Professional Storyteller

Share a Story - Change the World

I was recently contacted by an outfit that does key word search and things of that kind. Their diagnostics revealed that my website has no appeal whatsoever, and since I've had two inquiries in not quite two years--both this month, mind you--I had to agree. For $1,295 they'll give my site a complete makeover. Then, for a mere $225 a month, they'll monitor, make adjustments, etc., to make me easily findable on Google,, etc. In a monumental turnaround in my life, I've come to accept that one can make money at what one loves and still remain an honorable person. The makeover seems reasonable, the monthly maintenance not a great investment. Anybody have experiences with these kinds of things? Can someone recommend an agency?

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$1295 to redo a website is not a bad price.

$225 a month (or less) is better spent on an intensive coaching program with the either me or Doug Lipman. My next mastermind group starts next week. If you want to be in that, then send me an Email. I do not know what Doug is offering next. Doug is a more gentle teacher, I tend to drill down a bit. Both of us have excellent references and neither one of us will let you slide :-) .

You had a page at but you let it vanish. You need to be in the two main storyteller directories of and the one over at the NSN. People who have Premium Pages and focused, niche content on those pages get booked through, too.

It is nearly impossible for any group to assure you of SEO success unless they are either doing some "black hat" (questionable) tactics or you are producing regular content. To get a high PR (page rank) you must have a quality building content- a SEO company can not give that to you.
Thanks, Sean. I haven't heard from that outfit again and perhaps they sensed I wasn't easiy baited. In any event, the $225 monthly was out of the question for me.

Yes, I did have page on I have a love/hate relationship with NSN--well, perhaps that's too strong a word but nothing in the magazine ever seemed relevent to my particular kind of telling. Of course I've always had an internal resistance to self- promotion, which I realize now is like shooting oneself in the groin for pleasure. I will ponder rejoining now that I've seen, after a spot at the NJ Storytelling Festival, that my stories do touch people. As for the coaching, it's a point well taken. Not sure how I'd respond to drilling down, being a hardass, stubborn, resistant type, but in any event I know Doug from my earliest storytelling days and plan to get at least some coaching from him as soon as I get out from under all kinds of non-related things. Curiously, I've had some recent activity concerning my Italian children's story translations, something I've fully let slide. To quote Fats Waller, one never knows, do one? Anyway, thanks again. Gotta run and check out the NSN website. :) is not the NSN just want to clarify that.

I think your understanding that one has to market your own work in order to grow is a good thing. You can market your own work or you can work for someone else's company and they will market their work. Marketing is not "self promotion."

"Drilling down" = keeping focus on results on what you need to do vs. waiting for understanding to creep in. If you had had a coach that kept you focused 10 years ago, where would you be today?

Great question to the group- thanks for posting it.
Ah yes, now I remember Doesn't look fully functional, though, and it seems, if anything, underused.

"Drilling down" makes good sense. As for where I'd be today, I might have stayed with telling stories about my dysfunctional Russian-Jewish immigrant family (how's that for key words?) stories and Italian children's stories. I'm still convinced that the stories I tell now are so far outside the mainstream they defy key word search. Maybe the SAO vultures did find a natural target, after all.
Anyway, thanks for dragging me kicking and screaming back into the storytelling world. It is now on my mind daily. Or is this an example of waiting for understanding to creep in?
It's both creeping and decision.

Storytelling is just like any other business. The idea that we "defy keyword search" is just wrong.

"dysfunctional family" averages about 8100 keywoard searches per month. "immigrants" runs about 4100 searched monthly. However, "russian stories" is a very underutilized keyword at 720 searches average with very few competitive sites. You could do very well with that keyword if you were very patient, created at least new weekly content and provided your readers with a crystal clear niche statement.

