Sharing Your Legacy of Leadership through a Book

If you have served in leadership for a while, in any environment (business, family, nonprofit, education, healthcare, military), you have lived through many challenges. You’ve experienced things – good and bad – that you never expected. You’ve learned that encouragement and humility win the day. Probably you don’t regret a moment of this journey, even though some things didn’t turn out the way you’d hoped.

What you may not realize is how much people need to learn from your experiences and from the wisdom you have encountered along the way. They need your words of encouragement. Wouldn’t it be great if those who come after you don’t have to make discoveries the hard way?

One thing I’ve learned in working with leaders is how humble the best leaders are. If you’re the kind of leader I enjoy working with – and I believe you are – you probably don’t even think of yourself as a leader, let alone someone who should be putting words of wisdom in a book. The thought probably embarrasses you and goes against everything you’ve been taught about humility.

But reality is that you are a leader. It’s evident in the way you live, encourage, mentor, empower, and inspire, and by the roles you play in people’s lives.

You have so much to share. I would go so far as to say you have a responsibility to share what you’ve learned, and to teach by example how to lead. We, your readers and future generations of leaders need this!

You may feel like the more you have experienced, the less you know. But it’s your unique leadership experiences and your view of the world that the rest of us need to read and learn.

The world needs your legacy of leadership. It really does. One of the best ways to pass your legacy to others is through writing. Have you ever thought of what a gift your book would be for people who have yet to walk where you have walked?

I have spent 15 years ghostwriting and editing books for leaders like you. Leaders with real heart who have led through the trenches of life, work, home, and community. It has been a privilege to get to know each author and each story. I enjoy recommending these books and buying copies as gifts because I know people will be blessed by them.

To see a partial list of some of the books I have edited, please visit my Testimonials page. I don’t have any financial stake in recommending these books. I’m just incredibly proud of these authors for stepping out and sharing their life and wisdom in a book. If you have been considering writing a book to share your experiences, I hope seeing their books will inspire and encourage you.

To learn more about the ghostwriting, editing, and critiquing services I provide, please visit my Book Preparation page.

Creating a Corporate Culture of Giving: An Inspiring Example

I just read the most inspiring article about a company that gives back to the community: “Most Influential 2017: Charles Antis wears his heart on his socks, spreads messages of corporate social responsibility,” authored by Theresa Walker and published in The Orange County Register. 

I think every business owner and every community would be inspired by reading this article.

Here is what I liked most in this story, and these are important takeaways for any business owner who is interested in making the world a better place:

  1. Mr. Antis has cultivated a habit of giving and has woven that throughout his business practices. In the article, he shares insights about how the company’s giving and profitability have gone hand in hand.
  2. Through his board leadership in the National Roofing Contractors Association, he has encouraged and challenged fellow roofing professionals to help meet a specific need around the nation.
  3. He has donated his specialized roofing work to nonprofits. His commitments cover a wide range of needs. The company’s focus on giving fully embraces the local community.
  4. This roofing professional has shared his personal story of why giving is so important to him. It is those stories, and that willingness to share them, that helps others identify their own “why.”
  5. He desires to help other companies learn from his experiences in how to make social responsibility a part of their corporate culture. He also demonstrates what a small-to-medium-sized business can do to make a difference in the community.

I was excited to read and learn about a company that is modeling and sharing insights into corporate social responsibility. If you desire to cultivate giving through your company in creative ways that impact lives, this article is a great starting place for inspiration.

Why I Chose to Give a Toy Lamb (Anatomy of a Giving Campaign)

When you’re designing a gift campaign, sometimes it helps to look at other campaigns from the perspective of a donor. See what makes the campaign appeal to you; suggest improvements; and discover whether the campaign actually prompts you to complete a giving transaction.

Let’s look at a campaign that caught my eye on Thanksgiving Day. In this campaign, led by a nonprofit organizaton, donors could purchase a particular gift to be given to a child or family living in poverty. The campaign focused on how a small purchase price could provide a gift with a much larger impact.

