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Writing and Publishing

Celebrate Being a Writer

Even though it took me a while to call myself a writer, I’ve been writing most of my life. In high school, I learned I had a knack for it, and it’s been part of almost every job I’ve had. Although I’ve had some great jobs, my work as a full-time writer is the most rewarding of anything I’ve ever done.

Using words to educate and entertain others is an art form that I cherish. Being an author and writing every day is a job so wonderful that it doesn’t even feel like work. I get to influence and encourage others with my words. How amazing is that?

I don’t plan on ever retiring. I like writing too much to stop. My prayer is that I will be able to write—and write well—until the day I die, which I hope is a long way off.

Until then, I will persist in my goal to change the world one word at a time.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

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News

Peter DeHaan Publishing to Consolidate Imprints

Benefits Include Streamlined Production and Easier Management

Peter DeHaan Publishing Inc announced that it would consolidate imprints to streamline production, avoid unnecessary complexity when publishing books, and ease management.

President Peter DeHaan commented on the change noting that “Our four imprints had an elegant structure to them, which provided a source of personal pride, but they offered no benefit to readers and unnecessarily complicated the reporting and tracking of book sales.”

The four imprints are Rock Rooster Books, Spiritually Speaking Publishing, Advanced Call Center Resources, and Edgemore Publishing.

The Spiritually Speaking Publishing imprint focused on books about biblical Christianity. As the name implies, Advanced Call Center Resources provided content for the call center and contact center industry, as well as telephone answering services. Edgemore Publishing focused on fiction works, primarily young adult (YA) and new adult.

All three will merge into Rock Rooster Books. Prior to the consolidation, Rock Rooster Books served the business market, but will now become a generic imprint to cover all books in all formats.

Rock Rooster Books gets its name after company president Peter DeHaan. “Peter means stone or the rock in Hebrew, and DeHaan means the rooster in Dutch,” the publisher said.” Merging these together resulted in Rock Rooster Books.

“The transition has already begun but will take years to complete,” noted DeHaan. “As we update older books on these imprints, we’ll phase out their respective imprints and replace it with Rock Rooster Books.”

Edgemore Publishing, however, has already been phased out and removed from the Peter DeHaan Publishing website. Advanced Call Center Resources will follow soon. Because of the number of books produced under the Spiritually Speaking Publishing imprint, phasing it out will take much longer.

This effort to consolidate imprints will not affect readers, book availability, or production schedules. “It’s an internal process to allow for increased efficiency and smoother operational management,” DeHaan concluded.

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Writing and Publishing

Balancing the Indie Publishing Versus Traditional Publishing Debate

Here are the pros and cons of indie publishing versus going with a traditional publisher:

Traditional Publishing Pros and Cons: In most cases, traditional publishing requires less of the author, should result in more book sales over a wider distribution, and carries the prestige of a publisher selecting your book for publication. The negatives include the effort to find a publisher, the length of time to publish the book, and earning much less per copy sold—if anything at all.

Indie Publishing Pros and Cons: If you’re self-disciplined, indie publishing allows you to get your book to market faster. You also maintain full control over the final product and make more on each sale. The downside is that you must view publishing as a business and cover all the costs of producing the book yourself. 

A commonly-cited reason to not indie publishing is the requirement to market and promote our books. While it’s true that if we indie publishes we must market our books if we hope to sell any, traditional publishers also expect us to help promote, market and sell our books. If you can’t or won’t do that, the publisher is apt to pass on publishing your book. In short, they want authors who can move product.

Conclusion: There is no right answer to the issue of indie publishing versus pursuing a traditional book deal. It depends on the goals and priorities of each author. Also, some authors do both, depending on the book. They’re hybrid authors, going with traditional publishers for some books and indie publishing others.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of PublishingGet your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

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Business Articles

Customer Rip-Offs

Make Sure Your Objectives Align with Your Practices

To avoid the huge depreciation loss that all new cars undergo, I buy used. However, there was a season when I bought new. This story is about one of those times. 

Although it wasn’t my practice to go to the dealer for maintenance, my new car changed that habit. There was warranty work and the enticement of coupons for low-cost oil changes.

Soon my default destination for auto service changed. It was smart marketing on their part. When the discounts stopped, I still returned to them for service. Too bad their later actions drove me away.

An Expensive Oil Change

It was time for my regular service, and I had a list of other things needing attention. Since I’m not a mechanic, I tried not to tell them what work to do. Instead, I informed them of symptoms. I wanted to make sure that I didn’t ask and pay for a tune-up when the problem may have been a loose vacuum hose. It only took one passive-aggressive mechanic to do what I suggested—while ignoring the real problem—to make me change my approach.

When I dropped off my car, I said, “It’s time for an oil change. Also, it pulls to the right, and it starts hard and runs rough.” I left expecting they would change the oil, do a front-end alignment, and give my car a tune-up. Based on their posted pricing, I estimated the cost would be $100.

When I picked up my car, they presented me with a $175 bill. As I read the paperwork, my mild surprise changed to anger. 

Change oil: Oil, lube, filter, labor: $24.95.

Car pulls to right: Test drove car; recommend front-end alignment: $19.95.

Hard to start: Instruct driver not to press gas pedal while starting vehicle: $56.00.

Runs rough: Perform engine analysis; checks okay; do tune-up in 3,000 miles: $75.00.

For $175, I had my oil changed and received some costly advice. My complaints to the service manager accomplished nothing, so I left and never returned. Once again, my local mechanic, whom I trust to do quality work and charge fair prices, is servicing my cars.

