Category Archives: business

Free contest for business fiction


Henry Hazlitt Contest for Business Fiction; no entry fee; cash prize of $500 and $2,000 advance; deadline April 30, 2013; up to 90,000 words; details HERE:

Publisher seeks fiction and graphic nonfiction

Myriad Editions (based out of the United Kingdom) is seeking manuscripts to publish as books. Novels must be COMPLETED.
For info on how to submit, visit:

10 Questions for Christy Strauch, “Passion, Plan, Profit”


Author interview with Christy Strauch

1. Tell us about your latest book.

My latest book (as compared to the first two I wrote which are still, blessedly, in my desk, never to see the light of day), is a business plan book for right-brained creative people who want to make money and have a prosperous business doing the work they love; but are afraid of the “business side” of business.

2. How did you get started as a writer?

I have been writing on and off since I was twelve. I finally caught fire when I joined the Phoenix chapter of Romance Writers of America ten years ago (I was an avid romance reader at the time). Surrounded by people who actually finished and published books (whatever you think about romances and their writers, you can’t argue with the fact that they are prolific); I learned that the key to a completed book is the formula Ass+Chair (attributed to the film director Oliver Stone).

I wrote two novels (see the answer to number one above about where they ended up); then realized I wanted to write non-fiction. Specifically I wanted to share my experiences in my own businesses, and help other people succeed. I took what I learned about perseverance from my romance writer buddies and finished the business plan book, and am halfway through the next one: The “I Hate to Market” Book.

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

Writing isn’t my only day job. I am also a business coach and workshop leader. The ideas for my books come from clients, so even though I love writing, I don’t think I’ll ever stop coaching and teaching to write full time.

4. Describe your desk/workspace.

I wage a weekly war with paper on my desk. Sometimes I win, sometimes not. I signal to myself when it is time to write by perching a painted wooden crab at the top of my laptop screen. This helps me ignore the paper if it won this week’s battle, and reminds me that I am now in writing time.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

I love Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott; Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg, and The Artist Way by Julia Cameron.

The Artist Way created the foundation for my writing; it taught me to think of myself as creative. Natalie Goldberg’s book is full of low-risk, no-judgment exercises that got me started writing regularly. Annie Lamott’s book helps me remember that all I have to write next is what’s in front of me; I don’t have to knock out War and Peace by 5pm today. I strongly recommend these books to anyone who wants to write (and to writers who might occasionally get stuck).

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

I got (because I asked for) a ukulele for Christmas in 2008, and am teaching myself to play it. I used to own a computer company, and I have big, lovely feet.

7. Favorite quote

Besides the “Ass plus chair” quote attributed to Oliver Stone, I also like this one from Anne Lamott:

“For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

The best thing is about writing is the creating of something (a story, a how-to book like mine, a memoir, a poem or any other piece of writing) that didn’t exist before the writer wrote it. Writing is just like painting or dance or singing or even building construction; writers create something that didn’t exist before they put it on paper.

The worst part about writing is that the creation process is a bit mysterious and somewhat uncontrollable. My wooden crab and I show up to write regularly (that’s the part I can control), but there’s no guarantee that we’ll actually create anything worth reading. I show up to serve what needs to be written through me, and try not to get too freaked out if occasionally I can’t write anything, or I don’t like what I’m writing.

9. Advice for other writers

I have two pieces of advice. First; treat your writing as sacred. Give it regular time; don’t relegate it to the bottom of your to do list so that you only do it when absolutely everything else is done. It’s like exercise. If you only get out and walk or do your run once every other week, it never gets easier. Exercising and writing are most enjoyable when you make time for them almost every day.

The second piece of advice: give your unconscious mind time to work. My books explain (sometimes complex) concepts to my readers; many times when I start the first draft, I can’t figure out how to explain clearly what I want to say. So I go for a walk, read something that pertains to the work I’m doing, call someone, or work on something else for a few minutes. My unconscious almost always works out the problem on its own while I’m letting it alone to think.

I try to treat my writing gently. It’s a paradox: I have to be ruthless in setting aside time to write, and I have to be kind to myself as I’m doing it.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.

I really (really really) want my book to change the lives of people who are struggling to create prosperous businesses doing the work they love.

Right before the book was actually printed, I realized that I was terrified about it being published. What if it didn’t help people? What if they didn’t do the work in the book? What if it was a big failure? Part of me wanted to change my mind and not go through with publishing it.

At the same time I was struggling through my writerly angst, the printer was sending my publisher the proof of the book, and we absolutely couldn’t get a clean copy. It took six rounds of proofs to finally get one free of errors (free of at least the errors we knew about).