Gift Campaign Attractions

Why did this campaign grab my attention?

Several reasons:

(1) It makes giving affordable. I won’t hesitate to spend under $10 for a good cause. I don’t have to go over my bank records or think whether or not I can afford it. For coffee lovers, giving up two or three seasonal designer coffees at Starbucks would cover the cost.

(2) I could tell visually from the LinkedIn ad photo and from the website landing page that the campaign offered a lot of variety. We all have different preferences, in terms of what we’d like to give. I could tell immediately that this campaign would allow flexibility of choices. That made me feel empowered as a giver. I could connect with an opportunity that spoke to my heart.

(3) The offer was simple: I could choose my donation and the organization would take care of distribution to the people who most needed this gift. I have given to this organization before and am familiar with their work, so I trusted their promise.

Here is where your year-long content creation efforts – blog posts, case studies, newsletters – pay off in year-end giving. Those year-round efforts create and nurture relationships; they help people become familiar with what you do on a daily basis; they build trust.

With this organization, I didn’t have to investigate or think. I just wanted to give. Had I needed more information, I could easily click on the website’s navigation links to experience the organization and learn more about what they do. The risk there, of course, is that I might not have made it back to the donation page. Hence, their year-long efforts to keep me engaged kept me focused on the donation process on the screen in front of me. This was not the time to learn; this was simply the time to give.

(4) The final attraction to this campaign is that the donation was for a specific item. People love to give something tangible where they can imagine their gift being given and used. I could decide if I wanted to pay for chickens for a family; blankets; hot meals; recreational items; food for a baby; and more. These items were $10 and under, and this was a suggested (not required) donation. I could give less, knowing it would still be put to good use in helping children and families.

If I had more to give, I could choose from a different list with items priced above $10. These included house repairs; medical procedures (from a list of even more specific needs); water filters; and more. For high-cost items, like surgery, I was given the option to pay a portion around $25, knowing my gift would be pooled with gifts from other people to make that surgery possible.

In the end, I chose a $10 gift that provides 4 plush lamb toys for children. While this might not sound as helpful as a water filter or feeding a baby, I know from firsthand experience of working with children in trauma how comforting a plush animal can be. I was wanting my gift to provide comfort, and a little toy animal was for me the ideal way to deliver that emotional comfort.

Areas for Gift Campaign Improvements

Having participated as a donor in this gift campaign, I got to experience the process from beginning to end. This is a helpful way to learn how to improve the donor’s experience. Going through several of these campaigns from other organizations, looking closely at the experience, will help you improve your own campaign.

(1) The website was formatted beautifully on my iPhone and easy to navigate. However, I prefer to do financial transactions on my computer. When I opened the website on my computer, the formatting didn’t fit well on my screen. I could never fully read the item description at the bottom of the screen, and I could see only half of the “Add Item” button.

If I hadn’t been familiar with this organization, I would have been tempted to give up. Instead, I pressed through because I knew I wanted to support this campaign. Even so, the formatting caused confusion and I spent more time on the transaction than I might have liked. It’s important to test the layout of your campaign on multiple devices and screen sizes.

Don’t assume donor loyalty will be enough for people to press through. Even the most loyal customers are concerned about online security of financial transactions. If everything doesn’t appear straightforward, they might withhold their donation, simply because the layout makes them uncomfortable.

(2) Because I could not read the full item description on my computer, I wasn’t really sure what my $10 was providing, other than it coincided with the picture of a plush lamb toy. I didn’t know the toy was musical; that $10 was enough to provide toys for 4 children; or that the toys would be given to the children along with their Christmas gift boxes. I had to return to my iPhone and open the item description there to learn more about what I was giving. Not everyone will be that diligent or take that extra time.

Even on my iPhone, when I opened the description, the top line showed over some other text, so it was hard to read. This might seem like a minor detail, but keep this in mind: Formatting errors make the process appear rushed. I know this organization well, and I know how busy they are and how much they are handling this time of year. I’m willing to give them some leeway and understanding.

