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“The Power of Strategic Influence!: 10 Success Factors of Highly Influential Leaders” by Gary C. Laney Is #1 on Amazon!

Congratulations to my valued client Gary C. Laney on the publication of his game-changing new book, “The Power of Strategic Influence!: 10 Success Factors of Highly Influential Leaders.” The book was published on June 21, 2021, and quickly rocketed to the Amazon best-seller lists, reaching #1 in the category of Strategic Management. It also reached #7 in Business Systems & Planning, and #23 in Strategic Business Planning.

This powerful and easy-to-read book shows you how to leverage your personal influence to build a great reputation, create success, and ultimately become a highly influential leader. This is not about being self-centered; in fact, Gary Laney persuasively argues that the key to building influence is to give back and help others succeed.

A Stranger in a Strange City

Using the innovative concept of an immigrant landing in a foreign city, with no influence over anybody, the book takes you step by step through the “6 Spheres of Strategic Influence Development.” It begins with the most basic concept of accepting personal responsibility for yourself, all the way through the secrets of Influence Centered Business Networking and building profitable relationships. 

Tightly integrated within the 6 Spheres of Strategic Influence Development are the 10 Success Factors that can help you become a highly influential leader.

As a special bonus, this best-selling book includes insightful first-hand stories of success and leadership from 12 nationally known CEOs/influencers.

“The Power of Strategic Influence” by Gary C. Laney

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“The Retirement Remix” by Chip Munn

Congratulations to my valued client Chip Munn on his groundbreaking book, “The Retirement Remix: A Modern Solution to an Old School Problem.” With so many Baby Boomers heading towards the biggest wave of retirements in American history, there’s greater urgency to not only plan for retirement in the traditional sense (that is, save for it), but to re-imagine it.

With nearly two decades in the finance business, Chip Munn proposes that the dividing line between working and retirement must be blurred. No longer should we toil like beasts of burden for 40 years and then suddenly be put out to pasture to do nothing.

Work, Retire, Work Some More, Retire, and Repeat….

He found that in the happiest and healthiest countries in the world, workers work less. Compared to the average worker in the United States, they take off an extra 220 hours a year. They focus on having strong social connections and take care of themselves. But the flip side is that they’re willing to work to an older age. They actually work two-and-a-half years longer compared to the American worker, with many taking “mini-retirements” with their time off each year.

Chip Munn proposes that the idea of Old School Retirement is broken and has developed a method to apply these innovative, common-senses practices to help you, the reader, live a happier, healthier life.

“The Retirement Remix” by Chip Munn
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“Keto Flex: Reduce Inflammation, Burn Fat & Reboot Your Metabolism” by Ben Azadi

Congratulations to my valued client Ben Azadi on the publication of “Keto Flex: Reduce Inflammation, Burn Fat & Reboot Your Metabolism.” It’s taking off on Amazon.com with a heap of 5-star reviews.

It’s all about how your body metabolizes, stores, and burns energy. It reveals that the fat stored by your body is a potent source of energy, and it doesn’t have to just sit there, building up around your waist, year after year. You can unlock that energy and burn it, just like your body burns glucose. How do you do it? By controlled intermittent fasting. It’s not such a big deal; most people go on a mini-fast every night while they sleep. All you have to do is make it a little bit longer on a regular basis, and your body, deprived of glucose, will temporarily switch to burning fat.

The “flex” part is important too. This is not a strict, one-size-fits all solution. You can go as deep as you want to get the results you want.

And do you know what else? This self-published book is every bit as good as any paperback self-help book from a major publisher. Unless you check the front matter, you would never know it’s not from an established imprint. That’s pretty amazing – and it makes you wonder about the state of the publishing industry.

“Keto Flex,” by Ben Azadi
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Love Those Oxford Commas!

Among grammarians and writers, the so-called Oxford comma has long been the subject of much debate. Some see it as superfluous, while others say it’s indispensable.

The comma – Oxford or otherwise – and other punctuation marks have their genesis in the 3rd century BCE, in the Hellenic Egyptian city of Alexandria, where a librarian named Aristophanes became fed up with the Greek practice of writing withnospacesorpunctuationmarks. In those days, the written word was the record of something said out loud, and the text only “came to life” when it was again read out loud. Without punctuation, you had to read a passage several times to figure out its meaning. To make the process easier and less prone to misinterpretation, Aristophanes devised a system of simple dots inserted between phrases to indicate pauses.

The dots were aligned with the middle (·), bottom (.) or top (·) of each line. These “subordinate,” “intermediate,” and “full” points indicated pauses of increasing length that someone reading out loud would insert between formal units of speech called the commacolon, and periodos.

The points were not added according to any rules of grammar. Their purpose was to indicate to the reader/speaker when to take a pause between thoughts. This was the beginning of today’s system of punctuation. Here’s an example of how useful punctuation can be.

