Book Giveaway & Interview with Jeff Goins

TALKING TO JEFF GOINS, the word “comfortable” frequently comes up. He uses it, and I’m feeling a distinct sense of comfort as we breeze through a recent phone conversation. It’s odd, since the subject is a distinctly uncomfortable one. We’re talking about publishing, a topic that has never been one anyone might find comfortable. Competitive, cut-throat, cold, scary, unknowing, secretive, privileged. Closed. Impossible. Uncaring. Now those are words that come to mind when the subject is publishing. Not when speaking with Jeff, though, and his comfort is contagious.

Jeff Goins is comfortable not only with the topic, but also with the act of making publishing an available goal for all. Instead of merely talking the talk, he daily does a great deal toward that goal by blogging, publishing ebooks, teaching a new online course and soon publishing his much-anticipated book, Wrecked: When a Broken World Slams into Your Comfortable Life. See? There’s that comfortable theme again.

What initially drew me to Jeff was his writing voice, and his no-nonsense attitude toward getting the work done. Go see for yourself on his fine blog. When I initially reached out to him, sending him a copy of my new book,  The Memoir Project, the result was a conversation that’s been going on since. Sometimes conducted via email, other times in blog comments, or on Twitter, our topics ranged over the many issues involved in forging a successful writing career, though this was the first time we had actually talked, and dialing the phone, I had a small level of unease over not knowing the proper way to pronounce his last name.

Getting to Know Jeff

“That depends on which side of the Mason-Dixon line you’re on,” he replied, laughing. His people are from Alabama, but his early years were spent in Illinois, where he was a Goynes. Now, living in Tennessee, he is again Go-ins. And yes, he’s comfortable with both.

The topic of comfort also comes up when we engage in a long discussion about brand, a subject, it is safe to say, that most of my writing students and peers continue to find deeply distressing. Not Jeff. He is very “intentional” about creating his brand. Blogging and writing for about six years now, he has seen much more success in the last year. The reason?  He believes it is a result of “the natural process until you find the comfortable writing voice.”

“One of the things that is always true about me is that I am impatient and practical, “ he explained. “It comes out in how I write. Punchy. Intentional. I want to get to the point.”

And that’s what attracted my attention the first time I read his blog. Jeff is writing with intent, a phrase I use all the time, and while he calls it “writing for real,” we both believe in doing it, as well as sharing the ethic with others. It’s where our brands intersect, a lovely place to forge a friendship.

Join the Party

As a result of our new-found bond, we’re having a little cyber party, the favors for which are free ebooks – your choice of one of Jeff’s fabulous publications. Choose from Every Writer’s Dream or Before Your First Book. Both are filled with valuable information on how to successfully live this life of writing.

I’m giving away five of each. All you must do to qualify is leave a sentence below about who you want to be as a writer. In other words, what is your brand, or what brand do you see in your future?

When I asked Jeff to define his brand, along with “punchy,” and “intentional,” he used the words “teacher,” “informal,” “down to earth,” middle-class,” and “not-pretentious.”

“It’s action oriented,” he replied. “When I challenge them, people are responsive to that, and I hone that, and focus that on a brand that is clean and uncluttered both in terms of the visuals the word length.”

“It’s about getting you to act,” he said, sounding very comfortable with the brand.

So act. Let me hear from you, and win a book or two.

How to Win a Jeff Goins ebook

ALL YOU HAVE TO DO TO QUALIFY TO WIN one of the two Jeff Goins’s ebooks I’m giving away is to tell me what you want to be as a writer. What’s your intended brand? Or, what is your brand now? Go on. Understanding who you are is the first step toward getting a brand, or building one.

Don’t worry if you’re feeling shy. I’ll count your comment even if you just say, “garden writer,” or “cat lover.” Two-word minimum. How’s that for easy?

Winners will be chosen at random, using the number-generating tool on random [dot] org, after entries close at midnight Friday, February 17. Good luck to all.


