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Chronic Blessings

Want to enjoy the life you are living, even as you face major life challenges?

Is your mind in and out of clarity? Is your body failing you? Can you ever find joy, peace, or fulfillment in these challenging conditions? The answer is a resounding YES.

Crystal Maddox searched for answers that were not coming; for a diagnosis to explain her symptoms. For nearly ten years Cristy and her husband Greg began researching and learning about an illness they had never heard of; Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. An illness effecting over 2 million Americans and 1 in every 100 teenagers!

This invisible intruder that not only places herself at risk but her children as well. Feeling isolated and misunderstood, Cristy shares how to grieves the loss of the life she once knew.

But now, Cristy brings her findings and insights to you in this powerful, honest, and often too-real story, providing answers to the many perplexing questions surrounding chronic illness. She takes you on a journey of learning the purpose of hardship, a better way to view pain and how to recycle it for good.

Are you ready to discover that your greatest joys in life may be hidden in your deepest heartache?

To download a copy of Cristy’s book, click on the link: Chronic-Blessings-by-Cristy-Maddox pdf

icon1July 18, 2018

Book Marketing Resources for Authors

When planning the launch of a book, there are a myriad of details to manage. This is a collection of invaluable resources for authors to use as samples and templates to manage a book marketing campaign, organized by book marketing expert Bryan Heathman, author of #1 Best Seller: Book Marketing Reinvented.

The book marketing tactics included here are described in detail in the book #1 Best Seller in comprehensive detail, if you have an interest in step-by-step details on how and when to implement these tactics during your book launch.

Press Release: when launching your book, an effective method of creating awareness is writing and circulating press release. For more detail, here is a helpful article on the process of writing a press release. Below are links to samples you can use to model your press release.

Winning an Award

Keyword Research: creating an inventory of keywords relevant to your book release in an excellent method of generating organic search to your book release. Here is an example of a keyword research study to use as a model for organizing keywords associated with your book release.

Media Kit: when requesting media appearances on radio and television stations, it is a best practice to create a Media Kit to tell the media producers what you have to say. Radio broadcast veteran Scott Hogle created a great example of a media kit which you can preview here.

Book Trailer Video: a book trailer video is typically a 30-90 second overview of a book, designed to get readers excited to read the book. Online video expert Dan Portik created this book trailer video to promote his book release.

Book Poster: creating a book poster to post in bookstores and book signing appearances is an excellent method to introduce your events to readers. Use this book poster as a resource to model to promote your upcoming book release. A best practice is to create a “white space” at the bottom of your poster to include details of your book signing such as “Author Signing October 24 at 3:00pm.”

Social Media Posts: creating a clever social media post to promote your book can be highly effective in letting your contacts know about your book release. Here is a sample of a highly effective social media post created by Scott Hogle to promote his book Persuade.

Blog Tour and Podcast Tour: planning a virtual tour to high traffic and influential blogs and podcast shows is one of the most powerful forms of book marketing. When embarking on a tour, it is suggested to do research to find high traffic blogs or podcast shows. Use this resource to plan your research when organizing potential bloggers and podcasters to approach.

Book Contests and Awards: getting an award for your book is some of the best press you can obtain for your book. Read this article on the process of applying for awards, complete with links to apply for an award.

May your book marketing efforts be met with great success!

icon1June 19, 2018

Stories from Which Legacies Are Made

When creating a legacy, it’s important to know what makes your story worth telling.

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with a local celebrity who spent a 40-year career as a television newscaster on the evening news. We met at a coffee house and talked about life over a steaming mug of coffee on a crisp fall morning. We share a mutual interest in photography and talked through the topic of taking good pictures of autumn colors, getting into details such as the old days of using polarizing filters with high contrast film versus the latest DSLR techniques.

He’s been retired for a short time and was giving thought to the legacy he wants to leave. He had a successful career, and millions of people know his work. As the glow of the studio lights has faded, he is left wanting more in this phase of life. This is where the question of legacy enters the picture. Should he write a book? What about touring as a speaker? Or should he focus on his love of photography?

These are all great questions. However, the biggest question should be this: WHY?

Upon reflecting on this meeting, the heart of the conversation was motivation — the reason for sharing a story. When you examine your motivation, it then leads to a “Why,” and what drives you. Then, the next question is how do you package your Why into a narrative that is so compelling that the next generation will be discussing your ideas.

Creating a legacy that will be relevant to the next generation requires an exceptional narrative — one that is not only highly memorable, but will change hearts and minds. The question remains: How do you take an extraordinary life experience and shape it into the written word for generations to enjoy?

When you want to use stories to pique the interest of your audience, you can ask yourself these three questions:

Will They Relate?

Do you have a message to which people can relate? Make sure your material speaks to a common pain or pleasure that your audience can feel with you.

We all likely have some obstacle that we’ve had to overcome to reach our potential. Think about your struggles and how they have shaped you into the person you are today. Did you go through a divorce as a child that gave you a deep empathy for others in the midst of family turmoil? Did you struggle with a chronic illness or disease that gave you a platform to share stories of hope amid pain? Did you experience incredible success as a result of following a philosophy? These are the testimonies that inspire people to go on and live their legacy.

Who Is This For?

Whose interest are you piquing? Consider your audience when you’re choosing your material.

If you are sharing a story from your childhood, consider speaking in classrooms, school assemblies, and college campuses. If that is out of your comfort zone, you might want to rethink the story you are telling and with whom you will have a voice of influence. Think about the different groups of people you can share with, i.e., students, athletes, cancer patients, business owners, etc., and how your story could potentially change their lives.

Is This Personal?

Are you saying it in a way that is relatable? Express your point in a way that is unique and personal. Make it your own, and share it with the world.

When you share an experience with a group of people, you will always have a few people that will be heavily influenced by your legacy. These people very well may go on to change the world themselves. As you are sharing or writing, remember to keep things approachable and relatable as best you can. Think about the audience you are sharing with, and how they will best receive what you are communicating. But most of all, be authentically YOU.

In the business of publishing & mass media exposure, the council to aspiring authors goes like this, “Never tell a story without making a point, and never make a point without telling a story.” The same goes for you, as you begin to craft your story and share your legacy. You just never know where your words will end up, or whose life will be changed.


Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing and the host of the Book Publishing Success podcast show. Bryan works with best-selling business authors, including NYT best-selling authors Chris Widener and Tom Hopkins, plus up-and-coming authors including Johnny Covey. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book on converting website visitors into buyers. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

icon1October 26, 2017

The 5 Steps to a 100 Year Legacy

I would be willing to bet that this is probably the first “how to” article you’ve read on how to become a legend. When we’re speaking of legends, I define it as a person of influence (author, speaker, musician, etc.) who is talked about 100 years from now.

Recently I spent some time with a legend with the making, a man with an amazing story. His name is Robert Katende, who grew up in a Ugandan slum after being orphaned at the age of 7. However, he didn’t allow his lack of resources to stop him from pursuing big dreams! He navigated life as a child to get an education by playing soccer, then proceeded to teach children in the very slum he vowed to escape how to play chess. One of his students, Phiona, became the Ugandan National Champion chess player at just 13 years old. Robert not only overcame his own adversity of raising himself with nothing to his name, but used his story to inspire and teach children life lessons through the game of chess. Now, his students have their own story to share with kids in their community.

But Robert’s story doesn’t stop there. His story is so deeply inspiring to all walks of life that Disney released a movie inspired from his work called Queen of Katwe. Disney found the inspiration for this story through a book, written by an author who was inspired by what he saw in Uganda. Robert went on to open a non-profit which provides impoverished children to a path out of poverty, catching the imagination of philanthropic billionaires.

It is amazing that through the story of Phiona, she has empowered millions of women of what can be accomplished. Raised in a society where it is atypical for a woman to simply ride a bike, Phiona’s story demonstrated that women can master intellectual challenges such as chess.

Then, much to my delight, enters one of Robert’s supporters. This supporter is a retired government worker who saw the movie and decided to express her legacy by supporting Robert’s work to end the poverty cycle in Africa. One of her contributions was to encourage Robert to focus his energies on the non-profit, while ensuring that Robert’s 3 girls would have their college expenses paid. What an amazing woman with a caring heart — knowing exactly how to give Robert peace-of-mind, so he could spend his days in the slums reaching children through teaching chess. We can see from Robert’s life that true legacy will draw the attention of future legacies, and that support often comes out of nowhere.

This is a picture of Legacy. Will Robert’s story pass the demands of time and still be discussed 100 years from now? Only time will tell.

So, what’s the recipe, or the step-by-step instructions, for creating a lasting legacy?

1. It Starts with Your Why

The bigger your why, the better your odds of success. Ensure that your vision for the future is linked to serving others in a selfless way. Once you establish what your vision is, then it is time to spread the message!

2. Write a Book, and Write it Well

Why a book? Books are timeless, last for generations and are a proven mechanism for spreading ideas. Publish it confidently, and watch your vision catch fire.

3. Speak to Others

Do media appearances, give speeches and get into the public eye. Invite others to catch your vision. People are drawn to passion, authenticity, and vulnerability. Make sure you are being true to who you are, and you will find that soon, other like-minded individuals will start rallying with you to support your vision.

4. Ask People to Join Your Cause

We call this a Tribe. Your Tribe can have 3 members or 3,000… it all depends on your vision. Bottom line is, people want to serve a picture of the future that is bigger than themselves. You are empowered to lead this group, just like Robert. As you live your story, you will see your story impact lives around you.

5. Lead with Confidence

Lead regular meetings for your Tribe and give them the benefit of being in your inner circle. Partner with people that can reach people you wouldn’t be able to reach by yourself. Give people a reason to become passionate about your cause, who you can train up to support their own vision.

This is the stuff of legends. Using your life story to impact, empower and raise up the next generation to follow in your footsteps. May we all strive to leave a legacy through our lives. Think about this idea: Creating a ceiling through your life story, which serves as the floor for the next generation to stand on.


Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the CEO of Made for Success Publishing and the host of the Book Publishing Success podcast show. Bryan works with best-selling business authors, including NYT best-selling authors Chris Widener and Tom Hopkins, plus up-and-coming authors including Todd Stottlemyre. Bryan is the author of #1 Best Seller: Book Marketing Reinvented, a marketing book on how to successful launch book to #1 best seller. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

icon1October 11, 2017

The Stuff of Legends

Napoleon Hill, Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn, Tony Robbins, Brendon Burchard. What do all these authors and speakers have in common? It’s not what you might think.

Every person on this list has either overcame tragedy, illness, or debt in order to build a legacy that will last for generations. Every person on this list has been faithful with the little things, building a foundation that won’t easily be shaken by the weight of fame. Every person on this list is just like you and me: ordinary people, who have chosen to attempt extraordinary things.

You might think that the most successful people either came from a wealthy home, had prestigious schooling, or a perfect home life. But these people have proven this theory wrong—every single one had to work hard, find what they truly believed in, and do whatever it took to make a way for themselves. Let’s take a look at how we can learn from these people and their legacy.


“Opportunity often comes disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat.” Napoleon Hill

Napoleon Hill, most famously know for “Think and Grow Rich,” knew well the sorrow of defeat that turned into the seed of success. After the passing of his mother, his father remarried and unknowingly gave Napoleon a great gift in disguise: his stepmother, Martha. She became a great source of wisdom, encouraging him that he was a intelligent young man that needed some guidance. She saw an author in him before he ever saw it himself, and encouraged him to use his overactive imagination to write. He went on to overcome more obstacles and became among the top 10 self-help authors of all time.

We are all undoubtedly familiar with motivational speaker Zig Ziglar, but did you know that he was pronounced dead nine days after birth? His grandmother prayed that he would not be taken from this earth, and he was revived in her arms. How amazing is it to know that a man who has had extraordinary success in his lifetime was not even expected to live past a few days old?

Pushing Past Rejection

Not only was Ziglar’s life a miracle from the beginning, but later on would endure rejection from THIRTY different publishers before Penguin went on to publish his first book, See You at the Top. It went on to sell over 250,000 copies!

He has been known to talk about his mother as a woman who overcame adversity, and instilled the values in him that developed his character before he ever had a platform. I’m sure she had something to do with his resiliency and perseverance.

You Have the Tools

“You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.” Jim Rohn

Jim Rohn, motivational speaker, author and entrepreneur, dropped out of college and was bankrupt at the age of 25. He met a man named Earl Shoaff, who ended up personally coaching him and teaching him invaluable lessons about working hard and finding your true passions. He started as a department store clerk, knowing that he had to do SOMETHING in order to start crawling up the stairs of success. In six years, he overcame bankruptcy to become a millionaire, inspiring people everywhere that there was no such thing as “too far gone.”

Rohn has influenced many, including Tony Robbins, author, entrepreneur and life coach. Robbins came from a poor family who struggled to get by and often couldn’t celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas. Despite his humble beginnings, he was inspired by Jim Rohn’s motivational seminars, and started out by promoting his products. He learned that it doesn’t matter where you came from or your financial situation—you always have resources to pull from and build upon. Tony has gone on to coach some of the world’s most high-profile people, including Oprah Winfrey, Andre Agassi, Bill Clinton, Paul Tudor Jones, Serena Williams, Leonardo DiCaprio, Nelson Mandela, Princess Diana, and Mother Teresa.

Take Initiative

Stephen Covey, author, educator and speaker of 7 Habits fame was on track to a promising athletic career when he discovered a condition causing degeneration in his legs, leaving him to walk with crutches for the next few years. This didn’t stop him, but only propelled him into his true calling: speaking and writing. He could have let his illness destroy him, but instead built a legacy that all of us are gleaning from today.

“The key is taking responsibility and initiative, deciding what your life is about and prioritizing your life around the most important things.” Stephen Covey

Start Dreaming

Brendon Burchard, author and motivational speaker, got in a horrible car accident at the age of 19. He explains the revelation after the accident as three questions that entered his mind: “Did I live? Did I love? Did I matter?” He knew that he was given a second chance to live, and wanted to look back on his life one day and see a legacy that mattered. He spent the next decade researching psychology and leadership, and went on to become a #1 best-selling author, performance coach, speaker and online educator.

“Imagine at the end of your life you are standing before your Creator, and He asks: Did you use the time I gifted you each day to be a purposeful being? Did you follow your own path and make your time count? How faithfully did you tend to the dream I sowed in your soul?” Excerpt from The Motivation Manifesto

The stories of these authors and speakers are both inspiring and motivating—we all have the tools with which we can build a legacy, regardless of where we are at currently. Whether it is an illness, death of a loved one, debt or accident, there is always a way we can turn our losses into a legacy. Let’s think back to the question we asked ourselves in the beginning of the series, and the challenge that Brendon Burchard’s story proposed:

What is it that you want to leave behind? What do you want to be known for?

There’s no better time to start dreaming, planning, and taking action in order to build your legacy.


Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing and the host of the Book Publishing Success podcast show. Bryan works with best-selling business authors, including NYT best-selling authors Chris Widener and Tom Hopkins, plus up-and-coming authors including Johnny Covey. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book on converting website visitors into buyers. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

icon1September 11, 2017

Write a Book in 90 Days: 8 Techniques to Overcome Resistance

Authors all over the world have been in this scenario more often than they would care to admit: they set a resolution to write a book by a certain date, but despite good intentions, motivation and discipline, the date slips by as their routines take over (going to the gym, being a great parent, keeping the boss happy, cleaning the house, etc.).

How often do you find yourself two months past your deadline and you haven’t checked a single thing off your writing list?

There’s a culprit here that we don’t like to talk about, and its name is resistance.

As Steven Pressfield wrote beautifully in the classic book The War of Art: Winning the Creative Battle, “Procrastination is the most common manifestation of Resistance because it’s the easiest to rationalize. We don’t tell ourselves, ‘I’m never going to write my symphony.’ Instead we say, ‘I am going to write my symphony; I’m just going to start tomorrow.’”

So, what’s your excuse?

Let’s go over eight techniques for overcoming resistance and finishing a manuscript in 90-days.

  1. Set goals (and keep them).When you don’t have a goal in mind, it’s easy to miss out on opportunities to write throughout the day. Set a daily or weekly word-count goal and write it in your schedule as something you MUST do. If you have an hour a day to write, make sure you sit down for an hour a day to write. If you miss a day, make it a point to make up that time the day after.
  2. Start small.When we start to implement goal-setting, it is important to remember that these goals don’t have to be huge. You can set a goal of 500 words per day, five days a week. This gets you to 10,000 in one month! Little chunks add up quickly, so don’t get hung up on the amount you “should” be writing. Break up your big goals to make them seem easier to achieve.

    If you don’t have the ability to write daily, commit to writing a few days per week or on weekends. Elliott Neff, the CEO of a fast-growing company called Chess4Life, makes it a priority to write on Thursday and Saturday mornings. He is averaging 2,000 words per week, and finds that when he gets “in the zone” that it’s difficult to stop! He loves the process of writing and cannot wait to get back into the story on the days that he doesn’t write.

  3. Time yourself and take breaks.There are a number of ways to manage your time effectively while giving yourself a mental break. You’ll need to learn what works best for you. Some find the 20-20-20 rule helpful: every 20 minutes, spend 20 seconds staring at something 20 feet away. Others use the task managing app called 30/30, which features a timer that will alert you to take a break after a set amount of time. Most will see that giving yourself breaks will boost productivity, so make it a priority to set a timer and get out of your head.
  4. Don’t get stuck—move on if you need to.Imagine how long it would take you to achieve your word count goals if you spent unnecessary time getting everything perfect the first go around. Remember: you can go back later and edit your work. If you’re stuck on a word or idea, put an asterisk or italicize the word that you’re tripped up on and come back to it later. Flow is important! Make sure you are writing consistently and not getting stuck.
  5. Set good boundaries.Boundaries are critical, especially if you work at home where it’s easy to get distracted. Tell your friends and family that you are not to be interrupted during your writing time. Shut the door if possible, set a timer, and tell your family that this period is important so you mustn’t be called on to answer a question. This tells everyone you are serious about your writing time, and you will be available after you’ve achieved your goal for the day.
  6. Go somewhere else.
    If it’s difficult to work at home, get out of the house and go somewhere you will not be distracted or interrupted. Go to a local coffee shop, library or book store and turn off your phone. Some people will find that they are more inspired when they get out of their normal environment!
  7. Do some brain dumping.If you’re having a hard time focusing, you likely have a million other things going on in your mind. Take five minutes and do an exercise called “brain dumping.” Write down every single thing that is weighing on your mind, whether consciously or not. Remember those “don’t let your pen leave the paper” tasks at school? This is just like that. When the things you’re writing starts getting redundant, it’s time to stop and get back to work.
  8. Overcome insecurity by declarations.Everybody struggles with insecurity, whether we like to admit it or not. If you’re entering into a project feeling like you’re not capable of doing a good job, stop and make a list of reasons why you are perfectly capable.
    • “I am born to do this.”
    • “My voice is powerful and it’s meant to be heard.”
    • “If I don’t tell this story, it will never be written.”

    Keep saying it until you start to believe it!

Scott Hogle recently wrote a book called Persuade: The 7 Empowering Laws of the SaleMaker, which he finished in just three months. Yes, THREE MONTHS. Not only did he make time in his days to write purposefully, but he did it on top of coaching his son’s basketball teams and working full-time as the VP of Sales for a radio station. It is possible to have a busy schedule and still finish a book in a short amount of time; you simply have to commit, set goals, and keep them.

No more excuses, it’s time to start writing!


Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the CEO of Made for Success Publishing and the host of the Book Publishing Success podcast show. Bryan works with best-selling business authors, including NYT best-selling authors Chris Widener and Tom Hopkins, plus up-and-coming authors including Todd Stottlemyre. Bryan is the author of #1 Best Seller: Book Marketing Reinvented, a marketing book on how to successful launch book to #1 best seller. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

icon1August 15, 2017

The Last Apostle Selected as a Carol Award Finalist

Dennis Brooke Selected as a Debut Author Finalist


Seattle, WA, June 26, 2017


Made for Success Publishing is pleased to announce that The Carol Award nominating committee has selected Dennis Brooke’s novel, The Last Apostle, as one of 3 finalists for the prestigious Debut Author category. The winner will be announced in September of 2017.


The Last Apostle is an award-winning Christian novel inspired by the Book of John that explores the fictional idea that the apostle John never dies. John, restored to his 30-year old body, is sent on a mission from God with a warning to never reveal his true identity. The book gives readers a unique view of John’s everyday life from ancient times, running for his life on the shores of the Mediterranean, to modern day Seattle, facing danger lurking around every corner, as a television series threatens to reveal the truth of John’s identity and bring about the Apocalypse.


The Carol Awards are the annual American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) recognition for the best of 2017 Christian fiction. In the past, recipients of this prestigious award have been represented by publishers including Bethany House, HarperCollins Christian, and Waterbrook. Previous winners of the Carol Awards include James Rubart, Kate Breslin, and Kathy Tyers.


Bryan Heathman, President of Made for Success Publishing, says: “The Last Apostle is a story I felt was destined for greatness from the first time reading the original manuscript. The story is thought provoking, emotional, and adventurous. We are pleased that the Carol Awards have recognized this author’s story which takes readers from ancient times on the shores of the Mediterranean to modern day.”


About Made for Success Publishing


Made for Success Publishing has published books and audiobooks since 2005 for authors with extraordinary stories, including best-selling works from the late Zig Ziglar, Todd Stottlemyre and Christopher Glyn. Made for Success Publishing focuses on combining great writing with marketing to produce world-class results. You Tell the Story. We Tell the World.


2017 Made for Success Publishing # 425-525-6480#

icon1July 12, 2017

Goodreads Giveaway

Enter to win Todd Stottlemyre’s new book,
Relentless Success.

What are people saying about Todd’s book?

“This is one of the best reads I’ve read in a long time. Todds personal story I’ve heard but his attitude to never quit is so inspiring. Thank you Todd for being the leader that you are and inspiring me to never give up!!!”

“I’ve heard some of these stories, but never in this much detail. I now know why this man achieves success in everything that he does. One of the most inspiring books I’ve ever read! It will be one I read over and over again!”

“This is one of the most inspirational books I have read in a long time! I usually get bored half way through any book and I couldn’t put it down. The passion and intensity that Todd lives is expressed in a way that you feel it to the core when you read the book. I appreciate so much the honesty in his words – I laughed, cried and was so incredibly inspired. If you are needing a kick in the butt and a new or renewed focus – you must read this book. Highly Recommed!!”

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Relentless Success by Todd Stottlemyre

by Todd Stottlemyre

Giveaway ends July 15, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

icon1July 12, 2017

3 Tips to Becoming a Successful Mentor


Ah, the sweet smell of success! It hovers around you like a fine cologne. When you enter the room, heads turn. People gravitate toward you, clamoring for your time and attention, seeking your advice on make-or-break issues that have taken you years of experience to master.

How did it come to this? When did you become the go-to guy or gal in your field? More importantly, now that you are irreplaceable, how do you plan to replace yourself when the time comes? What will be your legacy?

When you were first starting out, before you gained this rarefied level of experience, you knew you had to find someone with more knowledge about your topic than you. You needed a mentor—someone to cut short your learning curve and guide you through the subtleties of your craft.

Whether consciously or by default, you became someone’s protégé. Your mentor taught you well, letting you fall down when you needed to and helping you get back up, brushing off the sting of embarrassment.

Feedback is a gift,“ you were told. “Accept it graciously, and give thanks.” There are times you gladly would have smacked your mentor with that precious “feedback!” Now you merely chuckle at the memory.

Since those early days you have been on quite a journey, and now you have a tale to tell about your adventures. Just as in the Hero’s Journey, you departed from your known world, crossed the threshold of adventure, and returned home again with the Golden Key. The spoils of victory are yours to share with others.

In other words, you are ready for the task of mentoring a protégé yourself—someone to carry on your work. You have a chance to leave a legacy for the next generation and help shape the course of history.

It sounds great, but where do you start? Like most things, mentoring a protégé requires a systematic approach including an intention, an ideal candidate, and a clear goal.

The Shape of Mentoring

Few things are more rewarding than guiding someone else through the maze of knowledge about your chosen field. Arguably, the mentor-protégé relationship is the ultimate teaching experience.

You can transfer your accumulated ideas and experience to someone else, and both you and your protégé will benefit materially and in intangible ways. Your protégé becomes a link in the chain of human history, and as a mentor, you leave the best kind of legacy.

Protégés are common in the realm of commerce and more. Across a variety of industries, experienced professionals routinely adopt a protégé and provide coaching on their best practices. Business, manufacturing, construction, medicine, religion and the entertainment industry all make use of mentoring as a standard practice.

The mentor-protégé connection can be formal or informal. Formal mentoring programs are usually found within a company, an organization or industry. Informal relationships abound as well but tend to fly under the radar of common notice.

The Service Corps of Retired Executives is a great example of an established formal mentoring program. Retired business executives invest their time and expertise in developing protégés in the business sector. They come from every sector, every walk of life, and they represent a rich reservoir of experience to tap.

With informal mentoring, relationships tend to develop naturally, even spontaneously, when an experienced professional provides guidance and help to a newcomer.

This kind of mentoring can be effective, but it may suffer from a lack of structure unless the mentor-protégé pair set concrete and realistic goals.

Having a definite timeline and end-game will ensure the relationship’s viability. Like most projects, success is within reach only with a clear, written set of tasks and milestones. As a mentor, your calendar and To-Do list are your greatest allies. These tools can be your best gift to your new protégé as well.

You don’t have to be a great guru to have something worthwhile to offer as a mentor. With your experience in a skill or industry, you can help someone new to your field. Watching new talent unfold could be one of your greatest pleasures.

3 Tips for Mentoring Success

Here are some key ideas to keep in mind as you begin your mentoring journey.

  1. Mentoring is a partnership. It allows for an exchange of ideas, and the exchange needs to flow both ways. Each party must be committed and fully participate in order to learn from each other.
  2. Besides skills and business behaviors, your protégé will acquire attitudes from you. A positive frame of mind is essential to success as a mentor.
  3. Stay open to new ideas which invariably come up during the process. Encourage dialogue, exchange, and inspiration. Tap your protégé for the skills they’d like to learn, and you might even be surprised at the things you learn along the journey.

As you take on your role as mentor, focus on activities and actions that help your protégé become more independent. Don’t just hand them success. They need to succeed on their own merits, not by riding your coattails.

When you coach a young protégé to success, you’re leaving a lasting legacy, and the future belongs to both of you.

Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing and the host of the Book Publishing Success podcast show. Bryan works with best-selling business authors, including NYT best-selling authors Chris Widener and Tom Hopkins, plus up-and-coming authors including Johnny Covey. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book on converting website visitors into buyers. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

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icon1May 24, 2017

The Freedom to Live – Conclusion to The Hero’s Journey Framework for Non-Fiction Writing


If you could speak to your younger self, knowing what you know now, what would you say? Would you have advice for achieving success, a shortcut around obstacles to make a quick victory? Would yours be a cautionary tale, steering the old you away from a dangerous choice at a momentous fork in the road?

I was recently in Honolulu and accepted a breakfast meeting with a platform speaker from the Get Motivated stage. It had been a while since being in Waikiki, so I picked a beach restaurant and promptly ordered macadamia nut pancakes (with coconut syrup). Instantly, the childhood memories of Waikiki beach came flooding back. While enjoying our breakfast, the professional speaker I was meeting made an interesting comment which caught my attention. He leans in and says, “Isn’t life funny? Just when you get life figured out, then there you are at the end of your career.”

This single comment illustrates the heart of the Hero’s Journey writing framework. When designing this writing framework, we wanted to help authors pen compelling non-fiction books which will teach lessons through the lens of a gripping story. And the beauty is, you don’t have to wait until the end of your career to share your wisdom with others. With this non-fiction writing framework, you now have a plan engineered to write a compelling book within three months…even on top of a busy schedule.

