Writing books helps Central Pa. businesspeople share their messages

Why write a book, particularly as a businessperson?

A handful of authors from Central Pennsylvania say they did it because they had messages to share.

“The choice to write a book must come from a deep belief in your message and be directed towards helping others, not promoting yourself,” says Tracey Jones. “Unless you are committed to your written works and sharing them with as many people as possible, you won’t be able to stay motivated in getting your message out there.”

Jones speaks both as an author of four books she says she wrote with her rescue dogs and as president of Tremendous Life Books. The Cumberland County-based company is a publisher and discount distributor of motivational, inspirational and business books and CDs and DVDs. It also hosts speakers and seminars.

“I highly recommend that every public speaker — and we are all speakers in some way, shape or form — be a published author,” Jones says. “A book is an extension of your message. It’s something that meeting participants can take with them and read and re-read long after you’ve left the room. And with the unlimited amount of options for anyone to become published, it’s a no-brainer.”

Brenda Lee Sieglitz, an account executive for Where & When, a Pennsylvania travel guide published by Engle Printing & Publishing, says she started writing at the request of her late husband. It took her about five years, and she self-published “Ebb from the Shoreline: Finding Cancer and Courage” in March after a successful Kickstarter crowdsourcing campaign.

“It was a powerful source of healing for me and gave me the courage to begin travel writing on a freelance basis in 2010,” Sieglitz says. The book recently won first place in the North American Book Award 2014 nonfiction category and “has helped me to launch a speaking tour throughout North America by sharing my experiences with love, loss, travel and nature.”

Allow ample time

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If she could do it again, Sieglitz says, she would spend time sending her book out for reviews and changes as well as having multiple people edit it.

“Reserve more time than you think you’ll need, especially around deadlines,” says Peter Greer, president and CEO of Lancaster County-based Hope International. He has written five books to date, with several more to be released in 2015. What works for him, Greer says, is writing on planes and trains as he travels.

“With ‘Mission Drift,’ I had the terrific help of partnering with my friends and colleagues Chris Horst and Anna Haggard,” he says. All told, they conducted more than 200 hours of interviews for the book, which Bethany House Publishers released in February.

Heather Stauffer

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