Two of my author friends, Sam Beasley and Suzanne Lorenz, who wrote a brilliant book called Wealth and Well-Being, talked me off the ledge. Theirs is also a workbook, and they’d already come to the realization that they couldn’t force people to do the work in their book either. They told me that I’d done my job; I’d written the book. I couldn’t control what happened to it after that.

My publisher got the clean proof the day after my friends helped me let go of worrying about the outcome of the book. It was as if my fear was participating with the printer in continuing to produce proofs with errors. Once I stopped worrying, we got the clean proof and published the book.

Where can people buy your book?

My book is for sale on Amazon. If you type “Passion Plan Profit” into the search box on the Amazon site, my book comes right up.

Christy Strauch is the author of Passion, Plan, Profit: 12 Simple Steps to Convert Your Passion into a Solid Business. In addition she is president of Clarity To Business and has worked with over 300 small business owners, from artists to real estate agents, helping them do what they are passionate about – and make a profit. Her book is available at at

Author Interview #2 with Cristin Frank


Author interview with Cristin Frank

Cristin Frank had a 13 year career in branding and marketing for consumer products such as Budweiser, Nestlé, Kraft and SC Johnson (not to name drop or anything).

Currently she hosts the Ustream TV show, Biz Court: Is It a Business or a Hobby. If business model analysis bores you to pieces, her story telling won’t – check it out at

She just launched the e-book, Model Rocket: How to Expand your Business Model and Blast Off the Ground,” for entrepreneurs searching for the missing link to business success.

Lastly, in Cristin’s insatiable desire for continued learning and growing, her life portfolio also includes being a wife, mother of two boys, author of two books, and a distance bicycle rider.


Does Your Business Idea Have Legs?

How to Expand Your Business Model

26 Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Fail

How to Teach Entrepreneurship To Kids (#141)

1. Tell us about your latest book.

When I started my first business I became a dismal statistic of failure because I was listening to old-school advice about needing money to make money. I went through all the proper procedures and thought I had covered all my bases: great idea, capital, patent, website and time. But what was missing was the infrastructure – the business model. I had no system for generating leads, incentives or relationships.

Little did I know, there were breakthrough opportunities available to entrepreneurs that actually made it easy to create multiple streams of income.

By interviewing successful small business owners, I discovered their secrets for connecting the dots of success. My explosive, new e-book “Model Rocket: How to Expand Your Business Model and Blast Off the Ground,” shows readers the missing link of business success.

This book takes guerrilla marketing, strategy and branding methodology to expose creative solutions to success. It is full of fresh thinking and genius action plans that don’t come with an outrageous price tag.

2. How did you get started as a writer?

I started in consumer packaging, writing and editing for companies such as Anheuser-Busch, Nestlé and SC Johnson. My first book was actually a novel titled, Trimming the Blue Hairs.

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

I spend a good chunk of time self education, so I typically start and end my day reading books, blogs and the Yahoo finance page. In between, I write my own material, look for interesting people to follow on Twitter and plan my upcoming shows on Ustream.

4. Describe your desk/workspace.

I work at a corner desk in my home office. It’s covered with my kid’s artwork and my favorite reference books. If I’m not there, I’m in my community with my pocket notebook close at hand.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success – Carol S.  Dweck

Crush It! – Gary Vaynerchuk

Writer Mama – Christina Katz

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

1. I’ve flown and landed an airplane

2. When I was young, I wanted to grow up to be a roller-skating waitress

3. I eat ice cream in front of my kids and tell them it’s mash potatoes

7. Favorite quote

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”

-Anais Nin

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

Best is that to non-writers you sound really interesting.

Worst is your unknown effect on your readers.

9. Advice for other writers

Pick the most effective medium for your knowledge – it may be newspaper, documentary, book, blog or podcasts – keep your options open.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.

Upon meeting, for the first time, a relative of a friend, she asked me about being an author. My six-year-old was present for the brief conversation about being an author. Later, I introduced him as an aspiring farmer. He corrected me, “I’m also an aspiring author.”

It was endearing to me that he looked up to me as a professional role model at his age.

Where can people buy your book?

Model Rocket: How to Expand Your Business Model and Blast Off the Ground,” is available for purchase at for $37.99. You may watch the video book trailer at

10 QUESTIONS FOR…Frances Cole Jones, author of “The Wow Factor”


Author interview with Frances Cole Jones9780345517944

1. Tell us about your latest book:

The subtitle of The Wow Factor is “The 33 Things You Must (and Must Not) Do to Guarantee Your Edge in Today’s Business World.” The idea is that in this economic climate people need immediate, practical solutions for finding a job, positioning themselves for promotion, keeping their customers’ trust– generally maintaining their edge no matter what their situation. With this in mind The Wow Factor offers11 habits I’ve found my clients must have, 11 things I’ve realized they’ve must know, and 11 things I’ve discovered they can do today to be more effective tomorrow. My hope is that the readers of The Wow Factor will gain the tools they need to do the same.

