Avoid the half-baked solution.

The art of self-publishing is quite a bit like baking. If you have the right ingredients, coupled with the talent and vision of the bakery (author consultant, editor, book designer), you get more than you expect!

More than once this past month, I’ve been handed a self-published book by an eager author who can’t wait to get my glowing opinion and never-ending compliments. Unfortunately, each book shouted, “SELF PUBLISHED!” and as I struggled to find at least one nice thing I could say about each book, I felt sorry for the author. “Nice photo on the cover” or, “Nice blue you picked for your signature.”

Yes, it is quite an accomplishment to reach the point of having a published book in-hand, but if done incorrectly, it can cause your brand more harm than good . . . unless your brand includes, “missing the mark” or “unprofessional”.

If you don’t know what you are doing . . . ASK FOR HELP.

It’s not just self-publishers who let themselves down. It’s very much a “buyer-beware” industry. It’s not my job to scare you with horror stories, but please take the time to educate yourself on the industry, or reach out to a professional author consultant and ask tons of questions. Not everyone who calls themselves a publisher . . . is a publisher. Just about anyone can upload their own manuscript onto CreateSpace, pick out a cover photo and type in their title. And more often than not, the finished book LOOKS self-produced, and becomes an automatic repellent for new business. (If you want to hear about the horror stories . . . give me a call.)

If you wouldn’t dare bake your daughter’s wedding cake, then PLEASE treat yourself with the same respect and avoid self-publishing your book all by yourself . . . and beware of those who oversell their experience with publishing. Settling for a half-baked book is a lot like setting for half-baked cakes . . . no one wants them.

You can also join me for this month’s FREE Lunch & Learn webcast, where I’ll be sharing my signature talk and slides, “Self Publishing 101: Creating a Magnetic Brand through the Power of Publishing.” Thursday, February 22, 2018. Remember to pre-register here.

And you’re more than welcome to have cake during the presentation!


If it doesn’t feel right . . . take a new action!

When I worked in downtown St. Louis almost 15 years ago, I parked in the same public garage for over 10 years. It was dark, cold, damp and downright spooky . . . and like most urban areas, downtown St. Louis did not have a stellar reputation for having a low crime rate.

We were all taught as kids, “Don’t talk to strangers!” If you have ever worked in a bustling urban downtown area, you’ll understand that a day does not go by without encountering what you might call a “stranger” — those who unfortunately live on the streets. As much as I tried to leave the office building with others at the same time, on occasion, I would find myself walking into the garage alone. There were certain rules we had been taught: don’t step into an elevator with a strange person, don’t start a conversation, and take the stairs or wait until someone else walks up and enter together. We were trained by our employers to maintain a “DISCONNECT” as a means of staying safe.

At one point, when I felt fearful, I decided to take a new action. If you are the least bit intuitive, you soon learn to read people’s energy and see them as simply another human being. I took a new action based upon love and empathy, and looked a stranger in the eye and spoke to them. The “fear energy” dissipated and put us on the same level — as equals on this planet. My willingness to “see” and speak to them, opened the door for mutual respect.
When it Doesn’t Feel Right
Having worked from my home office for the past 14-plus years, I’ve traded these fearful situations for the occasional awkward ones. What I do encounter these days, is the occasional DISCONNECT with a client — those who are not necessarily a good fit. Unfortunately, it’s taken me a while to learn to spot them. You see, I’d love to be able to help everyone who calls and asks us for help, but not every potential client who seeks us out is a good fit for us.
Our business mission is to help our clients create a “Happy, Healthy, Heart-filled Planet” and we LOVE helping them attract more clients and monetize their passion. Occasionally, a potential client is referred to us who is just not a good fit. Perhaps it comes in the form of disrespecting their employees, bad-mouthing their customers, or over-promising and under-delivering — all at the cost of integrity, authenticity and relationships. I recognize a DISCONNECT — just as I did with the strangers downtown. That’s not a good fit for us.
So, I’ve learned (again) to take a new action. I’ve gotten pickier about who we work with, and better at spotting those who are NOT a good fit. I find my own heart-center and surround that person in love and light. I wish them well on their journey and turn my focus back to welcoming those with whom I find a connection and who are on a similar journey.


We Brand, We Design, We Publish.
We Take Your Business to the Next Level.

Do What You Love

“Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow” was written in 1987 by Marsha Sinetar, with an updated version published in 2009. The book was a best-seller and became a movement for many, including myself.
It was about this time, during the late 1980’s thru the end of 2003, when I was in the corporate world managing a staff of 18 designers, production artists, and printing specialists. As with most corporate marketing environments, burn-out was always right around the corner for everyone, and I it made it a part of my job to encourage my staff to find their niche and move toward the job and tasks which made them happiest. Many of my annual review conversations started with, “We all love working with happy people, so what can we do to help you find your ‘Happy’?”
I still believe Marsha Sinetar was right . . . mostly. Having been downsized (asked to go home and stay) in December of 2003, and working for myself over the past 14+ years, I’ve noticed what I would call the “missing piece” to Marsha’s book title.
I liken it to an Oreo Cookie. The top layer is the “Do What You Love,” and the bottom layer is the “Money Will Follow.” It’s a great foundation to wake up every day and do what I love . . . and hope that eventually the money will follow. But there was something missing. It’s actually a three-step process:
  1. Do what you love
  2. Share your talents and gifts to make people happy
  3. Money will follow
The missing crème filing in the middle is the ability to share your talents and gifts to make people happy. It’s that simple. Yes, I happen to love the chocolate cookies on the outside of the Oreos, BUT having all three layers makes the cookie experience even more delicious and delightful.
Feel the love. Add the Happy. Attract the Money.
Stop denying yourself the full Oreo.
We Brand. We Design. We Publish.
We help you take that thing you do . . . that thing you LOVE doing . . . and share it with the world.
And we LOVE sharing our bag of Oreos. I personally like the new “Thins”.