However, not everyone who visits your campaign knows you. Some might be visiting for the first time and not yet sure if they want to support your efforts. When they see glitches in the formatting, they might wonder if this reflects how well your organization is run, or how much they can trust you with their money. People are very careful where they give their limited funds. They will be overly cautious in looking for telltale signs that cause them not to trust.

(3) My payment transaction linked me with my PayPal account (by choice). However, PayPal (by default) told me the items were being shipped to my address. This caused me to leave my computer screen, go back and look over the information on my iPhone, to be sure I wasn’t getting any items sent to me.

My understanding was that I was simply providing a donation, whereby these items would be sent by the organization to the children in need. That was, in fact, the case. But it took time to make sure, and in the process, I abandoned my computer screen before completing the transaction. We all know that when a person walks away from a transaction screen, that person might get distracted and never return to complete the transaction.

Better messaging along the way would have helped, e.g., the item description might have reassured me that I was donating to provide 4 lamb toys, which the organization would ship to children in need. Those little extra details can make all the difference in helping someone feel secure with an online transaction.

(4) The thank you note that I received online, after my purchase was complete, took time to appear on the screen. I was “told” that if the note did not appear I could refresh my screen; but most people don’t want to hit the refresh button in the midst of a financial transaction. I might have left without reading the note, and it is the thank you note that makes a huge difference in bringing a donor back again.

That thank you note is what helps the donor really feel the difference he or she has made in a person’s life. With an online transaction, you have to work extra hard to give a donor a tangible way to feel what has taken place. The thank you note is one of the most important pieces of your campaign messaging.

As it was, when the note opened, it was in a text-based font and hard to read.  The wording caused confusion, making me think I would not also receive a copy by email. I had to go check my email to be sure a copy was sent before I exited the screen.


On the whole, I appreciated the opportunity to donate plush lambs to 4 children to help them feel comforted and loved. That’s the main reason I gave the donation, and I chose to give through an organization I knew would be faithful to deliver those lambs to the children. I will also return to give again in the future because of my long history of giving with this organization and the trust I have with them.

However, if I were new to this organization or to this campaign, I might not have completed the transaction or returned. Just a few simple tweaks with the layout and messaging would have given me a better experience.

When you set up a giving campaign, I strongly recommend you gather a team of people you trust to test out your process and give feedback before you launch. Test the process from beginning to end. Be sure these are people who can be objective and critical.

It’s the little things that will build trust and assurance; help people complete transactions; and bring them back to support you in the future. It’s also in the details where people will feel empowered by their experience. This helps nurture a desire to keep giving and an interest in learning more about what you do throughout the year.


I am thankful for the wonderful clients I have worked with this year.

We’ve experienced some amazing writing and editing adventures: websites, books, articles, blog posts, autoresponders, newsletters, e-books, reports, and case studies. I have learned and grown as a writer.

The best part was getting to enjoy working with my clients.

Thank you for the privilege and opportunities. I look forward to more adventures in the coming year.

Got Bloggers?

Did you know that if you are a nonprofit organization, you can invite bloggers to write in their personal blogs in support of your organization? (If you are a for-profit company doing a market campaign with a nonprofit, you might want to know this as well. It would be a great suggestion to give your nonprofit partners, and you might have the resources to help them set it up.)

We all know that the best way to spread any message is word of mouth. And what better word than the words written by people who love blogging and love what you do.

Compassion International offers a great example of engaging bloggers to make a difference in the life of a child. You can learn more at their Compassion Bloggers web page.

Samaritan’s Purse also offers a Blogger Network and sends occasional blog post topics for people to write about. I recently wrote a post in one of my blogs in response to the annual Samaritan’s Purse Christmas Shoebox project (notice I am intentionally not using the full name of the project because I don’t want this blog post to detract from their own online messaging).

You can read my blog post about the shoeboxes, where you’ll see that I opened with my own story: what a special Christmas box meant to me as a teenager. Then I went on to explain why I love the project. I closed with a reminder of the upcoming collection date and a link to their website.

