pieces of information per second from our environment, we can only process forty pieces of information per second. This critical point means we chose quickly and see a tiny percentage of reality streaming to us every second. Thus your reality is a conscious choice: you chose what to focus upon. Therefore, what “facts” “you chose”, of all that is coming to you, will create your success or failure.

Before Happiness breaks down achieving happiness, into 5 steps: It then goes into clear detail, using real-life stories from his Harvard and business consulting studies, to show you how to think anew about what is reality, and your choices in life.

The 5 Steps.

Choosing the Most Valuable Reality

Mapping Your Success Route

Finding Success Accelerants

Eliminating Negative Noise

Transferring Your Positive Reality to Others.

Shawn makes these concepts clear and doable, by his concrete examples. “The Happiness Advantage,” is an important read and lays out a clear framework for finding your ONE THING, and with that the sustainable success in work and in life you desire.

I highly recommend FINDING HAPPINESS and the other 5 classics to anyone wanting to live a fulfilling life. And remember happiness and sustainable success is achieved by reading and growing daily.



Steve Monahan,

The Job of a Writer is to Uplift

Writers have varying opinions on their craft. My opinion, shared by many is that the job of a writer is to uplift.


It’s important for me as a writer to do my art in a way that uplifts people, and celebrates human nature.


Our country came to a monumental fork in the road in the 80’s: The road to riches on one side, and the road to reverence on the other.

The majority of the world chose the road to riches.

A small minority chose, The Road to Reverence. Reverence for life; nature, and animals.

That choice has dramatically changed our world in the past 30 years; some say for the better, some say for the worst. One thing for certain is that choice has led us to a tragic loss of compassion and caring for one another…for nature… and for our animals.

10 years ago I was told I had a few months to live. A higher nature intervened however… and I was given a second chance.

With that new chance, I had a choice. I had a rare chance to go back and confront that fork in the road again. To choose the fork in the road to riches, or the fork that led to compassion, nature, and animals.


This time I chose the road less traveled. I chose the fork to Compassion, Nature and Animals. I chose the Road to Tirawa.


I have never been more at peace, and more in awe of the interconnectedness of life, nature and animals.

There is an ancient Pawnee Indian belief. It says;

“In the beginning of all things, wisdom and knowledge were with the animals, for Tirawa, [the One Above], did not speak directly to man. He sent certain animals to tell men that he showed himself through the animals, and from the animals, and from the stars, the sun and the moon, man should learn how to live.”

My teachers are now the animals of Tirawa, particularly dogs. I started a no kill rescue to give them a new lease on life: just as I was given. I chose the fork that would allow me to spend my remaining years in the natural and spiritual world of animal; not the secular world of material riches

And what have I learned from shelter dogs this past 10 years?

  1. Shelter dogs have taught me what selfless and unconditional love looks like.
  2. Shelter dogs have taught me how to live in the moment, no longer fretting about the past, or worrying about the future.
  3. Abused shelter dogs taught me how to love all: even those who hurt us.
  4. Abandoned and discarded shelter dogs have taught me to forgive all, even those who reject and wrong us
  5. And most of all shelter dogs have taught me how to live in joy and in peace, every moment of every day.


So in addition to writing, I love to share this glorious day with our teachers…our dogs, having fun as they do and share joyfully and fully this miraculous and divine moment of time together.  


steven monahan




Writers Write Dreamers Dream

Eating the menu will not satisfy your hunger.

Eating the food will.


Reading about writing will not satisfy your hunger.

Writing will.

Thinking of writing creates nothing.

Writing creates something.

Writing for yourself is a calling.

Writing for others is work.

Thinking of wealth creates nothing.

Creating wealth creates wealth.

Intentions are empty.

Actions are full.

Work is hard.

Allowing is easy.

Dreamers dream.

Writers write.


Book Covers. Why Covers Sell Books


There is the old saying that you can’t judge a book by the cover. I have learned however as an author and Indie publisher,  publishing my books and books of others; in book sales that saying is wrong, dead wrong.


Picture this, you are browsing for books in a store; the first thing you are drawn to when casually browsing for a new book to read it’s the cover you first notice. Our eyes are first attracted to the colors and design of the books cover. The second thing your eye lands on is the title.


Now I know if you are looking for a specific title, that someone recommended you read, the opposite occurs, but in casual book browsing your eyes go for cover first…  title second, contents last.


Now a good cover does not guarantee a well written book. As a writer I wish it did sometimes. But the reality is a good cover, at least gets you to pick it up, and read the back jacket and inside a bit.


Take a look at these two covers for one of my own books, Awakening the Mysterious Feminine. The target audience for this book is women. It was written to inspire women to become self-reliant and talks about the power of the Feminine mind.

Book Covers            Book Covers


Which of the two would you first be attracted to. If you are like most, it would be the one with the attractive woman on the front.


We created the first cover as we were trying to capture the energy force of the feminine. And the book title comes from a verse in the Chinese book of life called the Tao Te Ching. So we went with a Chinese influence cover. Feminine is not something concrete we can see .Feminine mind is more of a feeling, an energy, and a state of mind. So the first cover we used went with a mystery look. And focused on a Chinese look as well. Problem is it did not sell well.


So I redesigned the cover, and went directly for the literal look…a picture of a feminine woman.


Guess what? sales took off with the new cover. As I said and have learned first-hand Covers sell books. People said things like I picked it up as I liked the color of her sweater. Or her face attracted me to look at it closer. I know, go figure? I get it however as we live more in a visual world, more than a thought world today and therefore visual sells. Fortunately I am a left brain…words, and a right brain…visual person. So I can adapt to both to create a book not only with thoughtful words but with a visual look people like as well.


Another reason besides in store sales for good book cover design is book sales on line. Most books today are sold on line, and most on line sales of books are through Amazon. Or books on line from Kindle books, which by the way Amazon owns.


Picture yourself on your computer or better yet iPhone or Droid and on Amazon looking at books. The picture is very small. When I design a book cover I always keep that fact in mind. I design covers to be immediately easy to read and to be simple, not ornate and fancy.


Too fancy is not seen well on a small phone or note book screen.


A big image, plus crisp large font and white or bold colors is easier and stands out with a “Pop” more than fancy and busy.

[share-quote author=”StevenMonahan” via=”theSteveMonahan”] Book Covers. Good Design Sells Books [/share-quote]

So there you have it. Be very deliberate in designing your books covers. It will make a difference in people being visually attracted to it. And we can’t sell books unless people at least look at the cover. Well designed book covers will increase your book sales.

If you want to see a few more of our book covers view our author page on Amazon books.