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The Downside of Mentoring & How to Avoid Common Pitfalls

Taking on a protégé can be an exciting turning point in your professional life. As with any relationship, there’s always some chance that things might not work out, and mentor-protégé partnerships are no exception. I’ve seen both sides of this issue in my own career — the good and the bad — and things can get messy in a hurry.

Besides making mistakes and poor choices, you can overreach when trying to help your protégé. Though it’s natural to want to give them every advantage, you can take things too far. Keep in mind that your goal is to enable your protégé to grow and succeed on their own merits. If you do too much for them, they will come to rely on you instead of trusting themselves and rising to the challenge. This defeats the whole purpose.

It can be frustrating when you first start to see signs of trouble and you realize that things just might go sideways. If you find yourself in this position, take heart. There are steps you can take to salvage the situation and help your mentorship meet — or even exceed — your expectations. Being proactive is a great fix, but it’s not the only one.

Untangling A Messy Mentorship

With these challenges in mind, the following list includes the most common problems of mentoring and the best ways to avoid them.

Problem 1: As mentor and protégé, you’re not a good match.

Solution: Try to find common ground and navigate your activities in that direction during the life of your mentorship. Maintain a high degree of civility and treat each other with mutual respect.

Pre-Emptive Action: Take your time during the selection process. Evaluate prospective protégés carefully to ensure the best chance of choosing one you can work with successfully. Don’t leap at the first opportunity to mentor someone. Be selective and evaluate any recommendations or suggestions before making your decision. Investigate thoroughly before agreeing to take on a protégé.

Problem 2: You or your protégé have unrealistic expectations of your engagement.

Solution: Discuss your goals openly, and adjust them based on time and resources available. If time is a factor, try padding your schedule for completion by 50%. That is, if you expect a project to take 2 days to finish, allow 3 days in the schedule. This will greatly reduce disappointment.

Pre-Emptive Action: Make sure you are clear about what your protégé can expect to receive from your mentoring. If their perspective does not with what you expect to deliver, don’t commit to the relationship unless or until the two of you are on the same page.

Problem 3: One of you breaches confidentiality.

Solution: Developing trust between yourself and your protégé is paramount from the beginning. If that trust is broken, it can take a long time to restore it — if it can be restored at all. If the breach resulted from a misunderstanding, work together with your protégé to communicate clearly, set boundaries and restore trust. Agree to put the past behind you and move on, accepting the lesson.

Pre-Emptive Action: Be sure that your protégé understands what confidentiality is, and be prepared to extend it in return.

Problem 4: Unrealistic expectations of financial support.

Solution: Your protégé may ask you to buy a product, invest in a business or help with other financial needs. Providing financial support is not a good idea. If you are asked to do this, refuse gently, explain succinctly and offer to discuss the opportunity at the end of the mentorship. If the issue is about personal bills, your agreement to help your protégé may cause them to become dependent on you.

Pre-Emptive Action: Financial investments change the dynamics of the mentor-protégé relationship. Don’t have a monetary stake in an enterprise run by your protégé, or else you will no longer a mentor. Keep the relationship simple and avoid becoming their partner.

Problem 5: Working for your protégé.

Solution: Your protégé may ask you to perform tasks for them that they would be better suited doing themselves. Examples include writing a proposal or attending an investor meeting. These are skills your protégé needs to develop independently. If your protégé asks, you can bow out gracefully by saying that you’re are glad they have faith in your skill. Explain that it would be to their advantage to take on the task themselves.

Pre-Emptive Action: While you might offer assistance and guidance, don’t do the work for your protégé. Avoid painting yourself into a corner by being clear about your relationship and agreed upon tasks up front.

Problem 6: Becoming your protégé’s personal counselor.

Solution: It’s only natural that some personal exchanges will happen between you and your protégé. You’ll probably exchange innocent comments about your families, hobbies and interests outside of your career. But some personal issues are best not to get involved in, such as marital problems, mental health issues, struggles with substance abuse or other potentially damaging hardships.

Pre-Emptive Action: Once again, you can avoid too much personal involvement by setting clear boundaries in the beginning. State up front that there are certain issues that should be left outside the workplace. Let your protégé know that you care, but your focus is on their career success.

Naturally, if your protégé is having a huge personal struggle, you can suggest appropriate avenues for resolution. A counselor, a help hotline or community intervention program may be what’s called for.

You can avoid making mistakes and poor choices in your mentorship with a little forethought. Remember your goal is to help your protégé grow on their own, not do things for them. Help them learn to how to trust themselves and rise to meet the challenges they face. When you do, you’ll be helping them to be strong and prepare for the next generation.

