5 IDEAS FOR RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS DAY
Looking for simple ways to celebrate National Random Acts of Kindness Day? The Brown Books' team shared their best stories of unexpected at-work benevolence to help you get inspired and get busy sharing your compassion with others.
Tap into their encouraging efforts and experiences with clients, colleagues, and friends for great ideas to try now!
A LITERARY ICON ON PROSE, PRAISE, & PUPPIES
“This couldn’t possibly be the Richard Bach,” thought Linda Greiner as she reread the heartfelt email. Elated by the moving praise for her work, the creator of the Sashi series sat in stunned disbelief and was compelled to reply in gratitude, no matter who would really be on the receiving end.
Greiner’s fortuitous response soon led to a meaningful correspondence that made one thing clear – she was indeed talking with the literary legend himself. Bach, one of America’s most iconic authors, has been well read worldwide with more than 60 million books sold, and legions of fans grew up with his bestsellers including Jonathan Livingston Seagull and Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah.
However, his honest, humble exchange with Greiner revealed more about Bach’s character than his famous characters. Offering perspective on the writing process and expounding on the impact of Greiner’s books, Bach proved he’s a dog lover, a diverse reader, and an advocate for fellow authors. He even made a special effort to share his thanks for us as her publisher!
But the biggest surprise was yet to come. After confessing that he hadn’t officially endorsed a book in more than 30 years, Bach agreed to publicly offer his glowing commentary on the growing collection of Sashi titles. In Bach’s own words . . .
Not only are we unbelievably delighted by Bach and Greiner’s serendipitous connection, we’re now motivated to add another resolution to this year’s list. So we’re reframing a daunting modern adage with a new take on “See something, say something.” Our fresh approach . . . If you see, read, hear, experience, or feel something great – say something! Because as any good publisher will tell you, well-chosen words can have a profound influence on someone else’s story.
Want proof? Bach’s encouragement for Greiner and passion for helping four- and two-legged friends inspired Milli Brown to pursue a lifelong business goal. That’s why Brown Books will be opening a publishing division just for pets – and the owners and authors who love them! Bearing the name of Milli’s own rescue dog, RADO’S Press – an acronym for Rescue Animals Deserve Our Support – will officially launch in early 2017. Stay tuned to find out how we’ll be supporting animals in need through new titles, good reads, and great organizations.
CELEBRATING LOYALTY, NOT ROYALTY
Brown Books was built because we believed writers deserved a better way to share their stories. After more than two decades, the opportunity to create, honor, and amplify award-winning work continues to serve as our cornerstone and compass. Our mission is loyalty - not royalties. And that's why we're turning #NationalAuthorsDay and #LifeWritingMonth into a celebration of gratitude for our clients, our books, and the power of Relationship Publishing!
BOOK IT: Join the Big Give for #NTXGivingDay
We’re just 24 hours away from the nation’s largest community-wide giving event - North Texas Giving Day! The online concept brings people across the globe together to raise as much money as possible for non-profits in and around Brown Books' hometown, and over the past seven years, the initiative has generated $119 million for critical causes in the region.
Be a hero for those in need by taking part in the Sept. 22 event, and find out how you can join our authors in giving back anytime of year with good reads that support great causes in North Texas!
MOOSE THE WORRY MUTT
Dr. Jaime Crowley & Dr. Kristen M. Ohlenforst
For every copy purchased through MooseTheWorryMutt.com, Drs. Crowley and Ohlenforst will donate $1 to A Home Within, a national nonprofit that provides pro bono therapy to current and former foster youth. Donate: Online anytime @ AHomeWithin.org or MooseTheWorryMutt.com.
TRANSLATE, MOTIVATE, ACTIVATE
The founder of Solomon People Solutions and author of Tranlate, Motivate, Activate donates all proceeds from his book to My Possibilities, a DFW-based non-profit that enables adults with disabilities to realize their greatest possibilities and enjoy meaningful lives. Donate: On Sept. 22 @ NorthTexasGivingDay.org/npo/My-Possibilities, or anytime via MyPossibilities.org and SolomonPS.com.
MY HUGGY BEAR
Your purchase of My Huggy Bear will fund the Prepare 4 Tomorrow scholarships through Helping Hands & Caring Hearts of America for minority students in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with financial need. Donate: Online anytime @ HelpingHandsAndCaringHeartsOfAmerica.com or MyHuggyBear.com.
Visit the website to review the full roster of North Texas Giving Day events, and follow the organization online via Facebook and Twitter.
PUBLISHING PROGRESS: 5 BIG IDEAS FOR THE (NEW) AMERICAN IDEAL
Nothing beats a good book, but beyond the page, many of our authors are serving as digital thought leaders. That's why ABB is taking you inside their blogs, businesses, and big ideas with our column, Publishing Progress. Today, we're sharing a game-changing excerpt on political and social impact from LinkedIn Influencer Robbie Bach, author of Xbox Revisited: A Game Plan for Corporate and Civic Renewal.
