Finding Your Voice

I had lunch last week with a friend who was on the tail-end of recovering from a viral bug, and was still lamenting over having lost her voice for about a week. She commented on how the experience helped her realize how important it was to HAVE A VOICE . . . to have an opinion and to speak it.
I found this ironic, coming from a woman whom I had always known as one who never minced words, nor hesitated to voice her opinion on anything. It was very apparent that losing her voice created a major impact on her day-to-day living.
Not one to let a blatant metaphor pass me by, I commented on the irony . . . especially at a time in our culture when 100’s, if not 1000’s, if not hundreds-of-thousands of women are FINDING THEIR VOICE, it struck me even deeper that a tiny viral bug still manages to silence a few . . . even if momentarily.
It got us talking about WHAT (or WHO) was really “bugging” the women in our world today. At a time when many women are finding their voice, most of those same women are also reaching out and forming alliances for healing . . . almost like an invisible (and perhaps invincible) safety-net for each other and their respective communities.

Now is the time to let your voice be heard.

Share your gifts, share your knowledge. What have you always wanted to say, but hesitated to let it roll off your tongue? Your voice may be the ONE VOICE to offer THE solution or THE sense of hope to someone who is struggling.

Much like our client, Latariss Williams, who knew a LOT about being a single parent and knew it was time to share that knowledge with others in her book, “S.P.I.L.L.: Single Parents Instilling Love & Legacy”. Through her experiences in raising her son, Latariss shares candid stories and provides practical guidance to help other single parents build strong relationships with their children and develop deep, lasting family values. You will be inspired to be intentional about pouring your love and your values into your children to strengthen your family. Click on the book image to order!

Not sure where to start?

We can help with that. As professional brand and publishing consultants, we help you identify your voice, share it with the world, and monetize your passion.
So, if you are ready to share your voice . . . your knowledge . . . your opinion . . . and would like to learn more about how we can help, give me a call.  

We Brand, We Design, We Publish.

We Take Your Business to the Next Level.

I Choose to LiFT

I think we could all agree that we are living in an ever-changing world.

Some of us share opinions, and some of us disagree . . . yet thankfully, we live in a country where having one’s own opinion is still valued.

We have choices about how we react (or not) to what happens in our world. When it comes down to it, we are either part of the problem or part of the solution.

I choose to be part of the solution, and so do our clients. I choose to LiFT.

I’ve always considered our family to be multi-denominational and all-inclusive. The mixture of our bloodlines, adoptees, marital partners and significant others is pretty much representative of the United Nations.

The same goes for our client list. Our client base comes from all 50 states and 17 countries, and many of the clients we support are faith-based . . . yet not all are of the same faith. The one thing I see ALL of them having in common is the ability to LiFT in times of fear, anger and doubt.

I couldn’t ask for a better job than the one I’ve created for myself . . . to be involved with people who identify a problem and feel a need to step up and offer a solution. Working with our clients allows me to see magic happen on a daily basis!

Living in Faith and Trust. A great example of this is our client, Tyron Barrington . . . a fashion industry expert, a former Top Model Agent and now Fashion Producer and Casting Director for many recognizable big-name clients and brands. Tyron’s most recent book, “BARING Soles in FASHION: A Behind the Seams Look at Beauty and Fashion” is a parody about life in the fashion industry, as told by fashionable supermodel characters whose names reflect Fear, Doubt, Worry, and Faith. It is the story of one’s journey for the coveted cover of DREAM Magazine and the path of hope one follows. Is it the label (clothes) we wear — worn to impress others? . . . It is the make-up we choose to wear — concealing the truth of who we truly are? . . . Or is it the collection of designer bags we carry — ultimately weighing us down?

Tyron is also the President of MiFE & MiFE TALKS events, a non-profit organization mentoring teens and young adults entering the fashion & entertainment industry. More information about Tyron and his causes can be found HERE.

Thank you, Tryon, for making a difference as you LiFT the women of fashion and entertainment to new heights!