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.

icon1July 27, 2017

Structuring a Mentorship Program to Develop the Next Generation

As a mentor, it’s likely that there is a heavy demand for your time. You probably have projects to run, people to meet, clients or bosses to appease, subordinates to keep busy, and plenty of meetings. All of this requires one common denominator: time management.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could just think yourself to your next encounter? You probably covet the idea of instantly transporting yourself to just about any location within range of your cell phone signal. It’s the stuff of fantasies and big-budget Sci-Fi movies.

Just think of it—how fabulous to be parsed into a sub-molecular fuzz to instantly land at your desired location, bypassing snarled traffic and avoiding airport hassles. You’d arrive seconds later at your high rise hotel in Dubai or a sun-kissed conference center in the Bahamas. You must admit, it would shave precious time off your commute or your next business trip du jour.

The fact is, billionaires & government scientists around the world are working this problem today. For obvious reasons, they want to move manpower and materiel as swiftly as humanly possible—or even faster. Recent experiments in teleportation have been wildly successful, transporting a single particle of matter into outer space. Other initiatives are under construction to move people from city to city in a fraction of the time it takes today. Can an instantaneous trip to the office be far behind?

Unless you’re a starship captain in a major blockbuster movie, you’re stuck with the realities of time, space, and sequence. This means your mentorship program needs to be structured in a way that is smart, effective, and reality-based.

Communicating with Your Protégé in the Real World

Now that you’re a mentor, you probably feel some sense of excitement about the next generation you’re training up, as well as some concerns about how you come across. It’s important to get it right—to convey your meaning in the simplest, most direct form while keeping up that all-important bond.

This means consistent contact. It also means developing a structure for your program and sticking to it.

Communicating with your protégé can be extensive or limited, and it depends on a number of factors. These can include any or all of the following:

Physical Location: If you can have your protégé come in to your office for meetings, that’s great. Alternatively, you can choose a more relaxed meeting place like a restaurant or coffeehouse. If yours is a virtual mentorship, you can communicate by phone, text, Skype, and e-mail. Proximity is the major factor here.

Scheduling: You and your protégé need to work around your schedules when it comes to setting the best time and frequency for meeting. Either party may be on-call because you work in real estate, medical, or the legal profession. If that’s the case, establish acceptable reasons to break off your meeting and how you will reschedule it, should you lose time.

Home Life: A young single person is likely to have more free time than someone who is married or a parent. Single parents, in particular, have a tough time being flexible. Establish meeting times that are convenient to both of you, taking your home life into consideration. Sometimes it’s tricky, but it can be done.

Outside Obligations: Executives often have responsibilities that extend outside of the typical professional setting. You may have board meetings, conferences or company events that take up extra time. Consider these external obligations as you schedule time with your protégé. Realize that your protégé may have other obligations too. Respect their commitments as you would want them to respect yours.

Making Time for Mentoring

Flexibility is the key when you decide the structure of your mentorship program. Before getting started, you and your protégé need to discuss each area that affects your mutual schedule.

How many factors will impact your routine? What’s your fall back in case your regular schedule is disrupted? Determine the best choices for both of you, and be consistent. This helps avoid misunderstandings, and you can swiftly navigate around any unforeseen pitfalls.

Both you and your protégé should keep a copy of the schedule. If you need to cancel or reschedule a meeting, be clear about how much notice to give each other. With the exception of life-and-death emergencies, last-minute cancellations are not okay. Once again, show the same respect to your protégé as you would expect to receive from them.

Besides creating your schedule, decide on some basic ground rules for your mentorship. Either one of you should be able to end the relationship if things don’t work out. By the same token, there should be an incentive for sticking it out if problems come up. Decide and agree on the structure ahead of time, including:

  • Length of time for mentorship
  • Hours devoted to the program
  • Procedures for allotting more time
  • Methods of communication
  • Rules about confidentiality
  • Dissolving the relationship

There are many ways to find time for mentoring and many compelling reasons to make an effort. Mentoring is a rewarding experience. It’s to your benefit to juggle your schedule and make time to nurture a protégé—guiding the next generation toward an exciting future!

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.

icon1July 20, 2017

Sharing Your Vision Through Mentoring

Picture this: It’s early morning in July in Snowbird Utah, not a cloud in the powder blue sky. The air is crisp as it brushes your cheeks, skimming off the vast expanse of crystal white before you. Your lungs drink in the air like a sweet elixir. One gentle push with your poles and your skis are skimming the mountainside. It’s a bracing run, and you feel like you’re on rails. What a great day to be alive!

And then it hits you: “I never thought I’d be celebrating my 100th birthday this way. Where have the years gone? What a gift!”

Sound impossible? Not for George Jedenoff. That’s exactly how he celebrated his century mark—with a downhill run.

