#1 – The Television Personality
Cristina Perez was already a natural-born storyteller, speaker, television and radio personality, and successful lawyer when she came to us. There was one thing missing, though: a book to tie it all together and lay the foundation of her entire celebrity brand.
A top publisher wanted her to share her personal story, as the daughter of immigrant parents who worked hard, persevered through obstacles, and captured her American dream. The publisher also asked that Cristina feature the life lessons she’d learned along the way from her family, culture, and work. The challenge was to organize it all into a well-written, intricately woven, inspiring memoir.
We began with our book blueprinting process, which developed a specific vision for her book, a writing style, various creative elements, a table of contents and chapter structure, and a week-by-week action plan to complete the book by the publisher’s deadline. Next, collaborating closely with our client (the creative process that we love!), we rolled up our sleeves and helped her write her masterpiece. Mission accomplished! In a relatively short time, Cristina held her first book in her hands, proudly dedicating it to her young daughter.
Now came the task of getting our client’s book out to her readers, whose lives might be inspired and changed by her story. We tapped into social media (an emerging form of online communication at the time) to reach her fans with information about her book, excerpts, personal photos, red carpet pics, behind the scene glimpses into her television shows, and more. In addition, we formulated a strategy that included blogging, emails, speeches, and articles to support the book’s message. By creating these communication satellites to circle the initial impact of her book, we expanded Cristina’s reach, ripple by ripple. We repeated the process with her second book. Between her books, television shows, and other appearances, the ripples grew even stronger—as did her social media presence, email list, and fan base. Through it all, her books acted as “home base” where fans could read her whole story and absorb her message. Cristina’s fame lit the initial flame of interest, but it was her author brand that stoked the fire.
Today, over a decade, three Emmy awards, multiple television and radio shows, and countless appearances later, we are still proud to call this remarkable author our client. Cristina regularly speaks to schools, professional groups, conventions, and the media about topics from her books. Her fans use social media to talk about the lessons they’ve learned, and their favorite stories from each book. From the standpoint of our passion as an agency–helping our clients write books that change lives–that is our favorite part. One fan even mailed our client a worn, tattered, highlighted, marked up copy of her book to be autographed; this was a book that was clearly read, reread, and treasured. That single copy of a single book was a portrait of exactly why we do what we do: create that special experience between author and reader.
#2 – The Blind Visionary
For decades, Russell Redenbaugh’s friends, family, and seminar attendees had been urging–often begging–our client to put his remarkable life story into the pages of a book. A humble man by nature, Russell was the only one who found his story unremarkable. Fortunately, we were able to help shift his point of view and show him his life through a different lens. He finally relented and agreed to write a book.
During our book blueprint process we carefully collaborated on the right structure, which can make or break a book’s success. It would start with the story of how our author, as as teenager, lost his eyesight and most of his fingers in a tragic explosion. Those around him predicted a bleak life outcome with few possibilities. However, our client defied all the odds and went on to achieve incredible success. Russell won three consecutive Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Championships against younger, sighted, ten-fingered opponents. He served on the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. He was a founding partner in a top investment firm and then founded his own firm. And that’s just the story piece of his book. Our client’s message unveils a thought model that readers can use to shift their own life narratives in the direction of success. That’s only scratching the surface of course. To learn more, you’ll have to read the book.
Even while his book was still in edits, our visionary author was making plans to create the greatest impact once it was published. Russell explored speaking, media, live seminar, product, and other publicity strategies. This once-reluctant author had transformed before our eyes into a big thinker like our other clients, and was soon casting his vision to the next chapter of his remarkable life.
The transformation in this extraordinary man was wonderful to watch, as he embraced his potential influence on his readers. Word by word, he built his author brand, and in doing so, cemented his authority in his subject matter. For the man who lost his eyesight at a young age, writing a book allowed him the opportunity to be a true visionary, for himself and countless others.
#3 – Fortune 500 Fearless
We’ve had the pleasure of working with everyday entrepreneurs, CEOs, thought leaders, subjects of human interest headlines, and even celebrities. The author in this story is a business celebrity because of her fearless climb up the corporate ladder.
Laura Herring started as a struggling entrepreneur with a purpose and passion to help relocating families in corporate America find soft landings and relocate without stress. She worked around the clock, with her husband and young daughter stuffing envelopes right alongside her. Through her tenacity, resourcefulness, and sheer hustle, our client grew her company into a $50 million international corporation serving Fortune 100 and 500 clients.
