Communication? Keep It Simple, Sweetheart

Communication? Keep It Simple, Sweetheart

Last week’s blog post was all about business. This week, I’m still going to talk about business a little, but really it’s more about writing. And if there’s one lesson we should take to heart in writing – in fact, in all our communication – it’s Keep It Simple.

Today I’m hard at work on a project with a deadline that’s coming up shortly. I was transcribing an interview for it, and the interviewee literally used the phrase “minimizing unnecessary resource utilization.”

Okay, don’t laugh. This is a highly intelligent, educated, well-paid professional. Someone at the top of his game, who’s probably more respected in his field than many of the rest of us ever will be. But still, you have to ask: What exactly does minimizing unnecessary resource utilization mean, anyway? Well, you probably know, don’t you? It means reducing waste. You know, like the waste of unnecessary words.

I don’t mean to be harsh here, but come on. First of all, I have never liked the word utilize. I’d be fine if it were stricken from all dictionaries tomorrow. The word use is perfectly fine, and there’s no real need to ever replace it with a falsely high-falutin’ one like utilize. Of course, this interview had to do with health care and the insurance industry. So a phrase like resource utilization or utilization review wouldn’t have caused me to bat an eye.

But You Like Big Words, Don’t You?

The larger point I want to make here is this: I’m a writer, but that doesn’t mean I have to decorate all my sentences with “impressive-sounding” words. I was in love with language as far back as when I was eight, and my favorite word was antidisestablishmentarianism. I didn’t know what the hell it meant (who does?), but it was my favorite word. Through grammar school and high school, I wrote increasingly complex texts. Fast forward to my early 20s, when I had to learn some life lessons in the school of hard knocks. The way the lesson was presented was Keep It Simple, Stupid (KISS), though I’ve since heard it toned down to the friendlier, kinder Keep It Simple, Sweetheart. However you want to put it, the bottom line is don’t overcomplicate everything. Make it easy to understand. In speech, in writing…in life in general.

Today I probably keep my writing simpler than ever. I don’t know how I’m going to clean up that “minimizing unnecessary resource utilization” phrase. But I’ve got to make sure it doesn’t sound pompous, and won’t make the reader stumble.

And that’s why it’s important to utilize use the services of a professional writer, folks.

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Strictly Business

So lately I’ve been looking a little bit like this guy – although this dude is younger, and probably better-looking, than me.  I mean I’ve been hunched over an iMac or MacBook quite a bit, working furiously on building my business.

Now, I know that the people who check this blog to find out about my novels and short stories don’t want to read about that…just like I know that the business people I interact with regularly don’t give a flying flip about my books. So I’ve got a real conundrum. What to write about, what to write about.

Let me just say this: if you’re interested in my fiction, there’s more on the way. The short story collection Rides From Strangers will be available for free download soon. Designers are competing for the cover, and it will be ready soon. I’m just being really picky. I still plan to release it in September, so…not too far away.

But You Said Something About Business?

Oh yeah. This past week, I made some major changes in my current business model. See, my business card reads “Author. Publisher. Speaker. Coach.” But where have I been speaking lately?

You guessed it. Nowhere.

Well, okay, not exactly true. I pitch Sahno Publishing at networking events in front of groups large and small regularly. And I have my Tampa Literary Authors event coming up this weekend. But you get the idea.

You see, my freelance copywriting gigs feed my addiction to writing fiction, not vice-versa. Still, I think speaking engagements that pay me can mean a lot for the company. So I’m dramatically ramping up my speaking efforts over the next 10-12 months, and will become a Certified Master Speaker by the end of May 2018.

I’ve also changed my approach to how many new clients I will take on for writing projects. My model now includes Ghostwriting for Entrepreneurs at the top of the list. I plan to ghost write a book every month, on average, over the next year.

So let me just say on the ol’ blog what I say everywhere I go in person: if you know a business owner who wants to have a book they can use as an extended business card, have them give me a call and we’ll chat. I’m working on one now, and have another one on the hopper. Once the schedule gets booked out, I have to back off to make room for speaking gigs.

So there you have it. Like my headline says, strictly business this week. Thanks for reading!

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Coming Soon: Rides From Strangers

I don’t typically recommend blatant self-promotion in blog posts, though I do have a post here somewhere entitled Blatant Self-Promotion…ha! This week, however, I’m getting excited about my upcoming release, and decided it’s time to talk about it again.

I thought I’d posted about Rides From Strangers recently, but I was wrong. I haven’t blogged about it, anyway, since last August. (Wow! I blew my own mind with how the time has flown.) The last time followers of this blog would have read the title Rides From Strangers, I actually hosted a contest here, where the prize was a free e-book. Now, I’m not posting the story again. The time has come to announce the upcoming publication – in September, no less – of a new book, which is indeed called Rides From Strangers, after the first story in the collection.

For those of you already on my email newsletter list, I’m going to give it to you for free. But that’s not all. I’m also going to offer the e-book for free to anyone who joins the email list.

See, I’ve been going to these business conferences lately, mostly run by companies making seven or more figures per year. And these highly successful business people all have something in common: they give away great content. Some of their best stuff, in fact, is free. It’s all about delivering value.

So that’s where I’m going with Rides With Strangers. I’m putting it out there for free. I really hope people like it. And if they like these short stories enough to buy one of my full-length works of fiction, great; if not, so be it. You don’ t have to subscribe to the email newsletter forever to get the short stories. Sign up, and as soon as the ebook is available, you can download it for free. If you unsubscribe to the newsletter afterwards, that’s okay too. The ebook will still be free – no strings attached.

The one thing I did want to ask via blog post (and I’ll probably create a Twitter poll, too) is what kind of format do you prefer for ebooks? I figure I’ll make it available in PDF and MOBI, since some people will want to send it to their Kindle readers. But is there anything else? Any EPUB people out there? Let me know, and if there’s enough demand for formats in addition to PDF and MOBI, I’ll be happy to oblige.

Again, Rides From Strangers will only be available through my website – not Amazon,  iTunes, or anywhere else. You can sign up for the email newsletter updates as we get closer to the date, here. Right now I’ve got designers competing to deliver the best cover, so I’ll be doing a cover reveal soon, too. Meanwhile, if you have a format preference, let me know in the comments below. Looking forward to getting this out there to you all!

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I’d Never Missed a Deadline Before—Until I Missed My Own

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