• September 2014

Are You Ready to Write a Best Seller?

Who doesn’t want to write a book? Business owners, especially, are interested in penning their thoughts and ideas, and in sharing them with the world. Writing a book is not only a great way to market a business, it’s a powerful way to help entrepreneurs get on a speakers bureau. It also creates a new revenue stream through the sale of their books.

A case in point is “PR Rules: The Playbook” our new book, available now on amazon.com. The 176 pages of this entrepreneur’s guide to supersizing a small business are filled with advice that will help small-business owners learn how to write and sell their books. We also share our entire playbook on how to rock a PR, marketing, advertising, social media, and sales campaign.

Plus, in 2014 we launch the Inkandescent Publishing Company to help more small-business owners make their dream of becoming an author come true. Click here for details.

Still, the question remains: How can you turn your book into a best seller? For insights into how to accomplish that big, beautiful, hairy goal, we got advice from Kate DiCamillo, a woman who is a wizard when it comes to writing books that warm hearts, touch souls—and sell millions.

DeCamillo is also the winner of tons of prestigious writing awards, including the 2014 Newbery Medal for her latest bestseller, “Flora & Ulysses;” as well as the National Book Award (2001), the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award (2006), and the (Theodor Seuss) Geisel Award (2007, 2011). On top of that, she is the 2014-2015 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature—which means this celebrity author is making the rounds to meet kids across the country.

We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate Back to School Month.

In this issue, all of our columnists also offer advice on how to accomplish more of your business goals:

  • We welcome attorney Lisa Hughes, who is writing our new Estate Planning column—and penning a book (hopefully a best seller) on the topic. She starts by explaining the basics.
  • Insurance expert Dave Beck, a partner at the financial services firm Egan, Berger & Weiner, LLC, sheds light on how members of the “sandwich generation” can better prepare for their own senior years in this month’s Retirement column.
  • History Teacher of the Year Tim Bailey explains why it’s so important that kids and adults understand history in this month’s Education column.
  • Attorney and entrepreneur Stephanie Bhonslay reveals the joys and drama of leaving her corporate job to grow her company, GardenU, in our September installment of LiveLoveLaughing.com.
  • Robin Miller takes a trip down memory lane, recalling the bliss of buying that new lunch box, and advises applying that same excitement to your next speech in our Public Speaking column.
  • Want to read another best seller? Don’t miss Phil Done’s “32 Third Graders and One Class Bunny,” which is sure to enchant parents and teachers.

  • Illustrator Keith Gordon Campbell breathes life into the anthropomorphic tale of a girl and a talking squirrel in “Flora & Ulysses.” Check out the Q&A that our art director Michael Gibbs did with Campbell in this month’s Fine Art column.

We leave you with this parting thought, which is actually a little “Squirrel Poetry” from “Flora & Ulysses”: “Nothing would be easier without you, because you are everything, all of it—sprinkles, quarks, giant donuts, eggs sunny-side up—you are the ever-expanding universe to me.”

Whether you are heading back to school, or watching your book climb the best-seller list, here’s to your incredible, indelible, Inkandescent success! — Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher, author PR Rules: The Playbook

Back to School: Let's Go on an Illuminating Adventure

COVER STORY: SEPTEMBER 2014

Beloved Children’s Book Author Kate DiCamillo Brings Animals—and Magic—to Life

By Hope Katz Gibbs, Publisher, Be Inkandescent magazine

Flora Belle Buckman is 10 years old and hates romance. She prides herself on being a natural-born cynic, and while she wants to believe in superheroes, she just can’t make herself buy into the premise.

At least, that’s how she feels during the summer after 5th grade when she’s reading, “The Illuminated Adventures of the Amazing Incandesto!”

With the whoosh of a vacuum cleaner, that all changes. Flora’s neighbor, Mrs. Tickham, while using her new Ulysses Super-Suction, Multi-Terrain 2000X—on the lawn—sucks up an unassuming squirrel, and the incident magically gives him superpowers. From then on, the squirrel is known as (what else?) Ulysses.

“Holy bagumba!” shouts Flora, witnessing the scene from her bedroom window.

Holy bagumba, indeed.

Magical realism abounds in the 240 pages of Kate DiCamillo’s “Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures.” After his encounter with the 2000X, Ulysses is born anew with powers of strength, flight, and misspelled poetry. Their friendship helps Flora discover the power of having an open heart.

Themes of hope and belief amid impossible circumstances are the hallmark of DiCamillo’s wildly popular novels. Her 12 New York Times best-selling titles have sold nearly 20 million copies and have been translated into 39 languages.

Adding to the appeal of this latest tome are illustrations by former Hollywood interior designer Keith Gordon Campbell, whose genre-bending approach blends graphic and comic-style in the artwork.

It is no surprise that “Flora & Ulysses” is the 2014 Newbery Medal-winner—another honor for DiCamillo to add to her collection, which includes the National Book Award (2001), the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award (2006), and the (Theodor Seuss) Geisel Award (2007, 2011).