As Laura’s editors, we were tasked with poring through decades of dramatic, educational, and inspiring stories and life lessons, weaving them into a compelling page-turner for entrepreneurs wishing to follow in her impressive footsteps.
When the last set of edits was sent off to the publisher, we all breathed a sigh of accomplishment, and closure. Decades of achievements—triumphs, failures, victories, and lessons learned—were finally consolidated into one compelling volume for the world to read. And this, believe it or not, was just the beginning of her story.
You see, Laura had a much bigger mission for her book than simply finishing it (most of our clients do!). She was already thinking “outside the book” early on in the process. As a two-time breast cancer survivor (or “thriver” in her words), our client was determined to use her fearless life story as as platform for the cure. With her commitment to donate her book proceeds to breast cancer research, our author put a giant stake in the ground, her most fearless goal yet. She vowed to sell one million books to help cure breast cancer.
Our client hit the ground running toward this goal well before her book was off the printing press. She procured high-profile speaking engagements and other live appearances, while using social media and networking in hopes of getting her book into business classes at universities. Laura also converted the “lessons learned” from her book into an auxiliary audio product to expand her thought leadership reach. Her mindset was the same as in her early days of ascending the ranks of corporate America: leave no stone unturned and ask for what you need until you find a way to get it. This is one author who only knows one way to show up in life: fearlessly.
Before our client’s book was published, she took the stage at an international women’s networking conference as a keynote speaker. There, in front of nearly a thousand entrepreneurs, she shared the wisdom from her book, live and dynamically. We’re told from those present that you could hear a pin drop in the giant ballroom. After receiving a standing ovation, our author and her support team were literally mobbed at the table where they were taking pre-orders for her book. Laura took photos with, talked to, and signed autographs for her new ravings fans for over an hour. Due to the demand, the event organizers had to arrange for additional time the next day to meet with even more of her new fans.
Once again, we had the joy of serving another larger-than-life personality who clearly needed more than just “a book.” This author needed a launchpad for her purpose. She needed to craft her legacy.
#4 – 52,000 Words in 9 Days.
So far here, we’ve seen stories of Hollywood and business stars. Now it’s time to meet a “regular person” rock star. Kelly Lucente set her sights on distilling her wealth of branding knowledge into a book. She aimed to show entrepreneurs what disasters can result from having a business without a brand. Wanting to write a book didn’t make her a rock star. It was the fact that she wanted this goal so badly that she wrote a high quality, compelling 52,000-word book in nine days.
The Ink Agency doesn’t normally recommend “kicking out books” on a short timeline. We’ll only let you get away with it if you, like Kelly, produce something of superior quality. It may have taken Kelly only nine days to write her book, but she approached the entire process the same as if it would take her months to complete her book. She enlisted help from publishing professionals, got completely clear on the value she wanted to bring for her readers, and she invested ample time in organizing her ideas, research, source material, illustrations, and other content.
The Ink Agency got involved from the start, helping Kelly build her book’s infrastructure, a key factor in determining the quality of the final product. You see, our client might “bleed brand,” but when it came to writing and publishing a book, she needed expert guidance. Our blueprint process quickly moved Kelly to the starting line with a clear vision, structure, and writing plan. Next, as she wrote, we reviewed, edited and guided her (like personal literary Sherpas). Overall though, it was Kelly’s own sheer ambition and commitment that got her to the finish line in record time. The finished product was a visually stunning, well-written, thoroughly informative and entertaining encyclopedia of brand.
Kelly’s book was soon the centerpiece of her personal brand (if you don’t know the difference between a corporate brand and a personal one, you should read it). She now sells it at speaking engagements, networking events, and business conferences, as a way of shining a spotlight on her expert status.
Kelly mentors entrepreneurs in the Minnesota Cup, an entrepreneurial contest that looks for the next breakthrough idea in business. The father of one of her mentees picked up her book and was so impressed that he asked to buy copies for his entire executive team. “I have several companies,” he told Kelly, “and I want all of my executives to read this book as a requirement. Is it okay to send you a list of names and have you sign each one? I’ll send one of my staff over to pick them up.
Many corporate professional paths will now be impacted by the fact that Kelly Lucente, a “regular person,” made it her mission to write a book that matters.