Get to know the author of Xbox Revisited @ RobbieBach.com, and connect with ABB on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for the latest updates on our books and brilliant clients!
AGENCY INSIDER: GHOSTING FOR THE GREATER GOOD
"Ghosting" gets a bad rap when it comes to personal relationships, and rightly so. But professionally, "ghosting" can be a great game-changer, especially for entrepreneurs and executives who aspire to become authors. Today, Milli Brown and COO Tom Reale are giving you an inside look at ghostwriting and the critical role ghostwriters play in bringing big ideas to life.
Many books, so many books, have been authored by exceptionally talented and impressive executives and public figures. They just weren’t written by them. When you think about it, this arrangement absolutely makes sense. When you get sick or hurt, you might administer some medicine to yourself, or bandage yourself. But when you need to go to the next level you go the doctor. You might change the oil or add radiator fluid to your own car, but next-level requirements will send you to a mechanic or dealership.
Who among us would expect the president of a major Fortune 500 company to have the skill set of someone with a PhD in literature? By the same token, who would expect a credentialed journalist with decades of experience writing for a top U.S. newspaper to have the same skill set as a prominent U.S. prosecutor? Both of the teams I describe here are actual pairs: author and ghostwriter, ghostwriter and author, for whom it has been my absolute pleasure to publish.
Do you really think Hillary Clinton wrote Hard Choices? Her authorship of It Takes a Village came under criticism in the mid-1990’s for not providing enough credit to Georgetown journalism professor Barbara Feinman, who wrote most of the text. What was scandalous 20 years ago is passé today. The public (or at least the media) have come to understand that people running for president don’t have the time to write a book! But here’s the thing: there is no one but a presidential candidate who can convey their own perspective. And there is no skill but that of a highly qualified writer who can interpret that perspective into book form.
Even in the fiction world this is not unheard of, although it is fairly rare. In a recently published edition of the Star Wars trilogy, George Lucas acknowledged in his foreword that the novelization of Star Wars: A New Hope was ghostwritten by Alan Dean Foster, who went on to write many novels within that universe. This, too, follows completely. George Lucas is a visionary film director, and Alan Dean Foster is an accomplished novelist. Each applied their craft to the same story: the rest is history.
I have been proud over the years to be involved in some top-flight ghostwriting projects, as a key part of our publishing program. My reason is simple: without it, many of the highly acclaimed books that we have published would never have been. And it would have disappointed me to see so many important perspectives, so many incredible stories, go untold over the years. There is a special satisfaction that comes from watching a well-paired author-ghostwriter team in action. We work with the best. It might cost a little more, but it makes life so much easier for everyone. We are as exclusive about our authors as we are about our ghostwriters. I should know: this article was ghostwritten by my Chief Operating Officer, Tom Reale
BOOK IT: THE AUGUST LIT LIST
How are we spending summer's hottest month? Tap into our hit list of August events for opportunities to learn, listen, lend a helping hand, and connect with book launches across the country.
DETAILS: LISTEN TO THE PODCAST ON 8.31.16 @ LIVEHAPPY.COM, AND LOOK FOR DR. WOLBE IN THE MAGAZINE'S AUGUST ISSUE.
DETAILS: JOIN MAK IN LENDING A HAND ONLINE, ANYTIME @ NOBULLCHALLENGE.ORG; VIDEO SUBMISSIONS FOR 2016-2017 ARE OPENING SOON, SO STAY TUNED!
DETAILS: FIND OUT HOW TO ATTEND THE SYMPOSIUM ON 8.13.16 @ JEFFERSONMUSEUM.NET.
DETAILS: CHECK OUT OUR CURRENT CATALOG AND CONNECT WITH ABB ON FACEBOOK, TWITTER, OR LINKEDIN FOR THE LATEST ON OUR NEW AND UPCOMING RELEASES.
ASK A PUBLISHER: 14 WAYS DISTRIBUTION CAN MAKE OR BREAK YOUR BOOK
We're committed to equipping authors for success by sharing critical tools, expertise, and advice. That's why our COO Tom Reale is revealing insider insights on book distribution; find out how to avoid hidden risks - and maximize rewards - by partnering with the right publisher and distributor.
Not long ago, the American publishing industry was starkly divided between the “Haves” and the “Have-nots.” Authors either were represented by a royalty publisher with access to major wholesalers and retailers in 36,000-plus national locations – or they were sentenced to door-to-door distribution that literally required them to sell books out of their car or home.