 

Almost vs. Utmost

Whether you are the POTUS (president of the USA), or president of your home-based business, in today’s world of instant media, it is not only important WHAT you say, and HOW you say it but to constantly be aware of WHO the message will attract and inspire . . . or unfortunately, for some, how to react if your message happens to create a communication catastrophe.
Whether you are dealing with the instancy of your 140/280-character tweet or a 35,000-word book, you want to get your message right the first time. You don’t want to “ALMOST” share your message, but to “nail it” the first time out . . . to get the UTMOST positive response.

While settle for “ALMOST” when you can share the “UTMOST” message?!

Finding JOY beyond “ALMOST”

Mr. H (our “almost 6-year-old” grandson/kindergartner), learned how to spell and write a new word while visiting us for Thanksgiving: JOY. He saw the word as a mosaic sculpture in our first-floor bathroom, asked what it said, and immediately drew HIS version. As I complimented him on his accomplishment, he replied, “It’s not finished yet . . . ALMOST.” A few minutes later, he announced, “I’m DONE!” He knew instinctively to add a few extra touches . . . leading to his version of perfection.

Why settle for ALMOST, when UTMOST makes us feel better and helps us stand out from the crowd?

I had an ad find it’s way through my email today, offering $5 book covers. I know some color-copy shops who will sell you an 11×17″ full-color copy for $5 . . . so I was rather curious about this $5 book cover. I followed the link and what they were actually selling was a WORD template, already laid out, giving you the ability to insert your photo, headline, subhead and author name into a pre-arranged layout . . . JUST ENOUGH to get you started, but a far-cry from JUST AMAZING. I wonder how may of these book cover templates actually get “sold” and subsequently, how may book covers now have the exact SAME layout, merging into the abyss of “look-alike” covers on Amazon?

I guess that’s what makes us different.

Our clients won’t settle for a $5 book cover OR a $5 logo . . . AND WE WON’T LET YOU . . . because we know you’ll get what you pay for. We are not the cheapest, nor are we the most expensive . . . but we absolutely give you more than you expect. We don’t re-use another author’s cover to expedite the process . . . nor do we tweak an already existing logo to make it “fit” you.
We start from scratch with every brand, every design, creating YOUR brand, tailored to your needs and audience. We share our decades of experience, help you find answers and give you expert advice. We offer individualized solutions which only come from having our own business for almost 15 years.

So, when you are ready to move from ALMOST into UTMOST . . . give me a call.  

We Brand, We Design, We Publish.

We Help You Take Your Business to the Next Level.

That Extra TOUCH

Serenity, Simplicity and Sanity will always
OUTSHINE & OUTLAST
Chaos, Clutter and Confusion 

. . . whether it comes in the form of personal relationships, world politics, that spare closet, or your marketing message. Like attracts like. What we put out into the world gets reflected back to us . . .
Driving home last week from an early evening event, the neighborhood was already engulfed in darkness at 6pm, even with streetlights. As I turned onto my street, another car was headed towards me, and as it got closer, I noticed the car manufacturer’s logo on the front grille was back-lit, ever-so-subtly, catching my eye and drawing attention to it. It was a Mercedes . . . with an “Extra TOUCH” to draw me in.

Now, I’m not a “car” person, but I love fine design. Movado watches. Chanel. The Republic of Tea. Korbel Brut Champagne. Mercedes.

What I passed on the road was not one of those cars which had been retro-fitted with neon “running lights”, hyper-extended chassis, thrust mufflers, and boom boxes (showing my age?!). That is NOT what I saw the other evening. What I saw was the epitome of refined design. A simple whisper which spoke volumes . . . and got me to notice.
What seems, at first glance to be uncomplicated, minimal design . . . is actually, just the opposite. It takes more time and thought to create the designs which epitomize great products and services  . . . to add that Extra TOUCH of refinement.

Adding the Extra TOUCH to a brand begins with . . .

  • T – Timeless simplicity
  • O – Optimized awareness of your audience
  • U – Uncomplicated, uncluttered elements
  • C – Creative, memorable design
  • H – Honest, authentic, lasting impression

So, when you are ready to Shine, Stand Out and Get Noticed for all the right reasons . . . reach out

We can help you find that one, unique Extra TOUCH, specifically for YOU and your brand.
We Brand, We Design, We Publish.
We Help You Shine.

Shine Your Light — Be Your Brilliant Self!

So many people vying for attention right now. Some, for reasons no one will ever understand.

At times, it feels as if the veil of darkness, despair and depression calls to us and begs us to listen. The darkness can be overpowering, if we let it.

So, how does one respond? How does one turn off this darkness?
By turning on the light. By being your BRILLIANT SELF.

Esther Hicks talks about the dichotomy of “lightness” vs. “darkness” and reminds us that THERE IS NO DARK SWITCH. We don’t walk into a brightly-lit room and turn on the “dark switch.” Darkness is merely an illusion . . . the absence of lightness. I’m CONVINCED that the more of us who choose to SHINE and radiate positive energy, the more we’ll be able to dispel the darkness.

SO . . . How Many Life Coaches Do YOU Know?
I know several! I see it as no coincidence that the fields of Life Coaching and Business Coaching have taken off dramatically over the past decade . . . perhaps in response to the ever-increasing stress-levels of “LIFE.”

According to Forbes Magazine, personal coaching is a booming industry . . . a $1 billion a year industry in the USA alone. The coaching industry has expanding at such a rapid rate, with highly-trained professionals at-the-ready to help us all navigate out of the darkness . . . practically on every corner.

“Coaching is the second-fastest growing profession in the world, rivaled only by information technology… Coaching has evolved into a much more sophisticated profession based on knowledge and training from many other disciplines.” – Canada’s National Post, 2016

Ninety-PLUS percent of our clients are in what I call the “helping and healing” services field . . . mental health, physical health, financial health . . . and/or the health of a community, such as non-profits and organizations.

These therapists, life-coaches, medical professionals, educators and trainers, ALL seem to have all stepped forward simultaneously . . . almost like a “safety net” . . . to catch us as we begin to falter (or fall apart) during periods of high stress.

The other amazing statistic I heard this past week . . . “Only 10% of those who call themselves a Life Coach make over $10,000/year.” Of that 10%, the average income is $61,000.

SO . . . as a Life a Coach, How Do You Become Part of the 10%?
You Shine. You stand out. You get noticed.

That’s where we come in. We can help.
It’s our job to help you Look Good, Get Noticed, and learn to Monetize Your Passion.

We Brand, We Design, We Publish.

We Help You Shine!

Welcome Home!

We were craving Chinese food and our usual local favorite restaurant was under new ownership. The quality of the food had diminished drastically, and it was time to find a new favorite.

For several months, we have been asking friends and neighbors for suggestions. One, in particular, kept coming to the top of the referral list, so we decided we were ready for a new adventure. As we walked towards the restaurant from the parking lot, we could see through the front glass windows and noticed someone running to greet us. As she swung open the front glass door, she offered a loud and robust, “Welcome Home!”.

Aside from being startled and amused, I also noticed how those two little words immediately made me feel . . . well . . . WELCOME and “at home”. They were definitely going the extra mile to welcome new patrons, the food was actually VERY GOOD . . . and the service was even better! The wait-staff kept in contact, yet didn’t “hover” while we ate. We will definitely go back, and I can’t wait to re-experience their “Welcome Home!” (and the food).

During the 4th quarter of each year, we start talking with our retainer accounts about their plans for next year. Many of our clients have been with us for years, and may have started with a simple logo, then moved on to a full re-branding . . . and then eventually come back around and ask for help in publishing their book . . . even their second or third book! We teach them to monetize their passion, watch them start to make more money, and are here when they are ready to take the next step with their messaging
The welcome we got at our neighborhood Chinese restaurant is exactly how we want our clients to feel when they reach out to work with us. Relaxed, at ease, “at home,” WELCOME. We want them to come back.
We love our extended client “family” and love helping them find new ways to monetize their passion. We’d love to help you monetize YOURS.