Such advice, such as talking to your younger self, is the stuff of legends. Such action is the content of the Hero’s Journey, the classic structure that binds myths and legends, fables and parables together. The hero travels a difficult road, returns home wiser, and offers the benefit of his trials to others.

As an author, you can use this modified Hero’s Journey plan to craft your work of non-fiction and illustrate the core of your message in a fresh and engaging way. This series on the Hero’s Journey has demonstrated step-by-step how this is possible and how you can leverage storytelling in your work.

A hero is someone who has given himself to a cause that’s bigger than himself. He pursues it then returns to his old life to share his experiences with others.

The hero goes on an adventure beyond his everyday world into a place of wonder. He encounters fabulous forces, pursues a goal, and wins a decisive victory.

In this series, we’ve examined the Hero’s Journey. It has taken him over a threshold at the start of his adventure then back across it as he returns to his old life. Now we see what the journey has made of him. He comes back from the adventure transformed and ready to share the power of his experiences with those back home.

The Hero’s Journey is about coming of age, maturing and reaching a new level. It’s a metaphor for the death of the old self and birth of the new. It’s about leaving one condition and acquiring another.

When he goes back to his world with his new wisdom and power, the hero offers it as a gift to his old companions. He is also free from the burden of pursuing the goal now that he’s met it. He is free to live as he chooses.

There’s No Place Like Home

As we’ve studied the Hero’s Journey, we’ve watched it unfold for Dorothy in the Land of Oz in the timeless favorite by L. Frank Baum. Her travels represent the classic tale of transformation as she pursues her goal to help her friends and then return home to Kansas.

In our last installment, we saw that Dorothy had met her goal, bid a tearful goodbye to her friends, and commanded the magical silver slippers to carry her back home to Aunt Em in Kansas.

Instantly Dorothy was whirling through the air and flying over the desert that separated Kansas from the Land of Oz. She tumbled onto the grass of the Kansas prairie, momentarily stunned. She was home.

Life in Kansas had gone on without her while she’d been away on her adventure in the Emerald City. Uncle Henry had built a new house to replace the one carried away in the tornado. Aunt Em was watering the cabbages when Dorothy returned, going about life as usual. What had once seemed mundane was now charming, even comforting.

But we sense that, more importantly, Dorothy has grown. Though the farm seems the same, Dorothy herself is different. She has gained a new appreciation for the common things of her life in Kansas.

Aunt Em is stunned when she sees Dorothy running toward her. She covers the girl with kisses and asks where she’s been. Dorothy simply replies that she’s been in the Land of Oz. She brings a grounded sense of self with her, and she shares her fresh perspective when she blurts out, “Oh, Aunt Em! I’m so glad to be home again!”

By the same token, Dorothy brings her adventures in the Land of Oz back home with her. Her adventures with the Scarecrow, Tinman, and Lion live on inside her, and she is forever transformed. Her new perspective wouldn’t be possible without them. Just as her travels changed the lives of her friends, her travels in Oz have changed her forever too.

As the adventure draws to a close, the author leads us to believe that Dorothy can never return to the Land of Oz. Her magic slippers were lost in the desert on her way home. Like the Wizard of Oz before her, Dorothy’s adventure has come to an end. She is free to live the life she chooses.

L. Frank Baum went on to write several more books about Oz, including Dorothy, the other original characters, and many more. Though this adventure is complete, the story of Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz lives on inside each of us who have shared in the journey of this classic story.

After all, there’s no place like home.

5 Steps to Conclude the Hero’s Journey

  1. Affirm that the hero has returned across the journey’s threshold and come back home.
  2. Reunite the hero with characters from his old life.
  3. Briefly convey where the hero has been.
  4. Offer the hero’s fresh perspective.
  5. End the journey.

Using the framework of the Hero’s Journey is a compelling structure for non-fiction authors. Using the revised non-fiction writing framework presented in this series, your writing will have the substance of a thousand tales. It harkens to something primordial in all of us. It speaks to us of transformation and the path to your legacy.

Most of all, it serves as a touchstone so that we may know ourselves just a little better. Writing is funny in that the authors themselves become transformed through their writing journey. Now that we’ve come full circle, what kind of adventure will you craft for your non-fiction book?

Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing and the host of the Book Publishing Success podcast show. Bryan works with best-selling business authors, including NYT best-selling authors Chris Widener and Tom Hopkins, plus up-and-coming authors including Johnny Covey. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book on converting website visitors into buyers. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

icon1May 1, 2017

The Return Threshold: The Non-Fiction Writer’s Guide to The Hero’s Journey


From the world of entertainment to the hallowed halls of our oldest universities, Story is king. The same can be said of professional speakers and best-selling authors.

Stories have the ability to teach us, entertain us, and help us see through a window into another world. Even the bedtime tales that kids devour have their roots in the ancient traditions of storytelling.

One thing that almost all stories have in common is their basis in the Hero’s Journey, a thread that has been woven through myths and legends since ancient times. The Hero’s Journey is what makes up the fabric of stories.

In our previous installment of this series, we examined the part of the Hero’s Journey called the Magic Flight. This is where the hero begins the final stage of his adventure to go home again.

His journey has taken him back to the threshold he crossed at the start of his adventure. Now he stands on the brink, ready to launch across it and go back to his old life.

But crossing the Return Threshold is another matter. Now that the hero has completed the adventure and is wiser/richer for the experience, he must endure the shock of his return to the world or everyday life. His newfound knowledge has its cost, and he is required to pay it.

Back to Kansas

In this series, we’ve been following the travels of Dorothy in the Land of Oz to illustrate the Hero’s Journey. We’ve seen that Dorothy’s Magic Flight is literal—a flight through the air. She and her friends, the Scarecrow, Tinman, and Lion are carried by the Winged Monkeys to the Land of the South. The monkeys take Dorothy to see Glinda the Good Witch. The monkeys’ mystical power helps Dorothy and her comrades transcend their trials.

When Dorothy and her friends finally reach Glinda’s castle, the Witch offers Dorothy the first real hope of seeing home again. There is just one more task to complete before Dorothy is assured of crossing the return threshold.

When Dorothy killed the Wicked Witch of the West by dousing her with a pale of water, the girl inherited the Golden Cap. This gave her three wishes from the Winged Monkeys—or at least it gave her the ability to summon them three times.

Now that Dorothy is leaving the Land of Oz, the one thing Glinda the Good requires is the Golden Cap. Dorothy must hand it over in exchange for the ability to cross the Return Threshold and go back to Kansas.

Dorothy complies willingly and hands the cap to Glinda. If this is the cost of going home again, she is more than glad to pay it.

The Witch asks the Scarecrow, Tinman, and Lion what they will do when Dorothy leaves. They each have acquired a kingdom to rule, but they don’t know how to get past the obstacles that lie between them and their destinations. Glinda promises she will command the Winged Monkeys to carry them to their respective kingdoms. She then turns her attention to Dorothy.

What Dorothy discovers is that she’s had the ability to go home all along. Glinda reveals that the silver slippers she acquired on arriving in Oz can take Dorothy anywhere she wants to go. (Yes, it’s true: they’re ruby slippers in the movie “The Wizard of Oz.”)

Dorothy’s friends protest that if not for her, the Lion would still be cowardly, the Tinman would have no heart, and the Scarecrow would have no brain. They show that her adventure has had deep meaning and has changed their lives forever.

Glinda teaches Dorothy that all she has to do is click her heels together and command the shoes to carry her. She will be magically transported back home. She can go at any time.

Dorothy bids a tearful goodbye to her friends, the Scarecrow, Tinman, and Lion, not knowing if she will ever see them again. Holding on tightly to Toto, she clicks her heels together and commands the shoes to carry her back home to her Aunt Em in Kansas.

Instantly Dorothy is whirling through the air, flying across the desert. All she can sense is a blur as the scenery passes and the air rushes in her ears. In a moment, she tumbles onto the grass and lies there briefly, stunned.

When she gets up, Dorothy sees that she is standing on the wide Kansas prairie. Her Uncle Henry has built a new house to replace the one that carried Dorothy away in the tornado. In fact, Dorothy sees that while she has been having an adventure of her own, life in Kansas has gone on without her.

She has crossed the threshold and now must endure the shock of her return, however pleasant it may be. She also discovers that there is no going back to Oz, for the silver slippers were lost in the desert.

5 Steps for Crossing the Return Threshold

  1. The hero arrives at the threshold of the old world or daily life.
  2. The hero is met by his mentor or helper, who has one final requirement.
  3. The hero meets the mentor’s request, wraps up loose ends and bids farewell to his life in the new world.
  4. The hero makes the trek across the Return Threshold.
  5. The hero bears the shock of the changes that have happened while he was gone.

Crossing the Return Threshold can be a matter of a long trek or a few quick steps, whatever serves your story best.

As your Hero’s Journey concludes, it will be clear that your hero has been shaped by his adventure to another world. It’s up to him to share the boon of his wisdom with those back home. We’ll cover just how to do this in our next article, the final chapter in the Hero’s Journey guide to writing a non-fiction book.

Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing and the host of the Book Publishing Success podcast show. Bryan works with best-selling business authors, including NYT best-selling authors Chris Widener and Tom Hopkins, plus up-and-coming authors including Johnny Covey. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book on converting website visitors into buyers. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

Sales and Success App
Take the first step to unlocking your sales potential. Sales & Success by Made For Success is an all-in-one storefront, personal library and audio player focused on enabling and coaching your sales talents with world-class speakers. Hundreds of hours of insight and experience at your fingertips. Download now from the App Store

icon1April 25, 2017

The Magic Flight: The Non-Fiction Writer’s Guide to The Hero’s Journey

Magic Story

The power of story is unmatched for conveying simple truths in a work of non-fiction. As an author, even though you may have hard facts to convey, storytelling can be your greatest ally. The practice of teaching through parables is thousands of years old.

In this series, we have been looking at The Hero’s Journey and how you can leverage this classic storytelling tool for getting your point across. By utilizing an established series of steps, you can craft a story of your own to touch your readers in a unique and compelling way. Your well-crafted story may even give them the gift of a lifetime, an unforgettable education about your topic.

The Hero’s Journey abounds with drama and adventure. There are real world encounters with both the magnificent and the mundane. There are questions of the hero’s merit, as well as powerful intervention.

Likewise, the hero encounters the duality of the internal and external. He battles against villains in the physical realm and his own idiosyncrasies as he quests to reach his goal and return home again. It’s only with the help of external forces and personal growth that he can accomplish his mission.

So far in this series, we’ve taken a look at the hero’s adventure as he leaves home, embarks on his journey, and endures a series of trials. Now he has returned to his mentor to collect the spoils he was promised, and he begins the task of returning home.

But, we discover that the spoils are not easily had. The promise is unfulfilled, and the hero has to find his own way back across the threshold—back home.

This trip along the alternative route is known as the Magic Flight, and it often comes as a surprise. It’s the hero’s Plan B, the miracle born of necessity. But unlike his Plan A, once this road is traveled, we know that this time the hero is truly homeward bound.

Let’s take a look now at the Magic Flight in practice.

Flight to the Golden Castle

We’ve been following the travels of Dorothy in the Land of Oz, using this story as a classic use of the Hero’s Journey for your minds-eye. At this point, Dorothy struggles to get home. Dorothy and her companions—the Scarecrow, Tinman, and Lion—have endured the Road of Trials. They killed the Wicked Witch of the West, then returned to Oz to confront the Wizard and collect their respective rewards. For Dorothy, it’s time to go home.

Dorothy and the Wizard have decided to travel together back to Kansas in a hot air balloon. The Wizard has left the Scarecrow in command of the Emerald City and the throne of Oz, with complete control over its bounty.

Such a gift as this is known as the Ultimate Boon, the greatest gift that can be bestowed on a mortal. In this case, it’s given to the Scarecrow because, of all the companions, he is the most intelligent—and the most available.

Dorothy says a tearful goodbye to the Scarecrow, the Tinman, and the Lion. She will miss them terribly, and they are deeply loyal to her as well.

Yet despite their preparations, things do not turn out the way they planned. At the last minute, the dog Toto runs into the crowd to chase a kitten. Dorothy can’t return home without him, and she leaves the balloon to retrieve him.

The balloon’s basket is tugging at the ropes, and it breaks free. The balloon launches itself, taking with it the Wizard of Oz and all of Dorothy’s hopes to return to Kansas.

Even though the Scarecrow is given the throne of Oz, he is loyal to Dorothy. If not for her help, he would still be in a cornfield with a pole stuck up his back. The Tinman and the Lion also feel indebted to her and want to help her return to Kansas.

Dorothy is devastated, believing she will never see her home again. She’s forgotten that along the Road of Trials she was given the Golden Cap. This is a magical token that grants her the right to make three commands of the Winged Monkeys.

This godlike power corresponds to the part of the Hero’s Journey where the hero is given supreme power, even if only temporarily. Dorothy’s hope returns only when the Scarecrow reminds her that she is the owner of the Golden Cap.

Dorothy conjures the Winged Monkeys and asks their king to carry her across the desert back to Kansas. However, the Monkey King tells her they are unable to leave the Land of Oz, and once again Dorothy’s hopes are dashed.

Dorothy and her companions are at a loss for what to do; they clearly need more help. They decide to travel to see Glinda the Good Witch in the land of the south and get her advice. After all, she is the one who launched Dorothy on the Yellow Brick Road to begin with.

Along the journey, the companions have still more adventures. They overcome nearly all obstacles by using their cunning, loyalty, and a spirit of cooperation.

There is only one obstacle they can’t overcome by themselves. Their way is blocked by a strange people called the Hammer Heads. These creatures have long necks and flat heads and attack the travelers whenever they try to pass.

Dorothy uses the Golden Cap one last time to call upon the Winged Monkeys. She asks their king to carry them to Glinda’s realm in the south.

This part of the Hero’s Journey is called the Magic Flight where the hero begins the final stage of his adventure. His journey back to the threshold and ultimately home again is supported by supernatural or superhuman powers.

For Dorothy, the Magic Flight is literally a flight through the air as the Winged Monkeys carry her and her friends to the Land of the South. Although the monkeys couldn’t carry Dorothy across the desert and back to Kansas, they do have the ability to take her to see Glinda the Good. Their mystical power helps Dorothy and her comrades transcend their trials.

In non-fiction storytelling, the Magic Flight could come in many different flavors—a lucky break, a chance meeting with the CEO, a breakthrough, an investor, a school principal, a lucrative patent, a president or a king. You can use many vehicles to bring the Magic Flight to bear in your writing.

5 Steps to the Magic Flight

  1. Establish the hero’s disappointed hopes in achieving his goal.
  2. Reinforce the hero’s worthiness to reach the goal, including the loyalty of his companions.
  3. Launch a new strategy for the hero’s return.
  4. Frustrate the hero’s efforts.
  5. Demonstrate how superhuman forces help the hero by means of a Magic Flight.

When Dorothy and her friends finally reach Glinda’s castle, the Witch offers Dorothy her first real hope of seeing her home again. In the Oz story, there is just one more task to complete, and Dorothy will be assured of crossing the return threshold. How will she achieve it?

By using these storytelling techniques in your non-fiction writing, your readers will be riveted, and coveted book awards are just around the corner.

icon1April 17, 2017

Book Award for “Two Stories About Dreams” Audiobook

Two Stories About Dreams-New Apple Award

Made for Success Publishing Author Ainny Klover Receives 2016 New Apple Book Award for Excellence in Independent Publishing for Two Stories About Dreams.


Author Ainny Klover is Recognized for Magical Tales Published in Audiobook Format


Seattle, WA, April 13, 2017



Author Ainny Klover’s audiobook, Two Stories About Dreams, has received the prestigious 2016 New Apple Book Award for Excellence in Independent Publishing. The ethereal audio program includes The Hunter and the Dame and Fairy Trap. This is the first award the author has received.


The award galvanizes the enthusiastic reception the work has received from enchanted listeners on Numerous 5-star reviews are peppered with words such as romantic, delightful, imaginative and brilliant.


With Two Stories About Dreams, two enchanting stories are brought together in a single audiobook. In The Hunter and the Dame, a young hunter travels to Sun City, seeking a night’s lodging. What starts as a simple journey becomes the ultimate test of his mettle as he defeats a dragon and loses his heart to a woman who possesses both beauty and nobility. But did it all happen just as it seemed?


Fairy Trap highlights the journey of a traveler on a night tram. He drifts into sleep and falls prey to three enchantresses who vie to seduce him. Will there be a winner? And does he truly awaken? The traveler learns that sometimes dreams linger on.


Bryan Heathman, President of Made for Success Publishing, says: “Prior to the audiobook release, we knew this was going to be a hit. The quality of the writing is exceptional, and the production values are high.” Heathman goes on to add, “Working with Klover on such a unique project was a pleasure.”


About Made for Success Publishing


Made for Success Publishing works with motivated authors worldwide to produce successful book releases. By combining proven book marketing strategies with enhanced retail promotion, Made for Success Publishing works with authors on the launch of physical books, eBooks, and audiobooks.  You Tell the Story.  We Tell the World.


About the Author


Ainny Klover was born was Moscow, Russia, studied applied mathematics at Moscow State University, and after obtaining his Ph.D. moved to the UK, then to Australia, and finally settled in the UK. His lifelong interest is music-making. In 2012, Ainny was challenged by a friend to write a short story. He took up the challenge but went a step further writing two and mixing them with the original music to create Two Stories About Dreams.


For more from Ainny Klover, like him on Facebook, or check out his Amazon Author Page.


Click here to learn more about Two Stories About Dreams.


Available Formats: Audiobook

Publishing House: Made for Success, Inc. and Blackstone Audio

Available for purchase: Everywhere audiobooks are sold


icon1April 12, 2017

Meeting with the Mentor: Writing Tips to the Hero’s Journey


Life doesn’t always give you what you expect. Sometimes you do everything right, just the way you’re supposed to, but things don’t turn out the way you planned.

If you’re a speaker or non-fiction author who’s using the device of storytelling to make your point, the Hero’s Journey gives a compelling blueprint for crafting your tale. You can grip your audience and leave a lasting impression with the power of a compelling story.

In our last article, The Road of Trials, we saw that our hero was on the brink of earning the right to return home. But first, he must work hard to earn it to earn that right. The task seemed impossible, but the hero launched into it nonetheless.

After you write about the twisting, turning Road of Trials, the hero reached the end of his journey and returned to meet up with a wise and powerful helper, or Mentor. This wise one could grant the hero his greatest wish which is what fueled the hero on his tortuous path.

No matter how much the hero may struggle, his cunning, ingenuity and personal strength have seen him through. The help of unseen forces has paved the way. Now the hero returns to claim the reward that should, by all rights, be his.

When all the barriers have been overcome, the Mentor agrees to meet the hero. It’s at this point that we now find our hero face to face with the Mentor. This is the final test of talent for the hero to win the boon, the prize that has motivated him throughout his entire journey.

As you write, your Mentor represents the totality of what can be known about the hero’s goal and his struggles to reach it. If the hero has done well, then he has earned an audience with the Mentor and expects to be rewarded. His expectations may or may not be met, as this is at your discretion. But the audience with the Mentor is the device that fuels the story forward.

The Wizard ain’t a Wizard

In this series of writing tips to create a compelling story arc for non-fiction writers, we’ve been following the trials and triumphs of Dorothy in the Land of Oz. We use the Wizard of Oz story to help create a mental picture, or framework if you will, while you create your story.

Dorothy and her companions traveled to the Emerald City to ask the great Wizard to grant their wishes. The Scarecrow is seeking a brain, the Tinman wants a heart, and the Lion wants courage. Dorothy’s only wish is to return home to Kansas.

For each request, the Wizard of Oz gave them the same task: kill the Wicked Witch of the West. This seemed not only impossible to the travelers, but to the Wizard himself.

We only learn this last tidbit when the heroes return to the Emerald City triumphant and the Wizard demurs. The companions bring news that the Wicked Witch is dead, melted when Dorothy threw a pale of water on her. Can you picture the “I’m melting!” scene? But the Wizard plays hard to get.

Now, check-out the plot twist the writer of the Oz story throws into his tale…

The companions expect to have an audience with the Wizard right away, though they are disappointed. Several days pass without word from him until finally they grow impatient and demand to see him at once. They threaten to enlist the aid of the Winged Monkeys against the Wizard if he won’t grant them an audience.

Ignore the Man Behind the Curtain

Properly subdued, the Wizard agrees to see the travelers. Much to their surprise, they are led into the throne room of the Great and Powerful Oz only to find a common man hiding behind a screen.

Dorothy and the others find out that the Wizard of Oz is really just a humbug. The Wizard agrees. He even tells them, “I’m really a very good man, but I’m a very bad Wizard, I must admit.”

At this point in their adventure, the Wizard tells them the story of how he came from Omaha quite unexpectedly one day. He was working at a fair when he lost control of his hot air balloon. The wind carried him for a day and night over a vast desert, and then the balloon gently touched down in the Land of Oz.

The people of Oz assumed he was a Wizard since he came from the clouds. He let them think so because they feared and respected him, and it suited his purposes. They made him their ruler, so he ordered them to build him a palace along with the Emerald City.

The city is a beautiful place abundant in jewels, precious metals, and “every good thing that is needed to make one happy.” The Wizard’s only fear has been the Wicked Witches (poor misunderstood Elphaba) and the fear of getting found out as a humbug, not a Wizard.

Once he tells Dorothy and her friends his story, they’re moved with compassion. Then Oz grants the wishes of Dorothy’s traveling companions, drawing upon the contents of his cupboard. He bestows courage on the Cowardly Lion, gives a heart to the Tinman and brains to the Scarecrow.

Despite his best efforts, the Wizard despairs. “It will take more than imagination to carry Dorothy back to Kansas, and I’m sure I don’t know how it can be done.”

Just as Dorothy begins to despair that she won’t be able to return home, the Wizard comes up with a plan. He will make a new hot air balloon and pilot Dorothy back across the desert, leaving the wise Scarecrow to govern the Emerald City in his place.

The city is abuzz with activity as Dorothy and Oz prepare to make the journey home. On the point of departure, though, a sudden twist of fate means Dorothy must stay behind and the Wizard of Oz must travel across the desert alone.

5 Steps for Meeting with the Mentor

For your hero to meet with the Mentor, here are five things you can do:

  1. Upon returning from the Road of Trials, the hero seeks an audience with the Mentor to claim his reward.
  2. The hero meets with the Mentor.
  3. The Mentor proposes the method that will allow the hero to receive his reward.
  4. Preparations are made for the hero’s reward.
  5. Despite the promise of fulfillment, the hero must continue his journey and travel back across the threshold the way he came.

So, you may be asking why does your story need all these twists and turns to the plot? This is a tool called Creative Tension. It gets your reader emotionally invested in the story and they insert themselves into the plot.

Though at first it seemed the four companions would get none of what they wished for, Oz used the wisdom of his years to create a plan to grant each of their requests. The Scarecrow, Tinman, and Lion were all given the gifts they’d always wanted.

And as for Dorothy? She very nearly goes home with the Wizard, but for one final mishap. This Hero’s Journey is nearly done, but not quite. Coming up, you’ll discover how the writer creates the Ultimate Boon. Stay tuned!

Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing and the host of the Book Publishing Success podcast show. Bryan works with best-selling business authors, including NYT best-selling authors Chris Widener and Tom Hopkins, plus up-and-coming authors including Johnny Covey. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book on converting website visitors into buyers. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

Sales and Success App
Take the first step to unlocking your sales potential. Sales & Success by Made For Success is an all-in-one storefront, personal library and audio player focused on enabling and coaching your sales talents with world-class speakers. Hundreds of hours of insight and experience at your fingertips. Download now from the App Store

icon1April 6, 2017

The Road of Trials (On the Hero’s Journey)

Road of Trials

“In the grand scheme of things,” an author once told me, “there are no mistakes, only tests and lessons.” She was talking about a chapter from her own life—a trip along what I call the Road of Trials—but the principle can easily be applied as we trace the Hero’s Journey.

In fact and fiction, a single choice can mean the difference between comfort and toil, between wealth and poverty, even between life and death.

So far we have taken a detailed look at the craft of storytelling as it applies to the world of non-fiction and keynote speaking.

We met a hero, watched him leave home on an adventure, and have seen him in his darkest hour. But the tests are far from over. In fact, the pressure increases as the hero journeys along the Road of Trials.

This part of the adventure unfolds as the hero meets a series of seemingly unconquerable challenges in his quest to meet his ultimate goal. These might be deliberately designed to test him, or they may be incidental, a by-product of the adventure itself.

Would You Believe… Flying Monkeys?

One classic illustration of the Hero’s Journey can be found in “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum, as young Dorothy tries to get back to her home in Kansas from the Land of Oz.

As she travels along the Yellow Brick Road with her companions, the Scarecrow, the Tinman and the Cowardly Lion, Dorothy is thrust into a series of cataclysms that test her character and threaten her life. These trials ultimately teach her the lesson—the story’s theme—There’s no place like home.”

After her darkest hour, Dorothy and her friends finally arrive at the Emerald City. With some difficulty and a bit of delay, they’re granted an audience with the great and powerful Wizard of Oz.

They each ask for his help, but they all are given the same task before they can get satisfaction: kill the Wicked Witch of the West.

All of them, in turn, believe this is impossible, and they despair over this impossible task. After all, the Wicked Witch has great power. Nonetheless, the four companions (plus Dorothy’s dog Toto, of course) set out to find the Wicked Witch.

As Dorothy and her friends enter the Witch’s realm, she discovers the travelers and sends a pack of forty savage wolves to destroy them. But the Witch hadn’t counted on the Tinman’s ax, and the wolves are the ones who meet with a bad end.

Next, the Witch sends forty crows to peck at them, but the Scarecrow dispatches them.

The Witch becomes even angrier and sends a swarm of bees to sting the travelers to death – enough bees to darken the sky. But the Tinman uses the Scarecrow’s straw to cover Dorothy, Toto, and the Lion.

The bees find only the Tinman to attack, which proves to be their undoing. Bees can’t live once they have lost their stingers.

Finally, in desperation, the Wicked Witch of the West summons a band of flying monkeys. They do her bidding to destroy the Scarecrow and Tinman, and they capture the Lion, as she commanded.

But the monkeys are unable to harm Dorothy or her little dog because she has the protection of Glinda, the Good Witch who welcomed her to Oz.

It seems that all is lost and Dorothy is doomed to live out her days as a slave in the Witch’s castle. However, one day the Witch provokes her and makes her so angry that Dorothy throws a bucket of water on the Witch.

Little did the girl know that this is the one thing that could kill the Wicked Witch of the West. She melts into a puddle like brown sugar, and the whole kingdom is liberated.

With a little help, Dorothy frees the Lion, has the Tinman restored, and re-stuffs the Scarecrow. After their happy reunion, the companions set out to confront the all-powerful Wizard of Oz and claim what he has promised them.

5 Steps to the Planning the Road of Trials for Your Non-Fiction Book

To place your hero on the Road of Trials, here are five things you can do to outline your non-fiction manuscript.

  1. Re-state your hero’s goal.
  2. Your hero meets with an agent who has the power to help with the goal.
  3. Your hero is given a task or a set of tasks to complete before the aid is given.
  4. The hero travels along the Road of Trials and succeeds with the help of advice, protection or objects he received from his mentor.
  5. The hero completes the tasks and returns to meet the goal.

No matter how much your hero may struggle, his cunning, ingenuity and personal strength will see him through. The Navy Seals have a saying: “When your brain tells you that you’ve given it your all, you’ve only given 40%.”

Let your readers know that when you think you’ve given it all, you’ve only given 40%.

Every road trip has its end, even on the Road of Trials. What lessons will your hero encounter on his or her journey?