She is also the 2014-2015 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature—which means this celebrity author will be making the rounds to meet kids across the country. Yet, the modest DiCamillo says she’s stunned that any of her books have even made it into print, much less onto the silver screen.

“This almost sounds disingenuous, but there’s a large part of me that is still hoping I will simply get published,” DiCamillo admits. “I wrote for six years and got a lot of rejection letters before I sold anything.”

In fact, DiCamillo didn’t consider a career as a writer until one of her professors at the University of Florida told her she had “a certain facility for words.”

“Because I was 20 years old, I thought he was telling me I was wildly talented. So I ditched the idea of grad school and bought a bunch of black turtlenecks and sat around telling everyone that I was a writer—for the next 10 years. I wasn’t writing anything, mind you, just telling everybody that I was a writer.”

To make a living, she traded the turtlenecks for a light-blue polyester jumpsuit and worked as a guide at several Florida theme parks, including Circus World and Disney’s EPCOT.

“My job was basically to tell people, ‘Watch your step,’” she shares. At 30, all that changed. She moved to Minneapolis and made writing her priority.

Holy unanticipated occurrences! Her 2000 breakout book, “Because of Winn-Dixie,” won critical acclaim and became a feature film in 2005. Like the sensationally scrappy Flora, this book’s star is another 10-year-old. This girl, named India Opal, rescues a scruffy dog that was wreaking havoc in the Winn-Dixie supermarket, and of course, adventures ensue.

DiCamillo’s 2003 mega hit, “The Tale of Despereaux,” became an animated movie in 2008. This fantasy follows Despereaux Tilling, a mouse with giant ears, who sets out on a quest to rescue a beautiful human princess named Pea.

Why do animals have starring roles in her books?

“It’s not a conscious thing,” admits DiCamillo, now 49. “Sometimes I sit there and think, ‘Oh boy, I’ve got to make sure there isn’t an animal in this one.’ But as readers, we’re inclined to open our hearts to an animal. Once we do, we give the rest of ourselves over to the story. And that’s when the magic happens.”

Don’t stop now! Click here to read Kate DiCamillo’s thoughts on being the 2014-2015 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature in our September Tips for Entrepreneurs. Click here to listen to our Q&A on the Inkandescent Radio Network.

Also be sure to read our Q&A with “Flora & Ulysses” illustrator Keith Gordon Campbell.

How Do Stories Connect Us? A Q&A With Children's Literature Ambassador Kate DiCamillo

Award-winning author Kate DiCamillo is the newly appointed 2014-2015 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.

In the last two decades, she has earned 11 New York Times best-selling titles and sold a combined nearly 20 million copies in print worldwide. Her books have been translated into 39 languages, and two have been turned into major motion-picture feature films: “Because of Winn-Dixie,” and “The Tale of Despereaux.”

DiCamillo recently participated in a Q&A with the Children’s Book Council about her new ambassadorial role in promoting reading and literacy. She is looking forward to traveling the country over the course of her two-year reign, and she looks forward to seeing new places, meeting new people, and gathering groups to read together through her “Stories Connect Us” platform.

Scroll down for her thoughts on what else she’s looking forward to.

What are some things you are most looking forward to during your time as National Ambassador?

Kate DiCamillo: I am looking forward to going places I haven’t gone. I am looking forward to seeing faces I haven’t seen. And I am looking forward to being in rooms filled with people who are reading together.

What do you hope to accomplish in your role as National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature?

Kate DiCamillo: I hope I can somehow convince people that reading together is a way for us to see each other. And that that would be a happy and joyous thing. And that there is nothing but pleasure and connectivity in stories. Reading should not be a task; it should be a celebration.

Your stated platform is “Stories Connect Us.” How do they connect us?

Kate DiCamillo: We are all connected by stories because we are stories ourselves. There’s that wonderful quote from Muriel Rukeyser: “The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.” When we learn someone else’s story, it shifts the fabric of our being. We are more open. And when we are open, we connect.

How will you advocate your platform?

Kate DiCamillo: Well, I would love it if I could talk to people who have gathered together because they are reading together. I would like to go to towns, schools, hospitals, community centers, anywhere we can get people to gather and talk about books they have read together, and how reading together has changed how they see each other.

What sort of change would you like to see come about through reading together?

Kate DiCamillo: I would like to see if we can all open up and see each other.

What do you mean when you say “We are made of stories?”

Kate DiCamillo: If you sit down and talk with anybody at length (child or adult) you can get them to tell you amazing stories. Everybody’s life is a story just waiting to be told.

With several social media platforms available, anyone and everyone can tell/post/blog their story. Does this form of storytelling connect us?

Kate DiCamillo: Oh, yes. I think so. It’s still stories. It’s still windows into different lives.

What books/stories do you recommend be read together in realizing your platform?

