Monday, October 21, 2013

“Be Your Book”- Tips to Getting Your Book Self-Published.
By Peter Engler
Author of the new novel, New & Improved! A Political Thriller

I recently self-published my first novel on Amazon/Kindle, New & Improved! A Political Thriller.  It follows the exciting and dangerous exploits of Ben Coleman, An NYC advertising hotshot creative director. I have been asked by many people, how did you do it?  I thought MENG members would appreciate some insights into what I experienced and learned. And I hope you buy the book and let me know how you liked it!
1.    First, Join a writing group to get your fiction or non-fiction book completed. The group’s support and peer-energy will get you over the hump of beginning, or in my case, completing your book. Listen to their ideas and guidance, but be your own judge of what you want to commit to paper. Conversely, avoid asking family and close friends to read your book; they cannot and will not be objective.

2.    Join a local independent book publishers group to get important expertise, guidance and support. My group, Bay Area Independent Publishers Association in San Rafael, California, was instrumental in publishing on Amazon in September, 2013.

3.    The only way to get your book written is to write regularly, like music practice in grade school. My first novel took over five years to complete, edit, proof-read, re-edit and re-proof. My technique was to write out my chapter headings first to establish the flow of the story. I then “filled in the blanks”. This works for fiction and non-fiction books. I wrote it all down before I edited and re-wrote. Creating character treatments of two to three pages helps you “get to know” your characters if you are writing fiction. You will also learn that your key characters will take over the book and almost write it for you.

4.    Get a good editor. They work magic on your precious copy. Let them! It is the best money you will spend.

5.    Get a good proof-reader, or two. I am sure that some typos still lurk in my new novel in spite of having had three different proof-readers scour the novel.

6.    Get Educated. There are numerous on-line bloggers with very helpful guidance on self-publishing issues. I recommend: Joel Friedlander (, Judy Baker (, Ruth Schwartz (, and Penny Sansevieri, (

7.    Work with an experienced Create Space layout consultant. Again, money well-spent. Create Space, a division of, is a great book-planning site, but it has many quirks and you may risk losing momentum if you get frustrated at this stage. I understand that 80% of new books are listed on vs. other sites like Apple Books and Barnes & Noble. I plan to work exclusively with for the first few months to gain presence on their site.

8.    Plan your marketing campaign months prior to publication. Get a self-publishing name/url (mine is www.Grantham Press- my middle name), build a Wordpress website that is designed to feature your novel, provide an entertaining bio and picture, “capture” email addresses via an offer (I offer a free copy of one of my short stories), solicits their comments on your site and novel, and directs them to your Amazon novel page. You should also have a blog section, and a section describing your next book (with some chapters to wet their interest).

9.    Develop business cards or postcards with your cover on one side and a call-to action on the other with specific links to your Amazon book page.

10. Solicit reviews, even pre-publication. They are useful for inclusion in the front section of your book or the back cover, on your Amazon book page, and in various marketing pieces.

11. Add a page at the end of the book (after your bio) that is a “Dear Reader, please review my book on Amazon” appeal. It is a nice note expressing your appreciation for buying your book and solicits a review on your novel’s Amazon home page (scroll down the page to find this section). Reviews are very important as a means of encouraging people to buy your book.

12. Plan book signings, speaking engagements, blogs on appropriate sites, etc. to build awareness and interest in your book. This is also helpful in deciding what you will write about next!

13. HAVE FUN! Self-publishing will feel very overwhelming to you, but if you make it a bit of a game, set yourself reasonable outcomes each week and month, you will end up like me, a PUBLISHED AUTHOR. And no one can take that away from you….that one book with your name on it on your bookshelf.

14. Finally, BE YOUR BOOK. Get a t-shirt with your publishing logo on the front, and the book cover on the back. Get some coffee cups and ball caps from com . Wrap yourself in your book, EMBRACE YOUR BOOK…..BE YOUR BOOK. GOOD LUCK!

Sunday, September 8, 2013


This may appear obvious or even a bit sophomoric, but the primary reason any of us has a job is that a company or organization needs someone to HELP them accomplish certain goals.  

They do not necessarily need a VP of Marketing, Product Manager, Channel Marketer. Those are job titles.
What they really need is HELP.  Help introducing new products, help leading teams, help conducting consumer research, help setting sales and pricing plans.  The need for HELP is inexhaustible.

So, what does this mean to all of us, either employed or seeking new employment?

I think it means we have to communicate, promise, convince and live a message of helping others, rather than focusing on ourselves.

We spend a great deal of time writing and selling ourselves through resumes, bios, emails, websites, LinkedIn profiles, etc.  Mostly, those communications are all about us.  Not them.  The people (companies, organizations, consultancies, etc) who need our HELP.  That  is,our commitment to help, not just lead, market, research, study, introduce products, etc.  
HELP is an ATTITUDE, not a just another line in your resume.  It should be expressed in your professional “key selling statement”; that brief set of words that clearly describes and sets you apart in terms of who you are, how you want to help, and where you want to do that helping.

