In the spirit of National Novel Writing Month, take an escape into the unknown as you explore the art of writing…
He passed a well-manicured hand across his balding pate. It was an absent minded gesture, an insecure idiosyncrasy that had evolved over the course of many years, despite his elevated rank. Renard gladly would have traded some of his hard-won wisdom for the boundless vigor of his youth – along with a few traces of that glorious head of hair he once had. Now his retirement was staring him square in the face. Yet somehow he wasn’t quite ready to be “mothballed”.
What occupied his full attention at the moment was the glossy tablet in his hand. He’d found it on his desk when he arrived in his ready room. He pressed the screen, and an image came to life – his assistant’s daily video briefing with his proven “6-up daily priority” system. “Captain, here is the piece you wanted to look at. I still have a few bugs to work out, but with luck it will transport you to another time and place. I hope you’ll go easy on me, since I had only a short amount of time to…”
As the bland female voice droned on, Renard opened the file she referenced. It only took a moment for his assistant’s voice to fade into the background as a strange glow filled his peripheral vision. He looked up to see lush green tropical vines now taking the place of furniture in his ready room and the humid scent of jungle loam clung to his nose and mouth. “What the…?”
Startled, Renard stood up so briskly he was sure he’d knocked over his chair. But when he turned around to look, the chair was gone. In its place was a small rowboat, its oars still dripping from the mighty river behind it. A creature yowled in the trees above him, an unearthly sound that penetrated his spine. Suddenly he heard footsteps in the bushes beyond the boat. He heard a pair of muffled voices speak, too low to be discernible. “Is someone there?” Renard called, but there was only silence.
What happened next he never could have imagined, even if he lived to be three hundred. A buccaneer came crashing out of the brush, flying through the air backward and landing prostrate on the sand next to the rowboat! A moment later, a black jaguar came bounding after him with a scathing shriek and leapt upon his chest. “Get off me, you she-devil!” he shouted, flinging the creature back into the brush. “You’ve crossed me for the last time!”
The pirate scrambled to his feet and hurried for the boat, sweeping up Renard en route. “Come on, we’ve got to get out of here. I tell you, she’ll tear us to pieces.” Renard stood dumbly for a moment, the words sounding like a foreign language to his addled brain. But the sight of the jaguar running at full speed directly toward him shook him back to his senses. “Dammit, man, get in and get down!” Renard obeyed just as the boat left the shore and caught the swift current of the river.
Stealing himself to peek over the side, Renard watched in amazement as the jaguar stood upon her hind legs and transformed into a buxom raven-haired beauty. She shook her fist and called after the sinewy rowboat, “I hope you found what you were looking for!”
Suddenly there was a rapping sound, and Renard shook off the trance. He was back in his office, standing behind his desk. The jungle, the buccaneer and the jaguar woman had all gone. There was only his mild assistant, standing in the doorway, looking expectantly. She tucked a raven lock behind her ear. “Captain Renard? I said I hope you found what you were looking for. Have you had a chance to read the draft of my novel yet? I appreciate your taking the time to indulge in my hobby with me, and I hope I haven’t…”
Renard stared for a moment, taking in the scene, shaken but unscathed by the encounter. “Hm? Oh… yes. Yes, it was quite engaging. You could say it really swept me away. I all but felt that I was really there. You say this is your first attempt at writing…? Yes, there’s something to this.”
Where Will NaNoWriMo Take You In November?
November is National Novel Writing Month, affectionately known as NaNoWriMo. All around the world, more than 300,000 people are boldly attempting the impossible – to pound out a 50,000-word book manuscript in a single month. NaNoWriMo lends a spirit of community and support to what is normally a solitary effort.
People from all walks of life are throwing off the bonds of self-consciousness, casting aside the conventions of quality and grammar, and launching the books they’ve always dreamed of writing. Waitresses and mechanics, executives and ship captains alike have all taken the challenge. Not all will finish, but many will – enough. Some books will go on to be published, and a few will even be best sellers. Will yours be among them?
December 1st will come and go, whether or not you participate in this worldwide writing event with the kooky name. Will you be counted among the adventurous who leave the sandy shores of complacency and sail the uncharted waters of a world of your own making? There’s only one person who knows for sure, and that is the writer within you.
To learn more about National Novel Writing Month, trek on over to their website at NaNoWriMo.org. And to find out what you can do with your manuscript, check out the publishing tools and book marketing services at MadeForSuccessPublishing.com. I promise, you won’t get eaten – and you’ll be in good company!
Bryan 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.
Brought to you by Katherine Owen, CEO of GOKO. Katherine brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. She owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.