Out of Chaos Comes Clarity. Out of Clarity Comes DARITY.

I’m sitting in a waiting room for my appointment with my Integrative Bodywork Therapist. For those of you unfamiliar with this term, she is a licensed Physical Therapist with lots of extra training in Body Energy . . . a great combination of traditional and new-thought therapeutics. My visits with her (when I am the patient) are much like taking your car in for a “body alignment” . . . very similar to a chiropractor, yet with slightly different intensive training.

I glance over at the single-panel promotional card which Davis Creative designed for her about a year ago, and the headline caught my eye . . . “balance, clarity, release” . . .

Yes . . . I originally selected the font, but as I’m reading it today, I saw, “balance, darity, release”.

DARITY? What the heck is DARITY?

So, I decided to have some fun while I was awaiting my appointment, and play with this new-found word so see what I could come up with.


If “Out of CHAOS Comes CLARITY,” then it only makes sense that “Out of CLARITY, Comes DARITY.”

I un-officially proclaim DARITY to be the essence of DARING! The feeling which follows clarity . . . right after the “AHA”!

With enlightenment, or DARITY, there is always a feeling of NEW ENERGY, a new purpose, a new direction.

DARING is quite the buzz-word as of late, gaining international notoriety when used by author Brene Brown in her highly-acclaimed book, “Daring Greatly.” We all want to feel DARING . . . and yes, we all want to wake up with DARITY!

So, if we break DARITY down into parts and pieces, and convert to an acronym (one of my favorite games), we get . . .

  • D = Direction. Every great first-step begins with a direction in mind. What is the next best FEARLESS step you can take today to move in the direction of your BFA goals? (Hint: BFA is another acronym for Big Fat Azz.)
  • A = Action. It’s great to identify where you want to go or what you want to do . . . but until you take ACTION, you haven’t actually made a commitment. Dare to take ACTION in the direction of your dreams.
  • R = RESOLVE. A firmness of purpose . . . an absolute commitment to making it happen. Resolve provides the stamina to continue to take action AND move in a positive direction with DARITY.
  • I = Intuition. Remember to listen to your gut . . . those voices in your head . . . the angels swirling around your shoulders . . . WHATEVER or WHOMEVER it is that fuels your spirituality and inspiration.
  • T = Trust. This is a big one for me. I learned very long ago that TRUST is one of my life lessons for this time around. If you are like me, I’m learning to not only trust others and trust the process, but to trust myself. Take a chance. Dare to trust. Yourself.
  • Y = YAHOO! Personally, I like to celebrate with a glass of Champagne . . . and friends . . . Strawberries dipped in dark chocolate are pretty good, also. But, remember to include the friends . . . your support team. They make it all worthwhile and are there when you need extra reminders to claim your DARITY.

Yep. That’s what we do.

We help you find your DARITY and help you push through to success.

Are you ready to claim your DARITY?

We Brand, We Design, We Publish.

We Take Your Business to the Next Level.

We help our clients write books, help more people, and make a difference on a daily basis. 

How can we help you claim your DARITY?



I was in college the first time someone handed me the Richard Bach book, Illusions. It opened my eyes, spoke to my soul and “made sense” . . . all in one reading. Although I can’t remember the name of the person who handed me the book, nor the circumstances, the original (now well-tattered, dog-eared) almost-40-year-old paperback remains on my bookshelf today. I still read it at least once a year . . . I even loaded the e-book version to my phone for when I need a quick dose of sanity when traveling. This one little book has become the “friend who understands” . . . it “gets me”!
Imagine how great it would feel to write a book having this much impact on your readers. 
Imagine having someone walk up to you and say, “Thank you for writing this book . . . it helped me decide my next step in life.”
Imagine sitting down to write your book and having the outline in-hand, ready for you to fill in the blanks and connect the dots.
It happens to our clients, and it could happen for you, too.
We’ve been doing this for almost 15 years, and we know how to do it right. With hundreds of books in our portfolio, we teach helpers, healers and other professionals how to write books and get published so they can attract more clients and help more people.
We help our clients write books, impact lives and make a difference on a daily basis. 
We Brand, We Design, We Publish.
We Take Your Business to the Next Level.
We help you reach the people who “GET YOU”!