Again- just like any other business. is alive and well. People get bookings all the time on Plenty busy, plenty of life. About 700 unique visitors a day with some 13000 page views. I communicate weekly with 2500+ subscribers. Things are just fine at
Okay, Sean, tell me if you think these words are key enough or find some alternatives and I'm all yours for a premium page. (this part describes my magnum opus, Tales from the North Star)

....absolutely true stories about his past lives and travels to other parts of the universe. Includes encounters with Moses, Ezekial, Jesus, the Virgin Mary, Saint Francis of Assisi, Alexander the Great. William Blake and others.
Dear Bernie:

Are these sacred stories? Satire? Tall Tale? Fringe?

I went to your website after reading your description and I am confused. If I am confused, then the people who visit your website may be confused, too.

I am guessing adult audience? But then you have a section on children stories from Italy.

Explore what you mean.

What is your typical audience like?
Do you have an underlying message?
What motivates you to tell these stories?
What are other people saying of your performances?

These answers are missing.

I wish you well!

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
Professional Storyteller
How-to Blog:
Performance Blog:
Yes, you're absolutely right. I realized that the copy is more rhapsodic than descriptive. I'll have to get down to biz and fix that. Many thanks. This is what I came up with quickly for Is this more likely to pique your interest? When I work over the website copy I'll give more details, but how's this for a quick take? And many thanks again for yoour astute observations and gentle goosing.

Bernie Libster
Stories no one else tells, or would dare to.
Bernie’s repertory includes tales of life in a dysfunctional Russian-Jewish immigrant family; enchanting stories from Italian children’s writer Gianni Rodari; and absolutely true personal stories of reincarnation, rebirth and intergalactic travel, including encounters with Moses, Ezekial, Jesus, the Virgin Mary, Alexander the Great, Saint Francis, and William Blake, that will challenge everything you though you knew about life, death, and the universe.

"This is wonderful, strange, marvelous work. The expanse frees the listener. I loved moving from time to time. I felt more open to the miracle of life after listening to your stories. I very much like Alexandros, the reincarnation of Alexander the Great. And of course I was deeply struck by the whole Christ scene. The laugh was so extraordinary. And the eyes with no hate. It really has a freedom that opens something new inside me and I'm sure every listener." — Jay O'Callahan
Start with the quote. Shorten it. Add another quote from a regular ole sponsor who booked you and thinks you walk on water, metaphorically speaking.

Is this the niche that people want to book? Have you done any research on what your audiences want instead of what you want to talk about? Should you be doing something else more audience-friendly first and then leading them to this metaphysical material?
Hi Bernie-

I'd be glad to have you as a Premium Page member. Your renewal of six or 12 months would mean I lose just a little bit less on this year. is my gift to the community that brings zero profit to me.

Your note is also asking for coaching. I have suggested to you an active keyword in the previous reply. If you are looking for more coaching, then we can arrange that . The development of your niche, copy and keywords can be part of that coaching. Or, join us for the next Mastermind group that begins next week.

Here's a note: listing a bunch of keywords and hoping you get booked is selling. I don't teach selling- I teach marketing. Marketing means your first focus is on your clients, not on what you want via regular participation in blogs, articles, social media, mailings and more. Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint.
Thanks for all the comments, Sean. When I get the copy straightened out, and new thoughs arise the more I mull it over, I'll take a premium page. As for what my audiences want, let's put it this way. This is the major reason I'm thinking of resurrecting, metaphorically, my storytelling "career." When I said, "Stories nobody else tells or would dare to" I mean it. I think there must be an audience for this. Look at Dan whatshisname. Look at the books and movies on the Mayan prophecy. This ain't no pop sensationalism. I paid for these stories with my lives. When I can say that within the required word count, I'll send it along and take the Premium Page.

Thanks also for putting up the basic page, but as you said somewhere along the way, nobody can tell anything about what I do from that. And losing just a little bit less, I can relate.
Right now, you have a premium page and you have it gratis for 30 days. You need to go put something on it. :-) Follow the directions you received in the Email. Thanks!




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