Those lucky enough to be selected by a royalty house faced their own serious challenges including:
Recently, online retailers have driven some disruption in this space. Self-publishing services with eBook and print-on-demand capabilities are providing authors with (limited) access to major consumer channels at a very cheap entry point. But rather than fulfilling on the promise of a true, open book market, this route is more like having a publishing parent who decides to start giving you an allowance of $5 per week, and it comes with a slew of problems such as:
HISTORY IN THE MAKING . . . Twenty-one years ago, our founder, Milli Brown, had an epiphany. Standing in a bookstore and holding a novel, she wondered whether the average patron cared about who made money when they bought a book. She thought about it and had to honestly answer, “No.” Then she wondered whether the other customers nearby could rattle off the names of the major New York publishers, and whether they even knew which company had published the book they just bought. Again she answered herself, “Probably not.” After all, how many people have heard of Avery, Perigee, Del Rey, or Flirt, or know that they are all part of Random House?
So why couldn’t there be a professional publishing company, with all of the capabilities and reach of a royalty publisher, that delivered the major economic benefit of book sales to the person who deserves it most: the author? There would be challenges to driving this thought process uphill against an industry infrastructure severely biased toward a royalty model. But Milli had two major advantages on her side of the struggle to come: Texan stubbornness, and no national publishing bias.
THINKING DIFFERENTLY ABOUT DISTRIBUTION . . . To build Brown Books Publishing Group (BBPG), Milli and her team methodically added one capability after another, in each case snapping into place another piece of the puzzle needed to create a completely unique, top-flight national publisher. Each step of the journey was met with skepticism from the various gatekeepers in the book trade. In each case, through leadership, innovation, and perseverance, Brown found a way to offer more to individual authors than had ever been offered in the past.
Today at BBPG, our model is simple. We focus on four key pillars to provide:
ROAD WARRIORS WELCOME . . . After two decades of proving the value of our services and the quality of our books to the market gatekeepers, we added an on-the-ground, national sales force in 2015. When we set ourselves to the task of adding this critical function to the company’s offerings, we once again set the bar high. Most independent publishers settle for inclusion in a national, aggregated distributor and sales group. This forces them to sacrifice a large percentage of profits from book sales.
For us, that was a non-starter. Why?
ON A MISSION . . . BBPG’s calling is clear. We want to be the best publisher available to authors who want to bet on themselves. This is not publishing for the feint-of-heart. Our most successful authors bring serious focus to the success of their books. They understand their responsibility to the publishing process as we apply our skills and experience to help them realize their vision. We are and always will be “The Entrepreneurial Publisher for Entrepreneurial Authors™.”
ASK A CEO: 22 SECRETS TO SUCCESS IN PUBLISHING
Our anniversary celebration continues with even more revealing fanfare from inside the publishing industry! In honor of Brown Books' twenty-second birthday, we're sharing 22 strategic essentials for building long-term partnerships and a loyal readership.
Giving authors the secrets they need to succeed, we launched our two-part guide with 11 must-have tips for modern publishing, and now, we'll show you how to supercharge your publicity with advice from our founder and CEO, Milli Brown. Discover how to effectively synergize your book and brand through cross-promotion with the second chapter in our series, and revisit our first installment to find out how writers and entrepreneurs can realize their creative vision – and maintain control over their publications.
POWERING YOUR PUBLICITY
AUTHORS FIRST, ALWAYS: Whether working with one of the Big Five or through a niche company, writers deserve and desperately need cross-promotion in the existing industry climate. Since so many publishers still don't provide turnkey options, however, Brown Books filled the critical void by establishing a PR firm for all authors, regardless of their existing publishing affiliates. You read that right - we're actually helping our competitors by giving their clients access to The Agency at Brown Books (ABB) in an unprecedented effort to put authors first.
TELLING TRANSPARENCY: A spirit of collaboration is the cornerstone of Relationship Publishing – but it should be a prerequisite for any and all creative partnerships. The right PR team or publicist should solicit and welcome your questions, provide answers and listen to your responses, and above all, provide honest feedback.
NO-DRAMA DIGITAL: Modern authors already know that a strong, engaged online presence is an indispensable part of any publishing strategy. But if you lack the necessary digital fluency, you'll need platform management resources like those offered via ABB to survive, much less thrive, in today's marketplace.
FROM BOOK TO BRAND: Leveraging your investment as an author demands synergized marketing that goes beyond your book to encompass your business and/or personal brand. So make sure your publicist or publisher offers a "big picture" perspective and multi-media support.
GET A GOOD LOOK: Your unique story deserves an entirely original presentation. So don't settle for the repetitive, formulaic design that’s become the unfortunate "industry standard." Our solution – fully customized creative services for front-to-back packaging that's one-of-a-kind, just like your story.
360 SUPPORT: Now that authors finally have access to a lifeline they've long needed – a seamless solution for the complex PR challenges in publishing – it's time to tap into the advanced tools and services available. See how the industry paradigm has changed with ABB's 360-degree approach to distribution, design, branding, marketing, media, and digital strategy.
ALWAYS BE SELLING: An innovative yet hands-on approach to retailer saturation is imperative to successful author marketing in the current climate. Which is why we launched a national sales force and new interactive catalog in 2016 to further optimize exposure for our clients.
