Real Estate Writing: Razzi Finds Her Voice

March 27, 2007

I heard back from Elizabeth Razzi (read the first installment) who actually found I was interested in talking to her not through the email I sent, but an Internet news alert on her name. (How great would it be if I wouldn’t have to actually email anyone anymore requesting an interview but instead just conjure them up by dropping their name in my blog?)

Razzi’s book featured on NPR, The Fearless Home Seller, is a follow-up to her first book, The Fearless Home Buyer. She pointed out to me that she’s not a real estate agent, but a magazine journalist and writer, so the books didn’t come about as a way to increase her real estate business.

At the same time, she’s glad she wrote them and they have proven to be a moneymaking tool for her.

Razzi was approached by an agent when she was on staff at Kiplinger’s. It was good timing. Her writing had been included in Kiplinger’s books, but she was looking for a career change—and a way to express herself and her thoughts in her own voice. Writing books became a facet of Razzi’s new career as a freelancer.

Working with the agent, Razzi determined what her books would specifically say. “I started with a book proposal to determine what would make my message different from everything else out there,” she says. “A good thing about being a journalist is that you have to learn to write to your audience. At Kiplinger’s everything was in their voice. Once I got the book assignment, I had to sit down and figure out what I wanted to say all by myself.

“There’s more of a direct link between me and my reader—that took a little getting used to,” she says.

That’s so true. When you’re a journalist, you’re writing one to many. When you’re an author, though, I suggest writing one to one. (The same goes when writing web sales copy, by the way.)

Create a picture of your ideal reader is, including gender, age, marital status, career, income, hobbies—and those situations he or she is going through related to your topic of interest. Of course you’ll have readers outside of those parameters, but with creating a picture of that one person, you’ll find it much easier to hone your message and connect with all readers—especially those in your target audience.

Have questions about how to exactly do that? Let’s connect, and I’ll show you how.


Donna @


Finding a Font

March 24, 2007

I’ve been involved in copywriting and promotion for years and years, and although I’d never fool myself into thinking I know everything about everything, I’ve always thought I knew something about most things marketing.

Well, I got a wake up call on that front Friday that came compliments of picking a font for the My Big Business Card logo.

Fonts are big business. And there are tons and tons out there created by many, many, many talented people.

There are also some creative font names, which I just loved. (Even if the fonts didn’t quite do it for me.)

For example, I found fonts called:

  • Tommy Hilfiger
  • Redhead Goddess
  • Tall, Dark & Handsome (my favorite font name)

How cool is that?

For My Big Business Card, I suggested Ty, my fantastic logo creator, consider, among others, fonts named London Between, Boris Black Boxx, MK Latino and Goodfish.

Stay tuned for which one wins the My Big Business Card Font Idol selection…

— Donna

Write a Book by Repurposing Your Prose

March 21, 2007

One of my goals is to guide business owners in getting their books written ASAP.

And, if you write an e-zine or even keep a journal, you probably already have a ton of good material that means you’re more than half way there.

When I was orchestrating a move across the country from Erie, Pa., to San Diego, Calif., I kept detailed notes, to-do lists and entries in my personal journal about the move. (And, thank goodness, I’ve been blessed with an excellent memory for the good stuff!)

Soon after I relocated to sunny San Diego, it occurred to me I had the makings of a great moving guidebook just with my notes and journal records. Soon, and with the help of my co-author and best bud, Tara Maras, 29 Days to a Smooth Move: A Complete Household Moving Manual was published.

I recently interviewed author Donna Maria Johnson, who had a similar experience. “I’ve been writing a newsletter since 2000,” says Johnson. “Much of the material for my three books came from the newsletter. I just cut and paste.

Johnson, author of Making Aromatherapy Creams & Lotions, Lifestyle CEO and The Handmade Beauty Cookbook, said when you have a full plate, it can be difficult to come up with chunks of time to dedicate to writing a book.

So it’s worth it to go back and see what you already have written.

Johnson is now writing her fourth book, 52 Weeks to Change Your Business Life, along with running her trade organization, Indie Beauty Network.

Why not start turning your already work into a book today? Contact me, and I’ll show you how to get started.

— Donna

Donna @

Book Writing, Real Estate: Two of My Favorite Topics Come Together

March 19, 2007

I was driving back from Las Vegas Saturday and heard the tail end of Marketplace Money on KPBS here in San Diego.

On the show, Tess Vigeland (awesome interviewer) spoke with Elizabeth Razzi (awesome last name) about changes in the housing market and how sellers now have to work for buyers instead of having them line up at the door, earnest money in hand, as in days past.

Razzi gave some good tips on what sellers can do to make their homes more appealing. Most I had heard before, yet some were new to me. (I’m an example of a little knowledge being dangerous since I co-wrote a book on household moving and am a real estate marketing consultant.)