Like many businesses, car dealers measure the work their employees do. Garages monitor mechanics to make sure they’re productive throughout the day, document and bill for all their work, and complete repairs within the standard time allotment. Mechanics who meet expectations receive raises and promotions. Mechanics who don’t, even when it’s in the customer’s best interest, earn poor reviews and lower raises. Or they’re fired. 

Some garages pay their mechanics based on billable work. Therefore, the more they bill, the more they make. I’ve been to those places too. At one shop specializing in foreign car repair, it seemed every bill was always around $500—sometimes more. They weren’t in business long.

Other people also bill by time. Lawyers and accountants come to mind. A lawyer once told me to never use an attorney trying to make partner. To get the partners’ attention, they must log over 2,000 billable hours a year, and their clients pay the price.

A Costly Failure

I once called my CPA’s office to discuss converting my IRA to a Roth IRA. I talked with the junior member they’d assigned to me, asking if there were any other tax ramifications I should know about. She said there weren’t and offered to do an analysis for me. 

“That’s not necessary,” I replied. “You confirmed what I needed.” 

“But we just got this new program that I want to try out,” she begged. “Will you let me run an analysis?” Assuming I was doing her a favor, I consented. The call took less than a minute. A few days later, I received a one-page spreadsheet confirming I should switch to a Roth IRA, along with a bill for $100. 

The managing partner agreed the charge was unwarranted, but insisted I pay it anyway. He promised to make it up to me later. 

I found a different tax advisor.

An Inflated Bill

Though people don’t have their TVs repaired anymore, this wasn’t always the case. Long ago a friend landed a summer job repairing televisions. He earned 20 percent of whatever he billed. An enterprising guy, he analyzed the rate chart and determined how to add $35 to each bill—for which he’d earn $7—for only a minute and a half of additional work. 

He would take the back off the unit and hit it with a burst of compressed air, charging $8.00 to “clean chassis.” Next, he would squirt the tuner with cleaning spray, charging $10.50 to “lubricate tuner.” Then he would turn on the set. If the filaments of the vacuum tubes glowed, he would bill $16.50 to “check all vacuum tubes.” With $35 of basic tasks completed, he would then repair the problem, adding even more to the bill. 

He earned a lot of money that summer.

Measuring Business Success

There’s an old business saying (of disputed origin), that “What gets measured gets done.” Some have tacked on a follow-up adage that “What gets paid for gets done better.”

Consider what you measure in your business and how you compensate your staff. The goal is to improve your operation. This could be to pursue greater efficiency, increase production, decrease costs, or maximize revenue. 

Consider the consequences with care. 

Attempting to please you, maximize their rating, or earn a raise, employees may do things that drive away customers, lower quality, or hurt your business. This is the wrong outcome.

If you monitor productivity, do your staff members alter their work habits to appear more productive? Do staff assume they need to work faster, setting aside quality? If your customer service staff, programmers, or project managers track project time, is unnecessary work performed? Are time logs padded? Do they assume they need 2,000 hours of billable time a year to get a raise?

Might your commissioned sales reps sell customers what they don’t need or want just to meet their quota or earn a bonus? Do you have a policy of not giving credits, either stated or implied, that leaves staff with no viable solution for frustrated customers?

Last, consider billing. What message do your invoices send? Are they easy to understand? Can your staff explain every charge in a way that makes sense to customers? Are you billing surcharges and blaming it on outside forces?

Yes, there may be sound business reasons for each task that you measure. These practices can leave your business stronger and on a firmer financial footing, but there’s also a risk. Take care in measuring business success. Be astute and pragmatic—from the customer’s perspective—to produce the results you want.

Customer Service Success Tip

Make sure that what you measure and pay employees to do balances your business’s financial goals with what’s in your customers’ best interest. 

Even better, strive to keep customers happy. That’s the best way to maintain a viable business.

Read more in Peter’s new book, Sticky Customer Service, to uncover helpful customer service tips, encouraging you to do better and celebrating what you do best.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, shares his lifetime of business experience and personal insights with others through his books and blogs to encourage, inspire, and occasionally entertain.

Categories
News Writing and Publishing

Sticky Customer Service

Do you lose customers about as fast as you gain them?

It doesn’t have to be that way. The Sticky Customer Service book will show you how.

Sticky Customer Service

Customer service isn’t a once-and-done effort. It takes ongoing work to truly meet your customers’ expectations. In Sticky Customer Service, unearth practical, action-oriented insights to help you turn customer service from an embarrassing weakness into a business strength.

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan's book Sticky Customer Service

With over three decades of business and entrepreneurial experience, Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, offers his prescriptions to serve customers better and stop driving them away.

You’ll discover:

  • The three key areas where customer service occurs and why they must work together.
  • How to avoid common errors that too many business’s make.
  • Why delighting customers is not the best approach and sets up future failure.

Based on a lifetime of real-world examples, the Sticky Customer Service book reveals customer service gone wrong and customer service done well.

Customer service is not a set-it-and-forget-it initiative. Never lose sight of this. Sticky Customer Service will keep you moving forward and on track.

Uncover helpful customer service tips through this compelling read, encouraging you to do better and celebrating what you do best. Learn how to meet your customers’ expectations every chance you get.

Get Sticky Customer Service and turn customer retention into a strength.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, shares his lifetime of business experience and personal insights with others through his books and blogs to encourage, inspire, and occasionally entertain.