ORIGINAL PROGRAMMING: With video now dominating the social media sphere among users in pivotal demographics, a solid book trailer or a short series is vital to your marketing. Begin planning your video strategy well before your release date, or secure a publicity partner like ABB that offers full-service content creation.
IT’S THE (NOT SO) LITTLE THINGS
RIGHT TO WRITE: What's the real benefit of Relationship Publishing? Authors retain their rights and keep all the profits. We credit our long-term marketplace advantage to a business model that gives clients complete control over their publications without having to resort to self-publishing.
THE BEST IS NEVER LESS: You've heard it repeated countless times . . . "You get what you pay for." And the cliché is especially applicable to the publishing and PR industries. In other words, think twice before you fall for a company that claims to be able to produce your book for pennies and deliver it in the next 24 hours.
REJOICE, REVEL, & REMEMBER: Don't wait to celebrate! Writing a book is tough, so whether you've completed your manuscript or simply conquered a difficult chapter, take time to reflect on milestones big and small. Better yet, sign on with a publisher who'll be there to toast your accomplishments.
“Today, we can boast that our 'Relationship Publishing' concept has withstood the test of time. However, when Brown Books opened more than two decades ago, we had no idea that unprecedented innovation would soon disrupt our industry and most others.
"It now seems fortuitous that we trademarked the phrase, A New Era in Publishing™, way back in 1994. We didn't know then that we'd be leading the charge for change 22 years later, but we're looking forward to ushering authors into the next 'new era!'"
MILLI A. BROWN | Founder & CEO
ASK A CEO: 22 SECRETS TO SUCCESS IN PUBLISHING
Brown Books turns 22 this year, and we're ringing in our anniversary with revealing fanfare! Founded on the core principle of maximizing the financial gain for authors, our business is exploding at a time when traditional publishing continues to slow.
Why? Because putting authors first is the cornerstone of our "Relationship Publishing" business model. Now, we're taking you inside the industry with our guide to strategic essentials for building long-term partnerships and a loyal readership.
We'll be sharing 22 secrets all authors need to succeed, straight from our founder and CEO Milli Brown, and we're rolling out our two-part series with 11 must-have tips for modern publishing. Find out how writers and entrepreneurs can realize their creative vision - and maintain control over their publications - and stay tuned to learn the keys to supercharging your publicity and cross-promotion when we release our next installment on Thursday, February 11.
PICKING YOUR PUBLISHER
VITAL SIGNS: The most important qualities to look for in a publishing house? A team that prizes authors above all, and a company culture that prizes pioneers and challenges outdated industry traditions.
BOUND BY INDEPENDENCE: Choosing between a traditional or independent publisher is a pivotal decision for all authors. Do consult experts in the field before making your selection, and don't take costly shortcuts when conducting your research. If you're not sure where to begin, get started with a brief personal inventory.
GO BESPOKE: A reputable publisher or publicist should embrace your ethos - and be willing to customize a complementary to-market plan that's goal-oriented and anything but generic. From concept building to typesetting to the first book tour, The Agency at Brown Books specializes in strategies tailored for your book and brand - and you should expect the same level of support from your team.
DISTRIBUTION, DONE DIFFERENTLY: To sell your book in an evolutionary era for technology and consumer behaviors, your publisher must embrace a nimble distribution model and eschew staid standards. At Brown Books, we spent 2015 implementing progressive platforms to reduce our clients' overhead, and this year, we expanded our enhancements with a new progressive facility.
FROM EXECUTIVE TO AUTHOR?
GHOST-BOOSTERS: Many worthwhile, would-be authors aren't writers by trade. In fact, they're often executives, entrepreneurs, activists, creative geniuses, philanthropists, or multi-faceted leaders. That's why a truly great publisher will always champion strong ghostwriters, and it's why we've established relationships with the best in the business.
THE ULTIMATE OUTSOURCE: If you're an established professional or entrepreneur, you're likely an expert delegator, and when you're ready to write your book or memoir, you'd be wise to "outsource" the minutiae. Just make sure your publishing partner gives you editorial veterans and experienced media strategists to handle every step of the development process, from manuscript development to multi-platform launch campaigns to foreign rights.
SPEAK OUT: Underscoring our role as the "ultimate" outsourcing resource, Brown Books' network of speaker's bureaus and representatives makes it easy for authors to enhance awareness, and your publisher and/or PR partner should be equally equipped to help you pursue speaking opportunities and appearances that boost your visibility.
SPECIALTIES & PROBLEM-SOLVERS
CHANNEL YOUR INNER CHILD: Have an exceptional idea for a children's book? Make sure your publisher knows the marketplace, or better yet, has a youth-oriented imprint like Brown Books Kids.