Razzi was a great interview, though. And I suspect that although she repeated what any real estate agent knows, she was picked to be on the air with Tess partly because she has a book: The Fearless Home Seller (awesome title). (Although a quick Google search shows she’s also written for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine and has been heard on NPR before, so the woman is obviously tagged as a go-to expert in the media.)

I gotta wonder how it all came together for her, though. So I found her e-mail address and asked if she’d be willing to be interviewed by My Big Business Card.

Let’s see what she says. Stay tuned…

Book Writing for Business: Chocolate Unwrapped

March 16, 2007

Making and selling beach glass jewelry has been really hot the last few years in my hometown of
Erie, Pa. (I left for the sunnier climate of San Diego more than 5 years ago, but still keep up with the folks in Erie.)


One store there—Relish—sells hand-crafted jewelry using authentic
Lake Erie beach glass. No piece is the same, and colors range from clear, the most common, to red, the rarest (my favorite is electric blue). Relish does well in
Erie, but just think of the possibilities if the co-owners wrote a book. They could explain the different kinds of beach glass, how the jewelry is made and how they got started. Relish could become an international business.

That’s what happened to Alison Nelson, owner of Chocolate Bar—a store that sells, you guessed it, chocolate. Or the experience of chocolate. Only three months after opening Chocolate Bar in
Manhattan, Alison was approached by a customer, who was also an editor, about writing a book.

The result was Recipes and Entertaining Ideas for Living the Sweet Life.  The book, like the store, takes a fun approach to chocolate connoisseurship with classic and quirky recipes, cool entertaining ideas and fascinating facts about fabulous chocolate. (Alas, I’ve sworn off indulging in the stuff, but reading about it sounds sweet to me.)


“As soon as the book was on and in Barnes & Noble, my Web site business boomed,” says Alison.   

Eventually she opened a second location in the café of a dance theater workshop and a third location in the trendy Henri Bendel. Chocolate Bar Toronto will be opening later this year. 

“You can get caught up in running the business, but writing pulls you back,” adds Alison.  “It helps you see what you can do better.” It also helps generate more business. Thanks to the Internet, I don’t see anything stopping Alison from world-wide chocoholic acclaim. Good for her!


What do you think? Ready for a book to boost your business, too?

If so, let’s chat!  

— Donna

Donna @

Write a Book, Get a New Name

March 11, 2007

After publishing a book, you have something nobody can ever take away: the title of author.

And, I’ll tell you what, that’s a pretty handy title to have when you’re looking for new clients.

I’ve dropped that fact into conversations myself when speaking with a prospective client and, it never fails, that prospect client sits up and takes notice. “You’re an author? Tell me about that.” And our relationship is off and running.

Sally Stewart, a public relations guru based in Santa Monica (one of my favorite places) and former reporter for USA Today (my favorite newspaper), found the same thing to be true. After publishing her book, Media Training 101: A Guide to Meeting the Press she found herself bringing in some amazing clients, including a company based in Prague. The book is always given to potential clients so they can see that Sally is an authority in what she does. And it also gives them a heads up into her on-target PR strategies and what she can do for them.

Writing a book really is the best business card you can have,” says Sally. “It legitimizes who you are and what you do.”


Contact me at Donna @ to get started in publishing your own book—and get that sought-after title of author.

5 Easy Steps to Book Writing? I Don’t Think So

January 30, 2007

I found an article about book publishing in Inc. online that, frankly, I had to file under “hilarious.”

Compiled by Inc. staff members, here is the respected business pub’s take on how to write a book:

How to Become an Author in 5 Easy Steps

Find your way onto the nonfiction bestsellers list with these handy guidelines.

Step 1

Ask some questions Are you an expert in your field? Do you have a compelling personal story? Who are the readers? Clients? Employees? Answer these now to avoid headaches later.

Step 2

Write the book Break the project down into bite-size chunks and be patient–a good book can take more than a year to complete. When you’re finished, ask six peers to review it.

Step 3

Find a publisher New online print-on-demand services will design, print, and even market your book. Be sure to get an ISBN number, which you need to sell your work commercially.

Step 4

You’re an author Copies can arrive within weeks. List the title with and Many trade groups also feature online bookstores.

Step 5

Rev up the promotion machine Send out review copies, but make sure you’re targeting the right people. And remember: You’re not promoting a book, you’re promoting yourself.

— Inc. Staff

I mean, it’s all true, in a sense. Completing all these steps will lead to having a book and promoting it. But a nonfiction bestseller? I doubt it.

If you’ve written a nonfiction book, you know that there’s a lot that’s not being said here, too. For instance, the hours, nay, days, spent hunched over the keyboard, or the myriad of marketing options to choose from.

Step One is absolutely the most vital: selecting a topic. And this, unfortunately, is where most new business wanna-be authors can stumble…badly stumble.

If you don’t have a right-on topic and target audience, completing all the other steps–even if they’re easy–will be for naught.

What do you think?