Samaritan’s Purse did not pay me to write that post. I offered it voluntarily – in other words, I have offered my blog and my blog writing skills to support their cause and to let people know what they are doing. Therefore, I am not under advertising influencer restrictions.

Yet I did choose to write at the bottom of my post, in italics, that “I volunteer for the public Samaritan’s Purse Blogger Network,” with a link to their blogger website. (Some blogger networks even provide a badge or button that bloggers can add to their posts with this messaging already on it.) That alleviates any questions about my reason for blogging and my relationship to the organization. It also alerts other bloggers that they can sign up for a similar opportunity to blog for this organization.

In my blog posts, I also sometimes talk about or refer to The Center for Inner Healing, Inc., which is another nonprofit organization I support with my writing and for which I also volunteer locally. There again, I am not paid to write about the organization. But for the sake of informing my readers, I add to those posts that “I enjoy volunteering for The Center for Inner Healing, Inc.”

Blogger networks and blog posts by volunteers: Those are two different ways you can help bloggers write about the amazing things your organization is doing. While bloggers may choose to write about you in any type of blog, whether personal or business, often people will write about your organization in their own blog with a similar theme. Bloggers often write because they are passionate about a cause. If their passion lines up with your cause, chances are it’s something that will interest the readers of their blog as well. That’s more people who would love to know what you are doing and who would love to click on your website link to learn more.

If you set up a blog network or allow your volunteers to blog about your organization, be sure and create a disclaimer that the volunteer/network bloggers are not representing your organization. You might also occasionally spot check to be sure the blogging network is being utilized appropriately (one of your volunteers that you trust may enjoy that task).

If your own volunteers write on their own blogs, be sure they understand what is and is not appropriate to talk about (i.e., no confidential information from inside the organization) and be sure they indicate in their blog posts that they are volunteers, so readers will know they are not speaking on your behalf. You can provide whatever messaging you want them to add to their posts to clarify this, or even create a message badge or button for them.

When I reference The Center for Inner Healing, Inc. in my blog posts, I am very careful to word things so readers will know I am not representing or speaking on behalf of that organization, but rather I am responding to them as a volunteer who loves what they do.

There are bloggers out there who love what you do. Consider giving them a way to give back through their blogging.

People Are Waiting for Your Blog

I love writing blog posts. Why? Because I also love reading blogs. I enjoy the experience. As a writer and business owner, I want to create that experience for others. Your blog will also create an amazing experience for your website visitors.

That’s exactly what people want to find in your blog: an amazing experience. They want to come to your website, read your blog, and feel like they have already tried out your products or services through the stories you share. They want to have that experience before they sign up or purchase something. If you create this atmosphere for them, your product or service will fit in easily. The experience comes first.

How do you create that atmosphere with your blog? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Let readers know who you are. Tell your story. Why do you love your product or service so much? How has it changed your life? (Let people know how you, yourself, are a customer or client of your own business.) What motivated you to start this business to offer this product or service to others? How do you hope to help make their lives better?
  2. Why should readers trust your perspective on your field of business? What are the specific problems and struggles you have seen – and personally experienced – that have motivated you to offer a solution? (Very often, we are concerned about our loved ones and readers will connect emotionally with your honesty.) What are your values – as a person and as a business leader?
  3. What is it like for you to work with your products or services every day? What are some of the highlights, the memorable moments in the life of your business? Share about a time when you said, “Wow, I’m so glad I get to do this every day.” People love those stories. They want to be part of those experiences.
  4. What advice, suggestions, and helpful tips can you share with your website visitors, based on your experiences of working in this business? If you had only one opportunity to talk to a person who is asking questions about your products or services, what would you want that person to know? Don’t think about sales. This is a bigger moment. If you had one chance to impart some wisdom or a helpful suggestion about the problems or struggles that brought that person to your website, what would it be? Picture the person standing in front of you, asking for help. What would you say to that person?
  5. Think about something new and surprising that’s happened with your business. It could be a discovery that led to a new product or service. Or just one of those amazing moments when you said, “Wow. Did that just really happen?” If you have employees, think about a moment when one of them experienced something fascinating or even life-changing at work. Or a unique moment when a customer or client shared something interesting about your products or services. (Obviously, you’ll either want their permission to share – which is a powerful way to blog – or you can share more generically using a different name and changing the specifics.)