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icon1March 29, 2017

The Darkest Hour: Non-Fiction Writer’s Series to The Hero’s Journey


It’s a truism we’ve all heard before: the only constant is change. In the adventure of life, who among us has faced not only change but the push towards total transformation driven by the darkest hour of our life? Desired or not! It’s something to which we all can relate.

Your heart pounds. Your palms sweat. You try to see what lies in wait for you around the next bend in the road, but all you can see is the pavement. You’re face to face with the hard reality that whatever happens next, the past is gone, and everything is about to shift.

Whether it’s a family crisis, a car accident, a health scare, or a lost job, we all can relate to that pivotal moment when we no longer look at life in quite the same way. That moment, that attitude adjustment, is often the catalyst to galvanize our strongest opinions. It will strengthen our resolve, and shape a new philosophy in life.

If you’re a non-fiction author using a storytelling framework to illustrate your material, your hero must also face this same moment of truth. This transformation is at the heart of what a hero must confront when telling the story of his journey. It’s the catalyst that compels him farther along his travels and helps him through the coming Road of Trials.

That hour of darkness leads the story’s central character into a sphere re-birth. Like Jonah being swallowed by the whale, the hero is swallowed by circumstances and thrust into the unknown. He emerges with renewed faith and vigor – a whole new perspective.

Whether the action is literal and the hero appears to have died, or it’s figurative, and the hero faces an hour of darkness, his spirit is literally reborn once he exits the situation. Transformed by the experience.

This transformation – this new attitude – is what strengthens him and compels him further on his journey. The higher the stakes, the bigger the transformation. The more memorable the transformation, the more popular your writing becomes!

Escaping the Eternal Sleep

As we’ve talked about the Hero’s Journey in this series, we’ve also been looking at how it evolves in the popular classic “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” written by L. Frank Baum. Dorothy’s quest to get back home to Kansas from the Land of Oz is a great example of how the Hero’s Journey may be played out in a simple but colorful story that everyone loves.

Dorothy and her companions – her dog Toto, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion – all travel together along the yellow brick road. Soon the terrain becomes rugged through the deep forest, they have trouble getting through, especially when they must cross a deep ditch with steep sides. It’s only through their cooperation that they manage to cross.

It isn’t long before they encounter another ditch that severs the yellow brick road, and this time they’re nearly overtaken by strange beasts that threaten to attack them. Once again, the companions only manage to escape by working together.

As the party move along and make their way out of the dense forest, they come to a river that is too deep and swift for them to wade across. The Tin Man uses his axe to build a raft for them. As they cross the river, the Scarecrow’s pole becomes stuck in the mud, and he is pulled off the raft while the rest of the party are swept away in the current.

Each of these incidents is progressively more and more perilous, and they build tension as the story develops. This time, the Scarecrow is rescued when the rest of the party asks for help from a passing crane. The bird hoists the straw man into the air and carries him to shore.

This build is essential in the story. It creates tension and raises the stakes, making the hero’s triumph that much more meaningful in the end. It pulls the reader in and makes them more emotionally involved in the characters.

It also serves as a bridge between the introduction of these characters and their darkest hour, which lies just ahead. Without the build in tension, an abrupt introduction of danger would be jarring.

What happens next in Dorothy’s story is truly a metaphor for death and rebirth. As the companions travel, trying to get back to the yellow brick road, their steps lead them irrevocably through a field of bright red poppies. The flowers are said to cause a sleep so deep that it is impossible for anyone to awaken and leave the field.

As fate would have it, Dorothy, Toto, and the Lion all succumb to the power of the poppies, and they fall asleep. Scarecrow and the Tin Man are immune to the flowers’ potent potion, and together they carry Dorothy and Toto to safety. Once there, they enlist the aid of an army of field mice to haul the Lion out on a litter. All three of them awaken from their deep slumber only after quite some time in the open air.

Though this is a story for all ages, the hero – Dorothy – faces death and nearly doesn’t pull through. Falling victim to the poppies creates a clear line of demarcation, where the past is left behind, and there’s no going back. The companions must go forward. Dorothy’s resolve is strengthened as they journey ever closer to the Emerald City and the hope of fulfilling their unique missions.

5 Steps to Defining the Darkest Hour

In defining your hero’s darkest hour, you can follow these five steps to build tension and affect transformation.

  1. Be clear on your hero’s goal, and define what weakness is most likely to stop progress.
  2. Foreshadow the clues that will make the darkest hour believable.
  3. Pepper your story with challenges for the hero that build in intensity, leading up to the darkest hour.
  4. Place your hero in the situation that is impossible to retreat from, making the only exit the way through the struggle.
  5. Free your hero from the situation, and reveal how the situation has transformed him or her.

In the chronicle of our successes, each of us faces our own trials which transform our lives. Drawing from your own experience, you can lend a measure of inspiration to your writing which leads your readers to their own growth.

Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing and the host of the Book Publishing Success podcast show. Bryan works with best-selling business authors, including NYT best-selling authors Chris Widener and Tom Hopkins, plus up-and-coming authors including Johnny Covey. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book on converting website visitors into buyers. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

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icon1March 23, 2017

It Begins…The Hero’s Call to Adventure: The Non-Fiction Writers Guide

Call to Adventure

Non-fiction authors have a world of colorful choices when it comes to book format, such as this exploration of The Hero’s Journey framework for non-fiction books. However, one adage remains true for both speakers and non-fiction authors alike: Never make a point without telling a story, and never tell a story without making a point.

The trouble many authors face when endeavoring to write a best-selling non-fiction book is putting their material across in a creative, engaging manner. Working-up a compelling story to communicate a message can be daunting.

Ahhh, but there’s a solution! Using what Joseph Campbell termed the Hero’s Journey, you can elevate your non-fiction book to higher ground and deliver exquisite quality. You can tell your story and make your point in a way that draws the reader in and helps them transform into a stronger version of themselves.

Let’s explore how to begin your non-fiction story, based things we can learn from the Hero’s Journey…we’ll call it “The Call to Adventure.”

The Adventure Begins

Now that you know your non-fiction book can be compelling when told in the form of a story, you’re going to need to come up with a really good story idea, or what is called the story arc. Using a few simple techniques, you can craft your message and make it compelling – one that will engage your audience time after time.

The Hero’s Journey is the tale of how the hero pursues a specific goal and in pursuit, the hero is transformed. Modeling your story on the Hero’s Journey provides the structure – the formula – for telling your story in a way that’s reliable, engaging, and makes people think.

In all cases, the story opens with the status quo. The hero is in his own natural setting. Whether it’s through a blunder, pure chance, destiny or a deliberate choice, the hero begins a relationship with forces he doesn’t understand – and the adventure begins!

The non-fiction storyteller uses examples from life, business or a parable. But for the purposes of illustration, let’s take a look at the well-known classic “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum. This is a colorful example of an adventure that transforms an average farm girl, Dorothy Gail, and shifts her personal center of gravity to a higher level. As for her realization, the movie version of this tale says it best: “There’s no place like home.”

Dorothy’s journey has the unreal quality of a dream, and she meets up with all kinds of creatures and fantastic forces, both good and evil. But first, she must begin her adventure.

The Oz story opens with Dorothy at home on her family farm in Kansas. The world is a sunburnt place, gray and without color. Even the people are gray. Time, worry and concern for the future have washed have washed the color out of them.

Non-Fiction Writing Tip: In your non-fiction story you can depict the hero’s challenges with the wear-and-tear of everyday life, grinding him down. Imagine Dorothy’s colorless existence as you create the launch-point of your story.

From Out of the Clear Blue Sky

In every Hero’s Journey, there’s a herald or a catalyst to mark the journey’s beginning. An encounter with a mysterious element marks the call to adventure! It means an awakening and a break with the past, a departure from the daily norms.

The herald appears to every hero who is ripe for transformation. In other words, when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. The nature of the catalyst depends on the type of story you want to tell.

The hero can decide to make a change, or change can be forced onto him. It can be something as simple as a shift in consciousness, or it can mean following a creature into unfamiliar territory. The herald also may be a force of good or evil. This leaves you with a world of options to pursue, and any choice you make here can be the right one if it is consistent with your message.

For instance, your hero might be pursuing a deer on a hunt, wandering far into the woods and encountering another realm. Whatever the catalyst your hero encounters, the hero has an irresistible fascination with it, and it serves as a guide or a herald.

For Dorothy in Kansas it’s a tornado that sweeps her, the house, a cow and all. She is set down in the colorful Land of Oz, surrounded on all sides by desert. Immediately Dorothy is afraid that she will never see Kansas again, and her quest to return home begins.

Moments like this produce anxiety because as people, we naturally fear change. Change can mean excitement, but usually it means being uncomfortable and uncertain of what lies ahead. It can even mean real danger.

As Dorothy’s adventure ensues, she meets the good Witch of the North who tells her where she is and the consequences of her arrival. The good witch serves as Dorothy’s mentor. She tells Dorothy that if she ever wants to go home again, she must journey to the Emerald City and see the great and powerful Wizard of Oz.

There are many reasons Dorothy may have opted out of the quest, possibly because making those choices would have meant a whole other kind of journey. The hero can either choose to go forward of his own volition, or he may be sent or carried against his will to this other realm. The agent may be benign or malevolent, but the hero goes, nonetheless.

The Writer’s Framework for “The Call to Adventure”

In the larger sense, the journey means a change in the hero’s own perspective. The first stage of the journey – the Call to Adventure – shows us that destiny calls the hero, transforming his center of gravity.

Here are 5 steps you can take to craft the beginning of the adventure in your own hero’s Call to Adventure.

  1. Status Quo: The story opens in the hero’s everyday setting. Describe the hero of your story and how their world looks to them.
  2. The Catalyst: An unfamiliar force draws the hero forward into another realm, away from the everyday. Decide on a person, place, thing or event that moves your hero out of the everyday.
  3. The Goal: The hero has a burning desire to achieve something or reach a destination. Determine what your hero’s goal is.
  4. The Mentor: When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. Decide who will point your hero in the right direction.
  5. The Adventure Begins: Your hero is off on a glorious (or dreadful) adventure.

Your hero begins the adventure because of a change of heart and a call to an unknown place, a foreign land or a dream. When you begin crafting your hero’s journey, let its tide sweep you off your feet and carry you to the distant shores of imagination.

Are you inspired by examples? Click here to read a short story on how an everyday non-fiction topic like writing tips can be spun into a story framework.

Stay tuned to the Made for Success Publishing blog for more writing tips on The Hero’s Journey framework.

Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing and the host of the Book Publishing Success podcast show. Bryan works with best-selling business authors, including NYT best-selling authors Chris Widener and Tom Hopkins, plus up-and-coming authors including Johnny Covey. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book on converting website visitors into buyers. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

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icon1March 17, 2017

Three Point Writing Structure for Non-Fiction Books: The Hero’s Journey

Journey travel

As the author of a non-fiction book, you have many options to choose from when it comes to structuring your manuscript. How will your material unfold? What context will prove to be the best backdrop for your message? Make the wrong choice, and your book may come across as two-dimensional or just plain dull.

For speakers and writers, the age old adage goes, “Never make a point without telling a story, and never tell a story without making a point.” In crafting your book, you’re going to need at least one really good story.

But how do you do that? How can you make sure your story makes a point that people care about? Is there a model for your storytelling that will ensure your words make an impact?

Yes, there is a model! A writing template, if you will. You can elevate your non-fiction book to a whole new level using what Joseph Campbell termed the Hero’s Journey. First, let’s define what a hero is, then we’ll look at a couple of examples of how you can use this idea.

A hero (or heroine) is someone who has given his life force to a cause that’s bigger than himself. He pursues a goal then returns to his old life to share his experiences.

The Hero’s Journey is the tale of how the hero pursues that goal. It’s the archetype of all myths and legends. In fact, stories with this same structure have been told again and again all over the world throughout the ages. Despite the variations in their setting and style, myths and legends have a great deal in common, especially the hero.

There are plenty of great examples of the Hero’s Journey such as The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, The Matrix and the Indiana Jones series all illustrate how a hero gives himself to a cause that’s larger than he is. Can you think of other examples where the hero gives him/herself over to a cause bigger than themselves?

The key—the thing that makes the story worth engaging in—is what Campbell called the Threshold of Adventure.

The Journey Begins

Every Hero’s Journey has three parts: a beginning, middle, and end. To be more precise, these parts are called Departure, Transformation (or Initiation) and Return. Click here for background information on these 3 sections.

The story begins by establishing the status quo then introducing a change—a Departure.The story takes off when the hero crosses the Threshold of Adventure and is changed by the action of the story—Transformation. The story has a satisfying completion when the Hero goes back across this threshold—the Return—typically sharing his results with those in his ordinary world.

Years back, I went to a weekend retreat for professionals. One of the attendees was a sharp, energetic guy who had a super positive attitude. It made sense when I discovered he was a motivational speaker, Chris Widener.

We got along, found we had a lot in common, and I came to know Chris well. By the end of the retreat, he asked me to be his business partner. It took some convincing on his part—a year of it, in fact—but eventually, I came on board and became a publisher for professional speakers.

The decision came shortly after I read a book that Chris had co-authored with the legendary Jim Rohn. The book was called The Angel Inside, also by Chris Widener. Like Twelve Pillars, The Angel Inside follows the action of a hero to discover a philosophical truth.

A despondent 30-year-old travels to Italy where he’s inspired by the statue of David. He discovers the idea that the sculptor, Michelangelo, saw the statue inside the marble from the beginning and his sculpting was merely a process of uncovering what lay hidden within. The hero is mentored throughout the book to uncover the angel inside himself.

Applying the Hero’s Journey to Your Non-fiction Book

You can apply the Hero’s Journey to your own work with a few simple techniques.

First, escape the attention clutter of your office or everyday life. Where can you go? It can be as simple as visiting a neighborhood coffee shop.

Sometimes I retreat to a hotel room for an overnight to escape the clutter. When I was finishing my last book, I rode my motorcycle to a mountain cabin for a week to wrap-up the final details.

Once you’ve got time and space to work on your book, come up with the core ideas you want to put across. Then think about who will be reading your book. Is it a guide for single moms seeking advice on raising teenagers? Is your audience made up of bankers who want to learn how to manage risk? Get a clear picture in your mind of just one reader who personifies your audience. This is your avatar.

Next, think of your avatar’s greatest challenge. What’s their pain? How can you help them solve it?

Craft a story around how they discover the truths you want to present. Give this story a beginning, middle, and end—a Departure, Transformation, and Return. Demonstrate how their life is changed by the journey.

Make your characters believable and sympathetic. Your audience will want to like them, so make it easy to do just that.

You can tell the story as one uninterrupted tale, or you can punctuate it with commentary about your ideas. Both methods work, and there are plenty of models for you to follow.

Using stories in your non-fiction work will add texture and depth to your ideas. It can mean all the difference between painting with shades of gray or using a spectrum of color.


Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing and the host of the Conversion Marketing, a marketing book on converting website visitors into buyers. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

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Take the first step to unlocking your sales potential. Sales & Success by Made For Success is an all-in-one storefront, personal library and audio player focused on enabling and coaching your sales talents with world-class speakers. Hundreds of hours of insight and experience at your fingertips. Download now from the App Store

icon1February 28, 2017

The Hero’s Journey Model for Non-Fiction Books: The Power of Stories

Magic Book

Ahhh, to savor the power of a good story, that is sweet indeed. But how does a non-fiction writer tap into the memorable power of a well-told story? Let’s explore this together through this illustration…

Once long ago on a windswept hilltop, a restless boy—almost in his teen years—looked across the valley, his eager eyes searching for news. He spied a column of weary travelers hiking slowly for their heavy burden. The hunt was successful.

The boy raced down the slope, his hair flying in the wind. He ran straight to the head of the column into the iron arms of his marching father.

“Tell me about the hunt!” he demanded eagerly. “I want to know everything!”

“Patience, young one. You and the rest of the clan will hear disturbing news tonight by firelight when wounds are patched, bellies are full, and hunters’ blood has cooled.”


I’ll bet you want to know what happens next, right?

I mean, come on! It’s human nature. Curiosity burns inside you, like a prehistoric bonfire.

Who is this boy? What kind of game did the warriors hunt? How did the hunters get wounded? What will become of the clan, what is the “disturbing news”?

These questions naturally burn inside us all. We crave stories. In fact, our need for stories is part of our DNA.

This was the conclusion of Joseph Campbell, the world famous scholar of Mythology and chronicler of the Hero’s Journey in his book, The Hero With a Thousand Faces.

Campbell told us that the Hero’s Journey, or the Mono-Myth, has been told in stories all over the world throughout the ages. Stories from every continent can be broken down into the same basic structure.

Whether it’s Aesop’s Fables, the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, or Matthew, Mark, Luke & John, we thrive on the power of stories. We learn and grow through their messages, and we smile with satisfaction once the tale is told.

Capitalizing on What Your Audience Craves

Previously, we took a look at the nature of the Hero’s Journey for the benefit of non-fiction storytellers. Now let’s explore how authors can use its structure to write and illustrate your own non-fiction content.

Your options for writing a non-fiction book are almost infinite when you adapt the lessons of the Hero’s Journey for your work. One of the great truisms of speaking and writing is that you should never make a point without telling a story, and never tell a story without making a point.

The Hero’s Journey folds neatly into this structure as an element, hard-wired deep into our consciousness. It’s a story of coming of age and achieving a new level. Its symbolism conveys a tale of a death and rebirth, transformation into another dimension of being, just as a caterpillar becomes a butterfly.

By definition, a hero is someone who has given himself to a cause that’s bigger than himself then returns to his old life to share his experiences. Along the way, he ventures from his everyday world into another realm, one that is full of surprises and challenges.

On the journey, the hero encounters strange forces, and he struggles to reach his goal until there is a decisive victory. The hero returns from his adventure with new power and wisdom that he shares with the people of his native world.

Handcrafting Your Message Like a Journeyman

Using the Hero’s Journey in your work can make the task of writing much simpler. It can also elevate your work to a new level of quality and add a new luster to your ideology.

To begin, split your idea into 3 sections. Next split the sections into chapters—about 3 or 4 per section. Organize each chapter into 3 main points and illustrate your points with a story.

In terms of story craft, many authors use a fresh story and new characters each time they want to illustrate a point. But I say it’s easier—and far more compelling—to use one overarching storyline in your work and chronicle the struggle of a single hero.

Using this model, the 3 sections of your book should correspond to the 3 phases of the Hero’s Journey. Here’s what that looks like.

1. Departure

The hero receives a call to adventure. At first, he’s reluctant to heed the call. However, a mentor figure helps him see the necessity and he heads out on a mystical adventure or quest. This calling can be accidental, deliberate, or imposed on the hero.

2. Transformation

The hero is initiated into a new world. He is either alone or with companions. He encounters obstacles and eventually fulfills his goal. Through the ages, all myths have dealt with transformation such as this. The hero’s consciousness shifts from being self-centric to selfless through his struggle.

3. Return

The hero goes back to his world with the wisdom and powers he’s gained. He offers them as a gift to his friends, loved ones, and comrades. His whole society benefits from his sacrifice and transformation.

If you’re writing a book, you naturally want to captivate your audience and transform the way they look at your topic. Using the Hero’s Journey is a shortcut to your storytelling success, offering the kind of legends your audience craves—raging bonfire optional.


Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing and the host of the Book Publishing Success podcast show. Bryan works with best-selling business authors including NYT best-selling authors Chris Widener and Tom Hopkins, plus up-and-coming authors including Johnny Covey. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book on converting website visitors into buyers. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

icon1February 20, 2017

How to Create a Book Title: 10 Steps to Titling a Non-Fiction Book

Create a Title

A gripping book title is sheer magic. When you think about it—I mean really think about it—the book title is the first thing that draws in the reader. Even when you have an attractive cover with emotionally compelling imagery and graphic design, no one would even consider your book unless they first like the title.

When you hand your book to a client, a meeting planner, a speaker’s bureau or the CEO of a prospective company as a gift, the first impression you will make of yourself is the book title itself. It must instantly move the reader to venture beyond the cover and discover the secrets hidden within. That is a lot to ask from 1-5 words, I know!

Next, picture your book on the bookshelf of a crowded bookstore. In some bookstores, there are 75,000 other books competing for a reader’s attention. So your book title has to grab attention and clearly state your thesis…at a glance. Your book title and cover artwork only have 7 seconds to do their job in a retail environment, so let’s explore how to make these seconds count.

If a reader found your book online, the odds are high that they came across your book by searching on your keywords or your genre. Perhaps the search algorithm showed them your book as a being relevant to what they were looking for, or they might have found your volume on a virtual bookshelf along with other similar works.

Whatever means they used to find your book, the only way to captivate your audience is by moving them over that first hurdle— the Title.

There are very specific types of words that magnetize people and promise a spellbinding reading experience. At the same time, there are certain practicalities to consider, including keywords that the search engines love to see.

We’re about to explore the contents of a great title, giving you the tools to make yours unforgettable— and make more book sales.

The first consideration for your title is to determine how many words to use. You may feel relieved to know that many successful non-fiction books of our time have short titles. In fact, modern practices prefer to keep the length to five words or less.

Though this may seem like a godsend if you’re not long-winded, in fact, it can be a bit challenging. Think about it – you’ll have to encapsulate an entire book into just five words.

When we title a book, here is the process we use. A European author we are publishing asked to have his book re-titled after discovering that his original title concept was trademarked. We assembled our team to embark on re-titling. Here is the 10-step process we use internally to perform title work:

  1. Read the manuscript
  2. Read the description provided by the author
  3. Determine the ideal target audience for the book
  4. Discuss what makes the target audience tick
  5. Brainstorm key concepts and keywords
  6. Build phrases from the words outlines in the brainstorming session
  7. Combine title and sub-titles into various combinations
  8. Test the top 3 ideas with a team (focus group, social media and/or author’s street team)
  9. Refine and finalize the top idea
  10. Trademark search and previous title search to ensure the title is not in-use

If your book’s topic is a bit arcane, narrowing down your title to under 5 words can be something of a problem. The best approach is to focus on the benefits and results, appealing to emotion rather than using an intellectual approach. This is where applying serious thought will really pay off.

Let’s have a look at some examples. Here are several books from the business section that have been at one time or another on Amazon’s Top 10 List for over 6 months.

  • The Art of War – Sun Tzu
  • It Worked for Me – Colin Powell
  • Getting Things Done – David Allen
  • The Total Money Makeover – Dave Ramsey
  • Today Matters – John Maxwell

Yet punchy book titles aren’t just restricted to classics and standards in the business section. Let’s have a look at some new-school best sellers.

  • The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell
  • Tribes – Seth Godin
  • Prosper – Ethan Willis and Randy Garn
  • The $100 Startup – Chris Guillebeau
  • The Art of Seduction – Robert Greene
  • Drive – Daniel Pink
  • Born to Win – Zig Ziglar and Tom Ziglar

To give you some added perspective on crafting your own alluring title, here are some additional guidelines to bear in mind.

  • Do use words that end in -ing
  • Use words that can be understood at the 8th-grade level
  • Leverage well-known clichés
  • Over the top words are now unpopular, such as ultimate, mega and super

Besides using short titles with these specific attributes, there are other tactics you can capitalize on. Controversy is one of them. In fact, nothing sells better than a title with an edge. While a descriptive title bogs down and bores the reader, controversy sells every time.

Think of what might interrupt the reader’s thought pattern as they’re searching amongst the many titles they find. Imagine a title that will arrest their thinking on your topic—but be warned: if you make a promise on your cover, you’d better be prepared to deliver it inside the pages! Your title needs to be a match to your content, or your readers will tell on you in their reviews.

Take a look at the titles of these unconventional best sellers.

  • The 4-Hour Work Week – Timothy Ferris
  • Leadership and Self-Deception – The Arbinger Institute
  • What Money Can’t Buy – Michael Sandel
  • Eat That Frog! – Brian Tracy

When naming your book, there are a handful of common mistakes that can quash readers’ interest immediately. There aren’t many of them, but any one of them is enough to discourage your readers from ever giving you a second look.

One of these common mistakes is a lack of clarity. Make sure that your title is not so clever that no one understands what your book is about. If your title is vague, unclear or fuzzy, you won’t interest your reader. Fuzzy is for caterpillars and koalas—not alluring book titles. Be direct.

Likewise, unclear positioning can turn readers off. Be very clear about who your book is for, why they should read it, and what they can expect to get out of it. As much as possible, evoke this in the book title.

Many new authors make the mistake of thinking everyone should read their book. This is farthest from the truth, as very few books have universal appeal to everyone all the time. Books are all about niche markets and the pros in this business write their books to appeal to narrow groups of people.

In terms of cover design, when it comes to the size of your title on the book cover be sure to leave a bit of breathing room. This is what designers call “white space.” Leave enough of the background so that your title maintains a pleasant balance. You want it to be both readable and attention getting.

A common mistake that authors make is allowing the title and subtitle to take up too much room on the cover. This once was fine when books in print were the main event. But these days electronic distribution is edging into the peak of popularity, and the title design must be treated accordingly so that it appeals to readers online. This means your title needs to be readable in the space a little larger than your thumbnail.

Finally, avoid using language that is outdated, corny or otherwise inappropriate. You may be inadvertently turning off your readers, clients, and prospects by using outdated language, by golly.

If you don’t have access to a focus group when naming your book, try running your title by a group of your friends, social media circles or colleagues. Get their feedback and their impressions. Most of them will be glad to chime in and offer their support.

Now you have the tools to develop an incredible non-fiction book title. Post your book title ideas to this article and open a discussion on your work.

Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing and the host of Book Publishing Success podcast show. Bryan works with best-selling business authors including NYT best-selling authors Chris Widener and Tom Hopkins, plus up-and-coming authors including Johnny Covey. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book on converting website visitors into buyers. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

Sales and Success App

Take the first step to unlocking your sales potential. Sales & Success by Made For Success is an all-in-one storefront, personal library and audio player focused on enabling and coaching your sales talents with world-class speakers. Hundreds of hours of insight and experience at your fingertips. Download now from the App Store

icon1February 14, 2017

The Hero’s Journey, Hemingway and the Sugary Sand of Mazatlán

Beach Work

More and more, I find myself taking creative retreats to develop material for my books and escape the attention clutter of the office. Sometimes I choose a hotel in the desert or a cabin in the mountains. This time I’ve come to Mazatlán to write.

Mazatlán can be an inspiring retreat location, not just for today’s thought leaders but for authors throughout modern history. For example, this Mexican coastal city was a favored destination for Nobel laureate Ernest Hemingway. His travels to Cuba, Florida, and Idaho are legendary, but his trips to Mexico are less well known. He frequented the Casa Lucila Hotel where I’m staying now.

As part of my retreat, I have been taking walks on the Malaccan, the boardwalk that lines the sugary beach, wondering if Hemingway walked these same shores. As I walked, I watched the fisherman de-scale the catch of the day on the beach with eager pelicans waiting for morsels from the fisherman’s blade. From here, the windswept Pacific meets the craggy cliffs where divers test their courage, working for tips from the busloads of tourists as a reward for their plunges over the craggy cliff. Facing down a blank manuscript after a sight like this somehow seemed a bit less daunting to me.

I thought about this idea while swirling a martini in the hotel’s lobby bar, weighing my options for the structure of my manuscript’s Table of Contents. I was also mulling over the question of how best to incorporate the Hero’s Journey into my non-fiction work.

For a long time, I’ve coached authors never to make a point without telling a story, and never to tell a story without making a point. My idea is that the well-known Hero’s Journey structure can provide an awesome approach to writing and storytelling, even in the non-fiction book world.

Yet, I was having trouble making the connection between these two concepts in my text. In fact, that’s putting it mildly. Actually, I’d hit a wall. Some call it writer’s block. I found myself musing this unfortunate situation over a cocktail in the lobby. From there I walked upstairs to the hotel’s infinity pool and sat there, staring once again into a blank page. How could I bring the Hero’s Journey to life in a non-fiction work?

