When You Need a Book Coach

I’m grateful to National Speakers Association-Michigan for allowing me to introduce my book coaching and editing services at the May membership meeting.

I talked about how I became a book coach, writing for self-discovery, and how I saw writing transform the lives of my students. For professional speakers, I said, having a book builds credibility and increases back-of-the-room sales.

Anyone can write a book if you’re passionate about your subject. So what are you waiting for?

If you’re interested in writing that book in you and would like my help, drop me a line. My email address is in the video. 


The Reward System Works

The reward system is part of the process of writing, and it works.

RewardSystemWorks_TVAs a book coach and writer, my message to you is that we need to set modest goals along the way to our finished products. When you achieve any goal, give yourself a reward: a half hour of TV without guilt or a phone call to a friend after writing three pages.

I’m reminded of a lesson I learned around the reward system when my son David was seven-years old. The year before, we had bought him his first two-wheeler for his sixth birthday. It was a bright red bike that said “Team Murray” on the side and he loved it. He showed it off to all the neighbors. The only trouble was, he never rode it, at least not after his first few falls. He just refused to try. He even attempted to convince me—and, hence, himself—that he didn’t want to ride his bike.

I was reminded of how I used to suck my thumb when I was around his age. My dad couldn’t get me to stop and he didn’t know what to do. Finally one night as he was tucking me into bed he said he would buy me a baseball glove if I could go a week without sucking my thumb. I never sucked my thumb again.

Of course, to this day I bite my nails.

Anyhow, David was into Nintendo by this time so I promised him I would buy him any Nintendo game he wanted as soon as he learned how to ride his bike. He was riding it in one day.

The reward system works.

[This piece was adapted from a sidebar in Transforming Lives: A Socially Responsible Guide to the Magic of Writing and Researching.]

Ken’s Billboard Display Attracts First Client

Last month I noted on Facebook that I had won a business card drawing at a party held by Adams Sign Company, the company whose name you see at the bottom of about half of the billboards in the Ann Arbor area and throughout Michigan. From my understanding of the award, they were going to help me design four signs that would rotate on one billboard for a month of my choosing. I thought they would be the only four signs per rotation.

I was pretty pumped. I met with two company representatives and talked through the content and design that I wanted and when and where I wanted the signs to appear. I knew what I wanted. Three signs would advertise my three latest book creations (two books, one four-volume series); the fourth would advertise my book coaching services.

I knew exactly when I wanted them to appear: throughout July, which would include Ann Arbor Art Fair.

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I had two locations from which to choose: one on 23 South heading into Arbor from the north, the other on I-94 West heading into Ann Arbor from Detroit, at the Huron Road exit in Ypsilanti. I chose the second.

And so they got to work.

Meanwhile, my understanding of what I had won evolved. Emily suggested that my four signs would share rotations with possibly up to a dozen other signs. No, that couldn’t be, I insisted. But as I observed billboards with rotating messages, I concluded that, indeed, most had far more than four separate signs per rotation and mine probably would, too.

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Still, my own sign showing up every fourth sign, give or take, for a month was a pretty impressive use of budget dollars (which, remember, were $0).

The day came when they went up. I was psyched. I waited a week to see them, building the psych juices. I brought Emily with me. We pulled over to the side of the freeway just inside the off-ramp to Huron Road and waited for the first sign to appear. We waited. And waited. And waited. Finally the first sign appeared. It looked great. It was so impressive, I wanted to buy the book. Then we waited. And waited.

Alas, we discovered that my signs showed up in the same spot in every rotation, which meant that each sign appeared only once per four rotations.

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I learned years ago that in advertising a message doesn’t start to become effective until around the time the audience is getting sick of it. I concluded that there was no way anyone whizzing by at 75 per, even every day, was going to get sick of a message that showed up only once every 50+ signs. (Technically, as one of the reps explained to me, “the digital face has a total of 6 full shares and 2 half share positions which you share in sequence.”)

So I made an executive decision to dump the three book signs and keep only my book coaching sign.

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That’s what I did.

Yesterday I got my first call. I’m meeting with my new client at 1 p.m. today at my office. (Yes, Panera.)

Meanwhile, I’ve displayed my four billboard messages throughout this blog entry. Nice?