L.I.F.T. : Author, Joe Castellano

If you are from St. Louis, you know the importance of high-school, as the question, “Where did you go to school?” rarely applies to your years in college.
Local author, Joe Castellano, class president of his St. Louis University High School’s class of 1970, and co-captain of the football team, does more than reminisce in his first book, “Bull in the Ring”. Mixing faith, football and friendship, Joe weaves a compelling reflection of what it was like to live amidst the internal and external struggles of the era.
The 1970 SLUH football team was undersized and not very fast, had no home field, and played half its games against the Top 10 teams in the state of Missouri. Improbably, that team made it to the state championship game. The great but naïve ambition of the young Baby Boomers who played on or supported that team was tempered by the frightening, threatening social turmoil of the late 1960s.

In addition to the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, an often-violent protest culture in America, and a generation conflict, these teenagers had to cope with a very personal tragedy on the brink of the season. “Bull in the Ring” is the story of how football and their faith became a refuge for them then, and the place that season has held in the lives they went on to live. It is available in paperback and e-book via Amazon, at the Chesterfield Barnes & Nobel, and everywhere books are sold. You can also read Bill McClellan’s highly complimentary review here.

“As a first-time author, and a novice self-publisher, I felt fortunate to have found Davis Creative. Cathy and Jack Davis provided a thorough checklist of the materials I needed to provide and the steps I needed to take, patiently answered all my questions, set up my accounts with the publishing firms, and provided important strategic guidance that helped me optimize the book launch. Quality, experience, integrity, accessibility. If I do this again, I’ll want Cathy and Jack on my team again.” ~ Joe Castellano

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

We help our clients look good, help more people,
make a difference on a daily basis.

ASK Cathy

1. What is “Publishing Myopia”?

Also know as “shiny object syndrome”, Publishing Myopia happens when an author gets so excited about becoming a “published author” they lose sight of their priorities. Authors who fall prey to Publishing Myopia get caught up in completing the book, rather than maintaining a level of excellence . . . which ultimately undermines their brand. It becomes more important to be called a “published author” than to produce a high-quality book.

Never let budget be the excuse for publishing a less-than-optimal product. What I have found, is that every time an author cuts corners and hires their publishing team based upon price vs. experience, they get burned . . .

  • They end up spending more $ in the long run than if they had hired professionals in the first place
  • Their book shouts “self-published” and subliminally turns potential readers away
  • Their overall sales suffer . . . no matter HOW MUCH marketing they do
  • Readers who buy their book end up walking away with a tainted opinion of the author’s brand, and rarely send referrals their way

Save your brand and avoid Publishing Myopia by working with publishing professionals who come highly recommended and know what they are doing.


2. How does publishing a book affect my brand and my marketing?

Branding is WHY you do what you do.
Marketing is HOW you get your message out there.

Your brand is . . .

  • the core-essence of who you are and what you stand for
  • the foundation of all your VISUAL, VERBAL and VIRTUAL marketing messages
  • much more than the basic essentials of logo, business card, website and social media

A published book now takes the place of the old, 3-panel brochure.

It “tells your story” of who, what, when, how, why you do what you do. Having a published book is a great way to expand your brand when you take the time to produce a quality book. If you are an entrepreneur or serviced professional in the business of helping others improve their lives, having a professionally published book solidifies your brand and becomes a great marketing tool for several reasons:

  • Builds credibility
  • Instills perceived value
  • Grows your tribe
  • Identifies your niche
  • Increases recognition
  • Develops JV partners

If your intent is to reflect a high-quality brand, then your book better be a high-quality production. If you cut corners just to be able to say you are a published author, it sends the message that you cut corners with your clients.

To learn more about industry standards for a professionally published book, check out this free download from the IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association) HERE.

Creating MORE positive ripples.

My personal mission in life is to “create positive ripples”, and I’m always thrilled when I hear a story about how one of our designs or books has impacted people in positive way.

This past Saturday, I was giving a publishing workshop in STL, and I had my usual “free” items at the back of the room for those who wanted additional information. Included in the take-aways was a postcard printout of one of our UPSIdaisy.com designs . . .


During our mid-event break, one of the attendees approached me with one of these postcards, and shared the story of how he uses this card at work. As an Activities Director for a nursing home, he recently shared this card during a “poetry reading” exercise, assigning each font color to an attendee. They then took turns going around the circle, reading their “color” words out-loud. Many commented on the irony or appropriateness of the specific phrase they were asked to share. I LOVE IT!


 Are you ready to create positive ripples in YOUR life? 

If you are a “helper or healer”, a “mender or tender” . . . we can help. 