Lessons Beside an Infinity Pool

The martini was ill-considered. It cut into my clarity and made it nearly impossible to stay awake as I lounged poolside. Stretched out on a canvas chaise, the hum of the tourists and seagulls quickly lulled me into a stupor. I shut my eyes for a moment.

You can imagine my surprise when I felt a shadow pass between me and the sun, so slight and shimmering that I thought it couldn’t be real. Standing before me was the ghost of the man himself, Ernest Hemingway!

He cupped his salty beard with one hand while the other, curled into a fist, rested on his hip. Had I traveled back in time? Or had he crossed the divide into the here and now? He glanced at the blank page in front of me and sized up the situation immediately. He had once defined writing as pain.

“There’s no rule on how it is to write,” he said.

“Come again?”

“Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly,” he went on. “Sometimes it is like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.”

I couldn’t believe my eyes. Standing before me was one of the greatest writers who’d ever lived —and he was talking to me about writing.

“You struggled too, didn’t you?” I ventured. Ernest nodded. I begged him to pull up a chair. Instead, he brushed off my invitation with a dismissive gesture.

I told him I wondered if he had anything to offer me on the Hero’s Journey, but Ernest deflected. Campbell’s work was contemporary with his own; however, they traveled in different circles.

I should add here that in the book The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell compiled more than 2,000 years of folklore, religion, and myths into one over-arching model. This work established the story structure that’s come to be known as the Hero’s Journey, and it’s found in many tales ranging from Star Wars to Harry Potter. It’s been said that these stories and this model have become part of our DNA as a race. They are bedrock for us as human beings, and we crave them.

I felt stunned, having this conversation with one of the most legendary writers in history. But there I was, lounging beside an infinity pool and shooting the breeze with a ghost. It was clear to me that the act of discussing this topic with him was crystallizing my own beliefs and honing my approach to the work. The moment was not lost on me.

What I like about the Hero’s Journey, I explained, is that it breaks a story into three parts— Initiation, Transformation, and Return. I searched his face, wondering if I should go on. Ernest nodded with a knowing look.

I explained that the Initiation was the phase where the status quo was established for the hero. Life goes steadily along, and nothing much looks like it’s about to change.

Then in the Transformation stage, something happens—a catalyst—that brings the hero face-to-face with a crisis. He meets up with an old soul, a wise one who mentors him. The hero either makes a decision to pursue greatness or else greatness is thrust upon him. He pursues the goal, and in the process, he’s transformed, never to be the same again. This is how the hero gains knowledge he never could have acquired any other way.

In the Return, the hero goes back to his previous environment or way of life, armed with the wisdom, attitude, and experience to help others.

Finding My Resolve

None of this was any surprise to Ernest. There were oceans of wisdom in his silence. He grinned at me with a wink in his eyes. “And…?”

“And I know what I want to say, but sometimes I’m unclear on the framework. I’ll bet you never had that problem.”

“Whatever success I’ve had has been through writing what I know about,” he said.

I let that sink in, and a moment of understanding passed between us. We talked about pain and the lessons of life—how I could illustrate the points of my book by distilling them through the filter of storytelling.

“I’m inspired by this Hero’s Journey concept,” I told him. “I think it offers a great framework for every writer, even for us in the non-fiction genre.”

He simply gazed into my face, picked up a pen from the table and handed it to me. I took it and was still holding it when it dawned on me. “Just one more thing…” but he was gone!

“Will there be anything else, señor?” My waiter was standing over me, blocking the rays of the sun. “I see you have a pen in your hand. Would you like to have your bill now?”

I sat for a moment, emerging from that foggy state between sleep and waking. The dream had ended, leaving only the residue of timeless wisdom. I felt powerfully compelled to write it all down—to render the lessons of history into a practical process, and share the magic brought into this realm from an eternal place.

Whether real or imagined, the journey was over, and I was forever changed. I had come to Mazatlán to have a question answered. I got more than I’d bargained for, enough to last a lifetime.

Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing and the host of Book Publishing Success podcast show. Bryan works with best-selling business authors including NYT best-selling authors Chris Widener and Tom Hopkins, plus up-and-coming authors including Johnny Covey. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book on converting website visitors into buyers. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

Sales and Success App

Take the first step to unlocking your sales potential. Sales & Success by Made For Success is an all-in-one storefront, personal library and audio player focused on enabling and coaching your sales talents with world-class speakers. Hundreds of hours of insight and experience at your fingertips. Download now from the App Store

icon1February 7, 2017

Developing Your Vision

Vision for 2017

One of the most important things we can do for our businesses, schools, and organizations is to have vision. Vision being a clear picture of a desired end result that you are aiming for.

However, sometimes, no matter how big our vision was originally, we find ourselves focusing in on the daily events that require our attention but have nothing or little to do with our ultimate vision.

Occasionally, we think to ourselves, “Hey, I’m not really getting any closer to my vision. I’m spinning my wheels here.” This is when it is time to re-develop your vision! Here are some helpful hints in doing just that.

Re-evaluate your original vision

Maybe what you used to think wasn’t realistic according to your strengths, your abilities, or your circumstances. Maybe it is time to change or modify the vision to make it attainable.

Assess your strengths

To achieve your vision, you and your staff will have to operate out of your strengths. If you are having a hard time moving toward your current vision, perhaps it is because the vision requires extended application of strengths that you and/or your organization don’t have. Either you need to hire into those strengths, develop those strengths, or re-develop the vision.

Ask yourself where your passions lie

If we are to attain great things, they must be aligned with those things that burn deep within us. Do you still have a passion for your vision? Does your staff have a passion for your vision? If not, you need to develop the passion, or find the vision that you can pour your passion into. Never underestimate the power of passion and excitement in moving you toward (or keeping you from) your vision.

Ask yourself what it is that you value

What is important to you? How will fulfilling my current vision, fulfill my desire to do something important and worthwhile for myself, my family, my employees, and my community?

Break the vision down into easy to achieve steps

This helps us see that the vision is attainable. It lets us know the end result, but focus intently into achieving the next goal. This, step-by-step, moves us toward the vision.


criestChris Widener is a popular speaker and author who has shared the podium with US Presidents, helping individuals and organizations succeed in every area of their lives and achieve their dreams.

icon1January 31, 2017

Take Yourself to the Top!

To the Top

This week we would like to feature an article from guest author Chris Widener.  His message about what it takes to be the best at what you do has great relevance as we enter this historic year of 2017.

Everybody wants to get to the top, whether it is the top of a career, a company, the earnings scale, or the many other ways that we as individuals can define the “top” in our own lives! But with so many people trying to get to the top, how come so many people aren’t moving up? I think there are some fundamental reasons why. Reasons that can be addressed and changed!

What are some things you can do to get to the top? 
Here are some thoughts for you this week!

First of all, define what the “top” means for you.

This is extremely important because if you don’t know where you are going, you will never get there! Some people don’t want to be the CEO of the company. In fact, many think they are better off then the CEO even though they don’t make as much money. Instead, they think they are at the top because of less stress, weekends with their families, etc, and I see their point. It doesn’t matter what others think is the top, only what you do, since you are only gauging whether or not YOU get there! So where is it for you? That is the first question for you to answer.

Be passionate about your goal.

Passion is the energy that drives us, or, as Alexander Pope said, passions are the “gales of life.” Passion is the wind in the sales of work. Find some thing you love and you will find something you can get to the top of. If you don’t love it, you may still make it to the top, though highly unlikely. And even if you do, there will be no joy. Let your passion carry you, because it will carry you far! Thomas Fuller put it this way: A man with passion rides a horse that runs away with him.

The will to continue in the face of hardship.

Another reason most will not get to the top is because they simply refuse to scale the mountains of hardship that separate them from the top. If you want to get to the beautiful view from the top, you will have to climb over any obstacles. Instead, many choose to stay at base camp!

One would think that Bjorn Borg, one of the greatest tennis players to ever live, would consider his skill his greatest asset. Instead, this is what he says, “My greatest point is my persistence. I never give up in a match. However down I am, I fight until the last ball. My list of matches shows that I have turned a great many so-called irretrievable defeats into victories.”

Continue until you get to the top!

Love people and treat them right.

What? Love people? That’s right! Why? Because if you are going to get to the top, you are going to need other people. Be a jerk and you will find people dragging their feet on you. Treat them right and you will find them helping you and even cheering you on!

Master the appropriate skills.

Average skills will get you to the middle. Top skills will get you to the TOP! This is most assuredly true when combined with the points above. Are you achieving excellence in the skills you need? Are you growing day by day, month by month, year by year? You can always get better and getting better will take you closer to the top! Even if you only improve a little, you can keep improving that small amount and it will eventually become a big amount! Demand the best from yourself and you will get to the top. Remember the words of Jose Ortega y Gasset: “We distinguish the excellent man from the common man by saying that the former is the one who makes great demands on himself, and the latter who makes no demands on himself.”

  • Define the Top
  • Be Passionate
  • Persevere
  • Love others
  • Skill Mastery!

These will take you to the top!

criestChris Widener is a popular speaker and author who has shared the podium with US Presidents, helping individuals and organizations succeed in every area of their lives and achieve their dreams.

Sales and Success App

Take the first step to unlocking your sales potential. Sales & Success by Made For Success is an all-in-one storefront, personal library and audio player focused on enabling and coaching your sales talents with world-class speakers. Hundreds of hours of insight and experience at your fingertips. Download now from the App Store

icon1January 24, 2017

Selling Keynote Speeches: How to Structure Your Sales Process

Structuring Success

In the role of a professional speaker, you are in a competitive marketplace of superstars… TV show hosts, famous athletes, celebrity CEO’s, and mega best-selling authors. So how do you stand out with speakers bureaus and meeting planners when you are a non-celebrity speaker? After all, not everyone can land a plane on the Hudson River and become an overnight superstar on the speaking circuit.

There are many parallels in selling keynote speeches and my role as a book Publisher. One of my main tasks is reaching high volume book buyers. Some buyers are in bustling cities like San Francisco, Sydney and New York. Others are in quaint sleepy villages like Ashland, Oregon, home of the Bard and grape. Wherever the prospects are, the underlying psychology of selling applies.

In selling books, the high-volume buyers are interested in catalogs of books or audiobooks, not just a couple of volumes from a single author. When managing a large list of content, it’s more efficient to buy books from one source.

When buying keynote services, the same rules apply. For a busy meeting planner, it can be easier to buy from a speaker’s bureau than to shop a half dozen individual speakers.

Just as this one-stop-shop dynamic creates massive opportunity, a “swing and a miss” in the sales process can be hard on my business. I’ve got to be convincing. There are no second chances.

That is why I recommend breaking down your sales pitch into increments. If you read my article about how authors structure advertising campaigns, you’ll remember the Rule of Seven. This rule says it takes a minimum of seven exposures to a new idea before your audience will act.

When approaching new retailers or corporations who buy books in bulk for their employees, the Rule of Seven is the technique I use to break through.

There’s no mystery. It’s pure psychology.

Whether you’re selling your latest book to a buyer or pitching high priced speaking engagements, your message needs consistent reinforcement – no less than seven times.

This may seem like nagging to the uninitiated. The creative challenge comes into play when you make the task of reminding someone seem like a fresh idea each time you contact them. This can take many forms.

Let’s explore a case study of the Rule of Seven from a determined non-celebrity speaker who booked over a half-million dollars in keynote speeches in less than a year.

As a speaking professional, your best chances for success start with your ability to sell one-to-many. Tapping into speakers bureaus is an excellent place to start your sales targeting.

Repetition? You Can Say that Again.

OK, so let’s break down a successful campaign. First, imagine this scenario: you are contacting an overworked meeting planner who is not dreading your call, but is actually waiting in rapt anticipation for your next sales contact.

  1. Build your list of contacts by acquiring a list or hiring a contractor to build your list. Initiate contact via social media, such as Linked-In.
  2. Send a customized video email greeting, via a tool such as BombBomb. One Speaker using this service quoted that they are getting a 100% response rate using video emails to introduce themselves.
  3. Make a call and be prepared to leave a scripted voicemail.
  4. Send a physical item to the prospect’s office as an attention getter. Some speakers prepare a “Box of Wow!” to send to important prospects.
  5. Send a follow-up email with a link to your Speaker Demo Reel.
  6. Physically mail your Speaker One-Sheet or a Media Kit.
  7. Send an email with an automated scheduling tool (such as ScheduleOnce) to book an appointment.

Author & speaker, Dr. Allan Colman, is using a similar approach to generate awareness for his consulting services to law firms. He created a coloring book (red-hot category of books) to send in his Box of Wow with a whimsical, educational message geared to legal professionals. By structuring his campaign using the Rule of Seven process, he gained differentiation for his services to a demanding target audience, Senior Partners of law firms.

When you apply the Rule of Seven to your speaking business, you can achieve phenomenal revenues in a very short time. Where will your message take you?

Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing and the host of Book Publishing Success podcast show. Bryan works with best-selling business authors including NYT best-selling authors Chris Widener and Tom Hopkins, plus up-and-coming authors including Johnny Covey. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book on converting website visitors into buyers. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

Sales and Success App

Take the first step to unlocking your sales potential. Sales & Success by Made For Success is an all-in-one storefront, personal library and audio player focused on enabling and coaching your sales talents with world-class speakers. Hundreds of hours of insight and experience at your fingertips. Download now from the App Store

icon1January 19, 2017

The Rule of Seven in Advertising: Product Launch Formula


It’s funny how you can be talking to someone, and they seem to understand what you’re saying. They smile and nod, even interject a comment here or there.

But are they really getting you? Once the conversation is over, it’s like it never happened.

Maybe a few days later the subject comes up again. You hash it out one more time, and this time it seems like you’re getting through.

But no. It’s not that they’re obstinate. It’s just that any new idea requires repeated exposure to becomes internalized. That is how the brain works.

Studies show that people need to hear an idea seven times before it sinks in.

Think about that the next time you ask your teenager to take out the garbage. You don’t have to hound them until you’re “blue in the face.” Just tighten up your repetitions, and you’ll compress the amount of time it takes to drive your point home. After a while, it becomes automatic, and you don’t have to mention it again. Well.. maybe a couple more times.

This brings us to the all-important topic of exposures in marketing campaigns, and what I call the Rule of Seven. When you can leverage this rule, the seven exposures gets your audience to “see the light” and makes a purchase.

It sounds simple – and it is – but it’s not without technique. Let’s cover a few simple rules that you can apply to your book or new product launch to drive sales and create evangelists.

Sales Lessons from the Marketing World

Did you ever notice product displays when you go to a retail store or mall? The brand jumps out at you every time you walk by.

By your third pass, you stop and notice that the featured widget might actually be something you could use to solve a problem or engage a desire. In fact, the product could be tremendously effective. It might even change your life. But the first time you passed by it didn’t even register.

During my Fortune 500 marketing career, I was responsible for rolling-out a retail kiosk for a brand-new kind of service. It was a revolutionary product, and our Marketing team had a pretty robust ad budget to support the US launch. Amazingly enough, our Sales team was successful in putting this display in 20,000 retail locations across North America. Failure was not an option.

You would think that with all those locations and gobs of money for advertising, all we had to do was wait for the checks to come rolling-in. But the fundamentals of consumer awareness apply across the board. We used the Rule of Seven to drive messaging home and make sales.

Using the One-To-Many Approach…Seven Times!

When you are planning your next social media effort or ad campaign, there are a few principles to consider. You can use them when deciding how many ad exposures it will take to reach your audience effectively. It still takes seven repetitions to generate awareness of a brand, a book or service, but you can do it much more efficiently.

In our campaign to drive sales in those 20,000 retail locations, we focused on messaging that went from one-to-many. We carefully planned a series of messages reaching millions of “influencers,” called Early Adopters. The Early Adopters in this industry embraced new ideas and technologies earlier than most, and we knew they would evangelize our product for us.

The structure of the marketing campaign for this consumer packaged goods was built around the Rule of Seven. Here is how the campaign was structured to reach the magic number of exposures:

  1. Trial coupons in Free Standing Inserts (FSI’s) in leading newspapers
  2. Direct mail campaign
  3. Print flyers, delivered by a partner company
  4. In-store advertising in grocery stores, where most people shop 2.3 times (on average) each week
  5. Television commercials
  6. On-kiosk advertising in major retail locations such as WalMart, Target, and Costco
  7. Sponsorship at a series of sporting events

Each one of these venues invited multiple exposures and drove home the message to generate awareness, familiarity and ultimately trial. This marketing philosophy can be applied and works effectively for new product launches and can even be effective for a book launch campaign.

As you plan your next marketing campaign, remember the Rule of Seven. Your patience in generating seven repetitions will prove that seven just might be your lucky number!

Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing and the host of Book Publishing Success podcast show. Bryan works with best-selling business authors including NYT best-selling authors Chris Widener and Tom Hopkins, plus up-and-coming authors including Johnny Covey. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book on converting website visitors into buyers. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

Sales and Success App

Take the first step to unlocking your sales potential. Sales & Success by Made For Success is an all-in-one storefront, personal library and audio player focused on enabling and coaching your sales talents with world-class speakers. Hundreds of hours of insight and experience at your fingertips. Download now from the App Store

icon1January 12, 2017

Sales Secrets for Speakers and Authors


Speakers and authors have a unique professional challenge unlike those in any other industry. While the demands of the job border on the artistic, the reality is that success is most measurable by the tally on the bottom line.

If you’re not making sales, you’re nowhere.

The object of the sales game is communication. As a professional communicator, the more people you reach, the more successful you are. That means more book sales, more speaking engagements, more fans and followers, more evangelists—more connections.

This translates directly to salesmanship, a term that makes many eyes roll and knees quiver. The good news is that success in sales of your IP is a lot easier than you think.

Salesmanship is a matter of building relationships and filling the needs of the people you’re relating to. In its simplest form, sales is a matter of identifying a problem, defining the solution, and directing traffic toward that solution. It starts with understanding the people you’re serving and speaking to them in their own language.

Let’s explore the unique art of selling for speakers and authors by exploring 5 key sales practices.

Qualifying Your Audience

The secret in developing sales skills for speakers and authors is to understand just who it is you’re talking to. You need to define your audience from the ground up to ensure that you are meeting them on their turf.

Determine whether the people you are attracting into your business are qualified buyers. You can have all the rapport in the world with your prospects, but if they’re not able to make buying decisions, you’re just having a pleasant hypothetical conversation.

Do the people you’re addressing have the power to make buying decisions regarding your product? If not, consider ways you can adjust your approach so that they lead you directly to the primary decision maker.

Categorize the chain of command for your audience and understand the role of the people you’re addressing. You might be dealing with people in authority who have the ability to sign off on purchasing decisions. Or maybe your prospects can recommend your content or influence buying decisions. It could be that they are merely end users but still hold sway over the procurement process.

If you’re selling leadership methodologies to a corporation, you’ll need to connect with the person responsible for making those budgetary decisions. If you’re offering real estate investment strategies direct to consumers, the odds are high that you won’t get anywhere until you have a buying agreement from both spouses. Wherever possible, have a clear end game in mind and pre-qualify your prospects.

What Makes Them Tick?

Once you know who you are dealing with, now it’s time to find out what makes them tick. Think about their personalities, their character, their needs and wants.

Who are these people? What do they do for a living? How much education do they have? What do they do for pleasure? What will it take to cross the threshold of their trust and keep you in the room?

These are the kinds of questions that will allow you to reach inside their thought processes and understand the mindset of your audience. Once you do, you can understand their greatest pain. Think about the many ways your book or program can help them ease that pain and make them want to talk about your solutions with their friends and colleagues.

Engage all 3 Learning Styles

Consider the learning styles of your audience and present your case in a way that appeals to many types—visual, auditory and experiential. Studies show that we recall only 10% of what we read, 20% of what we hear and 30% of what we see. But we recall 70% of what we take in through all three channels. Put your message across in a compelling way by mixing up your media for maximum effect.

Audience Interaction for the Faint of Heart

One of the greatest stumbling blocks for authors is meeting face to face with readers and fans in a live setting. While presenting and mingling is a breeze for most public speakers, it’s been the death knell for the careers of many introverted writers. Wherever you find yourself on this scale, mingling with your audience is probably the best way to make a lasting impression and influence buyers.

When you find yourself in a live setting, allow time for questions. You can address them from the platform or find a spot at the back of the room near your product table. Let your audience serve as your own personal focus group. Hear their trials and triumphs, and use their feedback to improve your work.

Use face time with your audience for fact finding. Ask questions that arouse attention and make people think. Get to know what moves your audience. Take advantage of the opportunity to underscore key points from your presentation or book.

Be sensitive to the needs of your audience. Don’t be tempted to run over the allotted time for your presentation. If your talk is long, allow time for breaks and other considerations. Think of ways to anticipate their needs and fill them.

Call to Action

Create interest by using an original or off-beat approach to your topic. Give them a clear call to action when you’re finished speaking and help them take that action as much as you possibly can.

Understand too that you are going to encounter several different personality types—some easier than others. While some have a high drive and are willing to take risks, much more are apt to be conservative with their decision making. Some personalities are analytical while others are more impulsive.

You’ll even find that some are expressive and vocal about their enthusiasm but difficult to move to a purchase. On the other hand, the quietest members of your audience may be your most loyal fans. It takes all kinds, and each one in your audience is vital to your success.

Finally, be generous. Thank them for showing up, and listen to their stories. This is a great time to get to know the people who are keeping you in the word business. You never know whose world you will shift—including your own!

Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing and the host of Book Publishing Success podcast show. Bryan works with best-selling business authors including NYT best-selling authors Chris Widener and Tom Hopkins, plus up-and-coming authors including Johnny Covey. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book on converting website visitors into buyers. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

Sales and Success App

Take the first step to unlocking your sales potential. Sales & Success by Made For Success is an all-in-one storefront, personal library and audio player focused on enabling and coaching your sales talents with world-class speakers. Hundreds of hours of insight and experience at your fingertips. Download now from the App Store

icon1January 5, 2017

How to Build the Perfect Product Funnel


Building a product funnel is a fundamental item for your speaking and writing business. Yet few efforts are more misunderstood in the information business—from Internet Marketers to Professional Speakers—creating the means to effectively sell products online or offline is largely a mystery.

Getting this right can be the difference between having a luncheon featuring beef bourguignon by the green at the Pig & Whistle or packing bologna on white bread in a brown paper bag.

So just what is a product funnel, and how do you use it? Is it some mechanical gadget that baristas use to whip up a mocha Frappuccino? Is it the end piece of a conveyor belt found in a state-of-the-art Amazon warehouse? Hardly. Let’s start with a few basics.

A product funnel is the sequence of exposures or “touches” that your prospective customer goes through before deciding to buy from you. It begins with the initial touch and manages your prospect’s buying relationship with you all the way through product up-sells and special offers.

Whether you’re using advertising, email marketing, social networks, live events or a combination of media, your customers learn your “music” through repetition—like a song on the radio. Typically, you find a set of marketing vehicles that works for you and repeat their use until your prospects absorb enough information to make buying decisions.

The magic number here is seven—that’s how many exposures it takes to cross what I call The Trust Gap.It takes seven to fifteen exposures for a prospect to become a buyer, building trust and rapport with each contact.

You don’t need to be a professional master buyer to bring home the sales. All it takes is a few simple efforts to get the job done. Once you set up your sales funnel and drive traffic to your products, they will practically sell themselves.

The Attraction Factor

In January 2009, Pepsi made waves when the company opted not to advertise during the Super Bowl, choosing instead to channel its mega ad budget into social media marketing. This was a stunning development in the world of advertising, and it heralded a new era. It meant that, for the moment, the playing field was level. It also meant the death of “salesy” sales tactics.

Pepsi didn’t exactly create this new paradigm, it merely tapped into events already unfolding. The writing was on the wall. People no longer wanted to be sold to. They wanted sincere product recommendations from their friends, and they wanted to try before they buy. The era of the online review and the product giveaway was born.

Before the 2009 Super Bowl, only savvy marketers were giving away a free report or eCourse to attract new subscribers to their mailing list. After Pepsi’s landmark decision, this tactic became the new norm. Freemiums were no longer the fodder of Internet Marketing geeks who slaved away during the wee hours. The “freemium offer” was now mainstream.

Building the Perfect Blend

The Giveaway: The purpose of giving away something of value—such as a book chapter or an audio file—is to build trust and rapport. As Dale Carnegie so aptly put it during the early part of the last century, people want to do business with those they know, like, and trust. Getting the giveaway item right takes skill and effort, and makes a material difference in your campaign. Give this aspect of your campaign some effort! Click here to see a sample of a giveaway offer for a book launch campaign.

The List: Giving something away for free does not work without a list to tell people about your offer. Adding followers, names, and email addresses to your lists allow you to create multiple exposures to your efforts. If you are new to this business, then know that building an email list is the “gold standard” of lists. Social media lists can be more cost effective to build versus email…just remember that attention spans are micro-short.

The Product: From the initial contact through repeated exposures, you can encourage your prospect to check out your well-crafted sales page for your entry level product. Let’s say you’re offering a limited time discount on your book to celebrate its launch. You can mention this several times over the course of your email series and include a link to the product page, or what insiders call a “squeeze page.” When brainstorming your product line, consider the 12 product formats common to speakers and authors.

The Up-Sell: Once your prospect clicks through the link and opts to buy, you can offer them a second product to purchase while they are in the buying mood. This up-sell tactic doesn’t have to be limited to a single product. It could be a bundle of products, a set or system, a special coaching session, a webinar—even an upcoming conference.

The Follow Up: Once your prospect makes it to your list of customers, you can market to them in a whole new way. You can offer additional discounts, build excitement over new product launches, keep in touch about your latest endeavors, or otherwise leverage the attention of the audience you’ve built.


Using product up-sells as part of your sales funnel is the surest way to double or triple your income from your marketing investment. Understanding your sales funnel as the key to your money-making endeavors can unlock the door to prosperity for you. Walking through that door is up to you.

Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing and the host of Book Publishing Success podcast show. Bryan works with best-selling business authors including NYT best-selling authors Chris Widener andTom Hopkins, plus up-and-coming authors including Johnny Covey. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book on converting website visitors into buyers. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

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Ready to take the first step towards unlocking your leadership potential? Leadership and Motivation by Made For Success is an all-in-one storefront, personal library and audio player focused on enabling and coaching your leadership talents with world-class speakers. Download now from the App Store

icon1December 27, 2016

Crossing the Trust Gap – Musings on Thought-Leadership

Buyer Beware

The ancient Romans had a saying that still lives today—Caveat Emptor, or let the buyer beware.

Just as in ancient times, there’s a lot for buyers to be nervous about in today’s marketplace. From the world of home ownership to your local pharmacy, so many choices have the potential to yield unfortunate results. Truly, the buyer must beware now as much as ever.

Booksellers are not immune to this consumer skittishness. As a speaker, author or thought leader, it behooves you to move the conversation forward with your audience across the great divide I call the Trust Gap. As you gain success in establishing trust, then your message, your brand, and your products will take root.

Let’s consider the seven ways you can improve your relationship with the world-at-large.

7 Fundamentals to Bridge the Trust Gap

As a subject matter expert, people are looking to you to provide the benefit of your knowledge and experience. They want to see you as a trusted ally, and they want to believe in you.

Following are seven fundamental elements necessary to improve your interaction with your audience and build trust.

1. Understand Your Audience

Consider your audience and their needs. How does your knowledge of your chosen topic fit with their needs? Are there areas where your topical understanding could use a boost? Where is your knowledge specialized or unique—different from every other expert’s comprehension?

Be clear on what you’re offering, understand just how well you present your material, then improve yourself. Stay up to date by subscribing to trade publications, keeping an eye on industry news, and attending workshops and seminars in your field. This is one of the greatest investments you can make in your speaking and writing business.