The Soldier Sets Fires and Runs

The above sentence is a simple example of the value of the humble comma. Here the meaning is clear. A soldier sets fires (that is, ignites blazes) and then makes a quick exit. There is nothing wrong with this sentence. It’s grammatically acceptable. Now take a look at the same six words, with commas:

The Soldier Sets, Fires, and Runs

Here, the meaning is equally clear: The soldier positions himself, discharges his weapon, and then runs.

The confusion can arise because in this case, the word “fire” can be either a verb or a noun. It’s the same four letters but with two very different meanings.

Another example is “Eats shoots & leaves,” coined by author Lynne Truss in her book of the same name. Here, a panda does one of two things: “The panda eats shoots & leaves,” referring to its vegetarian diet, or “The panda eats, shoots, & leaves,” which means he’s a Wild West gunslinger.

I tell my valued clients that in every book of 50,000 words there are roughly 250,000 individual characters and spaces. Each one is important – and they all need to be perfect!

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When the Book Design Is More Important than the Text

I recently took a call from a potential client who inquired about my services. He wanted to write a book of non-sectarian daily affirmations for children. It was a good idea, because these days, kids need all the self-confidence and reassurance they can get.

I’m a ghostwriter, and my job is to write books for my clients. Specifically, I deliver a Word document that contains the text of the book. It might be 20,000 words or 80,000 words, but the idea is that the text is something original and presents a new solution to the reader’s problem. This means that the primary value of the book is in its text. The package–the cover and interior designer–is just that, the package. It’s a nice vehicle to deliver the text.

In this case, I told my friend that unless the book of daily affirmations was something amazingly original, the text itself would be fairly generic. The market is saturated with hundreds of books of daily affirmations, and they’re all pretty much the same. Be happy, be grateful, love thy neighbor, enjoy the sunshine, and so on. Therefore the value of the book must lie not in its text but in the package–the cover and the interior design. That’s what will differentiate the book from the hundreds of others on the market. People will buy it and cherish it because of the artwork and design.

So I told my prospective client that while I was happy to help him, his focus–and his budget–needed to be on the book design. The text was the easy part. The book needed a concept, something that would make it stand out from the crowd. Into this concept you’d then plug in the text.

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Self-Help Readers Want Solutions, Not Your Life Story!

I recently reviewed a manuscript for a wonderful doctor who had written a book about getting better sleep. While praising him for his work, I had to point out that readers generally don’t care about the author’s personal experiences. Unless the author’s story is inseparable from the advice he or she dispenses, a self-help book is not a memoir.

My doctor friend made a very common mistake: He believed the reader was interested in him and his personal experiences with poor sleep. In reality, the reader has zero interest in the good doctor’s medical history. The reader is totally self-centered. The reader wants a solution for his or her particular problem, and they want it now.

I asked my doctor friend, “When you attend to a patient, do you tell them your personal experience with the same disease? Of course not! You say, ‘This is what’s wrong with you, and this is how we’re going to fix it.'” Period.

His personal story would make an appropriate preface, in which the author explains why he wrote his book. Perfectly fine in the preface! But in the book itself, he’s got to serve his reader. As an exercise, I told my doctor friend that in the main text of his book, he was allowed to use the word “I” exactly ten times. I didn’t care how he used it, but he could only use it ten times. No more. 🙂

As a strategy, I would encourage any self-help author to approach the task as if he or she were revealing amazing secrets to the reader. These are secrets that will help the reader change his or her life. I would say to the doctor, “Please list the ten secrets of good sleep.These ten amazing secrets, conveyed by you to your breathless reader, are why the reader will pay $15 or more for your book.”

Thomas Hauck author
Thomas Hauck, book developer and ghostwriter.
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A Note About Subsidy Publishers

When deciding how to distribute their book, every author has three choices: 1. Self-publish, 2. Use a subsidy publisher, or 3. Try to get a traditional publishing deal.

There is an entire industry devoted to “subsidy publishing.” These companies act as project managers. You pay them, and they do the various tasks required. 

You simply have to relentlessly research them, just like you would research a contractor you’re hiring to build your house. At every step, remember:

1. They will try to upsell you. They will try to sell you “packages” of services, and once they have your money, it can be difficult to monitor the actual work they do.

2. They will try to gain ownership of your book. They may offer a “contract,” which is problematic because they aren’t investing a nickel. They are providing a fee-for-service deal, just like I do.

3. Take baby steps! If you like a company, then hire them for a small, defined service, such as the cover design. If you’re happy with their performance, then move ahead. It may cost more because “packages” are bundled with a discount, but you must make them prove they are acting in good faith.

Good luck!

Thomas Hauck, book developer and ghostwriter.
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Why Do People Who Use a Ghostwriter Need to Hire a Second Ghostwriter?