But this outing wasn’t a one-time thing for George. He exercises regularly as part of his routine, like it’s his main meal. He refers to skiing as “dessert.”

For me, skiing is an area of passion. I’ve loved it since learning to ski at 13 years old. George, however, took up the sport when he was 43, which some would call late in life. Now he’s been skiing for 57 years, and clearly, he’s still going strong. I’ll bet I could learn a few things from him, both about skiing and about life. We all could.

What George has to say about his longevity amounts to a handful of common sense perspectives about love, health, and professional involvement. As a publisher, I’m sure his sage advice could fill several volumes based on his life experience. What a legacy! That’s a story I’d love to publish.

In the final analysis, that’s what mentoring is all about—offering guidance through perspective based on experience. Teachers instruct; mentors guide.

Mentors offer their protégés the benefit of their wisdom based on the sum total of their wins and losses. It can be a happy scenario, given the right set of circumstances. The key is to find a protégé who is a good match with your desired outcomes.

Aligning Your Goals & Attitudes with the Right Protégé

When it comes to professional guidance, you and your protégé need to have common interests and attitudes. This means finding a match with your temperament and energy level, not just your career goals.For example, if you want to disrupt your industry, you would do well to work with someone who has the same forward-thinking mindset as you—not a traditionalist. If you lead an active lifestyle, it would be prudent to select a protégé who also is reasonably active rather than completely bookish.

The reverse is true as well. If you tend toward the intellectual side of the scale, find a protégé who understands your natural bent. Meet mind with mind, spirit with spirit. Having a personal Vision Statement is a great help in this area.

A Vision Statement is a concise declaration about your objectives. Creating a Vision Statement helps you stay focused on your goals during your mentoring relationship. You’re less likely to get off track. You can tailor the guidance you offer your protégé to align with your vision.

Your personal Vision Statement can be a powerful tool for defining your goals and helping you stay focused. It also helps you get clear about what you hope to accomplish in your career, your life in general, and the legacy you leave through your protégé. When you have clarity here, you can more effectively choose the right protégé to guide toward your common objective.

Sharing Your Window on the World

Your vision includes the things you’d like to gain for yourself as well as the world around you. Finding a protégé who’s a good match for your vision means the two of you can hone your efforts toward a single purpose. A well-defined vision helps you and your protégé determine where best to expend your time and energy during the mentoring process.

Defining your vision takes concentration. Give serious thought to your goals and your desires. Discover for yourself the most crucial qualities to find in a protégé.

Choose a quiet place where you can have uninterrupted time to outline your answers to the following handful of questions.

  • Why do you want to share your knowledge and experience with a protégé?
  • What’s the main benefit you expect to gain from the experience?
  • What benefits do you expect to offer your protégé?
  • How much time will you spend with them in a given week?
  • What’s your vision for your protégé after mentoring them?

Once you are clear on your own values and intentions, selecting the best protégé is a natural outcome. It sets up the two of you for success like a breezy downhill run on a crystalline morning. Who could ask for more than that?

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.

icon1July 13, 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

How to Interview a Mentoring Candidate

Choosing the Candidate

It’s a thrilling moment in any career—the day you decide to mentor someone. You’ve scratched and struggled to get where you are now, taken the good with the bad. You’ve hung in there long after most would have quit. Now you’re ready to foster someone new and share your expertise, leaving your mark for posterity.

But how do you choose just the right person? What criteria do you use in your selection process? How do you know if your favorite has the IT factor?

Interviews are an essential step in choosing a qualified candidate for any position. This is especially true when choosing a protégé. Love it or hate it, you can’t skip the interview process.

After all, if you’re going to invest your time and hard won experience in someone, they’d better be worth it. Remember that when you mentor someone, you are leaving a legacy. This person will be privy to the treasure trove that is your priceless experience. Shouldn’t you at least like them?

Likewise, you don’t want to make a commitment to a protégé who isn’t a good fit with you and your personal culture—letting them into your private world when they’ve virtually got one foot out the door. They can’t just go through the motions with you. The commitment has to be mutual.

And now we find ourselves at the dreaded crossroads: ah, yes, the interview. Some people find this process thrilling, like a brisk downhill run on skis. Others find it as chilling as a snowball down the pants.

Whichever camp you find yourself in, there’s no getting around the interview process. It is a must. With that in mind, here are tips for helping the interview process go smoothly.

Making Sure the Door Swings Both Ways

Interviewing your prospective protégé gives you the chance to interact with a candidate in a dynamic situation, one on one. It lets both of you find out if you’re comfortable with each other and have the same goals for your effort.

So then the question is, how do you want to conduct your interview? Can you get by using electronic media (like phone, Skype or Zoom), or should you meet face to face?