SHARE YOUR FAITH: It's an honor to assist authors in sharing their beliefs, defining their message, and offering their wisdom to others. If you feel called to write a spiritually-focused title, it's important that you choose a team with experience in the unique segment, because a dedicated imprint such as Brown Christian Press can give you a significant advantage in faith-based distribution, marketing, and media.
COMMUNITY MATTERS: As a Dallas-based publisher, we revel in catering to our community. Accordingly, we created a Texas-focused division that supports and honors the Lone Star State. The takeaway? Regardless of the industry or location, organizations that make an effort to be good neighbors are always more likely to make good partners, whether they specialize in publishing, party planning, or plumbing.
SECOND CHANCES: Seriously regretting your decision to self-publish? Stop stressing and apply for an Extreme Publishing Makeover instead. Because you're the reason Brown Books has an entire division dedicated to "fixing" titles for previously self-published authors.
RINGING IN A NEW ERA IN PUBLISHING
We're ringing in the new year by expanding our vision for A New Era in Publishing®. Beginning with opening of the 2016 selling season, Brown Books will now have an independent national sales force to represent our titles, and teams across the Lower 48 in the U.S. will enhance our mission to optimize impact for our authors, their work, and their entrepreneurial endeavors.
In support of our efforts, we’ve released our first national spring and master list catalog. Preview our current and upcoming releases online via edelweiss, and get in touch to discover our industry-defining publishing model, explore The Agency at Brown Books’ full-service PR platform, and learn about our brand-new fulfillment and distribution facility.
We look forward to helping you share your message in 2016!
ABB INSIDER: DON'T MISS THESE 3 MUST-READ RELEASES
Brown Books is kicking off October with three brand-new releases – and we’re bringing you the scoop on our trio of innovative titles! Get the backstory on our latest must-reads, and find out where to get your copies.
WE ARE GENERATION Z
What: Born at the turn of the millennium, the members of Generation Z are no strangers to today's fast-paced, hyperconnected world. They were born in the Digital Age. They grew up online. Their identities, attitudes, and perspectives have all been uniquely integrated with technology. Now, as they stand at the brink of adulthood, it's time for the world to discover: Who is Generation Z?
Who: Writing his first book before the age of 18, Vivek Pandit is more than an author; he’s a prodigy. However, he describes himself as an ordinary teen with extraordinary passions, and we agree!
Where: Order the book online; connect with the author at WeAreGenZ.com, Facebook, or Twitter; and get a signed copy during Pandit’s Dallas event, happening this Saturday, Oct. 3, 3 to 5 p.m., at Barnes & Noble-Southlake.
What: Introducing a “handbook for happiness”! The debut title from businesswoman, life coach, and mentor Shirley Palmer, 12 Words: Think It–Feel It–Do It, educates and inspires others to make joyous, confident, and successful choices that are easily within reach. Based on ingenious and enlightening tenets, the author’s motivational work creates an atmosphere of belief and self-confidence that serves as a roadmap to personal and professional excellence.
Who: Working with celebrities and high-profile entrepreneurs around the globe, author Shirley Palmer is a recognized visionary in personal and professional development, and the sought-after transformation expert and speaker launched a one-of-a-kind approach to mentorship and motivation as the founder of her eponymous consultancy, Shirley Palmer International, LLC.
Where: Order the book online, and connect with the author at ShirleyPalmer.com, Facebook, or Twitter to learn about upcoming appearances in the U.S. and U.K.
What: This compelling novel of historical fiction is the product of impressive research, and author Lottie Guttry illuminates the everyday lives of Civil War soldiers, as well as those who were left at home. Unfolding with great realism, the tale reveals the struggles and triumphs of a North Florida family fighting to uphold their faith and values as the landscape around them plunges into turmoil.
Who: The author grew up in the famous East Texas Oil Field, but Guttry met the family that would inspire Alligator Creek during her studies at Stephen F. Austin State University; now, the former literature professor is a popular writer in the Lone Star State, and she’s published musicals, plays, and diverse works in multiple genres.
Where: Order the book online, and connect with Guttry at AlligatorCreekBook.com and on Facebook to learn about upcoming appearances.
Check back soon for your sneak peek at more fall releases from Brown Books, and join ABB online anytime via Facebook and Twitter!
REMEMBERING EBBY: HER LIFE IN PICTURES
Brown Books is humbled to have been a part of telling and preserving the story of a true Texas icon. We published Ebby Halliday: The First Lady of Real Estate in 2009, and in recognition of late legend’s life and legacy, we’re saddened yet honored to share memorable images and highlights from her inspiring book.
The memorial service for Ebby Halliday Acers will take place Thursday, Sept. 17, at 3 p.m. at Park Cities Baptist Church; the service will also be live-streamed via CBSDFW.com for those unable to attend. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Ebby’s Place at the YW, The Ebby House at Juliette Fowler Communities, Happy Hill Farm and Academy, or the charity of your choice.
