Friday, August 15, 2008

Orchestra Leader Shares Writing Experience

Today we welcome Hugh Ballou to our writing blog. He is discussing his book Transforming Power: Stories from Transformational Leaders to Inspire and Encourage.

YVONNE: Tell me something about yourself and your writing background.
HUGH: I worked for over 40 years as conductor of choirs and orchestras and learned much about motivating people, setting and achieving goals, getting the most accomplished in short rehearsal times, making important decisions on my feet, and giving clear directions for people to know exactly what to do. I began to write in 2004 because I understood how a conductor transforms black dots on paper (musical notation) into sound and then into a wonderful musical statement. I transferred this skill set to conducting effective meetings. I then understood how powerful this could be with leaders anywhere, so I wanted to share this knowledge with as many others as possible, so I wrote my first book. I did not consider myself to be a “writer” but I did have something to say, so I began to write. That book, Moving Spirits, Building Lives: Church Musician as Transformational Leader is in its third printing!

YVONNE: What is the title of your book? Give us the basic story line so we’ll know what it’s about.
HUGH: My newest book is Transforming Power: Stories from Transformational Leaders to Inspire and Encourage. It is an anthology of stories by leaders who have lead or been a part of a transformation of and organization, in people’s lives or the transformation of an idea into reality. All of them are published authors with great stories. Each has a different perspective on leadership and is willing to share it with readers. The leadership concepts are universal and can be use by leaders in any kind of organization.

YVONNE: What inspired you to write this book?
HUGH: My first four books (three in print, one still underway) are strategies and “how to” tips. We all learn differently. Some need facts and next steps and some need a story and some relate to both. I wanted to touch leaders who are having challenges in implementing a vision (we all experience this) and give them a vision of how others have met the challenge.

YVONNE: Is this the first book you have written?
HUGH: I have three books in print (one in its third printing) and one almost out. Transforming Power is the fifth one I started, the fourth book; Leaders Transform is being finished and will be out in the fall. The topic I write about is Transformational Leadership. The titles are:
Moving Spirits, Building Lives: Church Musician as Transformational Leader
Moving Spirits, Building Lives: A Workbook for Transformational Leaders
Building High Performance Teams: Structures and Systems for Leading Teams and Empowering Transformation

YVONNE: How long did it take to write this book? Any interesting tidbits about your writing method or how the book developed?
HUGH: The book took 6 months to pull together and it took me a long time to write my short sections. It’s more difficult to write a short section than a longer book. I asked 25 people to contribute to the book and gave them my vision for how it would look. Only 2 people said no. They could not contribute because of timing. Others responded enthusiastically without any question of what was in it for them. They supported the idea and wanted to support the concept. All the authors have other publications, but this project stood out enough to get their attention.

YVONNE: How did you publish your book? Tell me about your publishing experience and what you learned from it. Please go into detail if you wish.
HUGH: My first books are self-published because I wanted to get material into the hands of leaders right away. I wanted to have a major publishing house take this project on to give it credibility and thorough distribution. I approached George Donegian at Discipleship Resources, a publishing entity of the United Methodist Church, to share the idea. He said he’d present the idea to his publishing committee if I could get commitments from authors. I did and he did. I began the project with his word and we signed the contract when I got the manuscript together. They did a find job of design, editing and publishing the book and we are now trying to let people know that it’s ready for reading. I learned that a great idea would get traction if you can present why it’s valid and why it’s good for the publisher. The major publishing label for the United Methodist Church rejected my first book, which is in its third printing saying that they felt pastors would not purchase a book written by a musician. Most of these books are in the hands of pastors. I learned that there is a way to get to your readers and to not give up my dream.

YVONNE: Did you work with an agent? If so, how did you find the agent? Was it beneficial to you?
HUGH: I did not need an agent for this book. I got to the right person who believed in me. Because he believed in me, I was determined not to let him down. So I made the collection the best I could – for them, for me and for readers.

YVONNE: Where is your book(s) available? Do you have a Web site or blog where we can learn more about you or your book?
HUGH: Go to
There is a click to order the book from Amazon. I have collected over $3,000 worth of free leadership resources from great leadership trainers, authors and consultants for those who purchase my book.

YVONNE: As far as marketing, do you do more online publicity or print/radio/TV promotion? Tell me some ways you have promoted your book. Give examples and links to any sites you feel might help other authors.
HUGH: Here’s some stuff on my book:We are in the fifth day of a 30-day viral campaign for Transforming Power.Here are two posts today on sites that get a lot of traffic: have two radio interviews posted on our site Endorsements are here’s the schedule for the blog tour:

We have also promoted the book on live leadership teleseminars. The details are at

I have not yet planned TV, Radio and other marketing, but will be doing so with the publisher in the next two weeks.

YVONNE: Have you hired a publicist to help promote this book? If so, what was your experience like?
HUGH: No. I hired a viral marketing expert. Between what I know and the resources of the publisher, we passed on hiring a publicist.

YVONNE: Any other comments or things you would like for us to know?
HUGH: I am excited about this interview and would love to answer any questions from your readers. They can email me at

YVONNE: Thank you for giving us the opportunity to get to know you and learn about your book. I wish you well.

For more information about Hugh Ballou, visit Book information is available at For full tour details, visit

A SPECIAL BONUS TO EACH PERSON WHO PURCHASES TRANSFORMING POWER TODAY – Hugh Ballou has compiled a list of great FREE bonus gifts for anyone who purchases Transforming Power today. To see a sample of the items that are being given away, visit Just buy a copy of Transforming Power, return to this page and click to submit your invoice number to receive the web page link to download all of these gifts for FREE.

Nikki Leigh – Author, Publicist and Tour Coordinator – Book Promo 101: Learn the Basics of Book Promotion

No comments: