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This book will change your life

What are Power Stories? What makes them so effective? And why do you need eight of them? Prepare to harness the lost art of storytelling as you transform your brand into an icon and your customers into loyal advocates!

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Podcast: So you want to be a writer

Get your weekly dose of news in the world of writing, publishing and blogging. Join Valerie Khoo and co-host Allison Tait as they give you insider gossip and ideas on how to make it as a successful writer.
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Podcast: So you want to be a Photographer

Get your weekly dose of news in the world of photography, publishing and blogging. Join Valerie Khoo and co-host Gina Milicia as they give you insider gossip and ideas on how to make it as a successful photogrpher.
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What entrepreneurs can learn from Rocky 7. Yes, 7!

I love the Rocky movies. (Except for Rocky 5 which really just should not have been made.) But every other Rocky movie has just hit the spot for me. So when Rocky Balboa undertook his final fight in Rocky 6, it's safe to say that I was a little sad that it was the end of an era. But I should have known better. Because he's back... in Rocky 7. This is not a joke. And unsurprisingly... I. Just. Can't. Wait. Before you pooh pooh this movie and write it off as a ridiculous story about an ageing boxer, let...
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PHOTO Ep 32: Work it! How to find and develop your own photographic style

Every week I co-host the podcast So you want to be a photographer with acclaimed photographer Gina Milicia. It’s vital that you develop your own photographic style. When you’re an emerging photographer, you can spend a lot of time trying to create the “look” that your client wants (and that’s ok!). But you also need to devote time to creating and nurturing your own style. In this episode, Gina and Valerie discuss the steps you need to take in order to discover the signature style that you can call your own, whether that’s glamour, grit – or anything in between. Photographers like Herb...
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WRITER Ep 70 Will you read “Go Set a Watchman” (we’re divided)? The real writer behind Nancy Drew, a Lego storytelling app, comprises versus consists, and how to deal when you feel like an imposter. And we talk to brother-and-sister author duo Nicholas and Alison Lochel from the Zarkora series.

Every week I co-host the podcast So you want to be a writer with fellow journalist and author Allison Tait. In Episode 70 of So you want to be a writer: The hotly debated “Go Set a Watchman” by Harper Lee, the exciting life of the original Nancy Drew author, cool new Lego visual storytelling app, a 15 minute writing productivity hack, the difference between comprises and consists, Writers in Residence brother-and-sister author duo Nicholas and Alison Lochel from the Zarkora series, how to deal with feeling like an imposter, and more! You can listen via: iTunes, Stitcher, or find the transcript, show notes and listen via...
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WRITER Ep 69 Luxurious libraries, cool maps of fictional worlds, how to write a bestseller while losing weight, advice from children’s book editors, and fewer versus less. And we talk to Writer in Residence Sarah Hepola, author of Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget.

Every week I co-host the podcast So you want to be a writer with fellow journalist and author Allison Tait. In Episode 69 of So you want to be a writer:  The printed word is alive and well in luxurious libraries, maps of fictional worlds, a cunning way to write a best seller and lose weight, science confirms walking fosters creativity, great writing advice from children’s book editors, the difference between fewer and less, survival life, Writer in Residence Sarah Hepola (author of Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget), stay focused by planting a virtual forest, value based pricing, how to build...
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PHOTO Ep 31: Blinded by the light: How to photograph amazing sunsets

Every week I co-host the podcast So you want to be a photographer with acclaimed photographer Gina Milicia. You see the most perfect sunset and want to capture it on your camera. But the end result looks nothing like the spectacular explosion of colour you see in real life. What are you doing wrong? Maybe it’s washed out, maybe it lacks definition, maybe you just can’t get the balance right. In this episode, Gina and Valerie talk about what you need to do in order to ensure you capture magical sunsets that look like the real thing – and sometimes better than the...
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PHOTO Ep 30: Sharp shooter: How to get tack sharp images

Every week I co-host the podcast So you want to be a photographer with acclaimed photographer Gina Milicia. Sometimes, you might have what seems like the perfect shot: great location, awesome lighting, fantastic models, everything is just right. But when you look closely at your shots, they’re just not sharp. Or the crucial bits aren’t in focus. You’ve tried auto-focus, you’ve tried manual focus, you’ve worked hard to get the right sharpness – but something doesn’t quite work out. And you’re not sure what’s going wrong. In this episode, Gina and Valerie discuss exactly what you need to do to get tack sharp...
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WRITER Ep 68 Why journalists should care more about media business models, gorgeous sticky page markers, crime writing short story comp and Random House’s writing comp for kids! And Screenwriter in Residence Tim Gooding.

Every week I co-host the podcast So you want to be a writer with fellow journalist and author Allison Tait. In Episode 68 of So you want to be a writer:  Stunning sticky page markers, why journalists should care more about media business models, Ruth Rendell competition, Random House’s kid/teen writing comp, Screenwriter in Residence Tim Gooding, your readability score, protocol when following up with an editor on a commissioned piece, how to boost your author platform, and more! You can listen via: iTunes, Stitcher, or find the transcript, show notes and listen via our blog here.
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Are you getting the RIGHT kind of attention?

I was once speaking to an author about building his profile and helping him to working out ways he could get more publicity. This author wasn't craving fame for the sake of it. His primary aim was to sell more of his books. As an author of a business book, he was an expert in a very specific niche. From the outside, it looked like his profile-building efforts were working. He was featured in magazine articles, interviewed on blogs and podcasts and even scored what many people consider to be the Holy Grail ... an appearance on a morning television...
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3 pillars of communication in your business

When you are running a small business it’s easy to get so caught up in doing the work, stressing about the future, and focusing on keeping your business going that the simple act of communication can fall by the wayside. And if you have competent staff who are getting their job done, it’s can be easy to forget to check in with them. But that’s no way to grow your business. Regular readers will know that I'm currently mentoring Renee Freedman from Guardian Strata as part of Microsoft’s ModernBiz Technology Make-over. As part of this initiative, Guardian Strata is undergoing...
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PHOTO Ep 29: You’ve got male: How to pose men

Every week I co-host the podcast So you want to be a photographer with acclaimed photographer Gina Milicia. When you’re photographing men, it can be easy to fall into the trap of cliched and “done to death” poses. You want to achieve shots that are natural, flattering and have a “wow” factor that make people take notice. In this episode, Gina and Valerie talk about the one pose that you should NEVER use (but which so many men want to do), the “classic go to” poses you can pull out of your arsenal to get a great shot every time, simple styling and...
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