Kate DiCamillo: I might have to work on compiling a list. Off the top of my head: “Wonder,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Whistling Season,” “A Single Shard,” “Charlotte’s Web,” “The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963.”

Republished with permission from the Children’s Book Council.

Click here to learn more about the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.

Click here to listen to our podcast interview with Kate DiCamillo on our Inkandescent Radio Show, Authors Between the Covers.

A diamond is a lump of coal that stuck with it.”

– Norwegian proverb

Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

– Christopher Robin to Pooh

My goal was to tell the life side of the story. We have become a nation of voyeurs that expect sensationalism, and that offends me.”

– Kathleen Jo Ryan

Why am I whispering when I have something to say?”

– Eve Ensler

Entrepreneurs need to search purposefully for the sources of innovation that indicate opportunities for success.”

– Peter F. Drucker

I may not be able to change what takes place, but I can always choose to change my thinking.”

– Michelle Sedas

To find what you seek in the road of life, leave no stone unturned.”

– Edward Bulwer Lytton

The fixity of a habit is generally in direct proportion to its absurdity.”

– Marcel Proust

It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”

– William Shakespeare

Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which obstacles vanish.”

– John Quincy Adams

You take your life in your own hands, and what happens?
 A terrible thing: no one to blame.”

– Erica Jong

Traveling is one way of lengthening life, at least in appearance.”

– Benjamin Franklin

We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”

– Joseph Campbell

The man who acquires the ability to take full possession of his own mind may take possession of anything else to which he is justly entitled.”

– Andrew Carnegie

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly,
 what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Always look at what you have left. Never look at what you have lost.”

– Robert H. Schuller

The biggest flaw in our existing theory of capitalism lies in its misrepresentation of human nature.”

– Muhammad Yunus

I was taught at a very young age that you can do whatever you want to, but you have to make it happen — not just talk about it.”

– Kathleen Jo Ryan

In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.

– Robert Frost

The awakening to the mystery of life is a revolutionary event; in it an old world is destroyed so that a new and better one may take its place.”

– J.J. Van Der Leeuw, The Conquest of Illusion

It is only when the mind is free from the old that it meets everything anew, and in that there is joy.”

– J. Kristnhamurti, The First and Last Freedom

The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. The greatest failure is to not try.”

– Debbi Fields, Mrs. Fields Cookies

A people who mean to be their Governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”

– James Madison

It is to no purpose to turn away from the real nature of the affair because the honor of its elements excites repugnance.

– Carl von Clausewitz, On War

4oz tequila + 1oz TripleSec + 2oz lime juice + 1oz simple syrup (sugar=water), 1 cup crushed ice. Shake + dance around the kitchen.

– Avenida Margarita

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes.”

– Marcel Proust

When you are asked if you can do a job, tell ‘em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.”

– Theodore Roosevelt

A truly forgiving person is someone who experiences all the anger merited by injustice and still acts with fairness and compassion.”

– Martha Beck

Entrepreneurs willingly assume responsibility for the success or failure of a venture and are answerable for all its facets.”

– Victor Kiam

Do not say, ‘why were the former days better than these,’ for it is not from wisdom that you ask this.”

– Ecclesiastes, 7:10

The quality of your life is directly related to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably live with.”

– Tony Robbins

Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.”

– Robert Frost

Education is an admirable thing to have, but it is well to remember that nothing worth knowing can be taught.”

– Oscar Wilde

Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them!”

– Madam C.J. Walker

There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”

– Leonard Cohen

Of course there is no formula for success except perhaps an unconditional acceptance of life and what it brings.”

– Arthur Rubinstein

This is the age when magical technologies make more and more radically fun ideas plausible, even easy. You’re only limited by your creativity.”

– Martha Beck

As your desire is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny.”

– Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

Think of yourself as on the threshold of unparalleled success. A whole, clear, glorious life lies before you. Achieve! Achieve!”

– Andrew Carnegie

Anything not worth doing well is not worth doing.”

– Warren Buffett

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.”

– Robert Louis Stevenson

To follow, without halt, one aim: There’s the secret of success.”

– Anna Pavlova

If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is compromise.”

– Robert Fritz

No matter how difficult and painful it may be, nothing sounds as good to the soul as the truth.”

– Martha Beck, from "Leaving the Saints"

He who wants to tear down a house must be prepared to rebuild it.”

– African Proverb

Don’t follow your dreams. Chase them.”

– Richard Dumb

How do you stay resilient? It’s about momentum. Like riding a bicycle. If you stop you fall over. So I keep pedaling.”

– Diane Lane

Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. 
Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.”

– Mary Jean Irion

Persist and persevere, and you will find most things that are attainable, possible.”

– Lord Chesterfield

Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, ‘What’s in it for me?’”

– Brian Tracy

Be Inkandescent Magazine's Back Issues

Don’t miss the great advice our entrepreneurs have offered in the past. Click below to view our back issues.