2. Life Hacks

Synthesize your knowledge into clear, compelling solutions using directives that actually work…some call these “life hacks.” Do you have a unique approach that no one else is offering? Do you have an off-beat way of viewing the chief pain in your prospects’ lives? Are you able to provide tools and techniques that no one else has considered before?

The difficulty that many thought leaders face is a qualified lack of confidence in the thing that makes them especially unique. Embrace your weird little hacks—those solutions that genuinely work. Bring them out to see the light of day and attract an audience. The human mind is attracted to uniqueness!

3. Have a Unique Point of View

Beyond offering solutions that no one else has, your individual take on your field makes you qualified to speak to an audience no one else can address—at least, not in quite the same way. Your perspective gives you an entry into a world no one else can tap into like you can.

There are thousands of books on leadership, and even several dozens that shares a common name. What makes each one different—and salable—is the fact that each of these authors has a unique point of view. Find yours and tap it for all it’s worth.

4. Capitalize on Shared Experiences to Create an Instant Bond

What do you have in common with your avatar—you know, that icon which so keenly represents the ideal member of your audience? How do you relate to the people you would like to serve?

Whether you have experienced their pain directly or you have stories to tell about others like them who have already solved their problems, you owe it to your audience to help them see what you have in common.

Use stories to illustrate the experiences you share with them and connect the dots for your audience. Lay it all out clearly and help others see your common bond.

5. Speak With Authority

I once had a music teacher who was known for his charisma. His favorite fiat was, “If you’re going to make a mistake, do it with authority.” In other words, don’t be timid.

There’s no reason to omit your sense of authority from a dialog. If you have something to say, say it clearly and confidently. To play the role of expert, there’s no room for half-hearted guesses. Speak with authority and others will trust what you say.

6. Listen

“If you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door.” The way to build a better mousetrap is to interview someone with a mouse problem in their garage. Ask me how, I know.

Tap into your prospects’ greatest pain by listening to their stories about what that pain looks like. Ask them about it—about what makes that pain so especially difficult to endure. Use social media, email, surveys or your website to solicit their opinions. When they answer, listen.

7. Be Yourself

Nobody likes an imposter. Being your authentic self is the surest way to bond with others and attract people of like minds. Building rapport is essential to crossing the trust gap.

Wherever possible, be candid without losing your sense of tact. Be direct without being blunt. Be transparent without totally losing your sense of mystery. The surest way to build trust is to be yourself. Everything else flows from that.

Just as in ancient times, it’s possible to build a successful career as a scribe or an orator. With measured practice and perseverance, you can build a bridge across the Trust Gap. In time, you’ll find your persistence pays off. Remember: Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing and the host of Book Publishing Success podcast show. Bryan works with best-selling business authors including NYT best-selling authors Chris Widener andTom Hopkins, plus up-and-coming authors including Johnny Covey. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book on converting website visitors into buyers. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

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Ready to take the first step towards unlocking your leadership potential? Leadership and Motivation by Made For Success is an all-in-one storefront, personal library and audio player focused on enabling and coaching your leadership talents with world-class speakers. Download now from the App Store

icon1December 22, 2016

8 Essential Apps for the Solopreneur Speaker: Create Leverage to Stay Ahead of the Game


Typically, speakers and authors work solo. As a speaker, author or thought leader, your greatest advantage is the fact that there is only one of you. Your career literally capitalizes on your uniqueness and the contents within your head. Lofty? Indeed!

This solitary uniqueness, though, can be your greatest weakness because it means you rarely have an extra pair of hands when you need them. There are also few chances to bounce ideas off trusted executives. From sales prospecting to product delivery, the buck stops right at your door. Having to wear all those hats means a time-consuming learning curve.

Ironically when you work solo, your most valuable asset is your time. Wasting it is not an option, and there’s no room for rabbit trails. Being incredibly efficient with your time is a must.

Eating My Own Cooking & Other Lessons

Just over a decade ago, I entered into the business of publishing audiobooks for professional speakers. At a time when Costco’s center aisles were bulging with physical media, Made for Success was moving CD’s by the pallet-load into stores worldwide.

Keeping up with the demands on my time was tough as we launched the company, yet falling behind wasn’t an option. My small staff and I had to take advantage of tools wherever possible in order to stay nimble and keep ahead of the game. Keeping track of To Do lists, schedules, contracts and royalty payments was an incredibly daunting task.

On top of the demands of running the business, I was launching my own career as a speaker and author off the launch of my book Conversion Marketing. I practically had to use a crowbar to open up my schedule for meetings, let alone find a little private time with my family and to pursue hobbies. My time was at a premium, to say the least.

It was during this period that one of our authors, Dr. Sheila Bethel, came to town for a Leadership speaking engagement at the IRS, her biggest client. She wanted to meet with me and talk strategy for her upcoming audiobook release. Though I thought about turning her down, I reluctantly said yes. Meeting with her turned out to be one of the smartest moves I’ve made in this business.

There was no way I could squeeze a meeting or a lunch into my already crammed schedule. I thought about offering her a fabulous home cooked dinner at Chez Heathman, but my lovely and talented better half wouldn’t hear of it. She insisted on reservations instead.

Thankfully Sheila was flexible, and she joined my wife and me for dinner at a quaint neighborhood restaurant called The Red House just south of Seattle. The place was a tiny but historical old house on the edge of town that had been converted to a restaurant. The off-beat atmosphere and great food lent something memorable to the outing, and the timbre of the conversation rose to the occasion.

I thought I would be advising Sheila on sales and marketing for her audiobooks. But as the evening wore on and dinner turned into dessert, it was clear this seasoned veteran had a lot to teach me.

Using Leverage to Be More Effective

One thing in particular that Sheila told me about leverage has stuck with me all these years. Since then I’ve used her advice myself and shared it with dozens of authors in my circle of influence.

As a speaker or author, you already know that content creation is time-consuming. Creating new content (books, audio programs, webinars, keynotes) gobbles up your most precious asset like it’s crème brûlée on your table at The Red House. Just like a rich dessert, content development leaves little room for anything else.

This is why it’s essential to make the most of every idea you present. You can triple your efforts by leveraging each piece of content you develop in at least three ways —more if you can. This technique not only maximizes your time, but it also develops an abundance of touches with your audience to keep your brand front-of-mind.

For example:

  1. Write a chapter in your book
  2. Create several blog posts from the ideas you have written about in each chapter
  3. Use the content in a newsletter to send your list of subscribers
  4. Record a podcast from the blog posts
  5. Record an audio program and compile it into an 8-part training system

Besides using leverage to create your content, you can use tools and technologies to maximize your time and efforts in your speaking and writing business. Using tools helped me dig out from under a heavy burden in those early years of Made for Success.

I’ve hand-picked several technologies that have stood up under the demands of my own schedule, at the counsel of my advisors. These tools will save you time and money as well, making the most of your limited staff and resources.

  1. Sweet Process: Visually appealing process documentation for standard operating procedures and work instructions.
  2. Commit To 3: Prioritization tool, with accountability. Create teams and simplify your priorities to 3 per day.
  3. One Page CRM: Sales CRM simplified.
  4. Sprout Social: Social media management made easy.
  5. Bomb Bomb: An incredible app for business development, customized email to your prospects inbox. One of my clients claims to get a 100% response rate from her video emails.
  6. Lead Crunch: Lead generation tool to find B2B leads.
  7. Wistia: Alternative to YouTube to post videos (no ads).
  8. Ignite Reviews: Automation to grow your online reputation with reviews.

You may not have an extra pair of hands or a trusted ally to help you in your speaking and writing business. By using leverage, you can get more done in less time, serve more people, and still have time in your day to make a fabulous dinner. Or reservations. You decide.

Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

icon1December 13, 2016

How to Set MSRP Pricing for a Business Book

Beach Life

How much do you make for each copy of your book that sells from a retailer?

I get this question a lot from the authors I publish. Their eyes are filled with a mix of hope and angst, fueled by their dreams of glamorous independent living – soaking up sun and umbrella drinks in the shade of a palm frond on a sugary beach, as their royalty checks roll in.

The answer to the book pricing question is complex, and it depends on several factors. The tough part is that a lot of authors glaze over when we break it down. Book pricing is subject to genre, book binding, and even the retail venue where the books are sold. These factors weigh in when calculating the likelihood of your tropical sabbatical.

For example, let’s look at the price of a top selling Business book. The hardcover edition may sell for double the price of the paperback. But that same hardcover book may sell for 50% off it’s sticker price at a live event such as a keynote speech or book signing.

Profit margins are highly variable according to the volume of books printed. Walk into any bookstore and you’ll find this scenario played out in stunning clarity. Pricing at a brick-and-mortar store is quite different from what you’ll see on Amazon, where multiple booksellers compete on price for both new and used editions.

Adventures in Publishing, as Told by the Jet Set

Let’s say that once upon a time, you loaned your cousin a copy of Tim Ferris’ The 4-Hour Work Week, and he took the author’s sage advice a bit too literally.

Now he’s off taking salsa lessons in Buenos Aires – or maybe it’s scuba diving in Cozumel. Anyway, you never got your cherished book back, and now you’re on a mission to replace it at your local Barnes & Noble.

You saunter over to the Business aisle, and you find the now-classic guide to business & high adventure, stolidly taking up shelf space alongside such gems of thought leadership as Jim Gilreath’s Skin In the Game (published by Made for Success Publishing, by the way).

You find a hardcover copy of the Ferris book, and instantly notice a major change. The gold-on-white dust jacket of your first edition volume has been replaced by a lusty orange color with the title in red text, evoking the promise of Mai Tai soaked sunsets on a beach bedecked with palm trees.

You pick up the book. You feel its satiny texture and hefty weight as you notice the annotation on the cover: “Revised & Expanded”. Somebody put a lot of thought and heart into publishing this, clearly. That brings us to the price.

The price you can expect to pay for the hardback is $24.99 – $29.99. The paperback edition is available on Amazon for $19.95 (probably discounted to $12-$13).

Usually the hardback price is a lot higher than the softcover. Hardbacks are expensive to print, and they also have a higher perceived value in the mind of consumers. Regardless, there’s almost always a major disparity between the two, based on materials, retail venue and the timing within the book’s life cycle.

Most retailers expect books to be priced based on the genre and page count, per industry standards. If you price a book too high, the vendor will not purchase it for their inventory. Getting the pricing right the first time is essential to the success of your book.

Unlocking the Coveted Book Pricing Schematic

For professional speakers who want to sell books directly to the public at speaking engagements, the price printed on the back of the book does not preclude you from selling it at any price point you want. In fact, the higher the perceived value, the better your sales at the back of the room.

For paperback books, the calculations for low volume books sold through retail look better than hardcover books because paperbacks cost so much less to print.

Let’s say you self-publish a 220-page book, and you want to print one copy at a time through print-on-demand (POD). Your paperback book will cost you roughly $5.70 to print, and shipping is extra.

If your paperback book’s suggested retail price is $16.99, that means your wholesale price is $7.65. This is based on an industry standard that dictates the wholesale price at 55% of retail.

With printing costs of $5.70, you are now in the black, making $1.95 per copy. The good news is, if you print 100 copies, the cost drops to $3.41 per book, giving you a margin of $4.24 per book.

Now let’s look at the same example for a hardcover book. If your suggested retail price is $27.99, then your wholesale price is $12.95. Using print-on-demand, that same 220-page book in hardcover format will cost you roughly $11.17 to print one copy. Again, shipping is extra.

Despite the retail price of the book being relatively high at $27.99, your book is marginally profitable at $1.78 per unit. Typical shipping costs would be $3.80 per unit, meaning your book is in the red, selling at a -$2.02 loss for every unit you ship.

This is why many publishers opt to print a minimum of 100 copies and ship to central warehouse (such as Ingram). Printing 100 units gets the cost of hardcover printing down to roughly $7.65, or less as printing quantities increase. Now we have a gross profit of $5.30 to work with.

All this background economic information comes into play when setting book pricing for retail distribution. For speakers who operate back of room sales, you only need to calculate the cost of the book and then the rest is profit to you – 100% in your pocket.

Often it makes sense to work with a publisher to print a minimum of 2,000 copies of a book and to ship inventory to Ingram’s central warehouse for retail distribution. In the case of the paperback example above, your printing costs could be lower than $2.35 per copy. This gives your book the best chance for profitability in the marketplace. And you know what that means – more salsa lessons and scuba diving adventures! Such is the stuff of dreams and the inspiration to write your next best seller.

Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

icon1December 5, 2016

Representational Systems: Top 10 Methods to Reach ALL Audiences

Tell the World

If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would ever get done—or so the saying goes. As an author/speaker and a business owner, that goes double for me.

It’s often tough to strike a balance between finding the message and being the messenger. But finding that balance can be an unexpected gift bestowed at the last minute.

I went to a Costco early Monday morning, right before a major holiday. My wife sent me on this errand to pick up seafood to make an exotic meal called paella, a traditional Spanish dish. This year our annual holiday meal was a departure from the traditional turkey dinner, and I was looking forward to sharing this meal with friends & family.

I found myself driving endlessly through the parking lot of this huge club store looking for somewhere to park 20 minutes after the store opened. I was a bit exasperated because I arrived “early” to beat the rush. I finally decided to wait for someone loading their trunk, then literally pulled into the only available spot in the massive parking lot.

After parking, I thought sarcastically, “Holidays can be such a joy,” as I ducked through the driving rain from the far end of the parking lot. I struggled to maintain control, both in the physical and emotional sense.

I urgently wanted to get back to the office to work on some pressing issues that had landed on my desk that morning. One contract, in particular, offered some intriguing opportunities to do foreign rights licensing for a book we publish. The trouble was, I had to create a complex document and turn it around faster than I’d ever done before. Landing this deal meant stretching my professional skills, which put a crimp in my “holiday spirit.”

“No rest for the weary,” I mumbled under my breath as I grabbed some king crab legs from the guy in the hairnet working the seafood counter. “Poor guy,” I thought, then spun my cart back into the crowded aisle like a 320-horsepowered sports car on an open freeway. I suddenly stopped short. A silver-haired woman had inserted herself between me and my target in the wine aisle, a magnum of Spanish Rioja. Narrowly avoiding a collision, I left my cart and stepped around her, only to find her hand on the same bottle of wine that was on my shopping list.

Our eyes met. “You go ahead,” she said, her voice warm and confident. “I’ve got all the time in the world,” she told me, “and surely I have enough to spare for you.” Her eyes twinkled, and she gave me such a mischievous look.

She was onto me.

It was one of those strange moments when one of life’s greatest lessons blossoms in the mind. It was a stop-and-smell-the-roses moment, squared. I felt like I’d been tapped on the shoulder by Time itself and rapped on the knuckles by my loving grandmother while trying to sneak a slice of turkey off the carving table. I smiled back and wished her a happy holiday.

Getting the Message Through the Right Messenger

Standing there in the aisle of the warehouse store I had learned a deep lesson from a source I didn’t expect. Here was this woman who clearly had more days behind her than ahead of her, yet she was willing to take in the moment and take her time. Not only was she willing to be generous with her time for me, a complete stranger, but there was also something within her that made me want to model her lesson. Where I’d assumed she was just another stumbling block for me to overcome as I dashed through a series of chores, she was instead a wise teacher.

The irony of this moment is that I’ve been receiving this lesson in many ways over the years, starting in grade school, but it never quite sunk in. I’d heard it from family members while growing up. One of my favorite college professors fed it to me as a student, and even the pastor of my church promoted the concept on that Sunday just before this hectic holiday I was frantically trying to get through.

The message finally came to me in a way I was able to receive—from a wise stranger at the huge club store. I accepted the message she was sending because she delivered it in a way that I was prepared to grasp. In effect, she got through to me because she tapped the right representational system for me.

How Representational Systems Equate to Professional Speaking & Writing

We all have one sense that is stronger than the rest—sight, sound, touch and so forth. This profoundly affects how we communicate. No matter what language we use to talk with each other, our communication is most effective when we use the specific representational system which is easiest for us to digest information.

Someone who relates strongly through their hearing is going to have an easier time learning if they listen to the lesson. Not only that, but they will respond best to speech that uses auditory terminology, such as “I hear what you’re saying,” or “That sounds good to me.”

A visual learner responds better to visual media and visually oriented speech, such as “I see your point,” or “That looks good to me.” A kinetic learner responds to the way an experience feels as well as the way the lesson appeals to the sense of touch or movement. This type of person responds to speech that uses imagery involving motion, emotion and the sense of touch.

Find the representational system that you relate to best. This is a powerful tool as someone tasked with influencing others. You can use this in your writing, publishing, speaking, and one-on-one communication. Understand how you are wired, and you will see the ways your audience is attracted to your message. Use several representational systems to reach many different types of people.

You can also use several publishing derivatives or media to tap a variety of audiences. Don’t just write books or give speeches. Why limit yourself? Engage in talk shows, published articles, do book signings at your local bookstore, create instructional videos, and even host experiential workshops. You can hone your communication skills to a fine point and connect with your audience in a whole new way.

Use a variety of senses to sculpt your work, then use a variety of media to package your message to the world.

They say when the student is ready, the teacher will appear, just as this wise woman appeared to me. Yet I also say when the teacher is ready, the student will appear, just as you have appeared in this sphere to read this material. Now as you model lessons for others, it’s time to ask this question: Your story is ready. How are you going to tell the world?

For those of you who love Top 10 lists, here are the top 10 ways to package messages for speakers and authors and reach multiple representational systems of your fans:

  1. Book Derivatives
    • Physical book, eBook, Enhanced eBook
  2. Audio programs
    • Audiobook or a series of audio recordings or podcasts
  3. Teleseminars
    • Conference calls
  4. DVDs and Video
    • Physical discs and/or online delivery
  5. Subscription / Membership Program
    • Video, eBook, DVD or content on your website
  6. Webinars
  7. Seminars
    • Live events, retreats, adventure trips, conferences, workshops
  8. Coaching / Consulting
    • Work with people individually as a coach, or with a company to implement a system
  9. Licensed Merchandise
    • Promotional products embedded with quotes, tips, and memorable phrases; mugs, shirts, pens
  10. Apps
    • Create an interactive mobile app to keep the attention of your audience who is on-the-go

Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

icon1November 28, 2016

Funding a Book with Kickstarter: Crowdsource Fund Raising

Soccer Field

Imagine yourself on a vast playing field in a sports stadium—a dream from childhood come true. The turf you’re standing on is a rich emerald green under the bright stadium lights. For a brief moment, you’re in awe that you’ve finally made it big as you scan the thousands of faces cheering you on.

The stands are filled to capacity—more than 65,000 souls—and the roar of the crowd is all but deafening with only seconds left in the game. You and your teammates have been moving like a well-oiled machine, playing all-out the entire game. Now it’s down to the wire. The other team is pushing hard to score, but you and your crew shut them down just in time. The game is over, and victory is yours!

What an amazing feeling to aim for something and hit the mark. This is true not only in sports but in business and life as well. When you set a goal and commit to it, all kinds of strange, happy coincidences conspire to bring you what you’ve decided upon.

Author Michael Tetteh knows first-hand just how true this is. Michael had that experience I just described, playing professional soccer for the wildly popular Seattle Sounders. It was his fondest dream, as a nine-year-old boy living in Ghana, to play professional soccer.

Michael’s journey from a humble African village to living the life of a sports celebrity in a major U.S. city only happened because he’d taken that first step—setting a goal. He followed his dream and used his natural gifts to become a successful soccer player.

Michael is now retired from the sport and has written an account of his unique and glamorous story. His book, Giftocracy, is based on the idea that everyone has a gift—a unique talent that when channeled, is your unique path to success. Michael set a goal to raise money to cover the marketing costs of his book launch. How did he accomplish this? He’s used the Crowdfunding Website Kickstarter.

Reaching Your Goal with Kickstarter

Kickstarter is a huge worldwide community of like-minded people offering each other support. The website’s mission is to help artists, authors, performers and other creative people. It’s a platform where everyday people can raise the money needed to reach creative goals. Since Kickstarter’s launch in 2009, the site has helped over 12 million people fund a project. More than 115,562 projects have been funded, with a total of $2.7 billion pledged.

In my travels, the topic of funding a book release came up during a discussion with one of my clients. She asked if I knew anything about crowdfunding generally and Kickstarter specifically. In fact, I do have experience with it. I told her that if she raised $25,000 to fund her book project, then she would have the budget to launch a healthy marketing campaign to gain nationwide attention to her ideas.

As you might imagine, my client was enthusiastic and wanted to get started right away. Here are four steps I gave her to fund a book launch with Kickstarter.

  1. AMOUNT: Determine your fundraising goal. Here are some thoughts to get you started:
    • Raise $7,000 – 10,000 to self-publish your book, including graphic design and layout.
    • Raise $20,000 to work with an experienced ghostwriter.
    • Raise $25,000 to hire a professional publicist to schedule a media tour.
    • Raise $250,000 if your aspirations are to run a marketing campaign that will produce a New York Times bestseller.
  2. APPEAL: Create excellent visual photography assets to represent your book or your ideas. You’ll need these for your Kickstarter project page so people can see what they’re buying into. You’ll also want to record a thoughtful, heartfelt or funny video about your project—about 3 to 7 minutes long. You want to move people and get them excited about supporting your cause. Besides using photos and video, Kickstarter Live is now an option to stream live video of your appeal.
  3. BONUSES: Create an inventory of bonuses that you will give away with each level of donation. Here is an example of how a Business author might structure their giveaway.
    • $10 for a copy of the eBook and a custom mug.
    • $25 for a pre-release signed copy of your book.
    • $50 for a 5-pack of signed books for your staff.
    • $100 for a nice gift item, with a copy of your book.
    • $250 for a nicer gift item, with a copy of your book.
    • $1,000 for an event such as a dinner for four with the author.
    • $2,500 for a free speaking engagement to an organization of your choice (charity
      event, corporate retreat or another gathering).
  4. COMMUNICATE: Write good copy for your landing page. In fact, unless you have a marketing degree, hire a professional to write your copy for you. It needs to pack a punch. Then once you launch your campaign, talk it up! Tell your friends and promote the campaign in your social circles. Know that it takes several reminders to fund a campaign fully. You’ll want to be active on social media and send plenty of emails. Many successful authors even pick-up the phone (gasp) to personally ask people to support their campaigns.

When you start thinking like a professional fundraiser, you’ll do great! When people like your Kickstarter project, they love to join your journey and see it as a joy to support your cause. Remember to thank them for that precious support and then follow up when your project is done with a hand-written note.

You can contact a team member at Made for Success Publishing to brainstorm ideas for your campaign from the successful book campaigns we’ve tracked over the years. Good luck, and good hunting!

Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

icon1November 21, 2016

Ideation: Bucking the Odds by Using the Story Inventory System

Las Vegas

When it comes to communicating your ideas, do you sometimes feel like you’re taking a shot in the dark, gambling with your core message?

Early in my speaking career, I needed to brainstorm ideas for a keynote speech for an event in Las Vegas. I was asked to address an audience of several hundred CEO’s following a highly paid thought leader and speaker, Seth Godin (no pressure!). This was both a rare privilege and promise of a good time in the Entertainment Capital of the World.

Besides the excitement of Vegas night life and the opportunity to address a prime audience, the desert climate, to a Pacific Northwesterner, was hard to beat. I really looked forward to basking in the bright sunshine and escaping the long gray days of winter in Seattle, if only for an extended weekend. I packed my tennis racket, an under-used pair of swim trunks and ordered-up tickets to a glittering show I’d been wanting to see.

Before I could get on a plane, though, I had to confront the blank slate in front of me. I had to write a speech.

In my early career, writing the bones of a keynote speech was tough for me, enough to create butterflies in my stomach and sweaty palms. How do you choose what to talk about from a world of ideas? How do you illustrate the points you want to make so they are memorable? How do you create laughs, but still be taken seriously by a group of CEO’s?

Whether you’re tasked with giving a high-pressure speech, addressing a conference room of people at work or even telling stories at a holiday party, your chances of being completely understood are pretty slim if you don’t have the right approach. Sometimes the odds of getting your point across to your audience vaguely resemble a Vegas style pari-mutuel game of chance.

Unlocking the Right Communication Combination

It’s true! There are times when communicating with your audience can be reminiscent of throwing your money away on a lottery ticket, with odds of 100 million to 1 of making a significant impact. If you’re not connecting with the people you’re talking to, hitting your mark is, at best, a shot in the dark.

So, how can you buck the odds and bring your point home? Like so many other things in life, it’s easy when you know how. In other words, it’s simpler when you have a system.

Dr. Iliya Bluskov, a noted mathematician, is an expert on “combinatorial systems” or figuring out different ways to win the lottery. In fact, this is the topic of his doctoral thesis and his best-selling book Combinatorial Systems with Guaranteed Wins for PICK-5 Lotteries. (And you thought mathematicians were boring!) His dexterity with number crunching has allowed him—and lots and lots of happy gamblers—to buck the odds and win small pots of lottery money around the world.

Bluskov’s systems increase the odds of winning and turn luck into a matter of logic. Using his tables can reduce the odds from, 100,000,000:1 to less than 1,000:1. There’s certainly no such thing as a sure bet, but by using a system, you can tip the scales in your favor.

But how does Bluskov’s system for beating lotteries relate to creating ideas for a speech or a book?

Trusting the Story Inventory System

Just as you can increase your chances of winning the lottery by using a system, you can take the guesswork out of developing your core content as a speaker or author. It starts by trusting an established system to bring you consistent results.

I use a system called the Story Inventory System. Developing new ideas for writing a book or speech is easier than you might think when you follow the steps that have worked so well for countless others.

When I talk about trusting a system, one of the best things any speaker or writer can do is to brainstorm a story inventory. The pros in the professional speaking industry leverage their key ideas for speeches by creating an inventory of their key stories. They develop these ideas from brainstorming, interviews, life experiences, and studying other thinkers. Then from the inventory of key stories they choose to communicate, the pros select which stories support their core ideas for each keynote speech.

If you are working up ideas for a speech or a book, you can use this system to develop and illustrate your content. The concept to remember is this: you never tell a story without making a point, and never make a point without telling a story. Here’s how:

  • Brainstorm an inventory of ideas that you want to write or speak about. Don’t stop until you get a list of 25 to 50 ideas.
  • List three bullet points for each idea, which are the main points you want to communicate for each idea.
  • Craft a story that encapsulates each point you want to make. The stories can come from your own life experience, or you can borrow stories from friends, celebrities or even historical figures.
  • Rehearse telling these stories in 2-4 minutes per story. I find little pockets of unused time to practice these stories, such as in the shower or behind the wheel of my car.

Writing a speech with this system is easy. First, take a look at the master theme of the event where you are speaking. Next, look at the inventory of stories you developed—your story inventory. Then pull stories from your inventory that work together to support the flow of your speech.

If you are writing a book, the steps in the system are equally simple to follow. Come up with a Table of Contents based on your best ideas followed by three supporting points. Pull in a supporting story for each of the supporting points. Then write 800 words about each bullet point. Voila! Your chapters will unfold quickly and easily, and your audience will love your clarity.

If you want to communicate clearly, get good at telling your stories both in writing and speaking. Then you can craft your key points and illustrate them with the stories that best support your key message.

So the next time you are asked to speak or generate ideas, all you have to do is trust the system. The Story Inventory System is an evergreen tool to become a thought leader, which will level the odds of winning in your favor!

Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

icon1November 15, 2016

How to Set Up a Book Pre-Order Campaign

Travel Wine

I love my job. Talking about books sometimes takes me to interesting places… like picturesque Ashland, Oregon, for instance. On a recent trip, the topic of generating pre-orders for new book releases came up over lunch. Here is how the conversation developed…

Ashland sits in the heart of the up-and-coming wine country of Southern Oregon, and it’s long been home to the famous Ashland Shakespeare Festival. Wine and words—an undoubtedly winning combination in my book. I’m sure the Bard himself would have approved of this fabulous business lunch with an executive of our audiobook distribution team among the cobblestones and Tudor half-timbers.

