My Heart Bleeds for Innocent Would-Be Authors

would be author

Think of life as a round circle, like a pie. One slice of the pie is your area of core competency—perhaps even genius. It’s what you do so well. Next to that slice is another slice of equal size—what you know you don’t know. For example, I know I cannot add, subtract or cook anything edible.

Then there’s the rest of the pie: The three-quarters in life that we don’t even know we don’t know. In that mysterious realm, for most people, lies the secrets to successful book writing, publishing and marketing. Read more

Breaking The Vision Barrier

How One Woman Invented The Future She Saw For Herself 

For as long as she lives Denise Drace-Brownell will never forget the day she saw—really saw—Central Park for the first time. It was a chilly, clear autumn day, the kind of day a Woody Allen character might have dreamed up. At her optometrist’s Manhattan office, Denise was picking up a pair of sporting glasses that were sturdy enough to wear when she played squash. After issuing strong complaints, she had been prescribed single-distance vision glasses with prism lenses. The moment she put them on, a world she had never known suddenly snapped into focus.  Read more

Why You Can’t Afford Me. (It’s a Good Thing.)

Just about twelve years ago I made a major transition, and closed the midtown Manhattan offices of my Public Relations firm. Through running a sizeable business and the day to day drama of dealing with my staff’s personal issues, I had essentially become everyone’s Jewish mother. As a result I could not do as much actual writing as I would have loved to do. When I took this leap of faith I made two critical decisions:  First–by transitioning to ghostwriting I could do what I love: use my writing skills to help people become successful authors, then help them get published,then use my public relations skills to promote their book.

The second decision: I would not be bound by what others charged, but would instead charge what I thought I was worth. My fees were considerably higher than many other writers. But, given my many years of experience as an award-winning, in-demand writer (for magazine articles, speeches, blogs, brochures and other promotional material), I thought my asking price was justified.

At first this did seem like a foolish decision: many of the would-be authors I met were unable to pay my fees and instead wanted me to work solely for the back-end. In other words, they expected me to write their book or book proposal, reach out to get them a literary agent, who would  negotiate a large advance for the book and ancillary rights,  do promotion to make their book a New York Times bestseller (and perhaps a blockbuster motion picture) and then share a percentage of the profits.  Well, we are all delusional to some extent, but these arrangements would have had me living in a refrigerator box on the cold hard streets of Manhattan. Read more

Borrowing Time: A Love Story

heart of loveI thought the Rabbi was kidding.

“You want to introduce me to a 98-year-old who wants to date?”

“No,” he said, “I want to introduce you to a 98-year-old who would be open to getting remarried!”

“Won’t his adult children object?”

“Not at all. They want him to be happy. In fact, his son came to ask me if I knew anyone exceptional.”

At 75, I was still youthful, cheerful and happily engaged in running my business. However, I was at a point where online dating had led me to a string of men who continued to disappoint me. I began to think maybe the sun had set on my romantic life. Then I met Jerome.

Before our first get-acquainted date he had to cancel because he had a bad cold, “But,” he said on my answering machine, “We will always have mañana.” And, for a time, it seemed as if we just might. His positive attitude, his brilliance, his wisdom, his warmth, his charm, captivated me completely. Read more

If Nobody’s Reading, Why Bother Writing a Book?

Look, you do not have to write a book.  You can live your entire professional life without a book to your name, and the sky will not fall.  All I can tell you is that being able to add “author” to your list of accomplishments, being able to mail a copy of your book to people you want to work with or impress, and being able to give out or sell your book at events (which your book helped you book!) can move your business or professional reputation to another level–from good to great.

If you counter that fewer people are reading, that they are buying fewer books, that they are getting their information and entertainment from television, from cable, from social media, and especially  directly  from their electronic devices,  you’ll get no argument from me.  None of that takes away from my opening points:  your book is the ultimate marketing tool. It opens doors.  It establishes you as an expert.  Even if the target CEO or client just reads the front cover and turns it over to read the back cover–with  its (hopefully )explosive lift quote and positive blurbs–you will have made an impact.  And,  whether they skim it or read your book word for word, they will see you differently. Read more