People enjoy hearing stories. They enjoy experiences. Your prospective clients and customers actually want a blog they can look forward to reading and sharing. If they were interested enough in your product or service to find your blog post, they want to know more. They want to explore and try out what you offer before they make a purchase decision. They want to find someone they can trust for reliable information and answers to their questions, and then spend some time listening to you.

A well-crafted blog can provide all of that and more. Your clients and customers are waiting to hear from you. It’s time to start blogging! What will your next blog post be? Let me know – I would love to read it.

Are You Ready for an Editor?

I love editing as much as I love writing. Writing is throwing the clay on the potter’s wheel. Editing is everything that happens afterward.

When you put your heart on the written page as a first draft, that’s writing. As you begin to work through your writing, adding words here, subtracting words there, enhancing imagery, drawing out subtle meaning, bringing scenes to life, tying themes together – all of that is editing. The writer does most of that himself or herself.

Layer upon layer of editing is what makes a finished piece of writing seem effortless. Editing adds texture, color, brilliance, and depth. Editing is a creative process just like writing. Yet, it honors, treasures, and keeps intact all that the writer has imparted up to that moment. Editing is a wonderful art. A good editor loves to encourage writers and to fall in love with their stories.

As you look for an editing service to help you polish your manuscript, you will find two kinds: substantive editing and copyediting.

Substantive editing comes first in the process. In a substantive edit, the editor looks at the content and structure: Are all the pieces in place? Should parts of the work be rearranged? What is missing? Where can the strengths be strengthened even more? How can we bring the weak areas into their full promise?

When you submit your manuscript for a substantive edit, it must be as complete and polished as possible. A substantive edit is not a substitute for the work that you, the writer need to do. When an editor begins to work on a substantive edit of your manuscript, he or she should be reading your best work to that point.

Copyediting comes next, after the manuscript is structurally sound and is close to publishable. In copyediting, the editor looks to improve the style and grammar, so your writing flows more easily and produces greater impact. Not only will the editor polish the grammar; he or she will also create variations in sentence length and structure, to enhance the rhythm of your content.

It is important to note that copyediting is not the same as proofreading. While a good editor is careful to review his or her work, a copyedited manuscript should never be considered final. A proofreader, who has never seen the manuscript, needs to look at it with a fresh eye. This is because, as you read a manuscript multiple times, your eyes and brain will actually “correct” mistakes. You can be looking at a typo but your brain will see it as “correct.”

A proofreader does not edit or make suggestions. Your proofreader works strictly to proofread the final copy and moves through it word by word. That should be the last step that happens before you submit a manuscript for publication.

A good editor is part of your team. The editor should pay close attention, and with great respect, to the work you have crafted. The editor’s job is not to alter, but rather to polish that treasure so it shines. A good editor will not try and make your manuscript his or hers, but rather the very best version of yours.

That being said, it is also the editor’s job to draw your best work out of you, and that is not always easy for a writer to take. A good editor will be respectful and caring, but will also be tough and thorough. He or she will hold your manuscript to the highest standard and will expect much from you as a writer.

It is hard for a writer to have the structure of his or her manuscript questioned, or to have precious words crossed out. You need to be ready; don’t submit your work for editing if you’re not.

If you are not ready for this level of editing … if you need help with shorter pieces … or if you need guidance as you take your first steps in writing, you may want to consider a coaching or critiquing service for writers instead. Those are often a better starting place for new writers.

I hope these tidbits have helped as your manuscript moves closer to the editing stage. Remember: the first layers of editing begin with you, the writer. You may go through several rounds of self-editing before it is time to bring in an editor.

Be inspired, and keep writing. People are waiting to read what you have to share.