As my colleague and I sat in a quant bistro on a glorious afternoon—talking about library orders, taking in the crisp air, and observing the bustle of college students on the streets below—I looked over the menu with a critical case of indecision. Everything looked so delicious. Just as I was about to make my choice, our server sauntered over and filled us in on the specials.

She quietly mentioned that the Crab Newburg was sold out. “There’s a big family reunion here tonight.” She explained, “They’ve pre-ordered the entire right side of the menu.”

Suddenly, I had a mouthwatering desire for Crab Newburg with an insistency that cannot be explained. But no matter the desire, there was no way to satisfy my appetite for the buttery little delights. I settled for the chicken fettuccine served with a smattering of prosciutto and capers (yawn!). As the conversation developed, the executive I was meeting with began explaining the incredible importance of generating pre-orders in major retail catalogs for new book releases. In that moment, everything came together and it all made sense.

There’s a new dynamic in the book publishing world, she explained, and it directly affects our new authors. Here is what she dished out while I poked at my plate of poultry.

Many authors will run a pre-sales marketing campaign for their book release. This sends a signal to retail buyers about the number of readers who are eager for the upcoming launch. One factor that dictates how many books a retailer will buy up-front is the number of pre-orders they see in their system for the new release.

Having pre-orders can mean the difference between big retailers like Barnes & Noble or Amazon ordering, say, 400 units of your book versus 2,000 units. In other words, it’s the difference between having a pedestrian chicken dish, or landing an exotic Pacific Northwest crustacean delicacy served with a piquant cream sauce and a splash of dry sherry. One tries; the other succeeds.

I should mention that my lunch partner is an executive with direct working experience with Barnes & Noble, Baker & Taylor, and Books a Million, along with an impressive number of libraries. She was very clear on the topic of getting pre-orders of your book and emphasized it as a major priority. More than ever, book buyers look at the following hot topics when ordering for their stores and libraries:

  • How famous is the author?
  • How do the book Title and cover artwork work together?
  • What is the author’s marketing plan for this book?
  • How many book pre-orders are in their system?

If you have intentions of succeeding in the hyper-competitive retail book business, here is what savvy authors are doing to stimulate pre-orders for their book release, which we call a Pre-order Campaign:

  • Build a page on your website with at least 5 links to pre-order books. This signals retail buyers that you are not partial to any single retailer. Check-out this pre-order page to see what this looks like.
  • Include links to your book on a variety of retail websites. Here is a suggested list (providing your publisher has broad distribution):
    • Amazon
    • Target
    • WalMart
    • Books a Million
    • IndieBound
  • Send messages to your fans via social media and email broadcasts. Try live streaming video options which are getting impressive response rates.
  • Offer a bonus item to your fans for placing pre-orders, such as free digital content. A PDF or MP3 audio file is often popular. Have people message you with a digital receipt of their retail order to get the bonus offer.
  • Offer to sign their book if they mail it to you with return postage. It can be some extra work, but it tells your fans that you care.
  • Give away a coupon code for a free copy of your digital audiobook.
  • Encourage people to write a Review where they purchased the book.

For maximum distribution from your publishing supply chain, make sure that a pre-order campaign is on your menu. This one tactic which can ensure your book sales are as fresh as today’s fresh catch!

Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

icon1November 8, 2016

The Golden Egg: Book Marketing and the Power of a PR Campaign

Golden Halloween Pumpkin With Scary Face

The journey to a best-selling book often hinges on your skill working with a PR, or public relations firm. The author’s path to fame and glory is strewn with brilliant ideas and wild goose chases. So many book promotion plans sound good on paper but turn out to be ineffectual.

There are authors who crack the code anew every day and wind up on the Best Seller list. So why not you? After all, every best-selling author has to start with a plan.

With this in mind, is it a good idea for an author to hire a PR firm to promote their published works? Like so many things, the answer isn’t cut and dried. It all depends. While you nearly always get what you pay for, it’s crucial to be clear about what exactly it is you’re paying for when hiring an agency to promote your book.

The first thing to look at is your goal for promoting your book. Are you publishing your book so you can have the credibility of being a published author? If what you want is the respect of having this important credential, then releasing your book into the marketplace may well be enough. A few book release announcements on your blog and newsletter could give you some exposure. This means that with a “book release” instead of a “product launch,” you can use your book as your calling card to get new speaking and consulting gigs.

But what if the credential of getting published is not enough? What about those ambitious authors who want their books to propel their brand to a nationwide audience?

Finding the right kind of help to tell your story to the media can make all the difference in the return on investment you get with your book release. This is the job of a book release PR firm.

Finding the Masses

Most authors invest months, even years of blood, sweat, toil and tears writing their manuscript. Ironically many authors believe that if their book is good, it will sell itself. Have you looked at the volume of books on Amazon lately? Each year, there are hundreds of thousands of new books released…just in the non-fiction category! The idea that your book release is going to rise to the top of the sales charts based on the sheer brilliance contained within its pages is hopeful, at best.

A good book is certainly worth the effort of a good hearty launch. But how do you go about it? Using a skilled literary PR agency could be the answer to putting your message in front of your primary audience.

One of the biggest appeals of hiring a PR firm is the well-worn path they’ve trod to media outlets. A non-fiction author with the right platform is highly desirable in the eyes of talk show hosts, and a good PR firm knows just how to get their attention.

Popular topics like business, politics, finance, inspiration, health and relationships draw viewers and listeners to fresh ideas and the authors who write about them. If you’ve got a good story to tell, you could well find yourself on TV or radio with the help of a solid PR firm.

Social media is also a key ingredient in your book publicity campaign. While it’s up to you as an author to develop your following, a qualified PR firm can help you design an effective social media master plan. They can also direct you to other like-minded centers of influence in the social sphere. The degree of help with social media depends on the agency.

What Makes A Great Publishing PR Agency?

Whatever your level of experience – from first-time indie author to veteran bestseller – hiring a PR agency to market your book is probably a smart move. So, what do you look for? Here are the top 4 ingredients:

  1. Industry Specialization: Often, a PR firm that has experience with media outlets which cover the topic of your book is the best place to start. A client of mine, Dr. Allan Colman, consults with marketing departments of law firms. He is working with a PR firm that is involved in the legal industry and has lists and current contacts with the influencers in this industry. Hence, the PR specialist know about media outlets that an industry outsider would be hard pressed to identify.
  2. Literary PR Agencies: There are a variety of PR firms who work exclusively on book releases. This means that they are savvy to insider dynamics of working in the book trade. This can include managing things like:
    • Award Submissions: they keep a list of literary awards on-file and regularly submit manuscripts for consideration.
    • Trade Reviews: book industry buyers read trade journals regularly. Reviews in the major literary trade journals have extraordinary weight on buying decisions from corporate buyers and library districts. Some of these respected journals include Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Kirkus.
    • Bookstore Tours: there is a list of highly respected bookstores nationwide, and some PR firms will maintain a list of people to contact for high-impact bookstore tours with large independent retailers including Powell’s Books, Politics & Prose or Elliott Bay Bookstore.
    • Speaking Tour: there are many speaking engagement opportunities which are available to authors, who are considered experts in their field.
  3. Dream Media Outlets: Often successful authors will identify a list of dream media outlets where they want to expose their books. Provide this list to your PR firm and get their ideas on how to get featured in these publications.
  4. Weekly Reports to your Publisher: Your publisher can work magic if you feed them real-time information about “PR wins.” Feeding this information on a regular basis to their Sales & Marketing teams does wonders, as sales teams tend to talk-up books that are getting national media attention.

Take an unflinching look at the strength of your network of news outlets, blogs and book reviewers. The marketing support you get from your publishing agency will be greatly enhanced by the amount of time and attention you contribute to your success.

Be clear about the tasks you want to accomplish before hiring a PR firm. By getting clear about your goals and milestones before hiring an agency, you can be sure that the PR firm you hire will help you and your book reach the widest possible audience. Instead of a wild goose chase, you could end up with a basket of golden eggs!

Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

icon1November 1, 2016

Born to Win – Pre-order Special Offer

9781613392324_FCBorn to Win: Find Your Success by Zig Ziglar

256 Reviews: 4.5 of 5 stars

Born to Win: Find Your Success, the last book ever written by Zig Ziglar, is shipping January 1st, 2017, just in time for your New Year’s Resolutions.  Pre-order a copy today from your favorite retailer below and we’ll send you a free copy of the Born to Win audiobook recorded by New York Times best selling author Andy Andrews, our way of saying thanks for pre-ordering your copy.

Born to Win is available everywhere books are sold. Start your year right and reserve your copy today, while supplies last.

Barnes & Noble


Your Favorite Local Bookstore from IndieBound



As the last book written by the late Zig Ziglar, he will reveal your surest path to success and help your untapped greatness become visible. After writing more than thirty books, nine of which are best sellers, Zig again delivers life changing wisdom.

For more than 50 years, in a style that is unquestionably his own, Zig Ziglar has used his quick wit, down-home charm, and abundance of energy to inspire excellence in people throughout the world. In Born to Win, Zig’s nonstop passion inspires and informs as Zig speaks to you as if you’re sitting front-row center in his sold-out seminar.


In Born to Win you’ll learn how to:

  • Achieve balance by becoming a more complete person in seven key areas of your life
  • Develop and maintain a winner’s attitude and use it to achieve significant personal growth
  • Build stronger professional and personal relationships using your own unique behavioral style
  • Become a better leader, parent, and employee by learning the art of effective communications
  • And much more!



icon1October 28, 2016

Planning a DIY PR Tour


As a speaker or an author on the way to publishing your next book, the time to plan your public relations (or PR) strategy is upon you. You’ll hear literary agents and publishers talking about your “platform.” This article gets down to the essentials of getting your platform built.

Authors have two essential choices to generate buzz from coast to coast on an affordable budget: 1) Hire a PR firm to do the work for you, which can get pricey, or 2) Plan and run your own PR campaign. Today, let’s focus on the later using DIY steps to build the platform for your book launch

The game plan for a book launch sets the stage for the payoff in book sales and reputation. As an author, you’ve made a monumental investment of time, heart and soul into your manuscript.

Realistically, it takes about three to six months to build excitement and demand in the marketplace for your book. First comes the need to create interest, tension and excitement centered around your book’s core message.

Where many book launches have enjoyed multi-million dollar budgets, not many authors have these kinds of resources to launch their book. You’d be surprised at how accessible the strategy is for typical authors, if you follow the same steps as the big budget pros in this business.

Getting Madison Avenue Results on a Main Street Budget

Two of my favorite PR recommendations have no cost associated with them at all. These favored do-it-yourself PR tactics are Blog Tours and Podcasting. These methods are so powerful, that PR firms use them consistently with exceptional results. Many authors find these PR strategies accessible to the average person and choose to do the work themselves.

Podcast Tour:

Podcasting is on the rise with well over 57 million active listeners in 2016. 21% of Americans have listened to a podcast episode recently (to compare, 21% of Americans are on Twitter and 13% use Spotify). It can be an effective tool for attracting attention to your book. With a podcast, people all over the world can access the ideas you talk about and create a more personal relationship with you.

I’ve seen authors build up a massive following using podcasts that highlight excerpts of their books or existing audio recordings. There’s something enticing about a book either read by the author, a discussion around your topic or an excerpt from a keynote speech. No one else can offer such shades of nuance.

It’s possible to get thousands of faithful fans this way, fans who will become aware of your book. These fans are quite valuable because not only will they buy your book but they may become loyal customers who purchase your audio series, coaching or consulting services.

The powerhouse of podcast traffic is Apple’s iTunes. However, there are other venues available to host your podcasts such as Stitcher and other podcatcher sites offering a dedicated following with little investment from you except your time.

It may take a little while to build up your following, but once you do, you will be amazed at the response.

Also, another effective podcast strategy is to set up your own podcast show. Here is a podcast episode called Book Publishing Success which is dedicated to ushering new users into setting up their own podcast to promote their book or speaking business.

Blog Promotion:

Doing a Blog Tour is a cost effective way to get exposure for your ideas. In aggregate, Bloggers have a huge center of influence. Getting your ideas and articles into these centers of influence can be a highly credible method for getting book exposure. Here are several practical methods for getting started:

  1. Book Reviews: Getting your book reviewed on popular blogs is an effective way to get attention for your book from large centers of influence. Book Review blogs especially offer a rich gathering of dedicated readers, hungry for the next book launch. Submitting your book to a review site is a great way to build momentum and get readers—and the search engines—to take notice.
  2. Guest Blogger: Consider offering to submit a daily/weekly/monthly article to bloggers who are active in your niche. I recommend authors keep an inventory of articles related to their book, in order to capitalize on this exposure.

There are massive numbers of blogs that accept review requests. Finding them can be a time-consuming process, so this is one task you may want to assign to a Virtual Assistant.

Whether you’re flying solo or have an assistant, the process is the same. Start by researching relevant blogs to your topic. My method is to identify the top 100 bloggers within special interest groups. Once you have built your list, you will start contacting the administrators of the blog to inquire about Book Reviews or becoming a guest author on the blog.

One final note—you’ll want to check the popularity of a blog by looking up the Alexa rank of the blog. The lower the ranking of the website, the more people are visiting that website (a low Alexa rank is a good thing).

In summary, to make the most of these methods, consider the following tips for content development.

  1. Create an inventory of articles that you can multi-purpose. Having an inventory of story ideas and topics can come in handy when you distribute your articles.
  2. Research high traffic bloggers who relate to your topic. Ask them to become a guest author for you. Alternatively, you can arrange to become a guest on their blog.
  3. Use your articles as scripts in a podcast show. The most popular podcast length is about 15 to 30 minutes, and your text equates to about 10,000 words per hour.
  4. Many podcast shows are eager for guests. Research shows related to your topic and ask to be a guest on their show.

Where will your next book launch take you? With the potent combo of podcasting and blogs, you are well on your way to a successful book launch!

Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

icon1October 25, 2016

Is Social Media a HUGE Waste of Time for Authors?

Time Worth

As a book publisher, I’ve seen a boatload of creative promotional methods for driving book sales. Some methods are ingenious and highly effective. Others methods… not so much.

The fact is there are many ways to spend your time to promote a book. Some of these are a great spend of time, others… not so much. If you’re going to do social media you need to be investing your time, not just spending it.

In my career of promoting best sellers, I’ve developed a book marketing resource with 107 effective marketing tactics to support a book launch. Knowing that there are thousands of marketing options to choose from, I felt it important to build a database of knowledge on what is actually working today. All of these ideas are not for everyone because all of them take either time or money to implement.

The question then becomes, which method offers the most bang for your buck? In other words, where can you get the highest return for the time or money you apply?

Without a doubt, one of the obvious answers to successfully promote a book is using social media to generate awareness. From Facebook to YouTube, Pinterest to Instagram, marketing with social media is the new normal. In fact, it’s so prevalent that even Presidential candidates relentlessly use networks like Twitter for engaging their constituents. Often, their results are impressive when used in such a manner that is consistent with the social network. For instance, what works on LinkedIn will not work on Pinterest.

When Social Media Works (and When It Doesn’t)

Let’s face it: social media is powerful. Social networks have allowed us to connect with friends and family around the world, discover innovative products, support cherished causes, and promote our ideas like never before. Whatever your fan base, you can get the word out about your most recent developments and reach a massive amount of people in seconds—if you use the right tactics.

Many pundits suggest using social media to promote books, but the rules keep changing in the industry. As the social media platforms focus more on profits, the opportunities to leverage these networks for low-cost exposure is shrinking. You just can’t reach as many people as you used to as the rules for posting content are changing rapidly.

For instance, Facebook will not circulate your posts to all your LIKES unless you pay them to BOOST your Post. Some experts estimate that only 2% to 5% of your LIKES will see your posts. If you want to reach the rest, you need to pay Facebook to advertise (or Boost) your post to your fan base.

And what about the quality of that message? Whatever you post needs to be a) in-line with your message; b) an enhancement to your reputation; c) unique enough to inspire sharing. Anything less could be the kiss of death.

For example, if your book is about wildlife photography, you could turn off your fan base by posting a dinnertime pic of the wild elk special you are trying in Park City at Robert Redford’s restaurant. Think before you post, and make it count. You won’t get a second chance if you screw it up.

What is Your Time Worth?

If you are already in motion using social media and love it, then this is a great tool to promote your book. Go for it, and use the medium to showcase your writing, post images, and share video. There’s every reason to take advantage of this ubiquitous tool.

However, the reality is that social media can be pretty time consuming. Making the most of social media marketing means being consistent with your scheduling and your topics. If you’re posting comments, images and videos at off-peak hours for your fan base, you’re singing in the wind. Use one of the many apps available to analyze your fan base and see when your friends and followers are online. Post your most valuable pieces during those times.

Likewise, look at the best use of your time as an author working towards building a platform for your book release, namely your fan base as an author. If you’re committed to accessing your platform with social media, consider hiring an assistant or social media manager to help you stay in stride.

Video is hugely effective, so don’t ignore this opportunity. Video posts get phenomenal circulation, and they are rapidly taking over social media sites such as Facebook. It goes without saying that YouTube is the monster in the room here, with billions of hours of new video posted each month. The funnier your video, the better the circulation you can expect.

In the end, all that counts is that you push your message to your public by whatever means you have at your disposal. Every day I encounter authors who have written successful books but do not even have a Facebook account. They confide in me that they read articles telling them they must use social media to promote their books. However, they use other methods to promote their work successfully.

Is this true? Will your writing career tank if you don’t feed the social media monster at breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Is the only path to success to climb on the bandwagon and do what everyone else is doing?

Absolutely not! There are so many ways to invest your time and promote your book. Social media is just one of the many marketing tactics I’ve documented to support a book launch. It’s true that all of them take time or money to implement. As an author, you can let your inherent creativity guide you to your best marketing options.

However, one truism holds fast: unless you get the word out, no one will know what gems of knowledge your book holds. Start beating your own drum today, and reap the rewards tomorrow.

Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

icon1October 17, 2016

Legacy and the Long View of Relationships


Maestro Eubie Blake once famously said, “If I’d known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.” He lived to be 96 and left a legacy of music that changed the way we listen to the world, including highly influential pieces of ragtime, Broadway tunes and early jazz.

Besides my career in publishing, I’m a jazz trombone player. Eubie Blake’s story inspires me because I’m intrigued with the ability that each one of us have to leave a legacy and make a difference in the lives of others. Especially in my line of work, developing professional speakers and authors with high visibility products, I am keenly attuned to the task of leaving a mark on the world.

Blake did much more than merely make a joyful noise in his time. His most famous song, the upbeat Foxtrot “I’m Just Wild About Harry,” was sung by dozens of celebrities in its day, such as Judy Garland. It was even adopted as the presidential campaign theme song for Harry S. Truman during his White House bid in 1948.

As for Blake, his career began before the turn of the 20th century and spanned more than 80 years. Blake was a “rock star” before there were rock stars! His performances ranged from the Baltimore brothel, where he got his start playing piano, to a stint on Saturday Night Live in 1979. Eubie was also a frequent guest on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. In the course of time, he was awarded a dazzling array of honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Ronald Reagan in 1981.

As I reflect on the legacy of people like Eubie Blake, my thoughts drift to my Aunt Dolores whose legacy recently came to an end. Whether your legacy includes dining with US Presidents or baking a peach pie for your teenage nephew, your imprint on the world lives in the memories of those you touch with your actions.

Taking the Long View of Relationships

When I was a kid, the idea of living to be 100 was a novel fantasy. Few ever made it. It was a kind of pipe dream. Now living that long is commonplace as morning talk shows frequently remind us when they celebrate yet another centenarian’s birthday amid cheers and balloons on live TV.

It’s hard to know what kind of impact we can make on the world around us, even if we do manage to live a hundred years. Few take the time to anticipate the kind of legacy they might leave. But it’s never too late to contemplate it or set goals to that end. The time that’s given to us can be used in idle pursuits, or we can make it mean something for the generations that come after us. It’s a simple choice to make.

Leaving a legacy is much easier to contemplate when we take the long view, considering the kinds of relationships we choose to cultivate. It’s clear that Eubie Blake didn’t go it alone. The relationships he enjoyed during the span of his career made all the difference in his longevity as an artist and as a man.

Blake married his childhood sweetheart, Avis. Though he outlived her by 40 years, she nonetheless helped launch his career. He also enjoyed a long-standing partnership with Noble Sissle, the lyricist who helped take his compositions to Broadway and beyond.

Your Circle of Friends

There’s a saying among the Personal Development crowd I’ve heard: “If you have nine broke friends, odds are you’re the tenth.”

The quality of the company you keep is a direct reflection of the quality of your attitude. Think about that for a moment….one greatly affects the other.

Take a look at the people you spend the most time with. Do these people deserve so much of your precious time and attention? Are they like-minded souls who are pursuing the best in life? Will they support your journey or enhance your legacy?

There are few people in this world who leave the kind of legacy that Eubie Blake did, but who touches your heart like an Aunt Dolores? Make your journey worthwhile and worth the effort to those you encounter. What kind of pages will fill the book of your life? What will future generations glean from your master work? Whatever the outcome, make it a good read!

Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

icon1October 4, 2016

Innovating on Demand


One of today’s top buzzwords is innovation. Everybody wants it. Few know how to harness it. Some say that innovation-on-demand is just a fantasy, something born of wishful thinking in polished boardrooms as top executives figure-out how to motivate their Millennial workforce.

Other say innovation is a skill, not a talent. They say it can be honed to a fine point and wielded like a weapon. Yet even the models of corporate innovation, such as Apple, have their tepid days. Embracing the concept of innovation-on-demand is no guarantee of producing it. The desire alone is not always enough to get the result.

So let’s talk about that. How can you as a leader cultivate innovation, as a matter of habit? Innovation isn’t just about creativity. It’s taking something that already exists and making it better through new ideas, methods or products. It’s very root means “new” – nova. Nova also refers to the monumental explosion of a star, releasing tremendous energy. Innovation can be a lot like that, particularly as new technologies and ideas enter our modern culture.

As a leader, whether you are an author or a speaker, how can you capture this cataclysmic power of lightning in a bottle? Is there a way to reliably inspire yourself and others to create disruptive systems at will? What is the key to innovating on demand? Nothing exists without first having the idea of it.

Teasing Innovation Into Being

One thing we know for certain is that everything we know is in a state of flux. The only constant is change. Harnessing that change and putting it to work on our behalf is the most potent key to success. Deciding just how things will change is your golden ticket to having things go your way.

If you want to encourage innovation, it can’t be forced. It has to be teased out of its shell. This means setting up an environment where there is freedom to make mistakes, to think differently, to follow new ideology for the sake of seeing where it leads. It implies risk taking, relaxation, self-acceptance and stream of consciousness. Fundamentally it encourages tapping into the inner child, taking time to think, or even an adrenaline-packed offsite event in the wilderness.

This is one reason so many start-up environments feature fun workplaces like beanbag chairs, stand-up desks, in-house chefs for all employees and well-stocked bars. Fridays are often free from formality, even including bans on Friday meetings.

Take a second…can you imagine this type of work environment at a Big 3 automotive manufacturer? I didn’t think so either.

These features may seem trivial or even cushy to an outsider. But in the heat of white-hot creation, such amenities become necessities. They allow the sub-conscious mind to problem solve, while the inner child comes out to play. The imagination is fueled by relaxation.

This is the territory of what investors call Unicorns…those illusive start-up companies who create a billion dollar valuation.

5-Steps For Innovating On Demand

Inspiration on demand means continually asking “What if…?” This single phrase spawns the cycle of creativity from birth to launch. What if a personal music device could be used as a phone? What if a car could drive itself? What if that same car could fly…and drive itself?

Would you be surprised to learn that Airbus is currently working on commercializing self-driving air taxis?

One hundred years ago, these questions would have been laughable. Today they are realities, innovations born of daring imaginations. These ideas were once someone’s sci-fi novels. Magic happens when innovation is teased into being.

With that in mind, here are 5-steps for innovation-on-demand in your business.

  1. DEFINITION: Define the problem you wish you solve with your innovative idea. This is the issue that needs to be fixed with your creative solution.
  2. IDENTIFICATION: Identify the people who are having this problem. This is your primary marketplace – your avatar. What do they look like? What is their income? How do they spend their time? Is your solution going to present a financial decision for them?
  3. COMPASSION: Understand the problem from the perspective of your avatar. How can you provide a seamless solution for them at a price-point they will embrace?
  4. CLARIFICATION: Clarify your solution. What have others done before you? Where have they failed? How have they succeeded? If it’s a product you’re after, now is the time to make up specifications and blueprints. If it’s your book, write your Table of Contents. If it’s a TED talk, generate the discipline of rehearsal to refine your delivery. Work out any kinks in your model before you create a finished product.
  5. INNOVATION: Now it’s time to get to work! Create your finished product. Market test it. Get feedback from your core demographic, and use it to refine what you’ve created.

It’s true that innovation-on-demand may be a fantasy. It’s also true that fantasy can become reality. All it takes is a map and a compass, plus the gentle breeze of encouragement. You’ll be on your way in no time.

Whose life will you change with your innovative breakthroughs?

Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

icon1September 27, 2016

Failure and the Cycle of Achievement


I’ll never forget “that day.”  That day of failure when my life took a turn to transform me from a working stiff to captain of my destiny. The moment is clear to me now, though a full decade has passed since then. The value of the experience has compounded over time, like your savings in a 401k plan.

I was walking down a dusty road on a spring afternoon, feeling the gentle breeze touch my hair like a reassuring touch. The sun sparkled on Lake Sammamish to my right, but thoughts of waterskiing those glassy waters was far from my mind. Despite the exquisite weather and world-class setting, I was in a dark mood.  Wondering what to do next. Questioning everything….looping.  I had just lost my cushy corporate job and the crush of providing for the family was on my mind.

There are a thousand reasons it happened. Any one of them would be good enough to explain the situation. But in reality, there was only one thing that mattered. I didn’t work there anymore. I was no longer responsible for the outcomes I’d been sweating over for the past four years. I no longer had to spend weeks away from home, closing deals on the road, traveling through Europe while my kids grew up. Suddenly I had all this time and freedom on my hands.

I also no longer had a paycheck! I had to find a new way to feed my family, keep our home, and set-up the teenagers for college. There were also braces and Karate lessons to pay for, prom dresses and not to mention the all-important date nights with my wife.

I didn’t know how to deal with these demands, and I found my confidence flagging – the kiss of death for anyone in Sales or Leadership. A quote from my mentor was echoing through my mind that afternoon, “Son, Sales is a great career.  But you live by the sword and you die by the sword.”  And there I found myself…dead.  This was my state of mind as I wandered down that dusty road by the lake, trying to get a handle on the moment.

Failure and the Path to Challenging Your Inner Critic

Beep beep! A passing driver honked her horn at me, rousing me from my reverie. Was I walking too close to the road? Was I going to walk straight into a telephone pole? Did I have a piece of toilet paper stuck to my shoe? The answer was “None of the above.”

The driver was Liv Montgomery, one of the authors represented by my publishing start-up, Made For Success Publishing. She lived in the next town and randomly passed me as I was wandering down the lakeside highway. In a moment my cell phone rang. Later that week, Liv was sitting across from me over coffees, with Frappuccino’s whirring away in the background above the din of the early morning crowd. My shoulders were slightly slumped over a tall drip.  “A tall drip” I think, “How appropriate!”

“You haven’t failed,” she states assuredly. “You’ve merely postponed success.”

She sounded like a motivational poster.  I shrugged, taking the lid off my piping hot brew. I’d been steeped in Personal Development books from the time I was old enough to drive. I didn’t need a pep talk. I needed opportunity. But she went on anyway, scrappy and annoyingly unflinching.