Having a face to face meeting gives you insight into the candidate’s sense of style and methodology—much more than you can glean from documents and reference checks. There’s no substitute for asking a candidate direct questions and getting their answers, sweaty palms and all.

If you have decided to mentor someone long distance, bear in mind that it’s tough to have a true sense of their personality strictly through written communication. Even if you’re planning to keep in touch by email and social media, do an interview by phone or Skype first. A live conversation will help you determine whether you and your protégé are a good match.

Do’s and Don’ts, Ins and Outs

Finding the right protégé takes a combination of research, reference checks, and interview results. Pay attention to gut feelings as well.

Just as you would in a job interview, ask both open and closed questions. Here are some sample questions for your interview.

Mentor Screening Interview – Open-ended questions:

  • What would you like to change about this industry?
  • In what area do you believe you can make the greatest contribution?
  • What is your learning style: hands-on? Observatory? A combination?
  • Why are you looking for a mentor?
  • What do you expect to accomplish by working with me?
  • Name three benefits you would like to enjoy as a protégé.
  • What are your greatest strengths?
  • Name one of your weaknesses and tell me how you will compensate for it.
  • How do you intend to apply what you learn to your career?
  • How do you respond to constructive criticism and decide whether or not to apply it?
  • How do you respond to working under pressure?
  • What do you believe are your most important qualities?
  • What qualities impress you the most in others?
  • Where do you see your career in five years?

Mentor Screening Interview—Close-ended questions:

  • How did you hear about this opportunity?
  • What is your availability for the program (days/hours)?
  • Do you have a college degree or relevant experience?
  • What was your major in school? Your GPA?
  • Do you have hobbies or activities that relate to this opportunity?
  • What are your qualifications?
  • Have you received any awards or commendations?
  • Do you have references?
  • What are your personal characteristics that will help you in this situation?

During your interview, pay close attention to the way your candidate answers the questions. Are your prospective protégé’s answers clear and logical? Do they align with your goals? Is there any hesitation in revealing certain information? Do you sense that they’re hiding something?

In your interview, avoid asking personal questions that can only be applied to certain groups of people. Don’t ask about race, religion, or social activity. These things might be appropriate to discuss in the course of time, but including them in an interview can get you into trouble. Keep the discussion to professional topics.

Take into account that it’s natural for the interviewee to be nervous. They may stumble at first or take extra time to formulate an answer. If it’s a good match, though, the two of you will have some degree of comfort by the end of the conversation.

Using an organized selection process will allow you to find a base line to evaluate your candidates and make your final decision. It’s a brisk and refreshing feeling when you can confidently reach out your hand and say, “Welcome aboard!”

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.

icon1June 30, 2017

Where to Find the Perfect Mentoring Candidate

Find a Mentor

If you’re like many people who are established in a given profession, you’ve probably considered taking on a protégé. Who could resist the opportunity to share some of those pearliest pearls of wisdom?

The problem is that finding a worthy candidate can be a daunting task. Where do you begin your search?

In my travels around the sun, I’ve found that the chance to develop the up-and-comers came a little more quickly than I’d care to admit. It seems like yesterday when I was the young upstart, joking with my cohorts about the “silverback” who led our division. In what seems like the next day, I was the one with silver in my whiskers, spooning-out advice to the ambitious upstarts in the speaking industry.

“Listen, Junior, when I was your age…” I could scarcely believe those words were coming out of my mouth. Who, me? Yes, I was already keenly aware of the gray around my temples. But that could hardly mean I was that old, could it?

Experienced. I chose to view it as being experienced. I had enjoyed the experience of one too many beef Wellington dinners, one too many cognacs, one too many flights working deals across international borders.

These experiences were the stuff of dreams when I was younger. I’d once wished for someone to show me how to navigate the ropes and enjoy the lifestyle of a road warrior—someone to tell me, “When I was your age…”

Nevertheless, there I was face to face with a smug twenty-something executive at Amazon who had the inbred confidence of working for a company with a $487 billion market cap. I could tell from his questions that he didn’t know what he didn’t know.

By the end of our 45-minute meeting, “Junior” had changed his mind. I shared with him about the scope of things he didn’t consider like foreign rights licensing, audiobooks, mobile apps, and other disruptions in the book publishing industry such as books enhanced with AR. Soon, he was asking me if we could keep in touch. I smiled to myself knowingly and conceded. “My price is a box of My Father cigars.”

The Nature of Structure

It’s pretty common for a relationship between mentor and protégé to develop organically on its own as this one did. An experienced professional might notice someone with promise and offer them a bit of informal advice. Over time, the two begin to connect on a regular basis. A chance connection like this has the potential to spark a strong mentor relationship.

You’ll see this scenario in creative industries like publishing, film, and television where actors and writers are seeking a break into the industry. It’s true of any industry that’s highly competitive.

