Your message. In focus.

Love of Learning: Guide or Obstacle?

Love of Learning: Guide or Obstacle?

Love of learning is the guide of life. –Phi Beta Kappa motto I love to learn. I love to take in information. On the StrengthsFinder inventory, two of my top five talents are Learner and Input. I easily could have been a professional student. For some of us, learning is fun. But, as hard as […]

Thought Leadership: Pretentious or Pr...

Thought Leadership: Pretentious or Profitable?

Recently seen on Twitter: “If you ever feel the need to unironically call yourself a ‘thought leader,’ please don’t.” (Umm, I cleaned up the language for polite company.) Is the phrase “thought leader” overused? Probably. Does it sound pretentious? Occasionally. Can it still be meaningful? Absolutely. Two Definitions of Thought Leadership In my reading, I […]

3 Ways to Create Bulk Book Sales

3 Ways to Create Bulk Book Sales

I frequently counsel clients not to worry excessively about book sales. For coaches, consultants, and speakers, the ROI on a nonfiction book often comes from gaining additional clients and/or raising professional fees more than it does from individual book sales. This is especially true if they have not yet achieved a broad base of potential […]

Does Your Book Quality Match Your Bra...

Does Your Book Quality Match Your Brand Promise?

When writing a book as part of your business growth strategy, your business will be judged on the quality of your book. As a result, your book quality should match your brand promise. Consider: When you shop for clothes, you likely visit different stores for different pieces. You go to the store whose brand, quality, […]

Speaking & Books: Magic Momentum

Speaking & Books: Magic Momentum

I recently realized that a full two-thirds of my book clients have been members of Toastmasters, the international organization that helps people learn public-speaking skills. It didn’t take long to figure out why: most of my clients are professional speakers or have public speaking as a significant part of their portfolio, along with consulting, coaching, […]

Book Quality: Lessons from Judging Ja...

I’m in the midst of judging the student essay contest for the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA). When you read a lot of one thing at a time—essays, grant applications, poetry—you quickly start to see the differences. (Teachers know this!) I use a scoring rubric to test my impressions objectively, but the essays […]

Paying Attention to Distractions

Paying Attention to Distractions

I found myself distracted last week. A high school classmate died, and memories of school and church, basketball and softball, kept bubbling up. We were friends in certain settings, and not in others, and then we followed different paths. But still, she was someone I’d known for nigh on forty years, and she died before […]

How Long Should Your Nonfiction Book ...

How Long Should Your Nonfiction Book Be?

A common question I get is “How long should my book be?” There are different answers for different genres, of course, but for my clients, we’re usually talking about business, thought-leadership, self-help, or professional-development books. To answer the immediate question, let’s look at some numbers. Then, more importantly, let’s talk strategy and consider some case […]

Avoid Distractions: Focus Your Reader...

Avoid Distractions: Focus Your Readers on Your Message

My last three blog posts all were triggered by my irritation with poor communication—whether words or formatting. My goal—my purpose—is to help people get their ideas onto the page in a way the audience will understand and embrace. After many years of corporate business writing (and a boss who knocked it into my head), one […]

Excessive Irritation: A Little Bit Go...

Excessive Irritation: A Little Bit Goes a Long Way When You Use These Items in Writing

I attend a book club periodically. For a recent meeting, I’d heard of the assigned book, I knew people who liked the concepts in it, and the topic was relevant to my field of work, so I was looking forward to reading it. A fellow reader emailed me a week before the meeting: “The author […]

Tips for Creating Effective Headings

Tips for Creating Effective Headings

In my last post, I discussed emphasis—the use of bold, italic, underline, ALL CAPS, and so on—primarily looking at the main text of a book or article. I mentioned headings briefly, and in this post I want to expand on the effective formatting of headings. When I say “headings,” I’m referring to the types of […]

Tips for Using Emphasis Effectively

Tips for Using Emphasis Effectively

I recently read a blog post and found myself getting annoyed. And it wasn’t even a post about politics! Frankly I can’t tell you what the article was about because I was too annoyed with the article’s formatting. The author used every conceivable form of emphasis—bold, italic, underline, ALL CAPS, and COMBINATIONS THEREOF—with reckless abandon. […]

Get In Touch

  Phone: 919.609.2817


Keep In Touch!

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

We promise never to sell or share your information. We hate spam as much as you do.

Blog Posts by Category

Why, yes, I DO have an opinion…

My goal is to offer useful information, not only about the craft of writing but also about the strategy of writing and how to integrate your book into your business plan.

And sometimes I write just to amuse myself...

KEY5 Speaker Podcast

Speakers, check out the KEY5 Speaker Podcast on iTunes. Each episode is 15 minutes chock full of speaking advice.

Yours truly is interviewed in Episode 110.