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How a Good Ghostwriter Helps You Find Courage and More

Posted on: March 2nd, 2017 | No comments 

 

Becoming an author can help you grow your career or business, or share a story you feel must be told. You will have new opportunities to speak and write. A book opens doors.

The problem is that writing any book is a challenge even for professional writers. Writing a good book is very hard.

We have seen many highly-accomplished business people humbled by the process. They may have run big corporations, led thousands of people, and started magnificent enterprises.  Yet after months of toiling alone they show up at our door because they can see for themselves that, “It’s just not good enough.” Or perhaps they were turned down by agents and want to know why.

These are the clients we love to work with most because  A) they usually have strong content and ideas and B) they are high quality professionals with the great work ethic that writing a book requires.

They just don’t know the craft.  We, on the other hand, have spent our lives working on books.

Herb and I often marvel at how the same writing issues seem to come up again and again. So I thought it might be helpful to share the three most common challenges we see, and explain what we do to help.  Here goes.

Ivy Leaguers and CEOs

Can they write? Of course they can. They aced their way through grad school. They’ve been writing briefs and proposals and emails all their lives. They’re used to having an audience listen to what they say. The problem is that they often send us pages of really smart stuff that reads more like an A+ term paper—not a book.

  • How a ghost can help:  Facts are great, but not enough. A good ghost helps this writer get his or her unique voice

4 New Book Proposals Going on Offer to Publishers

Posted on: July 1st, 2014 | No comments 

Big Fish Media is preparing four proposals going on offer to publishers this July (contact us if you are an interested editor):

Spinning Into Control: Timeless Skills for Incubating the Sustainable Startup:  Amiel Kornel is a venture capitalist and board member at Innocentive who has co-founded 4 startups, helped incubate over 15 other early-stage ventures and advised more than a dozen multinational companies seeking to strengthen their corporate venture investing and innovation activities.

The Co-Creation Edge: Transforming Sales and Procurement for Business Value: This book is co-written by Francis Gouillart, President of Experience Co-Creation Partnership, a management consultancy affiliated with PWC, and Bernard Quancard, the President of the Stategic Account Management Association.

Get a Dayjob: How to be An Artist Without Losing Your Mind, Your Shirt, or Your Creative Compass, by JoAnneh Nagler.   Successful author Nagler returns with the most practical and game changing book ever written for artists of all incomes, all walks of life, all disciplines.

The Invisible Cage: Living and Working with Schizophrenia, Marjorie Baldwin, Arizona State University.  A major contribution to the literature of mental illness and labor policy, that expertly combines a mother’s memoir of her experiences helping her son when he became mentally ill, and evidence-based arguments that the victims of schizophrenia can be successfully treated and join the workforce.

Six Steps to a More Engaging Author Website, Part 2

Posted on: November 2nd, 2013 | No comments 

In our latest post, we shared three out of six steps many of the most engaging effective author websites have in common.   In part two, we provide three more.  I’d love to hear your ideas about what we missed!

4) Hosting a Dynamic Blog: Websites with a built in blog get 55 percent more traffic than websites without a blog. While that’s a compelling argument to have a blog our recommendation is to only maintain one if it’s updated at a minimum once a week—if not more. A good blog should offer a steady flow of insight into the author’s activities, thoughts, and ideas.

  • Author and NYT journalist Daniel Coyle (The Talent Code) blogs frequently on his site. In fact, his blog is front and center: it’s the main feature on the homepage. In addition to its frequency, Coyle integrates pictures and videos and has catchy post titles—“How to Spark Motivation? (Step One: Shut Your Mouth)”; “A Two-Minute Video That Might Change the Way Your Kid Thinks”; and “Best Parenting Tip Ever.”
  • Dan Ariely, (Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions) an author and professor, posts his “Ask Ariely” Q&A column from the Wall Street Journal to his blog. The questions are varied and Ariely’s responses are brief and interesting (he incorporates plenty of behavioral science research into his answers). The bottom line: Ariely blogs prolifically about his field of interest and expertise making the blog a must-read.

5) Having a “Rockstar” Testimonial: It’s always better to have other people talk about how great you are and author Richard Florida (The Rise of the Creative Class) hit the jackpot on this front. His homepage features a video clip of U2 front man Bono recommending Florida’s bestselling book to a panel

Five Big Insights on America from Working Scared

Posted on: April 9th, 2013 | No comments 

Three of every four U.S. workers were personally affected by the Great Recession—either losing a job themselves or knowing a family member or close friend who lost a job during the period.

A statistic like this might be shocking to some.  But it’s a reality we need to accept.  This finding—along with many others—is from a new book titled Working Scared (Or Not at All), by my client Carl Van Horn, professor and director of the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University.   The book documents the changes that have disrupted the U.S. economy and American workers in recent years, based on 25,000 scientific surveys and in-depth interviews with American workers conducted from 1998 to 2012—during one of the most volatile periods in U.S. economic history. (The surveys and interviews were conducted by the Heldrich Center.)

Even the title—Working Scared—is telling. It refers to the many millions of employed Americans who are desperately trying to hang on to their jobs and live in constant state of anxiety. As Van Horn writes, “These Americans are “working scared” because, to them, it seems that virtually every job is temporary, threatened (directly or indirectly) by either technological change or global competition.”

We all know the numbers associated with the recession—high unemployment (at one point, more than 10 percent); lay offs (15 million American workers were let go from their jobs between 2007 and 2010); and jobs that were lost (nearly nine million). But Working Scared goes behind the numbers and offers one of the most comprehensive social science portraits ever developed about the views of American workers about their jobs, the workplace, and the government’s role in the labor market. It puts a human face on the crisis by detailing the personal, financial, and psychological toll on what is

Six Concerns for Authors in the Random House-Viking Merger

Posted on: November 26th, 2012 | No comments 

Here at Big Fish Media, we believe there’s much to consider in news of the merger between Random House and Viking-Penguin, two of the most powerful trade houses with enormous literary histories, deep lists of major authors and steady streams of bestsellers.   Mergers are about gaining efficiencies, and efficiencies are about consolidating costs–therefore, each company’s backlists, talent, and book operations are exposed to risk.

The silver lining for me is that our best indie publishers could step into the chaos and confusion with razor-sharp value propositions for authors.  From the perspective of authors, growing, stronger indie publishers means real alternatives to the Big Six, err Five.

While I would be thrilled if the merger results in innovations and new opportunities for authors, let’s look some potential implications for business and nonfiction authors:

  • Will  the merged houses “strategically” eliminate business or other niche imprints?  During this shakeout, it’s possible that publishers will make priorities of certain categories and eliminate or reduce others.  Keep an eye on the business imprints such as Portfolio.
  • Will editors be intimidated? While curation remains a  buzz word of modern culture, consolidation means fewer editors-in-chief with varying tastes and talent networks.  Consolidations breed group think. With more editor layoffs you get more fear to conform.  To wit: Simon & Schuster consolidated trade imprints, closing the storied Free Press and laying off a number of proven, talent editors (S&S is not part of this merger, but is exploring the possibility of doing so).  Diversity is key to ecosystems and diversity of ideas and judgment is essential to a profitable creative business.
  • Will acquisitions get bogged down pre-merger?  As an observer of business change, I see this as the most acute short-term concern.   Mergers mean some people get to keep their jobs and others don’t.  Bosses will