Category: Clients Crushin’ It

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Clients Crushin’ It: Daniel Bussius

Madison Utley speaks to Daniel Bussius about the process of writing his first book, Marketing Built By Love, the opportunities it has unlocked for him, and how it feels to be able to walk into bookstores across the country and find his work on the shelves.  


Q: Can you talk to me about the motivation behind this project?

A: As a small business owner myself, who has worked with businesses of all sizes since 1998, I’ve noticed a common challenge around marketing. Not only do many business owners grapple with finding the right strategies, but many harbor a genuine dislike for it that really holds them back. Because of this, I ended up dedicating 13 years and over one million dollars to developing a foundational marketing process based on my learning from billion-dollar brands, as well as an understanding of the human-centric aspect of selling. Upon completion, launch, and global validation of this marketing process, I realized the importance of spreading the message to as many people as possible. The way to do that felt clear: I needed to write a book–one that was comprehensive yet accessible, catering to a broad audience while maintaining the caliber of quality that would appeal to established, recognized book buyers and retail stores for stocking. This was where the quest to find help for writing such a book began. 


Q: What next steps did you take once you committed to writing your book? 

A: I tried many different avenues to write the book unsuccessfully, wasting a year of my time as well as a considerable amount of money. Eventually, I connected with Stuart after an exhaustive online search for ghostwriters. His professional achievements impressed me, including being a published author under a major imprint. Our initial conversation was refreshing and reassuring, affirming that he was the right person for the job.

Stuart is a master of his craft. Upon reviewing the manuscript draft, he restructured the outline, made definitive changes to the book’s story arc, enhanced its flow, and incorporated more valuable content for readers. After his involvement, we had a complete manuscript ready for presentation to my publisher, Greenleaf. In their own words, they were impressed to see a manuscript so well polished and with such little editorial work needed from a first-time author. Stuart’s assistance was paramount in shaping the success that my book has experienced thus far.


Q: What did the process then look like with your publisher?  

A: After Greenleaf handled the book’s proofing, formatting, citations, and cover art, they began pitching it to distributors. They cautioned me about the competitiveness in book selection, noting that fewer than 4% of printed books make it into retail distribution annually. However, my book was picked up nationwide by Barnes and Noble. It is also available online through and, of course, Amazon. In its first week post launch, without paid advertising, affiliate marketing, or an official book launch event, the book achieved best-seller status in three major Amazon categories—two in hardcover and one in digital.


Q: How does it feel, knowing that your book is out in the world?

A: The journey from start to finish has been a whirlwind. Stepping into a Nashville bookstore, two thousand miles from my California home, and signing my books displayed on the shelves filled me with an indescribable sense of accomplishment and pride. Writing a book is a significant milestone, whether pursued for personal growth or professional objectives. It challenges one to evolve, reconsider their knowledge, and translate their wisdom into words that resonate with readers worldwide, inspiring them in their own enlightenment. Writing this book has also generated substantial revenue for my marketing agency and led to invitations to notable podcasts and speaking events.


Q: What message do you have for other aspiring authors who suspect they might have a book in them?

A: If you’re here, right now reading this, this is your sign that it’s time for your book to be born. I dare you to create a piece of literary work of the highest caliber, and I urge you to do so with the guidance of a true master of his craft, Stuart Horwitz. He will be your biggest asset, best friend, and guiding light on an incredible journey that you’ll be proud of for the rest of your life.



Owning Labels: If You Write, You’re A Writer

Inkhouse, an integrated PR agency, just released its third collection of employee-authored stories with the coaching and assistance of Book Architecture. A Tiny Break in the Clouds centers around the theme of introspection seen through three separate lenses: mistakes, adaptation/starting over, and joy.

This was the fifth content project put on by Inkhouse that Book Architecture helped to facilitate. Between company founder and CEO Beth Monaghan’s motivations for launching such projects and the time, energy, and vulnerability put in by participating employees, we’re constantly looking for ways to make this a better experience for all involved that will yield the strongest possible product.