He turned the key and the car did not start. He tried a few more times, then we decided to try jumper cables with the neighbor’s car. Nada. Nuttin’.
My flight was taking off in 2 hours, and the clock was ticking to get to the airport. Our second car was unfortunately parked in the same driveway, behind the first, non-starting car. Time to activate “Plan B”. Uber to the rescue.
As I reflect back on my life, I don’t think I’ve ever really had a “Plan A”. I tend to work best by picking a direction, continuing down that path, and then dealing with life as it lands in front of me. Although not always the best strategy, it has allowed me to grow a resiliency factor for being able to pivot at a moment’s notice without too much stress.
So, it got me to thinking about what I actually do when life throws me a curve and it’s time to initate a “PLAN B” . . .
  • BELIEVE – I believe things will always turn out OK. When I was little, one of my nicknames was Pollyanna. I remember watching the movie as a child, and for those of you not old enough to remember the early 1960’s movie, Pollyanna was always somehow able to see the bright side of a bad situation.
  • BREATHE – I feel myself taking a deep breath. It’s instinctual . . . I don’t recall anyone teaching me this. A deep breath clears my mind and allows me to zero-in on the “next best step” to take.
  • BRAINSTORM – My brain kicks into “possibility mode”. I can almost feel the click of the switch as brain cells begin to activate, connect and conspire to find a solution. There may also be a bit of a swirling adrenaline rush . . . kind of like the thrill of hunting for a solution.
  • BE the BALMY ELEPHANT – Be the CALMING ELEMENT. I learned long ago that if you add a crazy, out-of-control reaction to a crazy out-of-control situation, you only get a CRAZIER end-result. Avoid crazy at all cost.
So, whether you are working on PLAN A, or PLAN B, and decide you would love a marketing partner to help you find the best solution for your Branding and Publishing goals, give me a call.
I can help you create a fantastic Plan B!
We Brand, We Design, We Publish.
We Take Your Business to the Next Level.

The Santa Brand

We can learn a lot from Santa when it comes to branding. He does a pretty darn good job when it comes to effectively delivering his brand promise.
10 Reasons Santa’s brand is so much more than a logo, and goes WAY beyond red and green!
  1. CREATES RELATIONSHIPS: Santa builds positive relationships across the globe; he attracts throngs of people who are willing to stand in line to meet and talk with him – if only for a few minutes.
  2. SERVES HIS COMMUNITY: Santa serves his “tribe” by offering a service unlike any other. He’s definitely not “in it” for the money, but more for the outcome – the feeling his followers receive when they interact with him. He has definitely earned the love and respect of customers AND his staff.
  3. BELIEVES IN HIS BUSINESS: Not only does Santa BELIEVE in his mission, but so do his followers. It’s all about offering a product or service which makes people happy – we are ALL attracted to people and things that make us happy. Santa consistently fulfills his positioning statement of Bringing Joy to the World.
  4. PLANS FOR SUCCESS: Nothing stops Santa – just remember Rudolph and the fog. Santa finds solutions. He’s a “can-do” kind of guy. The kind of guy you want at the reins of your business.
  5. BUILDS TRUST: Santa instills “trust” and “warm cozy feelings”.  If you can’t trust Santa who can you trust? You’ve been telling him your heartfelt wishes since you were a kid. Santa listens and follows through on his commitments. He doesn’t over-promise, and always has a back-up option – just in case (toy recall).
  6. CROSS PROMOTES: Santa is everywhere. He graciously offers his positive brand to movies, car dealer ads, non-profit causes and more – all in the hopes of spreading goodwill and good cheer across the globe.
  7. STAYS FOCUSED: You don’t see Santa expanding his line of offerings beyond the aspect of “giving”.  The downfall of such was creatively portrayed by Martin Short’s Jack Frost and Tim Allen’s Santa, in the “Santa Clause 3” movie, showing the negative impact of wandering off-target. Ultimately, “good” overcomes “evil” and the movie ends with the North Pole back to “normal” – back on target.
  8. SUSTAINS HIS IMAGE: Santa creates a positive response in the marketplace and emotes a distinct visual image which immediately comes to mind when his name is mentioned. Even with 100’s (if not 1000’s) of Santa likenesses seen around the world, we all have our favorite that comes to mind – white beard, red suit, and a wink of the eye.
  9. ADAPTS EASILY: It’s not everyone that can morph their body PLUS a 100-pound bag of toys small enough to fit down a chimney (and in some cultures through a keyhole). Knowing when and how to adapt to your customer’s needs – and a willingness to do so – always give you an edge with the competition.
  10. RISES ABOVE: Santa is basically one-of-a-kind, so rising above your competition is a piece of cake (or cookies and milk). Taking flight is easy when you keep your magic-sparkle flying dust handy. Markets change as often as the weather . . . being able to fly above a snowstorm or around lightning strikes allows Santa to deliver a solid brand – on time, on target and on budget.
AND . . . oh, by the way, where would
Santa be without his LIST?
Not sure where to start?
We are also pretty good at lists, and can help you with your list of TO-DOs. If you are ready to build your brand beyond your logo, give me a call. As professional brand and publishing consultants, we help you identify your voice, share it with the world, and monetize your passion.
We Brand, We Design, We Publish.

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.