Here is an example of such a statement at the front of a resume:

A collegial and creative financial services marketing executive, with special ability to build consensus and action among a diversified team of professionals, seeking to help a mid-sized company or organization achieve mission-critical objectives in a timely, cost-effective and profitable fashion.

This statement briefly defines your unique value, indicates your spirit of helpfulness (you are a sensitive team-builder and leader, not someone who might upset the apple cart in the process), and states the nature of the company where you wish to work.

It knits YOU and THEM together in the spirit of helpfulness.

I think this is the essence of a contract between a professional and a company.

Should you agree, I hope you will consider adjusting your communications and your personal approach to new opportunities, relationships and challenges with HELPING high on your list of tools.

Good luck!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

“Lean in” on your Career Search, Push the Pace

What I like most about Sheryl Sandburg’s new career book is the title, Lean In.

During twenty-five years of advertising management in New York City and San Francisco, eight years as a retained executive recruiter, and eight years as a career strategist and coach, the most memorable people I have known are those who “leaned in”, who pushed the pace of the relationship.

I particularly admire the men and women who “leaned in thoughtfully”, with class and a sense of urgency, but also of balance.

We are all trying to reach all sorts of people, be it customers, people on LinkedIn, recruiters, hiring executives, board members and other targets of our business and career-building activities.
Most of us are reticent to press ourselves on others.  We think it is impolite or boorish. Others overdo their outreach and burnout their relationships before they even get started. 

Leaning in and pushing the pace with balance is a tricky, but important, technique to develop.
From my view, the world is a much more competitive arena than in past years.  Time is of the essence, jobs are fleeting, companies and people come and go.  That requires that we become much more tactical and agile in our business-building and career-building activities.  Everyone understands this now; everyone “gets the joke”.

The “joke” is that we are constantly communicating one-to-one, by phone, tablet, laptop, etc., to make something happen.  People understand that because they are doing the same thing.

So, now that you realize that everyone is in this self-promotional boat, you can start rowing yours faster.  You can lean in more, you can push the pace with people, especially in your career search.
When you send an introductory email to meet someone (with your bio, NOT your resume attached), leave them a voice-mail a day later calling attention to your email with date/time and purpose in contacting them.  Be brief, but clear in what you are seeking (a meeting, a reference, a lead, etc).  Then, follow-up one day sooner than you are comfortable with (leaning in means being a little uncomfortable), and every few days a little sooner than you normally would until you achieve your objective.

If your reason for meeting them is legitimate (meaning that you have done your homework and you know what real value you could bring to the person or company you are contacting), then pushing the pace of getting to them is totally appropriate.  As far as you are concerned, they NEED you, for very good reasons that you can readily describe.

At job fairs, professional mixers, local coffee shops and other venues of potential contacts and opportunity, don’t fail to move out of your comfort zone and “lean into” the crowd.  Shake hands firmly, look people in the eyes, smile, speak with sincerity, poise and knowledge.  Ask them what they do, why they do it, how you might be able to help them.  Briefly make them aware of those same factors on your behalf.

On phone calls, stand up, lean into the conversation, again with poise and balance.  Be present.  Push the pace.  That is called energy.  And people react well to energy, as long as it is not nuclear.

And in interviews, be present, aware, poised yet slightly intense.  Lean into the conversation when appropriate to make a point, then relax a bit so that you do not take over the conversation. 
Remember, Sheryl said “Lean In”, not shout, boast, dominate or otherwise overwhelm the other person.  We are speaking here about a balanced playing field between you and whomever you are speaking with.

Move a little out of your comfort zone.  Lean in.  Practice it!

Good luck!

Friday, June 21, 2013

These Days, We are Always in a Job Search

By Peter Engler

The new reality of an executive career is that you should always be taking the necessary steps to advance your career. This dedication to doing the “career homework” applies to clients who are employed, but seeking better or alternative careers, as well as for clients who are out of work and seeking new employment.

As a Career Coach and Strategist, I work with executives at all stages of their careers. My clients are terrific when it comes to engaging themselves in the personal assessments I conduct to help them know themselves and their ideal career profile more deeply and intimately. And, they are equally adept and motivated to work on improving their resumes, creating interesting bios that tell their stories in a compelling fashion, and tightening up their 60-second elevator speeches. They get their Linked In profiles updated, join Linked In groups, begin to identify networking contacts and join useful job boards.

But, when I ask them what are they DOING about the challenging part of a career program which is taking ACTION by making new contacts, making calls and setting meetings to explore new horizons, they often have made very little progress.

So, as we approach summer, I ask What are you DOING about:

• Reaching out to people with whom you have worked for leads and new ideas?

• Pulling together some people you admire for bi-weekly breakfast networking and career growth support sessions?

• Identifying ten companies where you “deserve to work” within thirty miles of your home and contacting key executives (from LinkedIn or their website) for exploratory talks?