But there’s a downside to this loosely structured arrangement. The very fact that the relationship has no formalized path can be a detriment. Finding the right person to work with, as well as having a well-crafted plan for execution, can mean the difference between success and mega-success.

If you’ve decided to work with a protégé, there are all kinds of established channels that can help you find one. Let’s take a look at some of them now.

Word of Mouth

One way to find a protégé is through word of mouth. It sounds obvious, but often the simplest solution doesn’t automatically come to mind. Let your industry contacts know you’re looking to take on a protégé and ask if they know someone who’s a good match. You’ll find many excellent prospects come after a round of golf or a tennis match at the club.

This kind of connection brings the added benefit of making sure the protégé comes with a recommendation from a known quantity. Those who know you best will often help you make the best match.

Your Workplace

One great place to find a protégé is the organization where you work. Many businesses have a formal structure in place for a mentoring program. If this is your situation, you can contact your company’s program coordinator and offer your services as a mentor. They will match you with a protégé—in many cases, pre-screened.

One of the benefits of participating in a formal mentoring program is that it can lead to greater recognition within your company, both for you and your protégé. Keep in mind that you will want to establish clear goals and boundaries, including a review process and an exit strategy for your protégé.

College Interns

College interns serve many of the same functions as a protégé. Interns need experience that will help them get hired once they graduate, while protégés are usually looking for career training and advancement.

An intern usually expects to perform tasks for you and gain hands-on experience while affording you cheap or free labor. You can find interns through your local college or university’s guidance department or job center.


Social media and online communities in every industry offer a place where like minds get together, chat, and exchange ideas. You may find your mentoring opportunity through an online network. Consider reaching out through LinkedIn, Facebook, US Small Business Administration, and forums related to your industry.

Mentoring no longer requires face to face contact. A long distance mentor-protégé relationship is viable because of advances in electronic communication. This means you can Skype with a protégé who is half way around the world and still have effective interaction.

Professional Organizations

There are professional organizations that offer mentor matching services, and most of them are free for both mentors and protégés. With a mentor matching service, you can benefit from a screening process that improves the chances of the relationship’s success.

Big Brothers Big Sisters – If you aren’t necessarily looking for a business protégé, you can help a young person through a life experience mentoring program. BBBS is dedicated to helping underprivileged kids by pairing them with an adult. As a volunteer mentor, you can help an at-risk young person navigate the tricky path to a better life and personal success. For more information, visit

SCORE – The Service Corps of Retired Executives Association offers career coaching to entrepreneurs and professionals. You can volunteer as a mentor through SCORE, and you don’t have to be retired. Their network of over 10,000 volunteers matches professionals with protégés across the US. As a mentor, you can work remotely or arrange for face to face meetings at one of SCORE’s 390 offices. Go to for more information.

Working with a protégé can be a richly rewarding experience. It offers many benefits to both the mentor and protégé. Using these tips, finding the perfect candidate is a breeze.

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.

icon1June 21, 2017

What’s the #1 Shortcut to Success?

Jump Fail

Nobody wants to fail. Not really.

You may have seen self-help books and motivational programs that talk about failing your way to the top. They can’t be taken at face value. Failing your way through anything means failure, not success.

There’s a fallacy that “failure is fertilizer.” If that’s true, then a pile of failures is really just a pile of, well, manure.

I remember this pile all too well. I landed in one as a teenager on my uncle’s farm, trying to jump over it on my dirt bike. I failed. The joy of climbing out of a manure pile was a vivid reminder to my slight error in judgment. That’s what failure brings—consequences.

While it’s true that nobody seeks to fail, the aim is to lose the fear of failure itself—to look on it as feedback, not as an ultimate destination, as some might suggest. Losing the fear of failure is greatly empowering, certainly. Learning from failure results in wisdom.

After falling down, we learn a lesson, get back up and move on. I didn’t let that spill on my dirt bike keep me from a life on two wheels. I took the feedback and used it to improve my game. Today, I ride my Harley-Davidson Softail through green vineyards, golden wheat fields, crystal clear lakes and snow-capped mountains near my home every chance I get. I’m just a bit more careful now, needless to say.

Serving Up Your Own Slice of Life

We all love the benefits of the wisdom that failure brings. And the best kind of wisdom is gleaned by learning from the experience of others as Sir Isaac Newton put it, “by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

Learning from the failures of others means leverage.

But is there a better way?

The mentor-protégé relationship offers leverage, like a fast-track, to meet your goals. It concentrates the wisdom of previous generations into a single experience.

For a protégé, having a mentor means a chance to explore activities and philosophies that might not be available to their colleagues. It means they have a shortcut to success.