For more cherished stories of one of Brown Books’ most beloved authors, read our founder's moving essay, Remembering Ebby: Milli Brown's Tribute to a Texas Legend.
REMEMBERING EBBY: MILLI BROWN'S TRIBUTE TO A TEXAS LEGEND
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery … or so they say.
It was getting down to the zero hour and I still hadn’t found a ukulele. I Googled eBay. Nope; they wanted hundreds of dollars for highly prized wooden versions. Next, I called the local music store, but they, too, wanted way too much money for fancy renditions of something that I was never going to really use. Darn. I only needed the ukulele for an hour … and time was growing short.
Oh well; I was going to have to put my angst on a shelf for a couple of hours. The front desk was buzzing me; my lunch appointment was here.
I got into my car and headed off to a favorite French restaurant with one of my best-selling authors in tow. Jeff had just started a new business and his wife had asked me if I would take him to lunch and give him some pointers on handling his employees. He was such a nice and generous guy, that she was afraid he was going to bequeath all of his hard-earned profits to his staff if he didn’t get some coaching soon. She felt confident that, as a lifelong entrepreneur, I could help show him the ropes of running a business.
As I started to munch on my cornichon-and-Brie sandwich, I thought to myself, To heck with his employees; I’m having a real emergency here. I need a ukulele! I was obsessed with my dilemma, so I impatiently interrupted Jeff just as he was telling me about how, after three weeks of her coming in late, he had decided to give Amy a bonus today because she had been on time. Not able to stifle myself any longer, I blurted out that I was in desperate straits. I needed to find a ukulele. Jeff’s head popped back. He got a big smile on his face, and he said somewhat proudly, “I have a ukulele.”
Did I just hear correctly? “You have a ukulele?” I exclaimed.
“Yes, I just got back from a vacation in Hawaii, where I bought a ukulele as a souvenir.”
“Oh my goodness, can I borrow it? I only need it for an hour tomorrow morning,” I asked.
“Well, if you don’t mind a blue, plastic ukulele, it’s all yours,” he replied.
Blue plastic. Yuck! I didn’t even know they made such things, but you know what they say: beggars can’t be choosers. “Sure. How fast can I get it?” I replied through a scrunched-up face and a forced smile. OK, so it was not exactly what I needed, but it was a ukulele … kinda-sorta.
The next morning, I proudly strolled into my office conference room, where we were all to gather. I was so excited; I knew I was going to win the prize. Now, all my staff had to do was just guess who I was. Wearing a short, gray wig and a black and gold St. John suit, carrying both my newly acquired blue ukulele and a realtor’s “For Sale” sign, I was sure I was going to emerge victorious.
It was October 31. You see, each year at Halloween, it is our tradition at Brown Books to dress up as one of our authors or their books. We have fun guessing who is who and then award a prize for the best costume. This year, I was so proud to be dressed up as my mentor: 98-year-old Ebby Halliday, head of a six-billion-dollar real estate empire. For those of you who don’t know, Ebby’s shtick was singing and playing her ukulele. No, she wasn’t technically a professional entertainer … but that was the point. Her self-deprecating sense of humor endeared her to everyone who met her.
Before becoming a book publisher, I was a family historian, having started a company to help people preserve their heritage. By publishing her memoir, Ebby Halliday: The First Lady of Real Estate, I felt honored to have the best of both worlds. I could preserve her life for her family and friends and, at the same time, share Ebby's incredible story with the rest of the world. Unfortunately, my enthusiasm for my author wasn’t enough for me to claim best in show. I lost to my accountant who was costumed as Beware of the Red Flag Man.
That was over six years ago, but I am seriously considering going as Ebby again this year. She has been on my mind a lot this past week after I learned that she passed away several days ago peacefully in her sleep at the age of 104. You can’t drive down a street in Dallas without seeing her name prominently displayed on a sign or marquee. Yes, she would have been remembered as an icon even if she hadn’t chosen to publish her exceptional book, but I am so honored to have played even a small part in helping to preserve her memory. What a lady and what a story.
The memorial service for Ebby Halliday Acers will take place Thursday, Sept. 17, at 3 p.m. at Park Cities Baptist Church; the service will also be live-streamed via CBSDFW.com for those unable to attend. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Ebby’s Place at the YW, The Ebby House at Juliette Fowler Communities, Happy Hill Farm and Academy, or the charity of your choice.
For more from Brown Books’ tribute to one of our most cherished authors, see the compelling images that capture her moving story in Remembering Ebby: Her Life in Pictures.
BB|BESTSELLERS: 8 REASONS TO UPGRADE YOUR SUMMER READS
Need to upgrade your summer reading list? We’ve got brand new titles to see you through the season! Tap into our revealing previews to discover the latest releases from Brown Books, and find out what’s ahead for fall.
