I remember the phrase, "Don't start something unless you can finish it." In my ego-fueled youth, it usually referred to a potential fight with another guy over some real or imagined slight. Today, I talk with people everyday about books; theirs, mine or those of someone else. I am blown away, although I shouldn't be, by the number of people who have started to write a book but cannot finish it. The obvious response would be to ask why, but the answers usually fall into the categories of no time, lost interest, or too hard. This is unfortunate because the world is being deprived of what may be a very important piece of information because if someone is compelled enough to start to write something, it has a place of importance in the universe or they would not have had the idea in the first place. I especially think of the tragic loss of memories from people who have lived their lives and their offspring will never know who they really were or what motivated, amused, irritated, pleased, disappointed and inspired them.

Sometimes quitting comes from having no plan to begin with and the writing portion starts to become work instead of an exercise in revelation. Like the sculptor who said that he simply chips away the pieces of marble that don't belong there to reveal the figure within, an author with a plan, simply moves from one section to the next to reveal his thoughts, ideas and suggestions.

A friend of mine is famous for using the phrase, "Start from start" but writing is not the starting point of a book, planning is. Discovering your own motivations for creating a book comes earlier than writing and answering the question "What's your book about?" in one sentence, comes before all of it. So here's the deal, if you have started a book or two or three and can't seem to finish it, go back and "start from start." answer the question, "What's your book about?" and begin moving through the steps with that answer being your filter and your inspiration for the days ahead.

Let me know if you have had difficulty moving forward in your authoring process and if you have been able to go past it, how did you do it?



WEST COAST TRAIL: One Step at a Time goes on Kindle tomorrow. OK, so colour me excited and some of you know what I mean. My West Coast Trail book has been on Amazon for a couple of years and I was excited when that first happened and I still enjoy cashing the cheques. It was originally released about five years ago and I am sure that some of you can relate to the excitement of seeing your first book in print for the first time - a very special experience that I got to share with family and a lot of friends. Now another milestone has been reached as I have just finished uploading it to Kindle.

I should share with you the fact that it was a pretty simple process since Amazon already had the files, they converted them for 69.00 to the proper format and then sent them to me a couple of hours ago. I then logged into the digital upload center where I had previously created an account, answered the profile questions and followed the directions, including things like territorial rights, lending rights and pricing and then uploaded the cover and text and presto, it is done! Frankly, it was easier than I expected.

Now, don't get too crazy because I want to be the first one to buy the book on Kindle tomorrow, but I would appreciate any reviews from previous readers or anything else you would like to share on the Amazon site. Now, I need to get back to work and write the final chapter, intro, etc. for my third book and get it on Kindle too, after which, I might just release "To My Secret Mother" the same way.



A trigger sentence compels a reader to read more. It is the hook that causes us to give the author an opportunity to impress us. The old " was a dark and stormy night" from many years ago was a great trigger sentence in its day...but its day has changed. Today we, or more accurately, our readers, are inundated with fast moving visuals, over the top sound and constantly evolving one upmanship but the task for an author is still the same - write a compelling first sentence that will invite the reader to keep going.

In my workshops and coaching, I often use examples from bestselling books to illustrate this point and encourage ( some might say, bully) authors into creating better trigger sentences. In a weekend magazine, I came across a couple of good examples of trigger sentences that make you want to read more or even just simply, buy the book.

Chris Anderson is the editor-in-chief of Wired magazine and one would assume, a geek of the highest order but he can sure create a trigger sentence: "There's no getting around it. Gelatin comes from flesh and bones. It's the translucent, glutinous substance that skims to the top when you boil meat."
from FREE: The Future of a Radical Price by Chris Anderson

So, tell me, given the book's title, did you expect that sentence to start it, do you want to read more of it? Of course you do. And, that is your job as an author, to create a hook that will cause the same curiosity in your readers. That's how every chapter in your book should begin - with a trigger sentence.



I don't know what to write about? Remember those days in school when we were told to prepare a speech or write an essay without being given a topic? Most of us usually replied with the same cry - "but, I don't know what to say." This occasionally happens to writers of all ilks and sometimes I really envy daily columnists for their ability to find topics five times a week and always stay fresh. If you are serious about wanting to write but have not quite gotten into the flow yet, here's another excerpt from my upcoming book that may offer a few ideas:


Writing a book is different than writing an article or a blog - it is more permanent somehow and seems to be a more solid reflection of who we are as a person. This must mean that we need to take the entire process more seriously and whatever we write should be something we have expertise and knowledge about. Without doubt, our readers and the world in general, treat a book with much more importance and respect than the somewhat ethereal world of digital writing on blogs and websites. The printed page holds a mysterious power and respect for its permanence and that is exactly why we are writing a book in the first place, is it not?

