• 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.

If it really was a no-brainer to make it on your own in business there’d be millions of no-brained, harebrained individuals quitting their day jobs.”

– Bill Rancic, "The Apprentice"

The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”

– Carl Rogers

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"

Do you have the desire to create something new; the strength of conviction to believe your creation will be successful, and the reservoir of energy necessary to thrust it into the marketplace?”

– Steven Schussler

Challenge is a dragon with a gift in its mouth. Tame the dragon and the gift is yours.”

– Noela Evans

He who knows he has enough is rich.”

– Tao Te Ching

I always maintained that the greatest obstacle in life isn’t danger, it’s boredom. The battle against it is responsible for most of the events in the world — good or ill.”

– Dr. Evelyn Vogel, Dexter

The world I believed in, back in my most innocent, uninformed, childish mind—is real.”

– Martha Beck

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

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

– Erica Jong

Running that first shop taught me business is not financial science; it’s about trading.”

– Anita Roddick, founder, The Body Shop

We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.”

– Winston Churchill

Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity.”

– Ray Bradbury

Whatever you do may seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.”

– Gandi

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

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

Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become.”

– Steve Jobs

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

– Marcel Proust

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

– Brian Tracy

The less effort, the faster and more powerful you will be.”

– Bruce Lee

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

– Leonard Cohen

Treat the attainment of happiness in the same way an entrepreneur would approach building a business — with a vision, plan, goals, and a systematic approach.”

– Ted Leonsis

I can’t go back to yesterday—because I was a different person then.”

– Lewis Carroll

You must have chaos within you, to create a dancing star.”

– Frederic Nietzsche

Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.”

– Basil King

Ripeness is all.”

– William Shakespeare

The gem cannot be polished without friction; nor man perfected without trials.”

– Chinese proverb

Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.”

– Leo Jozef Suenens

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

– Mary Oliver

You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing.”

– Maya Angelou

We never know how high we are
 till we are called to rise;
 And then, if we are true to plan,
 Our statures touch the skies.”

– Emily Dickinson

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

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

– Eve Ensler

If you think you are too small to make a difference, try going to sleep with a mosquito in your room.”

– A wisdomism

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

– Debbi Fields, Mrs. Fields Cookies

Are you willing to help other people succeed even when it’s not a requirement of your job to be of assistance?”

– Steven Schussler

Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value.”

– Albert Einstein

The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”

– Carl Rogers

If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.”

– Thomas Edison

Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail. There’s only make.”

– Corita Kent

Success is about finding a livelihood that brings joy, self-sufficiency, and a sense of contributing.”

– Anita Roddick

We are perfectionists. We are hungry to work all the time. We are entertained by every aspect of business and we never want to stop working.”

– Suzy Welch

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”

– Dalai Lama

Sometimes the dreams that come true are the dreams you never even knew you had.”

– Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones

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

– Robert H. Schuller

An entrepreneur tends to bite off a little more than he can chew hoping he’ll quickly learn how to chew it.“


– Roy Ash, co-founder of Litton Industries

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

– African Proverb

You often meet your fate on the road you take to avoid it.”

– Goldie Hawn

Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.”

– Helen Keller

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.”

– Mark Twain

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