“This problem you’re having is actually a good thing,” she quipped. “It holds the answer to your successes. All you need to figure out is where the solution is buried.” “Jeez, she was peppy,” I thought. She could afford to be. It wasn’t her mortgage on the line.

“I suppose I could give more bandwidth to this start-up now,” I conceded, “you know, ramp up sales on the audiobooks. I’ve got leads in Australia that I haven’t followed-up with yet.” I had about as much zest as a bear coming out of hibernation.

“Not with that attitude,” she said. “You couldn’t knock over a stack of dominoes right now, let alone a stack of pallets headed for Costco.” I had to agree. “You can’t let the world push you around, Bryan. Push back. It’s time for you to dig deep and find your resolve.”

I raised one eyebrow and looked at her through a wisp of steam. A light turned on. Somehow she had cut through the fog of my flagging ego and thrown me a lifeline. “You intrigue me, stranger. Go on.” And she did.

That afternoon, I faced the hard truth that I had been doing just that – letting circumstances push me around. It was affecting my job, my start-up business, my relationships – my life. In the interest of not making waves, I had allowed my ego to get squeezed. I’d lost touch with the fact that having a sturdy, resilient self-worth is an essential ingredient for success.  Today, I call it swagger.  But on that day, I had forgotten that.

It was time to use the resources I had, ruffle a few feathers and create some wins. I set to work and drafted a plan to double the business in the next 12 months. It was ambitious – definitely a reach – but it was the start of fulfilling a dream.

Discovering Failure’s Purpose in the Cycle of Achievement

Nothing is ever wasted. All experience is useful. Just as every problem contains the seed of the solution, every failure contains the seeds of success.

Failure is feedback. It shows you your weakest links, lets you see where you need to shore things up. When you act on that feedback, it begins a cycle of achievement. When you lose your fear of failure, you can stand with poise, unafraid to take risks. When you learn to control it, failure is a by-product to be casually recycled instead of a calamity waiting to be overcome.

Time has winnowed away the pain of my failures, though I couldn’t see their value at the time. The wisdom contained in them now stands in brilliant relief. We keep the lessons and lose the baggage. We set new goals, get energized from a brief time out, and get back on the road to success.

It’s been a full decade to now, since my walk along the lake. The publishing start-up succeeded and the prospects continue to blossom.

We’ve all had our eyebrows singed by the fire of failure. Having faith in yourself and the strength to shake-off the funk can make all the difference.  Remember, failure is the very fuel which will shape your journey to success.

Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

icon1September 20, 2016

On Becoming an Idea Factory…and Communicating Ideas to Millions


As a publisher, I work with a wide array of professional speakers, some of the best in the business. Frequently I hear from the platform ideas and philosophies that are what I call “truisms” and have been used over generations. If you’re in the information business, you probably know just what I’m saying.

Many messages you hear from thought leaders resonate with the ring of truth today, just as those same messages rang true when I was starting my career – and even when my dad was starting his. The fact is, what holds true today also held for decades.

I love the Personal Development business, always have. I developed my career on the finest morsels from the likes of Earl Nightingale and Zig Ziglar. While other coworkers were watching “Cheers,” I was engrossed in Zig’s tales about The Redhead on cassettes and Nightingale’s inside wisdom about The Strangest Secret on LP’s.

These gems from seasoned professionals sparkled brighter than most, both in terms of their business acumen and personal philosophy. Even so, what they had to say wasn’t entirely original.

What makes their messages compelling – the reason they have stood the test of time – is the unique point of view of the presenter at that moment in time. No one else could say it the way they did. Today’s speakers package their messages in innovative ways which are relevant to the times. For example, today’s hottest speakers are using video channels, podcast shows and live social media broadcasting methods to be relevant to their audiences.

The legends in this business are stewards of ideas, not owners. They are the keepers of the light, a light that has been passed down through the generations in the form of their words and writing. Each one has added his or her own unique perspective.

What makes these ideas powerful is their application to daily life. What makes it relevant for you is your ability to apply them to your business and pass them along to others, leaving an exceptional legacy.

From Idea to Action

The reason to publish a book and speak is to spread the wealth – the wealth of ideas. We have the power to shape others’ lives with the words we choose. But the words are not enough in and of themselves. We have to influence others to act, motivate them from within to make a significant change. It starts with touching their philosophy.

How we look at things matters. Our philosophy is the cornerstone for our actions, and our actions determine our results. Nothing in the world existed until the idea of it first took hold, and the idea moved into action. So if we want to improve our results, we have to look at our philosophies-the core of what we believe.

Even this idea isn’t new. It’s ancient, and it applies to everyone.

Choosing Your Platform

During the past 40 years, a significant amount of research has been conducted on the topic of communication. This research can be a treasure trove if you apply it strategically.

We know that everyone is different. We all have a unique perspective because we have different experiences, different points of view, different philosophies. Our perception of the world dictates our beliefs.

Our learning styles have a significant effect on our view of the world. There’s always one style of learning; visual, auditory, kinesthetic that is stronger than the rest, and that means we rely on it more than the others. With each of these types, your message has an opportunity to reach an entire market segment you might otherwise miss, just by changing the modality of your presentation.

If you’re speaking to a group, the segment of the audience you’re reaching most effectively is probably the auditory learners. However, this too is determined by your style of speaking.

Let’s explore some new ideas:

Are you including material that’s engaging – such as animated gestures, professionally developed slides, video or adult coloring books? What are you doing to reach the rest of your audience?

Consider this trend – corporate trainers and speakers are discovering that retention of new information increases 62% when you engage multiple senses. Early adopter speakers are developing adult coloring books to accompany their keynote speeches. As people listen and color, they will recall more of what is said. Imagine how a CEO can use this technique to help employees retain the corporate mission and core values.

You can communicate your ideas in a variety of ways. Blending your research and case studies is one method of delivering unique conclusions. Others may take advantage of storytelling, using the power of the parable. If you cannot find a compelling example, crafting a parable is another method of presenting your point of view.

You may be missing a whole segment of your market if you are only pursuing one style of communication. If you are speaking, you will do well to offer resources for a deeper dive into your ideas, such as a book or an audio program. Choosing only one form of content delivery reduces your ability to reach a larger percentage of your audience. Explore ways to engage using more than one learning modality and significantly increase the longevity of your message…and your legacy.

Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

icon1September 15, 2016

Technology Systems to Boost Your Speaking Career

Climber Standing In Front Of A Rock

Very few speakers and authors have staff they can leverage to manage the dreary tasks associated with managing their own publishing, marketing, accounting, customer follow-up and social media. This makes it tough to get ahead and focus on the tasks that really matter – the ones that generate revenue.

How can a speaker or author keep up with the demands of a fast paced marketplace? Recruiting an army of VA’s will help, but running a small office comes with problems of its own. Sometimes it can be a wash financially and a waste of opportunity. Much depends on the details of how you allocate your precious time.

Leveraging Cloud technology, mobile apps and systems is one savvy way to manage your deal flow. Whether you’re working on your own or you’re managing a team to help you promote your personal brand, the tools you use can give you make-or-break leverage.

Here are a few tools you can use for streamlining the operations of your speaking business. Each of these apps are available for free or a nominal fee. The dividends they offer are priceless.


Todoist is a mobile app for projects that involve one or several people. Think of it as your electronic “To Do” list on steroids. It lets you manage To Do lists, tasks and projects from anywhere. These include mobile devices, web browsers, inboxes, tablets – basically anything that lets you connect to the Internet. You can share an unlimited number of tasks with your colleagues, social media manager, copywriter, designer, accountant and developer – and collaborate in real-time on shared projects and goals. The user interface design is minimalistic and elegant, keeping distractions to a minium. Check it out here.

Smartsheet for Project Management

Smartsheet lets you manage your projects simply and effectively. You can create simple task lists or complex processes to suit your needs. It lets you work from any device and create your own custom plans.

Smartsheet help you manage teams in a way that is transparent for everyone, and its visually-based design is especially user friendly. Features include Card View, Sights, Gantt Charts with drag-and-drop editing, Alerts & Reminders and Collaboration. Available here.

QuickBooks Online Accounting Software

QuickBooks was a pioneer in the financial software industry and has continued to pull its weight for solopreneurs and small businesses alike. Now with QuickBooks Online, you can track your income and expenses across all your devices including PC, Mac, smartphone or your tablet.

Here a handful of QuickBooks features you can use to keep your business running like a well-oiled machine.

Expenses: Track your expenses and save photos of your receipts to your phone.

Tax Accounting: Automatically categorize transactions, and submit sales tax payments and forms.

Invoicing: Send invoices to your customers, including your logo and a crisp, professional look.

Accept Payments: Once you’ve invoiced your customer, you can take their payment online. (Fees apply, so read the fine print.)

Profit & Loss: Run a P&L statement to see whether your business is profitable. You can see your Profit & Loss, Balance Sheet, and dozens of other reports with one click, and they’re in a few seconds.

Payroll: You can cut paychecks or even have an expert run payroll for you. (Fees apply, so read the fine print.)

You can get QuickBooks here.

Cam Card for Business Cards

Cam Card lets you take pictures of business cards and save the data in your Contacts database automatically. You can scan, manage, sync and exchange business cards with other users automatically. This is a great way to go paperless and stay organized at the same time.

You can even add meeting notes, add images, and set reminders. Available here.


Evernote allows you to access and manage files from anywhere. Having your files in a central location means you can find them quickly and access them remotely, regardless of their file type. Format examples include project to-do lists, reminders, photos, graphics, and even handwritten text. Once you’ve uploaded them to your account, you can share them with others and collaborate with them seamlessly.

Evernote is available here.

Adopting new technology can seem like a slow process at first, but the rewards are truly liberating for the busy speaker on the road without a large support staff. Using technology to gain leverage in your speaking business can make all the difference in your level of success and the size of the audience you reach. It’s tough to put a price on that!

Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

icon1August 29, 2016

How to Price your Products and Speaking Fees


What’s the difference between driving a Ford Focus and a Mustang Shelby GT? Depending on whom you ask, you’ll get a variety of answers. They both have four tires and a chassis, both use gas, and they’re both designed to get you where you need to go.

You might say one is a car, while the other is an automobile. One is serviceable, and the other is inspiring. One is a set of wheels; the other is a throaty, road-hugging, gravity-inducing Experience.

If driving a muscle car – or a sportscar, or a luxury sedan – is so great, why doesn’t everyone do it? What’s the barrier to such pure, juicy, thrill-injected driving joy?

Ah… Price.

It’s the price that sets them apart. And because one costs more to produce (and therefore to own), the price determines the buyer’s perception of value.

Price equals status, whether that price is high or low. The first Shelby ever made was recently auctioned off at a record $13.8 million. No other American car has ever brought so much at auction.

Some buyers are thrilled to find a bargain and pay as little as possible for what they need. Others boast about their robust buying power and their ability to afford true luxury. Which kind of buyer do you want to attract in your speaking business?

Product pricing is one of the greatest determining factors in how you are perceived as a speaker, author or consultant. Establishing confident pricing for your fees and products will carry your business far along the road of success.

Commanding the right price can give your career the same kind of thrill-injection you might find while hugging the curves at high speed on a country road. Gloves and goggles aren’t required here – just a little deliberation and some common sense.

Selecting Your Model for the Best Performance

Popular business models impact the Pricing and Positioning at each level of your sales funnel. Let’s take a look at some of the major types to consider when pricing your products, consulting services and professional speaking fees.

Fixed Price Model for Products: When pricing products, using this model means setting the price scale and sticking with it. There are various price thresholds for products that follow this pattern, depending on the threshold of entry. If your lowest priced product sells for $27, the next step up might be $47, $67 or $97. On the high end, if you have a $497 product, your next step up might be $997, $1,497 or more.

This table can serve as a framework for low price, mid price and high price products:

Price your Speaking Fees Table

Speaking Fees: Professional speaking fees begin as low as $1,000 in some cases, and range well above $100,000 for well-known celebrity speakers. Picking the perfect price-point is not easy. I was counseling a recent Olympian turned talented professional speaker, and advised him to quote speaking fees confidently for Fortune 500 companies. The advice I give is that you know you are asking the right price when your palms sweat when you quote your fee.

Your ideal fee is based on a variety of factors which include:

  • Your skill from the platform
  • How assertively you are marketing your speaking business
  • The value of your content
  • To whom you speak (i.e. schools versus corporation)
  • Where you speak (locally versus International)
  • The duration of the speaking engagement
  • Your level of fame

Parting Out Your Fees for Maximum ROI

Bear in mind when you price your products and speaking fees that you will need to account for your cost of goods sold (COGS). This includes commissions you’ll have to pay to affiliates, joint venture partners, agents, managers and speakers bureaus. You’ll also want to account for your travel expenses and any additional time you spend developing your products and material.

When you set your price, consider the value you are offering to your clients and customers. Are you transforming a process for them, or are you giving them a life-changing transcendental experience? Do you have a strong opener, solid content and compelling close? Just as charging too little can work against your image, charging more than the value they receive can tarnish your reputation and make you seem over-hyped.

If you’re too busy, raise your rates. If you’re not busy enough, consider ways you can generate increased value to your audiences. Remember that there will always be someone willing to offer a lower price than yours. Be confident in your offering, and set your price accordingly.

Be sure to take into account your credentials and certifications as well as any star-power you may hold as currency. Are you a professor? A published author? A well-known celebrity? A skilled entertainer? Each one of these factors has its own price point.

Be clear about your own strengths, then set your price accordingly. You will naturally attract the prospects, clients and customers who see and appreciate your uniqueness. Your price may not set a world record, but to your clients and customers, the value you deliver will be pure gold.

Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

icon1August 29, 2016

The Product Sales Funnel and the Legacy of Ideas

Business Building

One of the perks of my job is that I get out from behind my desk every so often to work with authors around the world. My work takes me across the country and off to far away continents.

These trips involve meeting world class speakers and best-selling authors who are seeking council on expanding their ideas to a worldwide stage. Last week it was a real estate expert who works with franchisees, this week it’s an Olympian who motivates corporate employees.

Communicating with high achieving authors often requires a variety of communication methods such as email, Skype calls, Messenger, text messaging, phone and LinkedIn messages. But think about your audience for a minute…what they want are a variety of ways of keeping in touch with your thinking as well.

The point is that I connect with clients through a variety of ways, not just one. Having multiple methods for connecting with them allows me to keep the energy fresh, keep them enthused, and move their ideas onto a larger stage. A wise speaker shared this perspective on a recent weekend retreat to a lake cabin…he spends 20 minutes a day building content and then spends five hours a day distributing this material. This is what keeps him relevant to a constantly shifting audience.

Stringing Together the Pearls of Success

This method is a lot like your business. The most successful of us have gotten that way by giving our customers ever-increasing opportunities to obtain value from us.

It’s never just one thing; one thing leads to another. One connection leads to another. One product leads to another. One keynote speech leads to another. One sale leads to another.

Chances are you’re already using a number of different methods in order to build your business. If you’re a keynote speaker doing over 50 speeches/year – or you’d like to be – your message is supported with a variety of tools. Stringing them together deftly in what marketers call a product funnel is the surest way to create success.

What is a product funnel?

A product funnel is a series of stepped commitments which lead your fans into increasingly more profitable services, which can be automated in the delivery. Here is an illustration of a product funnel:

Product Funnel

The legendary names in the speaking industry understand that developing a product funnel for their brand is the key to their long term profitability. I developed this with several famous authors who were entering the “legacy stage” of their career, through which a product strategy is automated through a series of stepped commitments.

Leading customers through a funnel of products which work together will keep your brand top-of-mind for years to come. Combining the right product mix, delivery medium and pricing are all crucial to making this strategy effective.

Building your messaging platforms requires some finesse, because different people prefer different messages. Some people like magazines while other prefer YouTube videos. Some listen to podcasts regularly while others consume social media. One savvy author, Dr. Sheila Bethel, advised me years ago to build content with 3 end goals in mind with 3 simultaneous methods of delivery.

One key to successfully designing a lasting legacy is the ability to connect with your audience now and in the years to come. This is why it’s savvy to develop campaigns with one all-important element – a clear picture of the next ten years. In other words, plan for long term success.

You can serve the desires of your audience with a strategic system of publishing platforms to sell one idea multiple ways. This allows you to generate long-term sustainable revenues and extend these connections to a new generation.

Whether your Audience is comprised of readers, listeners, viewers, clients or an applauding audience, the objective is the same. Present the contents of your Brand in a way that’s compelling and designed to convert. All it takes is a bit of perspective and building a high-converting product funnel.

Planning Your Product Line

You have the right tools, and you have an abundance of information as a foundation for creating your product. Now how do you combine them to build your product line?

The first step is to understand the different types of product styles. Then you can identify your best choice and your approach to developing the product strategy.

Here is an overview of the top 12 product formats to consider adding to your product mix. While this is not an exhaustive list, these are popular types of product formats to consider.

  1. Book – Physical book, eBook, Enhanced eBook, audiobook
  2. Audio programs – Audio Series (30-50 minute segments), Keynote Speech
  3. Teleseminars & Webinars
  4. DVDs and Video (physical discs and/or online delivery)
  5. Subscription/Membership Program – Video, E book, DVD or content on your website
  6. Tools and Templates – Downloads which people can use daily. Day planner, PDF, spreadsheets and other similar documents
  7. Seminars – live events, retreats, adventure trips, conferences, workshops
  8. Speaking Engagements – Keynotes, training, workshops
  9. Coaching/consulting – Work with people individually as a coach, or fly into a company to implement a system. One-time fee, continuity or annual programs.
  10. Mastermind programs – Bring people together, and help them grow their businesses or improve their lives
  11. Licensed Merchandise – Promotional products such as mugs, shirts, pens, mouse pads, leather embossed folio. The more useful and ingenious they are, the better.
  12. Apps & Software – Create apps for iPhone/iPad and Android, or software to run on the web (software as a service, or SAAS)

These are the most common types of product derivatives that speakers use to serve their audiences with the flow of ideas. By mixing and matching them into product offerings, you too can create an effective product funnel to extend your brand and build a lasting legacy.

Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the CEO of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of #1 Best Seller: Book Marketing Reinvented, a marketing book demonstrates principles for a best-selling book launch. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

icon1August 24, 2016

The Business of Professional Speaking: Harnessing the Power of Messaging

Powerful Takeoff

As a keynote speaker, you are on a mission to help your audience through the power of your words and your unique delivery. The greatest challenge you will face is having your message understood by you audience and inspiring them to convert to a new way of thinking. If you’re really good, the experience will be truly transformational.

There is a certain amount of sorcery in delivering a powerful message. Your objective is not just to motivate them, but also to inspire them to retell your message (thereby generating word-of-mouth). You want them to buy into your unique key ideas. Sounds pretty lofty, doesn’t it?

The reality is that every successful keynote speaker does exactly this – whether they are a thought leader, a product pitch, or a political platform. Successful keynoters who have mastered the business of professional speaking know how to get their audience to hum their tune long after the event is over. You might think it’s an art, but in reality it’s closer to science.

As a rule, fewer than 2% of consumers (and often less than 1%) will buy into an idea upon the first exposure to one they haven’t heard before. A bond of trust has to be achieved through the Creative Repetition of a clear, simple message.

It takes at least seven exposures to your message before it is engrained in the minds of your target audience. That is, if you want your prospect to respond to you with their heart as well as their head, you’re going to have to break through their conscious objections and seed the message deep down. One common tool which accomplished speakers use is the power of repetition.

Branding for Professional Speakers

Did you know that Australians spend more per capita on personal/professional development products than any other country in the world? In my world, speakers are regularly booking Business Class seats on Quantas, as this marketplace is robust. Tour promoters bring speakers into their audiences on a regular basis.

These high volume speaker bureaus in Australia have a couple criteria for the speakers they book; 1) Those who can change hearts and minds through the power of their words, and 2) People who can close product sales back-of-room. One method that is nestled deep within these top performing speakers’ material is something I call Creative Repetition.

The process of Creative Repetition is not new to the world of corporate branding. Successful companies spend heavily on keeping their brand front and center in the minds of their audience. The same can be said about internationally touring professional speakers, whose first impression carries a lot of weight. The way the consumer perceives you is typically through communications designed to promote a feeling. Are you seen as smart? Trustworthy? Caring? Forward thinking? The answer is the result of your Branding, whether you’ve done it intentionally or not.

How you are perceived by your audience has everything to do with the brand you put forward. Notice your own response when you think of brands like Toyota, Nike and Starbucks. Notice how you came to have those responses. It was almost certainly through repeated exposure to their message, their logo and their media.

What are the top speaker brands that come to your mind? Most people will say Anthony Robbins and Zig Ziglar. Some industry enthusiasts may reach for names like Brendon Burchard, Darren Hardy, Meg Robbins, Larry Winget or Jeffrey Gitomer. Have you ever heard of Dan Waldschmidt? Probably not, but he is someone who has built a remarkable brand.

Creative Repetition

Getting your message to stick in the minds your customers is not for dabblers. You can’t give it a half-hearted attempt or the once-over-lightly and expect to have powerful, earth-shattering success.

It takes an average of 7 to 14 repetitions to give your message the kind of gravitas that builds empires. That means you have to repeat yourself about 10 times before your listener actually hears you. This can be frustrating if you’re not aware of how the human brain responds to verbal cues. If you have kids, you may understand and sympathize with this paradigm more than most!

The successful keynoter has the responsibility to generate trust and consistency through Creative Repetition, planting their message firmly into the hearts and minds of the audience.

The good news is that these repetitions don’t have to occur all at once. They can be proffered through a variety of media, or they can even be used within the same message.

For example, as a speaker you are probably keenly aware of the old adage, “Tell ’em what you’re going to tell ’em. Tell ’em. Then tell ’em what you told ’em.” This means summarizing your message, delivering it, and finally recapping it for your audience. This technique alone can yield three repetitions, and it makes for a cogent, compelling speech.

Even repeating certain weighty points within your speech can be highly effective in driving your point home. This kind of repetition is particularly popular among college professors, corporate trainers and politicians. That’s because it works!

When you’re trying to get your point across to an audience and capture their attention, consistent messaging can take several forms. For example, beyond your public address, you might send an email broadcast. Many speakers will offer to record a personalized video just for their client’s employees. Other methods include social media, a public seminar, or an invitation-only webinar.

The brand message is purely focused on creating a favorable image in the mind of the consumer. Reinforcing that image through repetition creates a permanent impression in the minds of your target audience. The speaker’s mentality is often oriented towards the long-term impact of the brand, while even moving the audience into a buying mood.

Creative Repetition is one of the most powerful tools you can use to infuse a bit of magic into your speaking business. Besides your keynote address, here are some effective formats. You can use them along with Creative Repetition to generate a response from your audience.

  • Email newsletter broadcasts with brand reinforcements
  • Offers to entice repeat visits to your website
  • A regular blog communication in the form of articles
  • Social media posts which are relevant to their lifestyle
  • Video posts to YouTube
  • A podcast show, which can be recorded from your home office

Creative Repetition is just one ingredient in the mixture that creates speaking success, but it is essential for lasting results. Deftly applied, the results compound all by themselves. How will you use the power of this treasured tool?

Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

icon1August 17, 2016

How to Start Writing a Book


I’ve published over a thousand books in my career and have worked with a variety of interesting authors worldwide. Their backgrounds range from university professors and bank CEO’s to Olympic athletes and technology executives.

Because writing is an art, it is easy to get stuck in the process. I’ve seen many authors become paralyzed by their own over-analysis of their topic. Others will research so meticulously that they never seem to make any progress. Many authors will take 12 months or more to write a book. Some take several years to come up with a complete first draft of their manuscript. Others simply don’t finish at all.

The key to completion is harnessing the power of momentum. While each author has a unique process for completing a book manuscript, there are dozens of different methods for writing books. In response to this thorny issue, I’ve discovered a system that will cut that time down to a few weeks.

Let’s explore a couple methods.

We’ll start with the ”straight A student” when it comes to writing a book so that you can see the best-case scenario. This writer is Chris Widener, and he is a professional speaker. Besides writing a New York Times bestselling book, he is the fastest writer I know. After he conceived his book over a couple of months, he sat down at his local Starbucks for 12-days straight and wrote a 35,000-word manuscript. Most mere mortal authors have a different experience. Let’s look at a few more examples.

Many authors start their book projects by taking time off of their “day job”, or taking a sabbatical. The most common methods people use to write a book is to step away from their everyday life for 6 to 12 months, and then go off somewhere interesting and write. On average, this approach takes about a year.

Another way that’s quite common, especially with non-fiction books written by hyper busy executives, is taking a few months to draft the essence of the material, creating a cogent outline, and coming up with stories to support each point. Once this outline is in place, they hire a professional writer to do the heavy lifting of crafting the body of the book. A good ghostwriter will take the author’s ideas and concepts, then translate them into the written word, expressing the material in a style that meshes with the author’s voice.

Ghostwriting is an excellent option for authors who are clear about what they would like to say but haven’t yet honed the craft of composition. It’s an efficient way to work, and it’s completely legit. As long as the ghostwriter and the author of record speak the same language, this can produce some highly successful results.

However there is a downside to this tactic. The reason many authors want to hire a ghostwriter in the first place is that they have difficulty expressing themselves. This can make for muddled communication and imperfect results. If you choose to hire a ghostwriter, you will need to be clear about your content and your objective.

The final method for writing a book is a system used by Made for Success Publishing called The Draft a Book Experience. It’s a high-velocity, time-compressed system for writing books inspired by agile product development methods. This is great for the author who may want to write a book themselves, or come up with an outline they can hand off to a ghostwriter to do the writing for them. This is the most effective method for setting up the writing project and producing a time-compressed outline of a book in a weekend.

The most important aspect of writing is to get the project started. Once you have started the writing process, it’s easier to gain momentum and complete the manuscript. It is essential to work from a detailed outline of the book, much like a Table of Contents. This helps you organize your writing and stay on track.

What we do with the Draft a Book Experience process is fairly intuitive, but it’s easy to put off completion. We work with the author to break the book down into a series of small chunks. By chunks, I’m talking about chunks of writing, so each part of the book gets broken down into 800-word sections. Now, you’ve got a plan for writing each 800-word piece.

These sections of writing can be thought of in the same way you might think of writing an article or an email. In my line of work, I type a lot of emails. A really long email is usually about 800 words. If I’m writing a short email, it might be 50 to 100 words. By breaking the project down, the author might think of each section as a series of long emails.

Most people can sit down for an hour or so, write a long email and overcome any typical distractions. Carving out an hour to write is a fairly achievable goal. If the author can string together those messages into the timeframe that we recommend, the book will develop naturally like clockwork – usually in just a couple of days.

The Draft a Book Experience process entails following these 7 sequential steps. In fact, I use this exact method to write my own books.

1. Conceptualize your book by answering the question of “What’s the big picture of your writing?”

2. Identify your target audience.

3. Brainstorm title options for your book.

4. Gather and organize pertinent stories that can be used to make key points.

5. Build the Table of Contents with your key ideas.

6. Assign stories to each Chapter.

7. Assign how many words you plan to write for each Chapter.

When I wanted to create my first manuscript, I went on a retreat for a few days. I rented a hotel room on a mountain lake, removed all distractions and didn’t even answer my cell phone. It may sound like a dream vacation, but believe me – I was definitely in Work mode. I’d wake-up early to write as the sun came up, and then would reward myself at the end of the day with an early evening motorcycle ride around the lake.

I found that organizing my ideas using these steps really helped me overcome my natural tendency to procrastinate on the project. Ponying up the cash for the hotel room also helped give the project the gravitas is needed. By the end of my stay, I had an actionable manuscript, which I later published first as an ebook, then as a physical book and finally as an audiobook. Since then, that book has gone on to sell thousands of copies on autopilot.

With that, there’s only one question left to ask: what are your plans for the weekend?

Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the CEO of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of #1 Best Seller: Book Marketing Reinvented, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on how to structure a book launch to become a best seller. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

icon1August 9, 2016

Like Climbing a Mountain – The 5 Things to Know in Writing a Successful Book


Like Climbing a Mountain – The 5 Things to Know in Writing a Successful Book

Bryan Heathman

Few things are as satisfying as that feeling you get once you see the book you’ve written on bookstore shelves. At the very least, it’s a valuable conversation starter at cocktail parties. At the very best, your name becomes a household name.

Some people say the best part about being a published author is the passive income you receive from your quarterly royalty checks. Patricia Fripp is famous in my office for her thank you letters about receiving “mailbox money.”

For those who are already published writers, you probably know that there is nothing passive about your income. There’s also nothing glamorous about the sweat involved in bringing your opus to market and banging your drum for months leading into your launch to attract the attention of book buyers. Hence, there needs to be more to your reward than riveting conversation at cocktail parties.

The Key to Reaching the Top Is Actually Starting

This reminds me of a story. One weekend a few years ago, when my son was still a teenager – eyebrows fashionably bushy, girls squabbling over him, physically fit and taking it for granted – we set out for a day hike to the summit of the famous Mt. Saint Helens. Yes, that Mt. Saint Helens, the semi-active volcano which continues to brew to this day under a dome of hardened lava.

We arrived at the trailhead early-morning. The path was strewn with sharp gray rocks, pieces of ash and pumice left over from her famous explosion back in May of 1980. Even though the terrain on the trail was rough, my son and I got started – he with the rash haste of a 16-year old; I with the more practiced gait of a silverback. The point is that we started, a delicate point that most fail to appreciate. As they say, “The start is what stops most people.”

The morning wore on, and the trail climbed without any consideration for my physical condition. I looked around to see if we were keeping pace with the healthy couple from Connecticut who were climbing 3 summits in 3 days. I was hanging in there. However, in the back of my mind I was hoping that after a while my son would tire, slow down, and give his ol’ man a break. Not a chance. He pushed ahead, summited with ease, and waited impatiently for me at the top.

The air was thin towards the top of this 10,000 foot peak, but despite the elevation everything was going great. Then suddenly, 50 yards from the peak, my thigh seriously cramped-up. There I was, so close to the elusive summit that I could hear the conversations from the group at the summit. As I sat there on a rock stretching my thigh, I wondered flippantly if there were any rickshaws nearby that I could hire. It was only a persistent inner resolve that got me off that rock and up the steep, rocky path to the summit.

Writing a book can be like that.

Whether you start out writing your book with high hopes and a burst of energy, or you pace yourself with the long view in mind, the key is to start. Once you get started, momentum works in your favor. Then, your next challenge is to finish it. The rewards will be many and finishing a book is incredibly fulfilling, despite the challenges along the way.

5 Things to Know about a Published Book

Knowing that it’s hard to tell stories at events about a book you haven’t finished yet, here are five steps for getting your book manuscript done, out the door, and into the hands of readers.

1. Derivatives: Consider the different types of book derivatives that are available to you, such as physical books, eBooks and audiobooks. Choose the format that’s most appropriate for your ideas and your audience. Some authors launch their ebook first. Others will record an audiobook first, get it transcribed, then convert that to their book.

2. Licensing: Know about licensing for both domestic and foreign rights. Getting your book translated into foreign languages and published can make an attractive ancillary income from your writing.

3. Title: Come up with a gripping title for your book and don’t underestimate this part of your writing. Do some social media research study to get the book’s title and subtitle locked down. You can get opinions from fans in real-time this way. It’s a great use of technology!

4. Structure: Use your table of contents as the essence of your book. It will help establish the flow of your ideas and serve as an outline for your material. You can refer to it as you write and create the structure of your book.

5. Refinement: As the writing progresses, always have someone proof edit your work to make sure that the writing is sharp. Have a trusted ally provide you with ongoing feedback. This means that through the writing process, you’re not alone and you have help every step of the way.

Using these steps can accelerate your writing process and help you complete your manuscript at a brisk pace. What I’ve discovered after years of working with authors is that even people who maintain a crazy busy schedule can complete a book inside a three-month time frame, by disciplining their time on their writing project.

What kind of conversation will you start at your next cocktail party? Challenge yourself to get started with a book and push it across the finish-line in the next 6-months…what comes next may surprise you.

Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

icon1August 2, 2016

On Speakers Bureaus & the Business of Speaking

Luxury Travel

In my line of work as a Publisher, I work with about 250 different professional speakers. These speakers who write books use the books we publish to promote their speaking business, and vice versa. Their talent ranges from the up-and-comer to top tier speakers who give talks around the world. Many professional speakers engage with speakers bureaus and/or speaking managers to land gigs on their behalf.

Recently I attended a large association conference in Dallas. Besides attending the event, I make it a habit to touch base with authors I work with while in town. On this trip I took one of these authors out to lunch. She has a hilarious personality and is brimming with stories about this business.

But to me the most fascinating story was not new to me – how she keeps so busy. She uses the services of a speakers bureau. She works hard to stay top-of-mind with her favorite speakers bureaus to keep her speaking schedule full.

This speaker was typically engaged in nearly two speaking gigs per week, or just over 90 engagements per year. If you know something about the speaking business, you’ll agree that this is a phenomenal pace to maintain. Clearly the time invested in these relationships are paying off for her.

Navigating the ins and outs of using a speakers bureau can be somewhat complicated for a new speaker. With this in mind, here are a few salient points to consider when you choose to take your act on the road.

Getting A Little Help from Your (Professional) Friends

Cultivating relationships with a speakers bureau or speaking manager can greatly enhance your public speaking opportunities, giving you an entree into venues you wouldn’t otherwise reach. So what does this look like?

First, you’ll want to be sure you are working with a bureau that is motivated to assist you. However, you need to know that their goals may run counter to your objectives as a speaker. Typically, what the bureau wants is to close speaking engagements with their customers – corporations, associations and non-profits. They’re not necessarily “brand faithful” to one particular speaker because they make it their business to offer choices to their clients. Their role is to weed through the hundreds of speakers they like, and end-up with a handful of trusted performers for their client.

Does this mean you can’t become the darling of a particular speakers bureau? Not necessarily, but it will take consistent excellence and a proven track record to get their attention. You’ll also need to be persistent when it comes to staying in touch – essentially you’ll have to be the squeaky wheel.

Usually it’s best to work with more multiple bureaus in order to stay as busy as possible. Their standard rate is 25% of your speaking fee.

Some bureaus prefer to have exclusivity with the speaker. This sounds great, right? Instead of marketing yourself to dozens of bureaus, you only need to cultivate a relationship with one who provides a guarantee to book you 75 times per year for a period of time. However over the long run, an exclusive bureau relationship sometimes does not work in your favor. You may wind up with a long dry spell after they have worked through their list of contacts in in 2-3 years. Industry insiders suggest remaining open to working with multiple bureaus.

Working with a manager is similar to working with a speaking bureau. Like the bureau, they will land gigs for you and take a fee on top of the bureau fee – probably 10%. The difference is that are getting paid to be loyal to you. It can be worth it if you are generally strapped for time and are focused on running a business, speaking, writing or traveling. If your manager is working with a bureau, then 35% of your speaking fee may be consumed by the cost of getting the engagement in professional fees.

To Fee or Not To Fee – That Is the Question

There is a world of difference between a keynote speaker who charges $5,000 per one-hour speech and a speaker who charges $20,000 for the same amount of time.

In each case, the speaker works diligently to earn that speaking fee. The higher the fee, however, the greater the expectation that the keynoter is going to have rock star charisma and a dazzling presentation. Rehearsal and intentional work on your stage presence are keys to bringing home this much bacon. A corporate trainer isn’t going to be required to have the same Wow factor as a speaker who captivates an entire arena.

There are some folks who have become famous for reasons other than public speaking yet still find themselves needing to address a major audience. Best-selling authors and media celebrities fit this category. Even though their public speaking skills may leave a lot to be desired, they still may command a major price tag for what a appears to be a minor delivery. But this is the exception, not the rule.

When you set your speaking fee, one place to start is with your income goal. If you have a certain amount of overhead you need to meet, calculate the number of speaking gigs you will need to have in order to achieve that income. Be realistic about your level of talent, experience and degree of fame as you set your fees. Know also that buyers have very high expectations from speakers to charge over $15,000 per keynote speech.

Speaking fees run the gamut, from as little as $500 for a one-hour talk up to $50,000 for top-tier professionals. Legendary speakers like Zig Ziglar would command a $75,000 speaking fee. Some speakers choose to waive their speaking fee if they may be allowed to promote their books, products or services at the back of the room following the event. This can prove extremely profitable, despite the apparent discount. I’ve seen famous speakers who choose to waive their speaking fees and clear $50,000 per event selling product back of room.

The most common range for speakers just starting out is between $1,000 and $5,000. These lower-end gigs are widely available in every major city, and they often involve speaking at schools and service organizations.

The juicier gigs are typically reserved for members of the speakers bureaus, and these professionals are ready to go at a moment’s notice. It’s not uncommon for a keynote speaker to get a phone call in the evening to appear the following day deliver a performance. One such speaker got a last minute call and was asked if his schedule was clear the following week. He accepted the engagement and to his amazement, he found himself speaking at a formal dinner at the White House.

When you’re ready to play at this level you will be living the dream of the jet setters, complete with Champaign and caviar waiting in your hotel suite at check-in. After that, what more can you say?

Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

icon1July 29, 2016

Book Publishing Comparison – How to Choose the Best Book Publishing Model


In my work as a book publisher and book marketing consultant, I’m often asked: “what is the best publishing model?” It’s an important question. After all, if you’ve responded to the calling of being an author, then you want it to give your book the best possible chance to succeed.

Both experienced authors and first-timers search for publishing options in a variety of ways. There are a ton of choices to consider, and researching them can be overwhelming.

By popular demand, here is an overview of the three major types of publishing methods: Traditional, Self-Publishing and Assisted Self-Publishing. Each publishing option has its merits. Naturally, the one you choose has to fit your needs most intelligently while serving the mission of your writing or speaking business. With that in mind, here is a review of the three options.


Self-Publishing Overview:

This option is best for experienced authors who are good at everything and like to retain control. On the upside, it takes only three to six months to publish your book, and you retain ownership of your intellectual property.

But there is a downside. As the author and publisher, you assume the cost of editing, cover design, and interior layout. Physical books that have printed cannot be returned, and the price per book is high if you choose print-on-demand services.

The deeper concern, however, is that most bookstores won’t carry self-published books. Most authors discover this “gotcha” after they’ve published with CreateSpace or similar services. This shrinks your potential considerably, as 85% of books are sold outside of Being locked-out of traditional bookstores also leaves you with fewer marketing choices.

If you’re into the DIY thing – including lots of guess work, learning new software and a few costly fumbles – you may want to choose the self-publishing option. Recognize that these activities will take a bite out of your marketing, speaking and writing time.


Traditional Book Publishing Overview:


Traditional publishing plays the glamour card. This is the typical scenario where the author finds an agent, and the agent shops the finished manuscript to the dozens of publishing houses where they have connections. Finally, one editor falls in love with the book, catches hold of the vision, and promises to turn the author into a star.

The publisher takes control of all the design and editing, along with full retail distribution, book trade advertising, and confident pricing. There’s celebratory champagne followed by meetings, lots of back and forth, editing, rewrites and delays.

In fact, putting a book into the marketplace through traditional publishing takes between eighteen and thirty months. That’s almost three years. No lie! By the time your book hits the shelves, you’ve (hopefully) written your second book required by contract.

At this stage, the publisher now owns your book. You’ve sold it to them for an advance on royalties, and you may never see another dime if it doesn’t take off in the first 90 days. Oh, and by the way, you are responsible for 100% of the marketing for your book; you won’t get much help from the publisher unless your first book was a smashing success. Some publishers offer the services of a speakers bureau and public relations services if you’re in the top 5% of their catalogs such as J.K. Rowling, Dan Brown or Stephen King.

Traditional publishing isn’t necessarily the best answer if you’re concerned about copyright restrictions, movie rights and flexibility with your intellectual property. This is the reason self-publishing has become popular in recent years, despite the drawbacks on publishing your book yourself.

But there is a third publishing option, one that combines the best of both worlds.


Hybrid Publishing Overview:

One company offering the hybrid model is Made for Success Publishing, which was designed for speakers and authors who want to play a bigger game. This means publishing a book is not just another product launch. The book’s mission is to establish a national presence for the author.

In reality, hybrid publishing provides the best of traditional and self-publishing models. Printed books are returnable, and a variety of book derivatives are published (like audiobooks).

In this model, authors benefit from expertise with elements like cover design, editing, book formatting, distribution and marketing recommendations. For some authors who speak, a high performing book can make the difference in adding another $5,000 to their speaking fees.

In today’s book publishing environment, just getting a book printed is not enough due to the increasingly competitive nature of the book industry. As you may have inferred, I have a bias towards the hybrid option. That’s because it is designed to leverage the best of both worlds; offering the author control over their work while capitalizing on the full opportunities in the marketplace.

For a birds-eye overview of the deal terms commonly associated with these three publishing options, review this book publishing comparison chart.

Enjoy the journey as you research these publishing options.

The next step is the check-out Book Publishing Freedom to see how Made for Success Publishing can help propel your book onto the national stage.

icon1July 18, 2016

Adult Coloring Books: Catching the Wave of New Opportunity


One of the most explosive trends in the book publishing industry recently is Adult Coloring Books. Whether it’s Amazon, Barnes & Noble, airport bookstores or your neighborhood craft store, coloring books are flying off the shelves.

As the early-adopter speakers and authors are jumping into this segment of the publishing business, it begs the question of whether you should too.

This intriguing factoid brings up a few questions. What exactly are Adult Coloring Books? What is their unique appeal? Is this a trend that’s going to last? And – most importantly – how do you get your work published in this oh-so-haute format?

Let’s break these down one at a time.

What Are Adult Coloring Books?

A lot of people associate coloring books with childhood, waxing nostalgic about the hours they spent with Dick, Jane and Spot. Back then it was tough to decide just the right shade of red for hats and shoes, hoping they wouldn’t clash with the rosy apples on the trees or the brick red barn in the background. If you could stay within the lines, you were an artistic genius.

Coloring really was fun when we were kids… for about 10 minutes. Only a few of us had the patience to hang out long enough to finish the page, let alone the whole book. Our hyperactive growth hormones made us want to bolt upright and play catch in the backyard or rassle with the dog rather that sit quietly with a bunch of crayons.

But fast forward a few years, and suddenly adult coloring books are everywhere. Patience doesn’t enter into the equation at all. Large conference centers are giving coloring pads and a set of sharp pencils to attendees, as studies have demonstrated that people stay more attentive to speakers, trainers and business executives while engaging multiple senses.

Today’s line drawings which beg for pigment are all about de-stressing and expressing. The images are centered around a theme, like religion, lifestyle, hobbies or personal development. Companies are even developing artwork around their key initiatives to help employees retain rapidly changing business priorities.

Why Create With Color?

Adult Coloring Books offer a kind a release from stress that few other activities can. With an engaging image and a set of sharp colored pencils or Sharpies, coloring can transport you into another time and place, a world of make believe, professional development or even hyper-reality. Here’s are 5 reasons why the adult coloring market is booming.

  1. It’s Kinetic– Coloring is a physical act. It requires hand to eye coordination, and it causes the brain to absorb the messages on the printed page.
  2. It’s Visual – Coloring is inherently visual, stimulating the optic nerve, bathing the eye in rich hues, and releasing endorphins into the bloodstream as we get into the zone.
  3. It’s Imaginative – Let’s face it: coloring is hypnotic. It liberates the senses and allows us to let our imagination run wild.
  4. It’s Memorable – By connecting the visual and the physical, we can create a memorable and lasting impression through the messages we include in our Adult Coloring Books.
  5. It’s Associative – Creating an Adult Coloring Book of your own can be a great branding tool for you as a speaker or trainer. When clients invest their time, emotion and imagination into evocative imagery associated with words, they will associate positive feelings with your ideas.

Is This Too Trendy to Last?

As early as the 1960s, exotic coloring books for adults were all the rage. “The Fat Cat Coloring & Limerick Book” was first published in 1967, and it was a big hit well into the ’70s. During that time you could also find coloring books for all ages on subjects like the Old and New Testaments, Folklore, Art Nouveau and even publications inspired by Pop Artist extraordinaire, Peter Max.

In the 1980s, the trend continued. You could always find Adult Coloring Books at the gift shops of airports and major museums, including the Museum of Natural History in New York City. There were even hanging mobiles designed for just this purpose. You could always find intricate fish, dinosaurs or wild animals to color and hang from your ceiling.

During the 1990s, Adult Coloring Books were still available and growing in force. Gift shops at National Parks and nature centers, as well as traditional bookstores like Barnes & Noble stocked the crème de la crème.

Today the adult coloring book phenomena is booming. A respectable percentage of Amazon’s top 100 books are now adult coloring books. With a history this evolved, there’s no doubt that the popularity of this medium will continue to hold strong. Adult Coloring Books are here to stay.

What Are Best Practices for Offering Adult Coloring Books?

As an author or corporate training director, once you decide to add Adult Coloring Books to your line up of published materials, you may want to consider the following options.

Illustrations: Stay current on what’s selling in the coloring book market. Chose a favorite style such as hand drawn or computer generated graphics, and run with it. For our purposes as a publishing house, we’re gathering a team of independent illustrators who are hungry to work on new published projects in order to keep-up with the demand in this segment.

Themes: Build your book based on a theme, not a mishmash of subjects. You might create one book with classic designs, one with inspirational sayings, or a series of books with images from one specific continent or era. Avoid mixing themes together in one edition. Keep it focused. For example, consider topics such as quotations, lists of information, meditative reflections, characters from a novel, motivational quotes or a series of key insights related to your brand.

Publishing: If you decide to publish your Adult Coloring Book yourself, be aware that there a several product development decisions to make about your book. Details such as book size, weight of the paper stock, page perforations and book binding (perfect bound, spiral bound) all have an impact on your cost and price, as well as your coloring book’s usability. Check-in with a publisher who has an established retail distribution footprint, as the retail distribution landscape is rapidly expanding into pet stores, cruise ships, craft stores, coffee shops, cooking stores and more.

Adult Coloring Books can add a rainbow of opportunity to your personal brand and your product line up. Like coloring itself, the only limit is your imagination!

Bryan Heathman, president of Made for Success Publishing, works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

icon1July 12, 2016

How to Structure a Book for Success: Author Writing Tips

Writing Tips

When it comes to drawing readers into your world, one of the most important elements of your book is its structure. Few first-time authors realize how creative a device this can be.

Whether you’re writing an article or a full length book, the structure of your material determines its final shape – and how compelling it is. The structure of your writing is like the blueprint of your dream cabin upon which it is built. Structure has a big influence on whether people want to buy what you’ve written and engage with your ideas.

In both fiction and non-fiction, your message can be likened to a tale – a linear narrative that you tell from beginning to end. But you don’t have to tell your story in linear fashion. Think about it.

In movies, the plot is often quite different from the linear tale it contains. The tale is 2D, a line that connects two points, beginning and end. But the plot is 3D and can be sculpted from a variety of angles, casting fresh light on even the most familiar topics.

So it is with your own content. You can break it up, rearrange certain pieces, and play with time through flashbacks and futurescapes. You can mold your story into something compelling, adding mystery and mystique to what is otherwise humdrum.

Many authors may not realize their story can be told in a non-linear fashion. The tale can be wrapped around a series of points, time can fold or jump, and the events in the tale can be highlighted to make a point. All of this is crafted through the structure of the book.

Crafting Your Book’s Basic Brilliance

If you’re just getting started with your manuscript, it can be tough to decide how much material to include and where it should go. This is where brainstorming comes into play. Brainstorming a simple idea and easy to do – so simple that a lot of the authors I work with forget to use it.

Set aside a limited amount of time, such as one hour, and do a brain dump of ideas surrounding your topic, no matter how trivial they may seem. More is good here. In fact, being critical of your ideas before you write them down can stem the flow. Once you’re done, organize the material into groups of ideas. These groups will become your chapters.

Recently a former MLB pitcher of some notoriety visited “The Ranch” where I work with authors on their books. During this two-day process, we brainstorm ideas and then map their book visually in what I call the “War Room,” taking over my conference room for the duration of their session. We shared some laughs, told stories and even shed a few tears as we talked through pivotal events in the author’s life which shaped the arc of his story.

We used to use flip charts positioned around the room to display the book’s concepts, one chart for each chapter. After sifting through the content we came up with in the brainstorm, we write down each idea on a PostIt note to add to the flip charts.

Today we use electronic systems to mimic this process, with a giant screen to visualize the components of the story. We even conduct real-time polls in social media accounts to hone-in on the perfect Title for the book. During this 2-day session at the Ranch our goal is to rapidly organize a writing plan, with the goal of writing a book in 3-months.

There’s always one chapter that seems to be problematic. Bringing the book into the real world, making it larger than life, helps us get over the hump and work through the rough patches.

Authors consistently tell me that using this method – having someone to hash out their book’s structure with – is the highlight of the session (my apologies to the cook). While many authors give up when they hit a block, the War Room tactic helps my clients overcome their biggest structural obstacles.

This method works because it allows us to see the entire book at a glance. It gives the author the ability to visualize the big picture in living color.

Once we have settled on the book’s structure and content, we divide the entire project into sections. This lets us determine how much to write on each topic and chapter. Once you break-down a writing project into sections, the writing gets quite easy.

Working this way is a lot like the storyboarding that Creative Directors in ad agencies use to create television commercials, so they can visualize each shot of a commercial before they hire a crew and go on-location. Storyboarding allows the author to play with changes in the storyline to heighten tension and peak interest.

How Do I List Thee? Let Me Count the Words

Once you have decided on your book structure, it’s time to decide the length. This has a lot to do with the format of the book you’re planning to publish.

If you want your book to be printed on paper and listed in bookstores and catalogs, your word count has everything to do with it being accepted by book buyers. A book with a narrow spine just won’t leap off the shelf into readers’ hands. Sometimes all they can see of your book is the spine, so it has to make an impact.

In the print world, the length of the book determines marketability. The first thing book buyers look at is the page count, which determines the spine width. The spine needs to be wide enough to be able to print your name and book title effectively. The page count also helps determine the pricing of the book.

A typical printed book in the non-fiction or business genre comes in at 35,000 to 80,000 words. The standard for novels ranges from 80,000 to 120,000. It depends on the style. Romance novels have different word count than Westerns, and even the sub-genres within these markets can vary in length. Books in a series also have word count standards.

Amazon has become the gorilla in the room when it comes to publishing, and they have influenced the way books are marketed. Their massive amount of sales data has shown us the sweet spot for book and ebook length, and their catalog has responded to it with agility.

However you choose to structure your book, the key is to keep writing. When you have an abundance of good ideas, your ideas will invariably take shape. This lets you storyboard your way to success!

Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

icon1June 30, 2016

How to Overcome Writer’s Block

Writer's block

It happens to the best of us. You’ve got a brilliant idea for a book. You outline it clearly, and the words just flow. Your book was born whole in your mind, and all you need to do is capture a few of those fleeting shafts of brilliance to be assured of a #1 Best Seller. You can feel the “flow”, and your energy is pumping.

But once you’ve got the outline and you sit down to write it, you’re stuck. Nothing comes. You don’t have the slightest idea what to commit to your manuscript, and even if you do have an inkling, the ink just won’t flow. You’re stuck – that’s all there is to it. You’ve got a full blown case of writer’s block. So what can you do?

Well, frankly it depends on the source of your blockage. Are you swimming in a sea of ideas, afraid to pick one for offending the others? Are you looking for the perfect path to the book of your dreams, yet you fear the road not taken? Are you shunning what comes to mind because it’s just not Hemingwayesque enough?

There are five common causes of writer’s block, and there’s a cure for each one. In fact, the cures aren’t mutually exclusive. You can unclog your cranium with any number of strategies. The key is to pick one and get moving forward again.

The 5 Most Common Creativity Killers

As a writer, being stuck can make it seem impossible to get yourself moving again. If this sounds like you, you’re probably suffering from one or more of these five common causes. Take a look and see if any of these creativity killers ring-true for you.

  1. Procrastination: You had a great idea for a book, but you’ve been putting off getting it started. Now the task seems so huge, you feel like you can never tackle it. It’s become the monster under your bed, and your flashlight batteries just went out.
  2. Perfectionism: You know what you want to say, but you just can’t seem to get the tone right. Every time you start typing (or put ink to paper, if you’re the noble retro type), the garbage that comes out isn’t worthy the paper on which it is written.
  3. Intimidation: You’re deeply in love with your topic (or characters… or plot) and you don’t feel worthy to flesh the thing out. After all, who are you to breathe life into this project – God? You want to put a bag over your head and change your name to Anonymous.
  4. Distraction: You’d love to start writing your book, but it’s just so dang fun to gather material instead. Or do your laundry. Or pick lint out of your navel. You know that once you get started writing you won’t have time for anything else, so you’re squeezing it all in before you begin.
  5. Sheer Boredom: You loved your topic when you started – no, really. But now the New is off, and you’ve settled into a desperately dull sameness. It would have been enough for you to draft an outline. But why, oh why did you have to commit to 300,000 words of this drivel? By now you’d rather schedule yourself for a root canal than finish your manuscript, except you’re too bored to get off the couch.

Bring It Home with These Writers Block Busters

  1. Procrastination: If the idea of writing your book has turned monstrous, the best way to deal with this is to dive in….slowly. Commit to yourself that you’ll dip your toe in the water, or start in small increments. I recommend scheduling 15-minutes to work on your book, and then let yourself quit when the time’s up. If you want to keep going after that, go ahead! Schedule more than one session so you don’t feel that performance is do-or-die. You’ll be amazed by how easy it is to get started.
  2. Perfectionism: If you’re embarrassed by the garbage that comes out every time you try to tackle your manuscript, maybe it’s time to recognize a fundamental point about writing: it always starts out bad. For everyone. Even Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway rewrote his stuff 30 times before he even handed it off to an editor! Get over it and allow the process to be uncomfortable, and deal with that lousy, tragic first draft. It’s private stuff. Show others your work only once it’s been pressed down and shaken together.
  3. Intimidation: If you love your topic and you don’t feel worthy to flesh it out, consider this: It wouldn’t exist at all if it weren’t for you. No one else can put your own unique perspective on the work. Don’t let your fear define you. Use your butterflies as kinetic fuel for the fire of your passion. Take the bull by the horns and write what no one else can. It’s all yours, so own it. Personally, I went through this challenge when I wrote my first book. When I read the material months later, I was amazed at how smart I was “way back then.” LOL.
  4. Distraction: If you’re favorite pastime is doing everything but writing, you’re in good company. This is a cliché. If you’re trying to “squeeze it all in” before you begin writing – housework, poker, working out, filing your taxes – give it up. There will always be one more thing to do. Just start writing, you commitment-phoebe (and buy your spouse some flowers while you’re at it!). Nothing worthwhile ever came from a tepid heart. Stop making excuses and start making history.
  5. Sheer Boredom: If your love for your topic doesn’t look the same as when you started, there’s a very good reason. You haven’t let yourself dive in. Imagine you’re sitting around and talking with just one person. Give them the goods on your topic, and show them the pitfalls. You’ll be fascinated and swimming in verbiage in no time.

Now that you know some of the causes of writer’s block, you’re ready to meet the challenge head-on, get over yourself and your writing blues, and let the words flow. It won’t be long until your writing turns into the stuff of legends, and that paper napkin with your first ideas will be worth a fortune. Or at least it will be worth dabbing your eyes with, as you read the gold that flows from your fingers. Who knew?

Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

icon1June 21, 2016