2. How did you get started as a writer?

By being a lifelong reader— someone who can put words together effectively has always made me swoon. After that I was lucky enough to work with teachers and mentors who pushed me beyond– so far beyond—where I was comfortable. 

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

I get up about 5 a.m. and write until about 9 a.m. After that, I practice Ashtanga yoga; then I work with clients in the afternoon. In between, I’m usually walking my dog.

4. Describe your workspace

My workspace is anywhere I can open my computer—I’m not picky. I write at my desk, on my bed, on the sofa, on buses, trains, airplanes….

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott, Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger, Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner.

6. Tell us three interesting/crazy things about you

  1. I’ve been practicing Ashtanga yoga for twelve years. Ashtanga asks you to be on the mat six days a week: you’re tired, you practice; you’re busy, you practice; you’re sad; you practice, etc. Incorporating this discipline into writing has been incredibly helpful.
  2. Thanks to Ashtanga, I can stand on my hands and put my feet on my head—before I started I couldn’t touch my toes.
  3. I consider brownies perfectly legitimate breakfast food.

7. Favorite quote

“Write toward vulnerability. Don’t worry about appearing sentimental. Worry about being unavailable; worry about being absent or fraudulent.”

                                                            Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

The best part of being a writer is getting paid to write—how extraordinary is that? I’m grateful because it’s a privilege. I don’t know that there is a worst part—I would say the hardest part is that moment about 1/3 of the way into the writing process when I inevitably say to myself, “Well, this is just absolutely awful and I have no idea how I’m going to make it work.”

9. Advice for other writers

Find people who will give you honest—constructive—feedback. It’s not enough to say, “This is just great!” Or “This isn’t working.” You need someone who can say, “This is great and here’s how I think it can be better.” Or, “This isn’t working but I think this is how you can make it work.”

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience. 

My writing experience was a long time coming — when my agent first told me she thought I had a book in me, I told her I thought she was delusional. What I discovered, thanks to her patience, is that—for me—finding the right tone was the hardest part. Putting words together wasn’t tricky—putting them together in such a way that others responded to them was. We went through seventeen drafts of the manuscript for my first book before she thought it was ready to go out into the world- this is why I so strongly recommend finding someone you trust to give you feedback.

The Wow Factor is available on Amazon here:

Question for Ask Wendy


Q: “What happens when a publisher with a submission guideline of’query only’ receives a query letter that accompanies a manuscript? I would think that way if they’re interested in reading the ms. it’s right there, and if not they can chuck it. Is it viewed as such an affront such that there are audible gasps in the room when the envelope is opened or is the envelope not even opened, based on its weight? Or could it just be that too many mss. clutter the office? Seems after reading countless times that editors just want a good manuscript, that it’s anathema to this perspective that a query letter that doesn’t dazzle can’t keep them from reading a book that does. And by not accepting mss. they are hurting the economy due to the lower cost of postage. Thanks – G”

A: From everything I’ve read, the agent’s guidelines (such as “query only”) are in place for a reason: it’s just too time-consuming to read manuscripts. I do not recommend sending a complete manuscript (or for that matter, a synopsis or proposal) if the guidelines specifically say “query only.” If anything, it will likely make the agent think that either A) you didn’t bother to read their guidelines before submitting or B) you read their guidelines and completely ignored them. If you read articles on agents’ biggest ‘pet peeves,’ almost all mention “writers not following our guidelines for submission.” My suggestion is to write a great query letter that makes them WANT to request the full manuscript. Thanks for the question!

UK workshop for freelance journalists wanting more ‘corporate work’


Linda Jones, author of “The Greatest Freelance Writers Tips in the World” is holding a workshop for freelance journalists in London (Nov. 14) and Birmingham (Nov. 28). Topic include Ethics, Writing style, How to get work, Getting paid, and “Clients from hell.” Space is limited. To learn more, contact Linda directly:   or   01543 468621

Need help with your logline or synopsis?


Writing a book? Trouble with the synopsis? Can’t quite get the logline to say what you want it to? Need a professional editor? Deb Courtney brings more than 20 years writing experience to assisting you with your writing-related needs. In one hour, Deb can take you from not really knowing how to explain your book, to a log-line ready to pitch. She is also taking on a limited number of synopsis writing, copy-editing, copywriting, and web contenting projects. Visit for base rates and contact information.

