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Who I AM

  • I'm a creator, entrepreneur, author of DREAM YEAR, and aspiring novelist. My wife Ainsley and I live in Virginia Beach with our five kids Wyatt, Dylan, Cody, Annie & Millie

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1. Yes, very interested.
2. Seeing God in the Inner City.
3. Yes, very much.

How would this differ from what's available in the market now (namely, freelance editors and designers)?

I think the biggest deciding factor would be quality and price. If the quality of the editing and design was as good as what I can get on my own, but at a better price, then I might be interested.

i think it's the combination of helping people actually write the book with the publishing services with our curated designers... oh and the STORY/Dream Year platform. you feel me?

kyle, i'm blanking - have you actually written a book?

I see the value there. I think that a self-motivated person may just bypass and try to find a designer/editor themselves. The STORY/DreamYear connection could be a plus, but it all depends on how much that drives sales. I think it would be difficult for that to scale, though. If it's a few books every year, the STORY connection would probably be a big boost. But when you're talking about 20-100 people publishing books, I think your audience is going to get overwhelmed. That's potentially a new book every few days.

I'm halfway through writing my book now, but I've got editing/designing/publishing lined up already. My situation is a little unique since speaking gives me a platform already, and I can sell the books in the back of the room much more effectively than trying to go through Barnes & Noble, etc.

I don't mean to discourage, though. I think there's potential there. I can't wait to hear what you've come up with. If anybody can make it work, you'd be the guy!

haters gonna hate kyle. =) remind me not to hire you as my dream year coach =)

Haha. No hating here! I think a one-stop shop for getting a book out the door is a great idea. At the same time, I think being effective on a large scale (20-100+) with the marketing is a pretty big challenge.

Seth Godin pushed out a decent number of books last year through the Domino Project, and I bought several of them. But even with him I felt overloaded with "here's a great new book you should buy" pretty quickly. I can't imagine what that would look like with 100+ books, you know?

Again, I think if anybody could get past these things and see a way to make it work, it would be you. That's the Dream Year Coach in me rooting for you, buddy.

lovers gonna love!

at any point is the current system meant to weed out the quality books from everyone who simply thinks they have a book in them? i know that may sound harsh. and i know that in some cases people get published because they have a name, not necessarily because they can write. but, is there anything to that?

I have my heart set on writing a novel one of these days, but I don't have it narrowed down on what the subject will be.

Right now, I am looking to break into the publishing/digital media world through editing and possibly design. I don't want to spoil your surprise here, but i want to know what code you have cracked to provide all of those services and still allow the author all the rights and such.

Also. 1. yes id be interested in writing a collaborative book.
2. A compelling good vs evil novel
3. yes

Katie, i think filtering is needed but so much good comes out of a person's first achievement of writing a book even if it's not a bestseller. It becomes easier to write the second one. They get better. Confidence builds. etc

Erin, so glad to hear that. I want to clarify - the collaboration wouldn't be on one book. It would be 20 people all writing their own books, but doing it on the same schedule as others... Taking the outlined chapters and dividing them by the time it takes to write each chapter throughout the year... So 12 chapters, 1 a month. 24 chapters, 2 a month

1. yes. great idea.
2. a novel.
3. absolutely. a community driven project gaining momentum through an established creative platform? genius.

Would this be something for someone that has already written a book and is looking for publishing options as well?

1. Very interested.
2. Children's/Pre-tween series with Jesus as the central character.
3. Absolutely!

definitely Joy... we could separate out the publishing part of it from the months of writing. but it includes an incredible editor

1. Yes, I'm very "socially motivated." It would be awesome to be part of a community working towards a similar goal.
2. Non-fiction, inspirational, directed at youth ministry volunteers.
3. I'm not sure how those specific communities would benefit from or be helped by my book.

Totally interested. The critique groups I've been part of in college helped me become a much better writer - even when it was tough. I think the community idea is great. Deadlines are motivators and most artists need them . . . self-imposed doesn't work for everyone (or even very many, in my experience).

And I didn't answer the other questions.

2. A novel, a memoir, and a spiritual formation type. I'm honestly not sure which place to start, although the memoir has several chapters and the nonfiction would be based on my blog.

3. I can't see how the STORY/DY promotion wouldn't be helpful. These are my people, after all. : )

Cool idea! I just finished up a manuscript... and my book releases this Fall.