  1. says

    Yikes, these are issues I’m still thinking through and haven’t really clarified yet. BUT I get to hear Jeff speak in 2 weeks at Blissdom and I’m counting on him helping me clarify my writer’s vision!

  2. Rhonda Rae Baker says

    Breaking the Silence

    Am ready to take steps for memoir completion. This is my year and it sounds like these books will help me Break Out.

    Thank you for chance to win!

    Write On!

  3. Tina says

    WOW-talk about drilling right down to the subject. I would say that my brand would be, clean, easy to read but something that makes you think. At least that is the writer I want to be. Perhaps I am still exploring.

    • Prathipa says

      Hi Jeff,

      You are a writer is available only in AMAZON on kindle. But i dont use credit cards, can you tell me a way to get the book.
      In india Flipkart is very famous, but its still not available…
      I want to read it immedietly…
      Pls help me

  4. says

    I think it was through a tweet of Jeff’s that I came across you, Marion. Now I own a copy of your book and have recommended you as a future speaker for a west coast writing conference I attend annually.

    Nice to see two great non-fiction people collide/collaborate…

    My brand is humor writer, but can best be encompassed by my blog’s motto: If you can’t laugh at yourself, laugh at your kids.

    • says

      Leanne: Your blog has become my new first place destination each day. You have caused me to spit my tea right onto my computer screen exactly twice, call a friend and read aloud from your blog more than once, and generally make me laugh my ass off. I would be thrilled and delighted to speak at a conference. Thank you for the recommendation. I hope it means I get to meet you.

  5. says

    I’m a Jeff Goins fan too. He is very direct and honest. I think my brand of writing is naked, honest story telling. I write about some ugly things from my past that I’m totally on the other side of now. When I’m not writing memoir I’m spouting my opinions. Survivors tend not to worry a lot about what anyone thinks of them. It’s freeing.

  6. Cheryl says

    I want to known as “My Grandma, the storyteller” I have been a scrapbooker for close to 15 years and now I want to write the stories to go along with those photos so my grandchildren will get to know me as a little girl, long, long before I became their grandma.

  7. Judith Henry says

    I’ve discovered Jeff’s blog, thanks to your recommendation. He cuts to the chase about things and I appreciate that. My writing often reflects the gallows humor in life’s challenging moments. It seems to give other people permission to acknowledge those dark thoughts we all have from time to time. Sometimes all you can do is laugh.

  8. says

    -an average chick who aspires to fly without snagging the fence! I enjoy you both. i haven’t thought seriously about writing but I do want to have an above average blog.

  9. Michael Ireland says

    In my memoir, I intend to be MIKE: Meaningful, Interesting, Kind, Entertaining! (Because that’s my Name , and that’s who I Am.

  10. says

    THX for the intro to Jeff and his block-rockin’ blog. I love the boing of his jack-in-the-box writing. My brand? hope to find some direction with help from you all.

  11. says

    I’m in the process of writing a memoir about healing from abuse. It’s in first person and details the abuse I received as a child, my rebellious years, and finally what led to healing when all else failed. My hope is that it will inspire others who are hurting and help them realize healing is possible.

  12. says

    After healing from multiple sclerosis in 1995, I began to write a poetic journal. I write with the intent to heal, inspire, and support. To give voice to some insight, to speak for and to someone. I hope to shake things up–in a good way. To open possibilities that seemed beyond reach. I want to encourage others (and myself) to reclaim our power to create our new selves, our new world. I am honest and grateful. I strive for clarity and vision. Humor is an important component. As someone above said, sometimes in the dark times all you can do is laugh.