November 11, 2015
, consumer trust
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, national novel writing month
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, writing a book
When you write—whether it’s a keynote speech, an article, or a book for publication—your material has to be relatable for your audience. You’ve got to draw them in and keep their attention. Nothing does this quite as well as using the story as your format. A number of religious texts are written this way for one compelling reason: it works.
I grew up listening to audios from motivational speakers like Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn and Napoleon Hill. I acquired the motivational audio habit from my boss as a young salesperson, and you could say it just stuck with me. Now I own a publishing company, and Zig remains our most popular talent.
I still listen to Zig from time to time as my car winds its way up a mountainside on a summer day, or on freeway crawls across the metro area to meet with some of the authors I publish.
The legendary Zig Ziglar is a personal favorite of mine because of his expertise in storytelling. I had the good fortune to work with him directly while he was alive, and his folksy manner was authentic. He was a likable guy, as well as a genuinely gifted speaker.
One of Ziglar’s programs recorded years ago, tells the story of the Cookie Thief. It goes like this.
A traveler, waiting to board a plane, sits down next to his pile of luggage to enjoy the bag of cookies he just purchased. A lady next to him dips into the bag, believing that she owns the bag of cookies, and eyes the man like he is a cookie thief. They each indulge in cookies eyeing each other, one stolen morsel at a time. Once the man boards the plane, he realizes that she was right—he finds his untouched bag of cookies underneath his carry-on. It’s too late to tell her he’s sorry or to make amends, and the plane takes-off without his ego. The man is utterly humbled.
Ziglar tells this story in a way that’s charming and engaging—pure classic Zig—and he draws a conclusion from the story that’s undeniable: humility is always the wisest option. The story works because it’s personal, and as listeners, we feel like we’re there with Zig, reliving the moment.
This is why I was dumbfounded when I reviewed another classic self-growth program and heard exactly the same Cookie Thief story told by Wayne Dyer. This was not some unknown hack, but a multi-million-dollar keynote speaker and best-selling author known around the world, using exactly the same parable.
In his talk, Dyer read a poem called the Cookie Thief, credited to Valerie Cox. He drew a similar conclusion to Ziglar’s, but Dyer worded it in a different way. Like Ziglar, he was personally engaged as he told the story, and I felt like he knew the author of the Cookie Thief. I felt like I was there.
Real Comfort Food or Mere Snacks for the Mind?
The poem by Cox that Dyer read is included in the book A 3rd Serving of Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. I’ve worked with both of these authors, and my hat goes off to them for the publishing model they’ve honed to a fine point.
The Chicken Soup series is one of the most successful franchises in publishing history. At more than 130 million copies sold, it’s right up there with Harry Potter, Nancy Drew, Star Wars and Fifty Shades of Grey. We should all be so lucky.
I bring up the series’ popularity because it lends weight to the fact that the Cookie Thief story has been used as exhaustively as a Tollhouse recipe. The 3rd Serving was published only as recently as 2012, about 20 years after Zig’s recording.
This means the Cookie Thief story certainly has made the rounds since Zig’s talk. It’s a good story, to be sure, but is it THAT good? Frankly, it all depends on the storyteller. Having the right ingredients is only the start. What you do with them is just as important.
3 Questions for Storytelling Success:
When you want to use stories to peak the interest of your audience, ask yourself these 3 questions:
- Whose interest are you peaking? Consider your audience when you’re choosing your material.
- Do you have a message they can relate to? Make sure your material speaks to a common pain or pleasure that your audience can feel with you.
- Are you saying it in a way that is relatable? Express your point in a way that is unique and personal to you. Make it your own, and share it with the world.
When you want to make a point, be sure to tell a story. But when you tell a story, make sure the story you’re telling is your own. Make it personal, make it unique, and put your own stamp of individuality on it.
You just never know where your words will end up or whose life will be changed because of them.
Congratulations Robert Spillane!
Goko Publishing wants to congratulate and support one of or new authors, Robert Spillane. Getting a book from concept to reality is no easy task and Robert has just completed publishing his second book in just 1 year!!
AN EYE FOR AN I
This book discusses ancient and modern philosophers whose ideas enable us to gain insight into and mastery of ourselves. While this sounds like psychology, it is what the ancient Greeks called moral philosophy and its main precept is ‘know oneself’.
Office politics, power struggles, ulterior motives, personality differences …all combine to make this cynical poke at the “executive branch” of a typical office highly entertaining. The setting takes you to a management training program where several managers are invited to attend.
Katherine Owen, CEO of GOKO, brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. Katherine owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.
July 14, 2015