Working with people through writing personal essays in a corporate setting helps them get used to the creative process in general, which is both an internal and an external experience. This time around, we redesigned the process so there’s more support than ever.

Inkhouse writers who opted into the project worked with a professional coach on the first draft, mentor groups helped crowdsource input for the second draft, and professional editors worked on the third draft. Essentially, it’s the three draft Book Architecture model in miniature: the first pass is about putting the material down on the page; the second draft is about making sense; the final draft is about putting it all together and making it good.

You might be thinking—I know some of the writers we worked with were thinking—”Okay, great. That’s a lot of support. But how in the world do I know where to start? How do I decide what to write about?”

The great news for them, for you, is that you don’t need to know. Showing up to the first one-on-one with the writing coach with nothing more than a vague “I think I want to write about…” or “I have this one idea…” is all that you need. From there, you can let your intuition rise and direct your next steps. As long as you’re then willing to put the necessary time in (and we all have 100 excuses as to why we can’t, that we’re just going to go ahead and toss out now) your work will get where it’s meant to go.

We tell the Inkhouse employees something I think many of us would benefit from hearing: if you write, you’re a writer. You don’t have to worry about being good. You just have to worry about showing up and being you.

If you don’t go through the process, you’re guaranteed to stall. If you do go through the process, it’s nerve wracking. But then you take the leap and when you put in the time, your work will get better and the excitement takes hold. All writers go through the same thing.

Whether a super senior member of the team or someone who is brand new, it’s a joy to witness the wonder on an Inkhouse writer’s face as they realize their slight spark of an idea has caught fire and suddenly, wham! It’s there, in their hands, in its pristine final form, in a beautifully assembled book.

By allowing themselves to own the mantle of writer, they created art that will last (as we all can).



Clients Crushin’ It: Jimi Simmons

Madison Utley speaks to author Jimi Simmons about writing the first volume of Demon Motors: Run What You Brung, starting in on volume two, and the important balance of finding your own way as a writer while remaining open to the right kind of support. 


Q: Talk to me about your writing past. What kind of experience did you have before working on this book? 

A: My whole career has been in the film industry. Everybody I know writes a screenplay at some point. I hadn’t done any organized writing before, but I’ve always jotted down stories and things that happened that could be good to use later. But when I finally really sat down to write, the screenplay format felt like it was holding me back. I kept finding myself focusing on: “Where’s the camera? What location would this be shot in?” I was preoccupied with all the periphery stuff instead of character development.

Once I switched to a novel format, the storyline stopped feeling secondary. I wrote the majority of the book in two months. I locked myself in and really went for it. The characters are really an amalgamation of personality types I’ve known throughout my life, so I felt like I knew them and could work with them really well. I’d create a scenario and throw them into it and sort of write down their response. It flowed really easily. On the surface, Demon Motors is about the street racing scene in San Francisco, but lest that alienate readers thinking it’s just some gearhead talking about cars, I made sure the interpersonal part of it is really compelling too. 

Q: Tell me the inception of the story. 

A: This book started as a writing practice I used to get deeper into myself, really as a therapeutic thing. I was going through a pretty crazy time personally and I knew from past experience that nothing was going to change or stabilize until I turned inside and figured out the reasons for what was happening and changed it at the core level. So, in the beginning, it was quite a selfish thing. I was determined to get through the parts I needed to work on emotionally and if the story came out, the story came out. If it didn’t, it didn’t. I really did most of the work for myself. But then suddenly, what seemed like random stories and snippets and experiences began to look like they could be tied together. I just wasn’t exactly sure how though. 

Q: What did you do at that point?

A: It was really important to me that the book be true to my vision and so I was hoping to find someone who could guide me and show me the way, while respecting that. I went to a few book fairs and met a bunch of people but it was just this sort of rote: “Well here’s what you need to do if you want to be an author.” Nothing was clicking. I tried tapping all resources available, but unfortunately none of them seemed to fit my style, my voice, or the story I wanted to tell. 