By working with a mentor, a protégé can reap the benefit of a guided look into your rarefied expertise. You can help define their career path, especially if you’re in an industry that’s sprawling with opportunities, or offers a variety of options for specialization.

5 Benefits for Protégés

There are obvious and not-so-obvious advantages for seeking out a mentor. When you consider what these benefits are, you can define the relationship more successfully and decide the most intelligent areas for concentrating your efforts with a mentor.

  1. Knowledge – The most obvious and tangible benefit for a protégé is the practical knowledge you can gain. A mentoring program offers the chance to gain hands-on experience in a field. In every industry, there is a learning curve between training and practice. As a mentor, you can help a protégé avoid many of the pitfalls that plague most people when they’re starting out.
  2. Safe Learning Environment – For those just entering the workforce, pressures and competition come from all sides. It’s easy for anyone to stumble when faced with this kind of pressure, especially if that competition comes from more seasoned personnel. A protégé earns a certain degree of relief from the strain of being a novice in the industry. Having a little extra horsepower in your corner adds job security, which is a powerful motivator to aim higher.
  3. More Confidence – A mentor’s support and reassurance help you flourish. You don’t have to go it alone. Sometimes simply knowing that support is available is enough to offer encouragement, correct mistakes and boost confidence.
  4. Clear Path to Success – Protégés naturally want to live up to expectations. Some people call this the Law of Reciprocity. With a well-defined mentoring relationship, you are building a clear path for yourself. In any industry, the career track is paved with pitfalls. Teaming with a mentor means a protégé can bypass some pitfalls and stay focused on performance.
  5. Relationships – In business, advancement is often more about who you know than what you know. A supportive word or recommendation from your mentor can open doors that you might never have known existed. Through the networking opportunities provided by a mentor, the talented protégé can meet professionals who are influential in your career. The chance for networking and referrals can make all the difference.

It’s an incredible feeling when you know that you’ve been helped by someone else in a way you can never fully repay. What a great gift to yourself by seeking a mentor. More importantly, you’ll be getting a precious detour around that dung heap called failure!

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.

icon1June 15, 2017

How to Benefit from Being a Mentor

Unusual Road

At some point in your work life, you’ve probably looked back on your tracks and felt surprised. You turned around to see the road you’ve traveled stretched out behind you, a rough and tumble stretch no one could have predicted.

There were so many twists and turns you didn’t expect in your professional career, and all the while you used your cunning, planning, and guts to dodge the hazards. Sure, you’ve got a few scrapes and scars, but in hindsight, those scars are more like badges of honor.

You may have thought once or twice about mentoring someone with less experience than you, teaching them about your industry or trade, and showing them how to avoid the pitfalls. If you dismissed that idea—thinking it wouldn’t be worth the trouble—it’s time to rethink your assessment.

Case Study from the Book Publishing Industry

This week I had 2 meetings with new authors with whom I shared the bumpy road to success in my book publishing endeavors. With my first book, I learned painful lessons by setting up my book as a print-on-demand and not having a sales force carry my book into brick & mortar bookstores where a shocking 85% of print books are sold. Trying to “go it alone” was a big mistake. Today as I mentor new authors, I help them learn from my painful mistakes and avoid the nasty pitfalls that one learns trying to self-publish their first book.

Would I be motivated to mentor new authors if I didn’t learn some hard lessons? Probably not. Mentoring might possibly hold the key to a lot of things for you personally including an extended half-life for your contribution to society. Now, more than ever, it’s important to understand the benefits of being a mentor! Some of these benefits are subtle, while other benefits are more obvious. In the end, you’ll discover the efforts of mentoring are amazingly worthwhile.

In the past 6-months, I’ve personally witnessed people mentor others through navigating steep learning curve pursuits including college admissions for students, how to throw a curveball, how to be a successful troop leader, buying into the right franchise, growing a downline in network marketing, leadership development and establishing a fast-track to discovering purpose.

So, what will your contribution be?

The Hot Dance of Mentorship – Cha Cha Cha!

Mentoring is about give and take. It’s a lot like learning to salsa dance, developing an amazing kick serve in tennis or jazz improvisation. It’s a living, breathing relationship between two people—a dance between two professionals with different status and skills. It doesn’t take a genius to see that this is a win-win situation.

Taking someone talented under your wing offers big benefits for you, the mentor, as well as your protégé. The odds are high that you’ll get more out of sponsoring a protégé than you could ever dream.

Most people understand that having a mentor is a good thing. The advantages of hands-on coaching are obvious. The process of mentoring involves guidance and correction, showing the ropes to someone less experienced. This cuts the learning curve short for them, and it enhances the value of your own stock.