12 WORDS: THINK IT-FEEL IT-DO IT | In this “handbook for happiness,” mindset master Shirley Palmer gives readers the tools to transform their lives and become the best they can be. The key to mastering the game of life lies in twelve simple--yet powerful--words and in Palmer’s trademark motto for success: “Think It, Feel It, Do It”! OCTOBER 2015 | PRE-ORDER NOW
ALLIGATOR CREEK | This compelling novel of historical fiction is the product of impressive research, and author Lottie Guttry illuminates the everyday lives of Civil War soldiers, as well as those who were left at home. Unfolding with great realism, the tale reveals the struggles and triumphs of a North Florida family fighting to uphold their faith and values as the landscape around them plunges into turmoil. OCTOBER 2015 | PRE-ORDER NOW
BAILEY’S REMARKABLE PLAN | A dog. A man. A miracle. In Bailey’s Remarkable Plan, David Hardiman shares his poignant story of struggle, prejudice, and pain. But this is also a story of perseverance, triumph, and love, and it will inspire you, inform you, and challenge you to feel compassion for those suffering silently among us because of circumstances beyond their control. FALL 2015 | PRE-ORDER NOW
BEHIND THE CURTAIN: A PEEK INSIDE LIFE FROM WITHIN THE ER | From Dr. Jeffrey Sterling’s many years at work in the ER comes a collection of his most memorable experiences. By turns hilarious, heartbreaking, and just plain bizarre, these incredible stories can all agree on one thing: in the emergency room, anything that can happen, will. JULY 2015 | ORDER NOW
JOURNEY TO PERSONAL GREATNESS: MIND, BODY & SOUL | Are you on the road to mediocrity, or are you on track to personal greatness? To guide your search for your personal power, Alvin Brown partners with you along the journey. He provides a blueprint for the path to life balance and self-mastery in Journey to Personal Greatness. SEPTEMBER 2015 | PRE-ORDER NOW
LINGER LONGER: Lessons from a Contemplative Life | A weathered door handle. The face of a shorn ewe. A statue of the Buddha. These objects possess true meaning if framed in just the right way. They can fortify and motivate, and perhaps more importantly, they can tell us much about ourselves. Through Linger Longer, photographer and author Carol Mossa channels this philosophy, pairing her stunning images with insightful observations to bring healing and inspiration through the power of pictures. JULY 2015 | ORDER NOW
WE ARE GENERATION Z: HOW IDENTITY, ATTITUDES, AND PERSPECTIVES ARE SHAPING OUR FUTURE | With Generation Z now poised to reach adulthood, their impact in the global arena will soon be felt. But what makes them tick? What are the issues that matter to them? The answers to these questions lie in understanding how their identity is forming, and the debut book from young author Vivek Pandit reveals what shapes the attitudes and perspectives of his generation. OCTOBER 2015 | PRE-ORDER NOW
XBOX REVISTED: A GAME PLAN FOR CORPORATE AND CIVIC RENEWAL | Since retiring from Microsoft, former Chief XBox Officer Robbie Bach has become a civic engineer dedicated to making a difference in the community. Now, he’s drawing upon lessons learned from the creation of the XBox and from the XBox team’s 3P framework--Purpose, Principles, and Priorities--to inspire readers to action as well. SEPTEMBER 2015 | PRE-ORDER NOW
Check back soon for your sneak peek at upcoming releases from Brown Books Kids and Brown Christian Press! And join ABB online anytime via Facebook and Twitter!
ASK AN AUTHOR: BEHIND THE CURTAIN WITH DR. JEFFREY STERLING
A servant-leader in health care, Dr. Jeffrey Sterling is a national and international advisor, entrepreneur, physician, consultant, speaker, and author specializing in public health, consumer health care education and prevention, hospital and provider administration, global health care and business infrastructural development, and pharmacoeconomics. As the founder of Sterling Initiatives, LLC, and Sterling Medical Advice, he holds dual roles as the president and CEO of both organizations and also helms company subsidiaries, including SMA Health Library, SMA LiveChat, Sterling Medical Wellness, and 844-SMA-TALK.
Additionally, the MD and MPH empowers anyone, anywhere, to become better stewards of their own care through his blog Straight, No Chaser, where he shares daily, in-depth information and solutions with more than 32,000 digital followers. Now, Dr. Sterling is expanding his publishing channel with the 2015 launch of his debut title, Behind the Curtain, on July 24. Revealing and unflinching, his new release offers an unfiltered look inside the real-life traumas and triumphs that define emergency medicine, and today, he's giving fans an exclusive peek at the experiences that inspired his first book.
What motivated you to write Behind the Curtain? "Throughout my career, I've been reminded time and again that most of us spend our lives in denial about who we are, what we do, and our susceptibility to the consequences of what we do. I wrote Behind the Curtain to hold a mirror to the public. In the ER, people tend to reveal their truest self, not the representative 'character' they present in polite company, and I hope that this book illustrates that we’re not as uniform as we pretend to be—and that we're not as invincible as our often-oblivious actions would suggest."