• Reaching out to target company board members who are very influential and open to being contacted, especially if you share something in common?

• In the same vein, re-contacting influential teachers with whom you got along and who might know of corporate or consulting opportunities in industries of interest to you?

• Contacting carefully-selected retained search partners whose backgrounds and search focus mirror yours?

• Suggesting to those key recruiters that they can contact you if they feel you can HELP them with any of their searches in your area of expertise (and tell them again what that is)?

• Keeping your family and friends who are concerned for you well-informed of your progress?

• Carefully tracking your activities with CRM software to ensure nothing drops through the cracks?

• Updating your references to ensure they are current and supportive of your candidacy should you identify an exciting new opportunity?

In short, doing your homework (better resume, powerful bio, target company list, etc.) is important, but success will be achieved through WHAT YOU ARE DOING each and every day to support your career objectives.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Your Important Target Company List

 In this era of uncertain employment longevity, you would imagine that every savvy business person, employed or seeking new employment, would have a list of companies where they want to do business or get a job clearly in mind.
We call this your Target Company List.
Well, recently, I was presenting my “Non-conventional Job Search Tips” class to a group of 45-plus (for the most part) job seekers at a community-sponsored career center in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Now, this is a employment market that fortunately for those who reside here, is a hotbed of job opportunities due to the explosive growth of social media and bio-tech companies as well as those industries which feed these voracious companies.
I asked how many folks, of the forty or so gathered in the room, had developed a list of target companies where they wanted to work, in fact, where they deserved to work.
Only two hands went up!  Everyone in the group had their resumes, bios, 60-second elevator speeches, websites, LinkedIn pages and other tools in good shape.  But, they were lacking their most important tool, a target company list. 
My job search coaching practice has three parts: self-assessment, action plan development and then the all important third step, action plan execution.  The key component of the job search execution phase is compiling a list of ten to twenty companies within thirty miles of your home (keep the commute sane) where you believe you should be working.  The companies should meet your job criteria (that’s another subject) and you should feel you are a match with their mission as stated on their websites (check the homepage, press releases, bios, etc to learn what the company is trying to accomplish).
Then, via Linked In and Lead.411 and other sites offering information about these companies, you create a list of executives, past and present, who you then reach out to via email and voice-mail.  Your approach is simple: this is why I am contacting you (“I like the new xyz program you are developing), why I may be of interest to you (I have worked on xyz for five years with great results at abc companies), and I WANT TO MEET YOU.  The worst that can happen is nothing.  The best is that they respond.
Using this simple method, a recent client emailed the CEO of a major insurance company regarding his interest in joining their training team.  He got a response in two days and has been in conversations (this is important- conversations, not interviews) with them.
This was a “cold out-reach”, but actually a very “hot out-reach”, because he was able to connect the company and himself in three brief paragraphs in an email sent to a decision-maker gleaned from Linked In.
This takes some hard work and thinking, but it is well worth the effort, I promise.
Having a Target List of companies with whom you want to do business or obtain employment/consulting and then reaching out in brief, targeted emails to key executives is the best business-building or job-seeking tactic I know of.
Try it.  Today.  And keep at it. Begin a proactive outreach program today to YOUR TARGET COMPANY LIST.
Good luck!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Brand Belief. How to Strengthen Your Branding.

Belief; the key to stronger personal Branding.  Create your “Brand Belief”©

I was speaking with an executive the other day regarding my career coaching practice and he asked me what I thought about developing “my Brand”.
Like many of you, I have grown skeptical of lots of many of the career coaching buzz and noise around hot topics like how to use Twitter to market yourself (you need loads and months of tweets), the value of a personal website (you have that on Linked In, right?), tweaking your resume for every job you pursue (HR “can smell” that can’t they?) and other current “hot” ideas.
I replied to him that understanding yourself in great detail through an intensive personal assessment process, translating that information into a strong and vibrant bio (your “story” which should be exciting and persuasive), 60-second elevator speech and other communications including your emails/voice-mails, and directing it to people who can actually help you at companies where you “deserve to work” makes good sense.
If you want to call that “branding”, great.  It certainly has worked for many famous products, so why not job-seekers?
However, what is missing from the “branding” idea is your beliefs; your energy, convictions, personality, motivations, desires, and all that makes you a special human being and professional.
I call this important duality of Branding-“Who you are”, and Belief- “Why you are you”, Brand Belief.
Your beliefs bring you alive to the reader, interviewer or person you have just met at a business mixer.  Sure, you have to give people a sense of what you are and do- your Brand.  But, it is the level of conviction and energy, your belief, that you apply to that branding message that is what people will remember and act on.
You may be a terrific marketing executive, but until someone sees the fire in your eyes when you explain how you drill down to find every fact to support your new product concept, your Brand will just be another brand.  Belief brings credibility to your Brand.
Credibility is what people buy, hire and remember.  Brand Belief is what I believe you need to write down, refine and communicate to others, not just your Brand.
Good luck!
Peter Engler