The mentoring process sets the stage for you to offer expertise and help someone who really needs it, someone who is worth it. This process might include coaching, sharing the benefit of your experience, getting help finishing a major milestone project and stewardship of new talent.

Top 5 Benefits of Mentoring a Protégé

Whatever your reasons for taking on a protégé, you’ll discover that mentoring gives as much as it takes. Here are the top 5 benefits of taking on the mentoring challenge.

  1. Sharpening Your Leadership Skills. As a mentor, working with a protégé will help you develop skills that are essential to lead others. If you’re in a management or executive position, this could groom you for a promotion. If you are already at the top of the food chain, it could help launch you into the public eye or ease your way into the glaring lights of the media spotlight. Honing your leadership skills will certainly serve to advance your present position.
  2. Gaining a Fresh Outlook. Whatever your selection process, your protégé will have a different perspective from you, giving you a fresh outlook on your line of work. Protégés are often entry-level professionals who offer new ways of thinking. As a mentor, you can learn as much from your protégés as they learn from you. Plus, their enthusiasm is, well, quite infectious!
  3. Developing Your Career. As you support your protégé’s career path, you are furthering your own career too. Working with a protégé can serve as an endorsement of your professionalism, leading to greater prestige and promotion. Your protégé can help you stand out and get noticed. When you decide to change employers, your mentorship relationships start paying 10-fold dividends.
  4. Enhanced Self-Image. Mentoring is a journey of self-discovery for you, as much as it’s a means to help someone else get started in your industry. The way you perceive yourself informs the way other people see you. You’ll see how much you have to offer someone just starting out in your business. You may find you had no idea how much you knew about your industry until you begin showing others the ropes.
  5. Increased Sense of Purpose. Becoming a mentor is immensely satisfying on a personal level. You have the opportunity to make a difference in another person’s life. By working with a protégé, you can create a living archive of your knowledge, a never-ending cycle of information from which others benefit. Your wealth of knowledge will prove immensely useful to any protégé and the people they connect with. It always invigorates your sense of purpose, particularly as you approach the top of your game.

What lies behind your desire to be a mentor? Do you work for a company with a mentoring program? Maybe you’ve noticed someone who has that same spark you had when you first began your career. Maybe it is as simple as showing a vendor rep how to dig out of a sand trap on the golf course. I clearly remember the hardened grocery store buyer (ironically whose name was Rock), who developed my golf game when I was a green, 20-something sales rep.

Whatever your inspiration, keep your own benefits in mind as you embark on your journey into mentoring. A little intelligent self-interest is just the ticket to take you a long way in your career pursuits.

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.

icon1June 8, 2017

How Do You Know When You’re Ready to be a Mentor?

Mentor travel

Not only is mentoring one of the oldest pursuits in civilized history, but it’s one of the most satisfying. The word itself comes from Greek, and the practice dates back to the heyday of Greece’s roots as a civilization.

Mentoring allows the benefit of experience to pass from one person to another, cutting short the learning curve, serving both the mentor and protégé in the process. Mentoring can be long or short term, formal or informal, but the benefits last a lifetime. I found this out first hand in an unexpected way many years ago.

I’ll never forget my experience traveling through southern Europe when I was fresh out of college. Though I had a great education with a degree in Economics, I was green as could be…and frankly a little impatient. The idea of traveling to another continent was both exciting and terrifying.

My high-school friend and I were adventuring together and were lucky enough to get an invitation to show us around from a friend’s mom who lived in Greece. We crammed our backpacks into her VW bug along with her huge Irish Setter and set off for adventure on the Peloponnese peninsula. It was a college kid’s dream come true. But getting there turned out to be something of a white-knuckle experience for an idealistic kid.

By the time we left Athens, we were sweating in the summer heat with this gigantic dog drooling on our laps. I was sorely in need of some perspective about navigating through life’s unexpected events… and I got exactly what I needed.

Unwinding Along the Ancient Road

Our first couple of days in Greece were strange for me and somewhat of a blur. I felt like I’d jumped into the swift-flowing river of life. Everything smelled different, and the air was heavy with the constant buzz of alien sounds—the language, the music, even the cars sounded different. It was hypnotic. The food was nothing like the dishes I’d tried at Greek restaurants back home, and some of it was downright intimidating.

One afternoon, a few days later, our hostess pulled into a small village on a steep hillside. My roommate and I were excited to experience the nearby ancient ruins, but our first task was getting through lunch in a tiny establishment where you had to stoop over to get in the front door. The proprietor and our hostess exchanged some words that we couldn’t understand and the next thing we knew we had a bottle of Retsina on the table, a strong wine fermented with pine resin, served warm. I took the first sip and politely told my friend it was delicious. He took a sip and kicked me under that table, as it was far from tasty to our naïve taste buds.