Publisher accepting nonfiction book proposals


Crown Publishing’s Ten Speed Press

Book subjects: cooking, how-to, crafts, gardening, relationships, how-to, gift, humor and pop culture, business

Guidelines to submit HERE:

Author interview with…Wendy Burt-Thomas


Hi all! I’m flying to NY for 8 days so I’m taking some liberties and running my own author interview. I’ll be back with new authors and writing contests around July 22.

Author interview with Wendy Burt-ThomasQueryBook copy

Wendy Burt-Thomas is a full-time freelance writer, editor and PR consultant. She works from her home office in Colorado Springs – usually in pajamas or sweatpants. Wendy has written three books, and her fourth book comes out in April 2010. Her first two books, written with Erin Kindberg, were, “Oh, Solo Mia! The Hip Chick’s Guide to Fun for One” (2001, McGraw-Hill) and “Work It, Girl! 101 Tips for the Hip Working Chick” (2003, McGraw-Hill).

  1. 1.    Tell us about your latest book.

“The Writer’s Digest Guide to Query Letters” is a how-to book about getting published. It includes information on writing a query letter for magazines, agents, novels and nonfiction books.

The book was a great fit for me because I’d been teaching “Breaking Into Freelance Writing” for about eight years. In the workshop, I covered a lot of what is in this book: writing query letters to get articles in magazines, to land an agent, or to get a book deal with a publisher. Since I’m a full-time freelance magazine writer and editor with two previous books, this was incredibly fun to write because it didn’t require tons of research. I was lucky enough to receive lots of great sample query letters from writers and authors that I use as “good” examples in the book. I wrote all the “bad” examples myself because I didn’t dare ask for contributions that I knew I’d be ripping apart!

In addition to the ins and outs of what makes a good query, the book covers things like why (or why not) to get an agent, where to find one and how to choose one; writing a synopsis or proposal; selling different rights to your work; other forms of correspondence; and what editors and agents look for in new writers.

It was really important to me that the book not be a dry, boring reference book, but rather an entertaining read (while still being chock full of information). I was thrilled that Writer’s Digest let me keep all the humor.

2. How did you get started as a writer?

I’ve also been a writer. My dad is a writer (12 books, probably thousands of other published pieces) and I gave him a short story for his birthday one year (I think I was 7) and he read it aloud in church. I was hooked! My first paid piece was a poem I wrote at age 16. My dad sent it to a magazine on my behalf (without telling me) and I got an acceptance and check in the mail. I thought, “Wow! People paid me for my words? This is cool.” Yes, writing CAN be about the money too!

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

Send my kids off to a nearby home daycare (soon to be preschool!) and then spend at least an hour going through emails. Then I’m either writing (articles, a book, greeting cards), editing or doing PR coaching on the phone. I try not to work after my kids get home, other than posting my latest author interview and writing contests on Facebook and Twitter every night. (

4. Describe your workspace.

I have a cream and wood L-shaped desk , bookshelf and two matching filing cabinets that I just love. My office is in a sort of loft area on the second floor of our house, but now that we built our sunroom, I look out onto a tile roof. It’s probably for the best so I don’t procrastinate by watching our neighbor. Besides, the view out the picture window behind me is of Pikes Peak!

I’m not a clean freak, but I’m a bit of an organizational freak. There is dust behind my computer, but everything is it’s a labeled file. I have four Macs and often have two going at once.


5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

“Lessons From a Lifetime of Writing” by David Morrell

“Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott

“On Writing” by Stephen King

Two new books for writers:

• “Get Known Before the Book Deal” by Christina Katz  (

• “Writing the Life Poetic” ( by Sage Cohen

Also, my dad, “The Sinister Minister” is the author of 12 books. (

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

– A horse bit off the last knuckle on my right middle finger when I was 5.

– I once owned a muffin business in Vermont called Little Miss Muffin.

– I went to the University of Aberdeen (in Scotland) my junior year of college.

7. Favorite quote

“Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.”

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

I love when I get to write humor and people email me to say that think I’m funny and that it made my book (like the query guide) fun to read, even though it’s an informational book. I’ve gotten more “fan mail” on this book than my first two combined and the emails make my day EVERY time.

I don’t like being at the mercy of my clients when it comes to deadlines because I have two little kids.

9. Advice for other writers

Seize every opportunity that comes along when you’re first starting off. Many of your regular writing gigs will be from repeat business and referrals.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.

I was on a flight to NY skimming my first book for errors and the woman next to me leaned over and said, “Is that any good?” I laughed and said, “It had better be. I wrote it.”


Where can people buy my book(s)?

You can buy my latest book, “The Writer’s Digest Guide to Query Letters” in most major bookstores (it’s usually right next to the Writers Market) or on

Follow me on or befriend me on Facebook or LinkedIn.