A non-fiction book should be based on a level of expertise, training and technical ability that the author can demonstrate in both their biography and their writing prowess but just exactly how do we go about discovering what we are "expert" at? We can look to our formal education credentials for starters. Holding a degree in any discipline will automatically confer expert, or at least knowledgeable, status. There are many more areas in which we can search for writing ideas that will offer real value to our readers and that is the most important criteria. Are we providing value for our readers and another way to look at it is this; how will our writing change a reader’s life for the better?"

 from the upcoming book by Robert J. Bannon
may not be reprinted without written permission and credit

The book goes on to outline a few methods for creating a level of expertise, but with non-fiction ( and even fiction for that matter)  the last sentence is the key. It is our responsibility and opportunity to make the readers life better in some way.


Most of us are familiar with the African proverb about how it takes a village to raise a child and when it comes to producing a book and raising it in the awareness of our target readers, it also takes a village of sorts. This is an excerpt from my upcoming book that deals with the topic of creating a team to help an author raise her book. Some parts of this chapter have been excluded for the sake of brevity:

Does an author need to know everything necessary about the book creation process before she starts to create her own book? Absolutely not! To think that you must have complete knowledge about all of the ins and outs of this business is a total waste of time when the information is available when needed and you can hire people to help you through most of the processes involved. The most important part of creating your book is the courage to put your own ideas and thoughts down on paper. Your creativity, unique perspective and voice are the essential ingredients to creating a book. Even if you do not have complete mastery of the language, grammar, spelling and so on, you can employ someone to help you with these things but they cannot create the essential idea for you, only clean up and organize and make correct what your thoughts are.

This is the time to accept the fact that you will require a team to get your book completed and at some point it will be important to consider who you need on the team. First of all, understand that location means nothing anymore and this will help you to find the right people, at the right time, who will work in your best interests. Everything can and should be done from the comfort of your computer as you deal with book writing coaches, editors, designers, artists, marketers, printers, distributors, agents and publishers. We are not going to spend too much time in this book on the area of social networking, marketing, e-books and readers or the various formats needed for these important areas. This will be the subject of our next book. It is important however, to know that you are responsible, regardless of having a publisher or not, for the marketing of your book. That may come as a surprise to some to learn that landing a publishing contract does not mean the end of your relationship with your book but rather, the beginning of your job to sell it.

It may also come as a surprise to some, if you have not written and published before, that in order to land that traditional contract, you will most likely have to sign over all of the rights to your book including foreign language, movie, audio and most importantly today, the digital rights. I urge you to carefully consider all of the pros and cons and suggest that you not be too eager to give away your hard work too easily. You might seek the counsel of a good book writing coach to advise you in this area. Most of the industry experts have a personal axe to grind and there are very few lawyers, accountants and other objective viewers who have hands-on knowledge of today’s world of publishing. The bottom line on this area is that the world of book creation is in a total state of change at this time and staying current while protecting yourself and making sure that you, as the author, maximize your returns, in all ways, will take some research and astute business decisions. The best advice I can give you is to consider the motivations of the person who is offering you advice and be sure that it is really advice and not a sales pitch.

We have covered some very important areas that relate to “Know-How” already but they bear repeating and review and I encourage you to do so. We have discussed some ways to create an “expert status” for yourself through ... We have covered the 7 characteristics of a bestselling title and you should be using a good, if not finalized, working title by now. We have mentioned the importance of creating a time and place for your daily writings...

... We have also touched on the idea of creating a “team” of experts who would be available to take care of the areas of authorship that you do not want to do yourself. While your primary responsibility is to create your manuscript, you might want to do some of the other jobs yourself or for various reasons may want to contract them out. In the conventional world of publishing, some of these responsibilities are undertaken by the publisher like editing and design. They usually also have control over title and cover creation in addition to distribution channels and so forth. If you are inclined to turn over these areas to a conventional publisher, then you really only need turn your thoughts to promotion. On the other hand, if you are going to retain control of your book, then you also need to accept responsibility for the other parts of making it available in a professional format to your readers. This brings us to editing.

Have I said that everyone needs an independent editor? Choose an editor with care but, without exception, choose an editor. There are several professional editor organizations that can be found online and in most cases they have a method of entering criteria that will help you choose the one for your work. Some criteria you might wish to consider will include experience and educational levels, their own website information, references, familiarity with your topic and so on. A few words of caution here are necessary; everything that we thought we knew about the book process is changing including, and most importantly, the reader and you may need an editor who understands this. The language itself is constantly morphing and this might be important to your reader depending on your topic. There used to be hard and fast rules of grammar, punctuation and spelling and some might feel as though they are under attack, but really, they are simply evolving. If your book is designed to be read by a generation raised on MTV, Twitter and Facebook, there is not much point in insisting on the proper usage of the King’s English - you will lose all credibility with your audience. Likewise, there is a very real move towards authenticity,not necessarily by writers, but rather readers and they demand the same in their books. This means that it is perfectly alright to write in a similar manner to which you speak and your editor needs to know that is how you want to proceed. You will need to have a conversation with an editor that explains all of this while still trusting her to make sure your information flows and connects properly. You can set yourself apart from other writers by insisting that you maintain correct, but up to date style, and technical aspects without constricting your connection to the reader. Once again, know your reader!