If you are a life-coach, mentor, therapist, physician, educator, speaker, or other professional service provider, we help you establish a brand, build a following and learn to monetize your passion.

Are you ready to ignite your brand? 

Our clients love what they do and have built successful brands around helping others. When you work with us to build your brand, we help you look good, get noticed (in a good way), and grow your business.

Contact Cathy about how to update your  VISUAL, VERBAL and VIRTUAL brand messaging.

Are you ready to publish your book? 

If you are in the business of helping others, let us help YOU share YOUR story. There is SO much more to self-publishing a book than ink on paper! Our clients reach out to us when they are ready to minimize their investment, maximize their return, and avoid self-publishing pitfalls.

We help you complete your book at YOUR pace — no matter where you are in the writing process — and your book will rival those produced by traditional publishers.

Sprinkles on Cupcakes

“It’s not how well your book sells . . .
It’s ALL about how well your book sells YOU!”

I heard myself say it again, today, while on a call with another new author/client.
Your non-fiction book is a MARKETING TOOL. Much like the old 3-panel brochure or sales-sheet, your book is a way for potential clients to get to know you better . . . becoming a foundation of the “KNOW, LIKE, TRUST” model of engagement.


Please do not expect your book to fund your retirement or replace your monthly income. Whatever book sales you generate are more like getting sprinkles on your cupcake. The cupcake (your business) needs to exist so the sprinkles (your book sales) have a place to land. You’ll go hungry if you expect to just eat the sprinkles.


If you are ready to learn more about how to add sprinkles to your business through the power of self-publishing, we can help.
If you are in the business of helping others, let us help YOU share YOUR story. There is SO much more to self-publishing a book than ink on paper! Our clients reach out to us when they are ready to minimize their investment, maximize their return, and avoid self-publishing pitfalls.
We help you complete your book at YOUR pace — no matter
where you are in the writing process — and your book will 
rival those produced by traditional publishers.
If you are in St. Louis, and you’d like to learn more about the wild-wild-world of self-publishing, join me . . .
  • Saturday, March 3, 2018, for our workshop, “Self Publishing 101: Creating a Magnetic Brand through the Power of Publishing” at the Center for Spiritual Living, 12875 Fee Fee Rd, St. Louis 63146. No fee, but Love Offering welcome (proceeds benefit CSL)
  • Monday, March 12th, I will be speaking at Fred Miller’s monthly “No Sweat Public Speaking” Meet-Up at Medici Media Space. Register HERE.

LIFT: “With All We Are”

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. 

This month’s LIFT profile highlights our client, Don Eggleston, founder of Mission Works, LLC, a teaching and consulting resource in support of the achievement of organizational mission and purpose.

Don enjoyed a 30-year career in health care; serving in the areas of community outreach and organizational development, and concluded his career as vice president of Mission Integration for SSM Health in St. Louis, MO. He has a Master of Divinity degree from Kenrick Seminary and a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Missouri – St. Louis.

Don’s book, “With All We Are,” was written for individuals who want to lead their organizations, on a daily basis, with integrity, optimism, and credibility.
This book is for you if you want to:
  1. Discover how to align with and cultivate your organization’s purpose and mission
  2. Uncover ways to lead change in your organization that are memorable, credible and reflective of your mission
  3. Thrive in your leadership role and avoid burnout
  4. Transform your daily work into your calling
“With All We Are is the culmination of a remarkable life born out of adversity, redeemed by grace, and inspired by serving causes always greater than himself. Whether you are a leader of a large healthcare organization or simply a sojourner in life, I highly recommend this book by my friend and mentor, Don Eggleston.”  ~ John O’Leary, #1 national bestselling author of, “On Fire: The Seven Choices to Ignite a Radically Inspired Life.”
Graphic designer, Jean Lopez, created a work of art with this book. As beautiful as it is inspirational and informative, “With All We Are,” has already sold over 200 copies (including one in Ireland!), since it’s publication date of January 25, 2018.  Click HERE to order your copy!
If you, too, are in the business of helping others, let us help YOU share YOUR story. There is SO much more to self-publishing a book than ink on paper . . . we help our clients minimize their investment, maximize their return, and avoid self-publishing pitfalls.
We help you complete your book at YOUR pace — no matter
where you are in the writing process — and your book will 
rival those produced by traditional publishers.
If you’d like to learn more about the wild-wild-world of self-publishing,join me Thursday, February 22, 2018, for our FREE Lunch & Learn webcast, “Self Publishing 101: Creating a Magnetic Brand through the Power of Publishing.”  Remember to pre-register here.

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”!