We Brand. We Design. We Publish.

Raise Your Voice

If you grew up reading Dr. Seuss, you are probably quite familiar with “Horton Hears a Who” (originally published August 12, 1954), the metaphorical story of many tiny voices joining together in a chorus loud enough to be heard. The story resonated with me as a child, and seems to be an appropriate metaphor for the state of our planet lately.

Just as in the Dr. Seuss book, if you listen to ANY news program recently, you hear many voices throughout the world simultaneously asking to be heard. Voices shouting of decades and generations — if not centuries — of persecution based upon race, color, gender, nationality, physical or mental abilities, sexual orientation, religion, family culture or politics . . . and more. Many voices, joining in chorus, to find a better way of living, loving and learning to co-exist.

As a female growing up in mid-America, living with my Mother and Stepfather, I remember the exact day when I was told my voice did not count — third grade, just before dinner. I don’t recall the subject of the conversation, but I vaguely remember my Stepfather asking me to do something (probably set the table or such). My independent 8-year-old-self told him, “No thank you, I’m busy.” At which point, my Mother explained I was not allowed to tell an adult, “no”, let alone a MALE adult. Now, granted, this was early 1960’s, and the most popular show on TV was “Father Knows Best”.

I’m sorry to say, but it wasn’t until recently (when the “me too” campaign came to light) that this memory came full-circle, and I began to realize how much of an impact that one conversation has had on every male relationship I’ve had over the past 50-plus years.

I’ve never been one to silence my opinion, but now I understand better WHY I offer my opinions. In my heart, I knew my WHY matters. My WHY comes from not understanding what my Mother was telling me, nor agreeing with it, but knowing I definitely needed to follow my Mother’s lead in order to stay safe. My WHY fuels my passion to help others find their voice and tell their story.

WHAT IS YOUR WHY?

Everyone has a story. Many have stories which need to be told.

As a helper-and-healer, you too (more-than-likely), have a story to tell. What motivates you to help YOUR clients? We’ve identified three main “helping” themes in the hundreds of books we’ve published . . .

As a small business owner, having a non-fiction book is one of the most highly-successful marketing tools to help you . . .

  • Establish Your Credibility
  • Inspire More People
  • Project a Professional Image
  • Develop Greater Visibility for Your Business
  • Attract, Retain and Solidify Your Client Base

That’s where we come in.

As Professional Author Consultants, we help you tell your story, with one of the most experienced staff in the independent self-publishing industry. Our writing coaches teach business owners to become authors and our publishing consultants teach you how to be your own publisher, avoid the self-publishing pitfalls, and keep 100% of your royalties.

If you are ready for your voice to be heard, reach out . . . email me or give me a call.

Last week, one of my key referral sources called me her “Publishing Sherpa”. I hold your hand, walk you through the process, and guarantee a pain-free delivery of your book to your doorstep. Really. It’s much easer than childbirth.

A Preference for Excellence

A “COMMA CAUSIE” (my newest made-up word) is an example of
when an ill-placed comma, or simply a missing comma,
causes the meaning of your statement to change.
We see these COMMA CAUSIES© all the time. Our clients either have way too many commas, or not enough. They look for areas where they can reduce their budget, and decide they don’t need an editor. Sometimes they elect to use their neighbor’s middle son who is a college journalism student, or their daughter’s 5th grade English teacher . . . all of which may very well be good choices, but perhaps not necessarily qualified to edit their book — making it make it more marketable and easier to read.

It boils down to a Preference for Excellence.

