“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.”

—JRR Tolkien, The Hobbit

Honestly? There are no dragons in this post, I just really like that quote.

There are, however, calculations to be made. Plans, intentions, a strategy, if you are to write that book that has been on your heart and mind for so long.

But book-writing (even non-fiction!) is a creative endeavor, right? So the words simply well out of your fingers and flood across the page, while a celestial glow envelops your desk and the angels start singing.


Well, maybe for some writers. Not this little blue duck, anyway. And not for the hundreds of authors I’ve worked with through these past (insert large number) years. As an editor, publisher, co-writer, ghostwriter, accountability buddy and chief cheerleader, working on thought leadership books, self-improvement titles, and memoirs, I’ve seen how the really successful writers remain (relatively) sane by coming up with a clear vision for their book.

This vision doesn’t have to be complex or philosophical. To the contrary. It must be so simple it can be summed up in a sentence of two.

This vision is derived from considering certain basic questions:

  • Why do you want to write this book?
  • What is the essence of the message you want to share?
  • Who are you writing it for?

Simple, yes? But like the very best simple things, those three questions contain a world of thought and reflection. Getting to some authentic answers can be a little like therapy: it takes a ton of digging, a bunch of wrong turns, and maybe even a few tears along the way.

The process of getting to that clear and simple vision can also be long and convoluted and frustrating. It helps enormously to have a savvy partner in the process. That’s where I come in. (Cue trumpets.)

These past few months, I’ve been developing a new service that I call Book Strategy Sessions. Essentially it is a way for authors to tap direct into my decades of writing and publishing expertise. They get a direct line into my brain and all I can offer.

I’ve helped several authors now to figure out not only what their vision is, but how they will reach their readers, what form their story should take, and what publishing path is right for them. I can tell you it has led to some real and concrete breakthroughs in their ability to create a book that fills them with excitement and confidence. It’s a total blast for me, too.

These Book Strategy Sessions include three stages:

  1. We have an initial conversation by phone or email, and I send you some reading materials and preparatory work to complete.
  2. We meet (face-to-face or by phone or video call) for 60-90 minutes to talk through your purpose, the outcomes you’re looking for, your message, the competition, and your publishing options.
  3. I write up a Book Strategy Blueprint: this is an action plan offering specific, clear, and practical recommendations for creating your manuscript, positioning yourself as an author, and getting it published (including notes on preparing a book proposal package for literary agents and publishers).

Up until now I’ve been pricing the Book Strategy Sessions at $1,000.00 (plus travel expenses, if you wish to meet in person outside the San Jose, CA area). It has proved so popular and so effective, I’ve decided that in 2019 the price will increase to $1,500.00 (plus travel expenses), which more accurately reflects the value it delivers to authors.

[These costs are refundable if we choose to keep on collaborating on the project together by creating a book proposal, writing a full manuscript, or producing the book for self-publishing.]

I have five spaces left in my November/December calendar for Book Strategy Sessions. If you would like to book in for the current rate of $1,000.00, I recommend you act fast.

I promise you two things: first, this will set a rocket under your book idea and fast-track it to reality. And second, we will have a lot of fun doing it.

Email me on sally@redhill.me with any questions and to lock in your book strategy session.