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FireCrystal and the "100,000-Hour Rule"

New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell has suggested that the key to becoming extraordinarily accomplished at any task is to practice it for 10,000 hours. That means starting young, and it apparently applies to everyone from Mozart to the Beatles to Bill Gates, who dropped out of Harvard in his teens to write a version of BASIC for the Altair, a very early version of what became the personal computer.

We're not so sure.

What we are sure of is that we've easily spent over 100,000 hours (ten times as much time) practicing our skills over the past 35 years, and it has yielded a certain mastery... and one cargoload of samples to show. The projects we've featured here are representative of what FireCrystal Communications can do for you. But the list isn't even close to being comprehensive. If you don't see an example of what you think you might need here, give us a call. The chances are that we have a relevant sample on file to send you. Alternatively, you can conclude that "If these guys can do all this, then they clearly can produce what I want."

Our goal here is to demonstrate our ability to communicate whatever you want to say in any medium on any topic.

We hope you enjoy the tour!



It’s been said that everyone has a book inside them. As a ghostwriter, it is my job to release that book and put it into a form that the rest of the world can read and enjoy.

The process involves asking a lot of questions, the first of which is: Why do you want to do a book? What do you want to accomplish? You might have wisdom and experiences you’d like to share. Or you might want to capture and preserve the knowledge and skills you’ve developed over the years. You might want to promote a company or a cause.

The key to being a successful writer of any sort is finding out what the client really wants. So that’s where I start. Then, with lots of client input, I develop a book outline. Next, it’s “Let the interviews begin!”

Interviewing is a skill that requires more than just an inquisitive mind. You have to be able to listen intently while guiding and modulating the flow of facts and ideas. In the back of your mind, you always have the goal of capturing the person’s “voice.”

After that, of course, comes the actual writing. And then, of course, “production.”

Once we have a script (“manuscript”) approved by you, there are numerous options. We can provide you with the printer-ready files to do with as you please. Or you can have us arrange for the cover design, the index, printing, and delivery of bound books.   

For SAVE! America, featured nearby, we did everything. We started with ten pages of author ideas and delivered 7,000 copies of a 162-page trade paperback book three months later.

We also converted and optimized the book’s files for reading on e-book readers like Amazon’s Kindle, Apple iPad, Sony Reader, Barnes & Noble's Nook, and others. But you know, there's nothing like having a printed book with your name on the front cover and your picture, biographical copy, and blurb quotes on the back.

A book—a real book, indistinguishable from anything you'll find at a bookstore—gives you instant credibility. It can be sold at seminars and workshops, given away at trade shows or speeches, sent as a gift to special or prospective clients, or serve as the centerpiece of a marketing campaign.

Giving someone the Web address for your e-book will never have the same impact. Ever. There’s nothing else like a real book. As one of our clients told us recently, "There's just no comparison between walking into the place you'll be speaking and having an information folder on every chair and having that folder and your book on the chair. It makes all the difference in the world."

Just as there’s nothing like a book, there's nothing else like FireCrystal Communications when it comes to releasing and producing the book (or books!) now living inside your brain. Please contact us to discuss all the possibilities.

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Web Content

The problem with Web sites: All business people and professionals know they need one - it is simply expected today if you want to be taken seriously - but few have any idea how to create a truly effective site. That's not their business, after all. So they will typically transfer their existing printed brochures to the Web, never realizing that the medium really does shape the way you deliver your message.

Prospective customers don't approach a Web site the way they do a printed brochure. And with so many people online now, your audience has high expectations regarding how the information they want is presented. If you don't hook people on your home page and anticipate their information needs throughout the rest of your site, they'll quickly click away to one of your competitors.

The two sites featured here meet that standard. The first is a membership site we created for owners of second homes and investment properties. We developed the content for the other site, an installer of in-ground swimming pools, based on an in-depth interview with the husband-and-wife team that founded the company.

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Videos are always a collaborative effort. We've served as the general contractor on some projects and as subcontractors on others. Typically, we do the research and interviews needed to create a first-draft script. The client, usually with input from the director and the producer, will then review the script and request changes.

The second draft usually becomes the shooting script. But things change along the way based on input from others, budget considerations, and the availability of shooting locations.

If you need a video, we can handle all aspects of its creation and production. Or we can operate as part of your team, doing the research, interviewing, and writing.

The first video here focuses on Alpha Systems and its document storage, retrieval, and destruction services. We started by interviewing the principals and plant manager and touring the company's facilities. The goal was to produce a brief DVD video that Alpha's sales staff could show to prospects using their laptop computers.

The second video was commissioned by a local Chamber of Commerce to honor an outstanding physician. We interviewed the doctor in-depth, wrote the script, and the director/producer handled the shooting and editing. The video was played at an awards banquet, and, by all accounts, was very well received.

Click for Sample Video
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Click for Sample Video
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Books: Paper-and-Ink and Electronic

We have written over 60 books in the past 35 years, with combined sales of over 1,000,000 copies. Several of them were co-authored/ghosted by us based on interviews with individuals who were experts in their respective fields. But many were conceived by us and published by houses like St. Martin's Press, John Wiley & Sons, Simon & Schuster, Random House, and McGraw-Hill.

As noted elsewhere on this site, we can ghostwrite, produce, and deliver your book. But should you want to try to sell your idea to a commercial publisher, we can also write your query letter, book proposal, cover letter, and sample chapters.

Yet before suggesting that you hire us to do so, we're going to ask you two simple questions: Why do you want to do a book? and What ideas do you have about how to market it?

Commercial publishers don't do any advertising or marketing. They throw their current list against the wall, and if something happens to spark the reading public's interest, they'll consider putting promotional resources behind the title. But not on a sustained basis. And, by the way, commercial publishers take 80% of any money your book happens to earn.

It is not a good deal, even if you are an established author. In the New Media Age, you are far better off producing your book independently and marketing it yourself on the Internet and through other avenues.

You do not need a traditional commercial publisher today. You do not need a "vanity publisher" either. What you need is a low-overhead firm like FireCrystal Communications to create and produce your book and a multi-faceted marketing plan. We can absolutely execute the creation and production, and we can advise you on developing a marketing plan.

Non-fiction hardback or trade paperback books today are about establishing one's credibility. And the "publisher" simply does not matter. Not when 775,000 self-published books appear each year--far more than are "commercially published (about 250,000).

We may advise you to publish your book in a 3-ring binder, with a pocket for a CD/DVD disk. Or maybe it should be a standard trade paperback, of one size or another. Whatever. We can make it happen. All you have to do is say, "Yes, I'd like to do a book," sit for a series of interviews, and, of course, write the checks.


Glossbrenner books

Web-based Training

Web-based training typically combines interest-grabbing video or animation with interactive quizzes and links to supplemental materials. Employees can work through the training at any time, while their companies can document that their workers have indeed taken a given course. Employees who do not earn a sufficient score can be required to take the training again.

We were commissioned to write the script for "Hospitality Suite Hazards," the first video offered here, as part of training program designed to focus on the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (the "Enron law").

Of course, Web-based training can also be quite straightforward. There is no better example than the 150 career profile videos we scripted for the New Jersey Department of Education. The second video here is titled "Tool and Die Maker."

The challenge in all of these career profile videos was to capture the interest of teenage students while accurately presenting the pros and cons and requirements of each job.

Click for Sample Video
(click for sample)

Click for Sample Video
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