Kind of like deciding to make your wedding cake from a box mix vs. hiring a professional cake maker to create a masterpiece for your daughter’s wedding.
Trust me . . . I love cake, and am certainly the “cake mix” type of chef. Which is probably why Jack now does all the cooking (and baking) . . . you should ask him about his Red Wine Chocolate Bundt Cake or the Lemon Drizzle version (with at least 100 lemons). They are both excellent. I’m drooling.

It’s ALL about Excellence.

Whether we’re talking about writing or design, it’s all about EXCELLENCE. 
Years ago, I came across a copy of a speech given by Milton Glaser, to the graduating class of a prestigious graphic design college. Glaser is considered by many to be an iconic pillar in the world of graphic design. If you have not heard of him, I’m sure you have seen his highly-recognized icon for the city of New York.
I loved the speech enough to have it printed on greeting cards . . . and a very-much-shortened postcard version . . . both of which I often use when sending notes to clients.

Ready for Excellence?
Give me a call. We Brand, we Design, we Publish.

Do What You Must. Trust Your Instinct.

In the world of self-publishing, I’m always watching for stories I can share to help emphasize not only how much $$ we SAVE our clients . . . but also how much $$ we can help them MAKE.

You just never know when the Universe is listening and decides to provide you the answer (or, in this case, the story) you’ve been waiting for.

It all started last Friday when I took a leap of faith and found myself on an airplane to Atlanta for the Spirit of Women Conference. My mentor, Monica Shah, was speaking and several of her “mentees”, showed up, shared rooms and offered support by just being there. I was prepared to strengthen bonds, meet new people, attract new clients . . . and expand my sphere of influence.

Able to use my plethora of Southwest Airline “points”, I boarded the flight early and headed for the first available window seat I see. I’m joined by a woman, in my age range, who sits in the aisle seat, and we joked about the “luck” of the person who gets to sit between two “women of a certain age”. Shortly thereafter, we are joined by another woman (same age group) and our row is complete.

I’m not one of those airline “talkers”, and typically prefer to watch the clouds, and occasionally pull out my i-Phone and select an e-book to read. I offer an initial smile, say “hi”, and get back to my reading.

As the pilot announces we are preparing to land, I ask the woman next to me if she is from STL, and where she is headed. We talked about what she did for a living, and she, in turn, begins to ask me the same questions. LO AND BEHOLD. She and I had a phone conversation about 18 months ago regarding publishing her book, and she chose to go with an independent “textbook” publisher out of England. She proceeded to tell me what she has earned (or NOT earned) in royalties from the sale of over 1,000 books.

So, I get to my hotel, looked up her publisher online, and I did the math.

And I had one of my associates check MY math (she’s a CPA) . . .

FOR THE EXACT SAME BOOK, I’ve outlined two very different profit structures, below . . . The one on the left is the Independent Publisher she chose. The bullets on the right show her profit margin if she had let us mentor her through the self-publishing process. (ALSO, please note, I would never have advised her to price a 166-page black-and-white paperback book at $34.95 retail.)

In researching the textbook publisher, I did not have the details of her contract, so I used the publisher’s minimum fee for the example above. Not only did this author possibly PAY more-than-twice upfront than if she had let us help her, but she PROFITS less $$ with each sale of her books (ultimately taking her longer to recoup her investment).

MY LESSON LEARNED? I trusted my instinct, took a leap of faith, and got on that plane not knowing WHY I needed to go to Atlanta. In the three days since i’ve been back home, I’ve already had two sales conversations with people I met in Atlanta.

AND I heard a fantastic “buyer beware” story I can share with authors who may be considering working with an independent publisher, advising them to:

  • Check references.
  • Don’t sign a contract until you talk with a professional publishing consultant (like me – I’ve read many publishing contracts and can point out questions you need to be asking). I’m happy to read your contract and offer an opinion.
  • Trust your instinct and follow your gut. If it sounds confusing, it probably is worth walking away.

Do what you must, but always feel free to give me a call to talk through your options. I’m happy to help you make an educated decision, even if you end up working with someone else (although I’d rather you work with us!).