On Upwork the other day I saw a job posting entitled “Book Edit/Rewrite.” Part of the job description read, “I’m looking to hire a ghostwriter/editor to rewrite my completed manuscript. Rewrite would include add, delete, and recreate scenes. I worked with an amazing ghost writer and now I’m looking to hire someone who will take my manuscript to an even higher level. I believe in this book as I have created the characters from scratch and invested a lot of time and money….”

Call me crazy, but I’m always bewildered when a potential client either states in a job post or tells me directly that they worked with a talented ghostwriter and now they need their book to be edited or re-written!

I don’t know about how other ghostwriters and editors work, but when I take a job for a valued client, my goal is to produce a manuscript that is 100% ready to publish. No excuses, no conditions, no qualifications.

How can you ghostwrite a book for a client, and then say to that client, “Of course, after you pay for the gibberish I’ve written, you’ll need to hire another ghostwriter and then an editor to bring your book up to an acceptable level”?

Imagine, for example, you hire a construction company to build your house. At the end of the job, after you’ve paid them, they say, “Oh, you actually want to LIVE in this house? Well then, you need to hire a plumber and electrician and roofer. That’s the way the business works.”

No, it’s not how the business works. A ghostwriter should write your book to be the best it can. Aside from routine proofreading–always necessary!–the manuscript should be ready to publish. No ifs, ands, or buts about it!

Thomas A. Hauck, professional book developer, ghostwriter, and editor.
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“Leading the Agile Enterprise” by Dr. Gail Ferreira

I have the pleasure to assist many wonderful authors with their book projects. I see each book in the manuscript stage, when it’s nothing more than a Word document, double-spaced, in Times New Roman 12-point text. Then the author takes the book and arranges for distribution. Some self-publish on Amazon, some publish privately, and some seek a literary agent and a major publishing deal. Often, I don’t know their plans, and I’m focused on my next valued client.

Every once in a while I search Amazon for books by my previous clients. I’m always happily surprised to find a few!

Thus my belated congratulations to Dr. Gail Ferreira on the publication of “Leading the Agile Enterprise.” In an age when “agile” has become the newest buzzword in MBA programs, Dr. Gail (as she’s called) provides a solid, practical roadmap that helps any leader get past the buzzword and achieve real, lasting success.

“Leading the Agile Enterprise” is a hands-on resource that will help the leader of just about any company (for-profit or non-profit), division, or project team understand the agile approach and leverage it to create the most value possible. Drawing on her wealth of business experience, Dr. Gail highlights the key elements needed to scale enterprises using today’s agile methodologies.

Dr. Gail is highly qualified to write this book. She’s earned a fistful of degrees: a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Computer Science from National University; a Master of Science (MS), Computer Science, from National University; and a Doctor of Management (DM) from the University of Phoenix School of Advanced Studies.

An educational and research technical expert who actively teaches for both industry and academia, Dr. Gail develops educational materials for a breadth of research, writing, and technical courses at an advanced level. She’s a leading independent consultant and project manager, with expertise in enterprise software solutions including Vignette, Kronos, and Oracle.

Leading the Agile Enterprise, by Dr. Gail Ferreira
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Thomas Hauck – Upwork Client Feedback

For over ten years I’ve been a proud member of the Upwork community (originally it was Elance), the world’s number one marketplace for clients and service providers. I’ve completed nearly 400 contracts on Upwork, and have met very many wonderful clients.

Her are a few of their public reviews they’ve posted on Upwork about me:

“Thomas was an absolute superstar editor and delivered on everything he promised and MORE. He was extremely professional – communicating quickly and often, sticking to deadlines and writing chapter summaries of the key things he had edited. He even went a step further and fact-checked our content without being asked and picked up on some pretty serious inconsistencies that our previous editor hadn’t even noticed! Additionally, he also helped write our contents page and adapted our book structure and added in subtitles where necessary so the chapters had a real sense of consistency. He added so much value to our book and I would 100% use him again in a heartbeat! So – if you are looking for an editor, look no further because THOMAS IS YOUR MAN. Thanks for your all your help – have saved you as a favourite freelancer!”

AND ANOTHER:

“So great! Thomas went further than anyone else “before” the work was committed to in terms of giving me direction and showing me how he could help move me towards my goals for this project. Value creation before a monetary transaction has occurred has sold me on his services now and in the future.”

JUST ONE MORE:

“This is the third time I work with Thomas and I’m super happy with his work. He under-promises and over-delivers every time. He delivered the work ahead of schedule, he’s very responsive to questions and his work is top-notch. Highly recommended!”

OK…. JUST ONE MORE:

“Thomas is terrific. Intelligent, articulate, bright – a true scholar and gentleman. He is also very sensitive to pricing in today’s market – which shows that he is a consummate professional. I am proud to call him a part of my all-star team. I don’t want to tell you too many great things about him because I consider him to be a secret weapon!”

Thank you to these wonderful Upwork clients…. and to many more!

Thomas Hauck – Leading Upwork provider
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