Then I heard Stuart speak at a book fair in Boston and I was like, “I know this guy. This is one of my tribe.” We met up and he was just so supportive. His book, Blueprint Your Bestseller, was incredibly helpful because I had all of these half chapters and paragraphs and content that was related but scattered. Stuart showed me how I could put all of those pieces together into a story that made sense. But the thing I’m most proud of is that when people read this book, they say, “I can hear your voice through the whole thing. It sounds like you’re telling the story.” For me, that’s a huge compliment. That’s what I wanted. It brought the joy back into the process. There’s definitely going to be a Volume Two, which takes place about six years later. I’m a few chapters in and having a lot of fun with it. 

Q: What advice would you give to a writer embarking on their first book project? 

A: I explored almost every resource available to authors and at every turn, there was someone wanting to charge me money to show me how to be like everyone else. Maybe it was because of my age or my experience, but it was easy for me to say, “No, that might be the way it’s ‘supposed to be done,’ but my priority is telling my story my way.” So I’d say don’t wholly accept just anybody’s advice–mine included. Don’t think you need to do it the same way someone else did. Listen to what you know you need to do. Trust your gut and if something doesn’t feel right to you, then find another way to do it. 

That said, at some point you’re going to need help or advice from someone you can trust. It can be hard to find that other voice that A, believes in you; B, has the experience necessary to give good advice; and C, can hear you and you can hear them. But it matters. Whether it’s a writing partner, somebody like Stuart, or a publisher, you need an advocate, that person on your side who will push you to be better while also reminding you: “This is good and this will work.” 

Clients Crushin’ It: Michael Witt

Madison Utley speaks to Michael Witt about his more than two decades of fiction writing, his passion for his ancestral homeland, and how it feels to have his art out in the world upon the publication of his debut novel, I Am Germany


Q: I’d love to hear about how you landed on historical fiction as a genre and, more specifically, why you decided to tell the story you did. 

A: My grandfather was a German immigrant and I have a lot of German blood, so I’ve always been interested in German art and culture in a broad sense. Because of that, I have also always wondered how such a rich cultural nation could fall into the depths of Nazism. I did a lot of reading around that question over the years and never found an adequate answer; honestly, I don’t know that there is one. But it was an idea I wanted to explore further. 

My book addresses that question on a very high level. It explores how Nazism came about, why the German people allowed it to come about, and how it affected the country’s culture. We can’t shy away from that part of the equation, but at the same time I also wanted to highlight how the culture survived and flourished after the war. Germany has been producing great art, literature, and music for centuries–and it still is. There’s something there that’s timeless and indestructible, and I think there’s great beauty in that. 


Q: What was the process of finding a publisher like? 

I started by writing to a number of agents who work on a traditional contract basis. Being a first-time author, I can tell you it is almost impossible to break through. After about three months of doing that and reaching out to over 100 of them, I ended up Googling: publishers who don’t require agents. Köehler Books was on the list that came up. I sent the manuscript over and it was read by Greg Fields who called me to say he loved it and wanted to take it on. 

An added benefit of pivoting from searching for an agent to going straight to a publisher is that once Köehler was on board, they told me we could get the book out in eight to nine months. If I found an agent, I would need to go through months of work with them, and then the agent would need to find a publisher, and then I would need to go through the editing process with that publisher. On that path, it could have been over two years before my book hit the bookstores and I didn’t want that. 


Q: How does it feel to know that your book is, as of September 27, out in the world? 

A: Getting that call from Greg was the culmination of years of dreaming. I can’t tell you how happy I was. I’m so grateful for Stuart. He did some really strong edits on my book and I know I couldn’t have gotten it into the shape it’s in, or gotten to this point of publication, without his help. He’s a stellar gentleman and I’m so glad I got connected to him and Book Architecture.