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John R. Phythyon Jr.
Original thread is archived at

The last post there was by John in December of 2011 which read:

The two most important things I've done to hone my writing skills are to keep writing and to listen to my editors. I was fortunate enough to find a very good editor for STATE OF GRACE, the novel I just published (and the one I was referring to at this time last year earlier in the thread). Not only did she help me massage the text and tune it up, she was excellent at continuity editing. I had no intention of creating a series bible, since I figured I had it all in my head, but she insisted I do so to prevent silly little continuity errors. I decided I didn't want to be George Lucas and listened to her.

She also insisted we read the book out loud before publishing. I was skeptical about this, but she learned the technique from a mentor who won Pulitzers both writing and editing. It was extremely helpful for catching awkward phrases and other continuity errors that tend to disappear when you are reading silently.

STATE OF GRACE is the best book I've ever published, and it's partly due to her editing. She really made it a lot better than it was.

I blogged about some of this at the new "Pleading the Phyth" site, A good writer is so much better with a good editor. Again, I was really lucky.

As for branding, I've been doing that at the day job for the past four years. I used to work for my local community theatre as its chief marketing and fundraising officer. My second year on the job, the economy crashed, and charitable giving to the arts fell off 13% nationwide. To make sure we didn't suffer a similar fate, I rebranded the theater as an important community resource. I focused on our outreach and youth education programs and positioned us as a place that makes Lawrence a better place to live. It worked. We hit all our fundraising goals and changed the perception of who we were.

More recently, I worked for an independent financial planner. They had branded themselves as a small firm focused on the individual investor, but none of their marketing conveyed that message very well. So I helped them write a brochure that told their story better and then redesigned their web site to reinforce that message.

Truthfully, I think branding is pretty simple. You have to decide what you want people to know about you, and then you craft the message to tell that story and repeat it consistently. Obviously, it's harder than I' making it sound, but the basic concept is simple. What is your story? Tell it.

I think that's more or less what I wrote the first time. Hopefully, this time you'll get to read it!
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