From there, our hostess drove us to a home to enjoy a home cooked meal. Our new host didn’t speak a lick of English. While my roommate and I looked around at the goats and chickens, our new host pulled out a bottle of ouzo (an anise-flavored liquor), poured three shot glasses, and leaned into me, resting on his elbow. He looked me square in the eye and shouted “Opa!” raising one of the glasses and tossing it down like a sailor on leave. We had no choice but to follow suit.

After the initial shock of the ouzo, there was some brief chatter, and then a leather-faced woman walked in carrying a roasted leg of lamb. She was followed by a young man our age who had the look of a low-rent con artist. His sweaty tank top and long unkempt hair didn’t help his image, plus he was constantly smiling. Nobody spoke English. In pantomime, the guy indicated that he had slaughtered the lamb himself in honor of our visit.

Our host grabbed two more shot glasses, poured for all of us, and again spoke the one Greek word I knew: “Opa!” He winked at me. I could feel myself begin to relax.

They all chatted for a few minutes, then to the table came a party of five, each burdened with a dish. I’m sure we were introduced, but I don’t remember who they were. We saluted their arrival with another round of ouzo and another hail of “Opa!” I was now “relaxed.”

The afternoon wore on and turned into dusk, then evening. I remember it was hot, and I was full. I had eaten a strange mix of foods that I could not identify. New guests arrived, and each was greeted with the now familiar toast. I understood very little of what was going on, but I got the message loud and clear from our hostess: “Live a little!”

The rest of our time in Greece was marked with splendid day trips and unforgettable jaunts to ancient ruins. But I wouldn’t have enjoyed any of it quite as much if it hadn’t been for our hostess who modeled for me a new outlook on life. She gave me permission to relax and enjoy life, to take in the moment and appreciate it for what it was.

The message was reinforced day by day over the course of our stay, with each meal, each visit, each trip to town. It could not have come at a better time, or in a better way. She modeled “life” for me. No book or lecture could have had a greater impact.

Now that I’m older, I look upon this experience from her perspective. The things I’ve learned—both practical and esoteric—are easier to understand. But these lessons are fresh and alien to the protégés I mentor. I share what I can with them and watch them grow.

The other day at Starbucks, I ran into one of my book publishing mentees from last season’s summer internship program. This student was home for the summer from college. I couldn’t help but notice the 600+ page book he was reading and asked if it was for a class. He said no. He was reading Marcel Proust’s controversial novel, In Search of Lost Time, for fun. I grinned, we caught up for a bit, and I felt that inner satisfaction that a mentor feels watching a young mind take flight.

What It Takes to Be a Mentor

As a mentor, you can help someone succeed by being a model for them. Mentoring also provides tons of satisfaction along with the opportunity for recognition as an expert in your field.

Do you have what it takes to be a mentor? The odds are high that you do. Take a look at the 3 qualifications of being a successful mentor.

  1. Communication & Rapport. Because mentoring is an exchange of information, you need to be able to communicate your ideas, both verbally and non-verbally. My hostess in Greece got through to me. She got my attention and modeled what it looks like to experience a new culture. More lessons came later as she modeled them for me during the course of our remaining time in Greece. From the start, we understood each other despite the language/cultural/generational differences.
  2. Experience. A good mentor can offer a protégé more than college courses through direct modeling and subtle methods, like book recommendations. Having a strong background can give you an advantage in the mentoring process. As someone with experience, you have a better perspective on what to do and what to avoid in real-world applications.
  3. Passion. As an effective mentor, you must have not only experience but also love your job. You can’t expect to inspire a newcomer if you lack passion for your industry or your role in it. Working with a protégé can present an opportunity to make a difference in your industry…and mentoring can even renew your passion for what you do!

If you don’t see yourself possessing these qualities, take heart. The mentoring process allows mentors to develop along with their protégés. Areas where you may need to develop will come to light during the mentoring process, and with your experience in life, you can take action where needed.

The mentor-protégé relationship allows you to see your own work and ideas through a fresh pair of eyes. It’s a benefit to both of you. The odds are that you will learn what you don’t already know along the winding ancient road that is mentoring.

Summer Reading Recommendation: Recently I met a physician who was an early adopter in the family medicine practice called Concierge Medicine. During the meeting, he suggested reading a book which I immediately purchased and read called Proust Was a Neuroscientist. The book approaches aspects of the how the brain learns through examples from wine, literature, art and music. It makes for a great summer read, and it will be the topic of interesting conversations this summer.

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 31, 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.

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

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.

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

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?

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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 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.

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 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

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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

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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

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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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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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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 object 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 a planning a good 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 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 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 we use at Made for Success Publishing called Book in a Weekend. 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 this Book in a Weekend 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 Book in a Weekend 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 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 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