What was the most significant question you sought to answer in writing your first book? "I wanted to address many of the significant feelings and questions my patients struggled with, like 'Am I the only one who feels this way? Am I the only one who does this?' The answer is always a resounding 'no.' We live in an amazingly diverse world, and it's unfortunate that people feel as if their choices aren't able to be more freely expressed. We'd do better to empower folks' choices with information to support their decisions."
What do you want your readers to take away from Behind the Curtain? "That life is meant to be lived and enjoyed, and it is best done so by making educated decisions in advance of bad things happening."
Head to JeffreySterlingBooks.com to order your copy of Behind the Curtain and submit your RSVP for coast-to-coast book launch events! For more from Dr. Sterling, tap into his Straight, No Chaser vlog series "8 Ways to Stay out the ER," and to discover his pioneering health care initiatives, please visit JeffreySterlingMD.com and connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.
UNDER THE COVER: BEHIND-THE-SCENES @ #BEA2015
The BBPG and ABB teams are building a strong following at BookExpo America - and we're taking you behind-the-scenes to share exclusive scoop! Find out which famous faces and new fans we connected with in NYC.
The Mom's Choice Awards puts Sashi in the spotlight.
ABB's COO Tom Reale catches up with his former mentor, Workman Publishing's Walter Weintz.
Our teams attend a forum on one of the top trends at this year's event - digital rights management.
Oscar winner Julianne Moore greets readers and fans.
Taking in a bird's-eye view of #BEA2015.
Jonathan Stolper, Nielsen's SVP/Global Managing Director, reveals the latest ebook analytics.
Milli Brown and team end the event with a taste of home in NYC!
Want more insider intel from the expo? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for the latest updates!
AGENCY INSIDER: ABB + INDEPENDENT MAGAZINE
ABB's COO is making headlines! Don't miss Tom Reale in the current issue of the IBPA's Independent magazine, because he's revealing his personal "publishing why."
Want more insider intel from the ABB team? Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter!
ABB BUZZ: READS, REVIEWS, & NEW RELEASES
Want the scoop on our spring lineup? Check out some of the fresh titles that have captured headlines and highlights this season!
BLACK CAT 2-1: Go behind the scenes of Bob Ford's moving true story of a Vietnam helicopter pilot and his crew with Foreword Reviews.
BUILDING A TIMELESS HOUSE IN AN INSTANT AGE: Find out why Kirkus Reviews praises Brent Hull's book as a "persuasive and enjoyable reminder that our homes are reflections of ourselves."
FROM LANDFILL TO HALLOWED GROUND: Watch co-author Frank Marra's interview with Spain's Mitele TV to see what he revealed about the untold story of the largest crime scene in America.
MILLI BROWN + CBS-DFW: Don't miss founder Milli Brown's chat with CBS-DFW on entrepreneurship in Dallas and how women are closing the gender wage gap.
THE SINGLE PLANE GOLF SWING: Get Golf Digest's perspective on Todd Graves' new book to learn why links leaders love his latest release.
SOPHISTICATION IS OVERRATED: Head to The Pink Pagoda to preview the first book from the Slageter Sisters before next week's official launch.
Want even more great resources from ABB and BBPG? Join us on Facebook and Twitter!
UNDER THE COVER: BETTER HOMES & COFFEE TABLE TOMES
Did you know we're the best in Texas - and almost everywhere else - when it comes to coffee table books? Discover the classics and conversation-starters that made our top-five list of springtime favorites.
FOR THE LOVE OF WILD PLACES: With glorious photographs and vivid text, photographer and author Greg Dimijian guides readers through some of the most fascinating and amazingly diverse habitats on our planet, and his book puts the "great" in great outdoors.
SPA WATER: Pam Wenzel's refreshing book is your guide to creating world-class spa water at home. Featuring a collection of 22 delicious drinks from spas around the world, the author shares an appetizing approach to health and wellness through simple, mouthwatering recipes.
ONCE UPON A TIME IN DALLAS: Pat Wheelis Kochan developed a passion for her hometown's past when she was commissioned to portray the city's "Little Mexico" district in watercolor, and her lovely tome paints a nostalgic picture of Dallas' colorful history.
EVERYDAY: Spanning six decades of the architect's life, Leonard Volk's collection of photographs and essays is a compelling portrayal of the artist's perspective and personal inspirations.
INSPIRED CELEBRATIONS: Author Ngoc Nguyen Lay proves that behind every successful party is a gracious, confident hostess, and her gorgeous book takes you behind the scenes of beautifully crafted soirees, revealing event essentials and smart guidance for gatherings big or small.
Want even more great coffee table titles? Stay tuned, because ABB and BBPG are currently developing new releases with diverse photographers and artists! In the meantime, join us on Facebook and Twitter for our latest news and insights.