And also, know yourself because you might have a more formal speaking approach and you want your writing to reflect who you really are. If you write in one style and speak in a different style, there is a disconnect for your audience, so in order to reflect an air of authenticity, one that is real, it will be necessary to allow your writing to mimic your speaking. Speaking of speech, let’s consider this idea: if you were making a platform speech ( and if your book works, you might) would you say it the same way. In that vein, would you use profanity, humor, poetry and so on? If you would not use a word in front of a live audience, don’t use it in your book. In terms of profanity, less is more. We have become immune to swearing to a large extent (once again, depending on WHO you are writing to) and it will be much more powerful when used sparingly in non-fiction writing...

...Who might you need to have on your team to make this book a reality?
  • Coach/Mentor to keep you on track, focused, accountable, encouraged, on purpose, confident, organized. This person should be experienced, objective, knowledgeable and have only your best interests in mind. They need to be both a taskmaster and a cheerleader.
  • editor - check references and experience - consider referrals
  • cover designer - be sure you have several choices
  • layout designer - not always necessary depending on e-book formatting
  • marketing person who is familiar with the book industry and new media
  • publicist
  • agent
  • publisher
  • printer
  • distributor

This not a complete list and in many instances you will do some of this work yourself and may not need several of the services, but insist on an outside editor please.

There are incredible advances in technology that will allow you to verbally create a book too. Software that will allow you to speak and then have your computer translate that into the written word. For professional speakers, this may be a great way to create a rough written copy of your speeches to include in a book. It is interesting that these forms of software are not only improving but becoming more acceptable in schools as ways to write papers. Keep an eye on this area since the quill and paper may not be the only option for creating your masterpiece.

copyright Robert J. Bannon
May be reprinted with written permission and acknowledgment link 



If you are writing non-fiction, you need to know this about "best selling" lists.


A big "THANK YOU" to all the registrants at yesterday's Book Writing Workshop in Calgary. Aspiring writers always inspire me with their enthusiasm, courage, ideas and energy and yesterday was no exception.
Thanks again everyone. #in"



What does it really take to be an author? It takes a high degree of discipline which can sometimes be difficult for the "creative mind." My best advice is to limit your writing time to about one hour per day, especially if discipline is an issue. Turn off all the social media, cellphone, TV, barking puppy ( haven't figured out how yet), empty coffee cup, pencil sharpener and force yourself to sit in front of the computer screen or blank page and if necessary, just stare at it. Yep, just stare at it for an hour, even if you do not write one word. Repeat until unnecessary or you give up on the writing thing.
Remember, everyone says they want to write a book and 95 % hit this spot and do give up. Perhaps you want to give into your creative, or life changing, or world improving desires in some other way. We all have a contribution to make in whatever way makes the most sense and frankly, has the least roadblocks for each of us. It doesn't have to be difficult to be worth doing.



If you are involved in anyway, with the book industry, you cannot afford to miss this information. Whether you are an author, a writer, editor, printer, publisher, retailer, marketer or even reader, this collaboration has the potential to change everything you thought you knew about the creation, marketing and distribution of books.

The combination of marketing, money and more importantly, thinking power that is bringing this project to fruition has wide ranging and incredibly exciting possibilities to anyone involved, including you and I. I suggest strongly that you click on the link and read the short blurb and then subscribe to the Domino Project newsletter, blog or Twitter feeds. Stay on top of what is going to impact your life here.

Please pass this blog on to others in your circle, especially if they are readers or authors.



It is always about the reader, about the customer, about the buyer, about the end user and sorry about the "STUPID."

As authors it is sometimes easy to forget that we are writing for someone else and yes, I know about the phrase that we have to write for ourselves. Today, the art of creating a book is really all about who will read it, who will benefit from it (besides the author, the publisher, the printer, the storekeeper and the candlestick maker). If we keep in mind that we are writing TO A READER and that the reader is looking for value in either entertainment or information (or both), then we will be well on our way to creating something worthwhile in a very noisy marketplace. So, here's the lesson, clearly define who is going to read your book and write it to them - even better if you can imagine your ONE ideal reader and write it for that person.

What would happen if textbooks were written that way...perish the thought and lack of publisher profits. How can you tell I have a daughter in university?
Please feel free to subscribe to this blog and send it on to others.



As authors, we often do not realize that we need to create a brand in today's world of  business. We should not mistake our careers as being different from that of a business either. An author, regardless of their publishing process, is always responsible for promoting their own work and so the importance of creating a brand is absolute today.

I came across this excellent blog this morning that offers you 125 questions to ask yourself as you create your own brand and they apply to authors as we make our efforts available to the world. I urge you to take a look and decide on your methods of moving forward in promoting yourself and your work. Many of the questions are essential to making sure you are writing your book for your intended audience and will keep you on track as you work toward completion of a much better, more focused book.

Go here to read how you can create your own brand.