I'm sure going through the process as you've described here would have helped me (in fact, I know it would!) give birth to mine.


1. Yes.
2. Overcoming being a people pleaser.
3. Yup.

1. Yes
2. Mentoring
3. Potentially

1. Yes sir
2. Inspiring Christ-following artists to fulfill their God-given potential and do great creative work. (The book is me putting this into practice. So, It may end up being a memoir. Ha!) I have the skeleton of the book and some meat on the bones, but would love to have some direction for where to start, what's next, etc.
3. Sounds like a great fit for me. Any chance I can know more? I'm the guy who
1) was able to get an agent but not a publisher because of "lack of platform."
2) swore I'd never self-publish because even if I could afford it, how would I sell them? (see 'lack of platform')
3) found a self-publishing option that might offer some marketing help so I am pulling the trigger and have a meeting set up on Monday

does this blog post change things? I'd love to know more. Thx for all you do.

1) I would be interested.
2) Since leaving the institutional church and pastorate I've rethought a lot of my theology. It would be a book redefining things outside the lens of the church. I'm two chapters in. I have another 24 outlined (it's probably more than one book).
3) I don't really care about selling it or making money. I just want the ideas out there so promotion would be perfect for me. I need a tribe that will pass it around.

Gregg, part of the process would be helping you figure out how to build your own platform. The idea of teaching a man to fish...

Thanks for the great thoughts, all...

Thanks, Ben. Teach me to fish! Look forward to hearing more.

Wow, Ben! I recall you leaked this idea to me in our very first phone conversation. So excited to see you leaning into it again!

1. I love the collaboration idea. Whether artists realize it or not, it will help.

2. Maybe? I really don't enjoy writing though.

3. It is a large tribe, and it's continually growing. While I might worry about saturation, I know I don't have to read every book.

I can't wait to hear more!

- I love the collaboration/community idea. I know Amazon has something similar, but I like the idea of sharing the process with like-minded peeps.

- I'm currently about 90% through a book (about making life a creative project), but I can see huge possibilities of a creative tribe just helping each other.

- The idea of Story/Dream Year community promoting would be awesome, and I'm sure I'm not the only one

1. You betcha.

2. A guide for helping leaders identify the people and character qualities needed to move their organization through change.

3. Absolutely.

1. Yes
2. Humor as a prophetic device (how comedy is used to reveal truth. How modern humorists tell truths and how Christians can hear them).
3. That would probably help a great deal.

1. Of course.
2. I have a couple in mind, but for my first it would be "Musicology - The Endless Connections of Music and Theology"
3. YES!!!

Interesting. : )

Assuming you saw Godin's post today on Launching a New Idea.

Launching an idea and selling a book are similar but different. Outcomes and goals are what separates but the process is much the same (ideas to actions, content to distribution, invisible to visible, etc).

1) I would be very interested in a Dream Year like process for authors - "Book Year"?

2) My book would follow the story of my journey from idealism to cynicism to hope as a pastor in my 20s. What I learned and where I failed.

3) I haven't attended Story, but I feel any new platform to young connected creatives would be incredibly helpful.

We're launching this March 1st. Breath held!


Creating surprise and delight experiences.


1.) Yes
2.) Church Planting For The Rest Of Us. Picking Yourself Up After A Fall. Crazy Stories From Planting Three Churches. Just a few thoughts. :)
3.) Yes

so I guess this idea passed the "are there more than 5 comments about it when i post it on my blog" litmus test?


I think it's a great idea. For a lot of writers the biggest thing they are missing is the accountability and encouragement. If your process provided those two things, it would be just the thing many of them needed!

1. Yes
2. What has happened to the church and what we can do about it - targeted to ordinary church people who have watched their church suffer decline, and want to make change.
3. Yes

we'll see if it's a go then! March 1

1. I'd be very interested.

2. I would write a cookbook for the lifestyle of a generation Y male to empower them to pursue reaching their potential through cooking.

3. In the short time that I've looked into STORY and Dream Year this evening, I have no doubt it would be a phenomenal help.

Happy about this project for you Ben. It is so important because writing books is a way for us to live long after we've even expired...!

You mean I'm not the only one with a book in me? I'm interested and getting started as we speak. Keep me in the loop.

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