  13. RobertJulianBraxton says

    Readers Write
    four decades
    three hundred
    titles built

    what could never
    be replaced two
    boxes contain

    half a tux
    half gown trans-

    four decades / three hundred / titles built
    what could never / be replaced two / boxes contain
    half a tux / half gown trans- / sexual

    in the pile
    the cardboard
    coffin deep

    cultivate a
    love of learning
    must carefully

    questions about
    grandfather my
    five year old son

    in the pile / the cardboard / coffin deep
    cultivate a / love of learning / must carefully
    questions about /grandfather my/ five year old son

    he was left to wonder:
    to the wake or to the
    funeral youngest son

    new row

    Grandpa’s full
    name date of
    birth of death

    he was left to wonder / to the wake or to the / funeral youngest son
    new row / only / tombstone
    Grandpa’s full /name date of/ birth of death

    the stone
    his head

    patted the
    same way he’d
    once patted

    the boy pon-
    dered the un-

    left behind
    flowers and

    the stone/his head/ lying
    patted the / same way he’d / once patted
    the boy pon- / dered the un- / knowable
    left behind/flowers and/momentos

    on top of
    the marker
    the small rock

    under dirt
    and in the
    box not cold

    and questions
    no answers

    on top of / the marker / the small rock
    under dirt / and in the / box not cold
    chocolate / and questions / no answers

  14. says

    Jeff Goins writes that “there must be a life behind the writing.” That is the dilemma.

    How do you capture a lifetime in a brand? Just slap your name on it and see what sticks? The new media of blogging and podcasting opens the opportunities to pour a bit of your soul into cyberspace. Time to unzip the anxiety and let it glide to a safe landing.

    • says

      Hmmm… Interesting question, Rick. I think it’s impossible to express your whole life in your writing. But it is possible to make your whole life writing. And that’s the temptation. If all we do is write and never live, then we won’t have much to write.

  15. K Uraneck #thedisasterist says

    Catastrophes, after all the screaming has subsided and the recovery has started, prove to be fertile ground for art, literature, music and images. I like to think of my writing as a mid-wife to this process.

  16. says

    My brand: Looking deeply, finding insight, revealing truths, capturing moments of beauty and ugliness, letting it all flow and be heard. –Somethng like that! That is a wonderful exercise. Wowza!
    I’m loving your blog, and it’s awesome to find Jeff’s blog now as well. Many thanks for your work and inspiring wisdom! Your book is truly a wonder!

  17. says

    Hi. I’m back. Perhaps you’ll recall. My sentence was, “I want to make a difference.”
    Still do! But, today, for Valentine’s Day, I was reminded of the message that I intend always, “Open your heart. Laugh often. Live with ease.”
    Thanks for your inspiration Marion! Happy Day :)

  18. says

    “Writing for Christ” ~ That’s my brand, I think. It’s definitely my goal, and the theme of most everything I write.

    Jeff Goins is a very talented and knowledgeable writer. I would love the opportunity to win one of his books!

  19. Marshall P says

    I am working to build my brand as providing a thinking analysis of scripture and the impact on people’s lives.

    HOPE is the one word that I want to be at the center of everything I write.

  20. says

    my brand–my blog–teacher/ librarian tips to make their lives easier!
    my brand–my novel writing–making real life situations easily accessible for middle school students!

  21. says

    My goal is to share simple, real stories. I want to shed light on the hope, beauty and dignity that exists in some of the most dire situations imaginable, stand for justice and inspire others to act.

  22. says

    I think I’d like to be a subtle, but sharp writer. One literary enough that the language would be beautiful to read, but not “wordy” enough to irritate. I’d like my writing to be character driven and about ordinary, daily things except multi-layered with depth and possibility. I’d like my writing to be stark, especially at the end. I’d really like readers to enjoy my work, to experience it, and then be stunned—not by me, but by the value of the craft. I want to be the kind of writer of work that I, myself, would want to read…

    Thanks for a chance at winning the giveaway, Marion.

    Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez
    On Twitter: @ZaraAlexis

    • says

      Hi, all:
      What great replies!
      The contest is now closed.
      You have all done fine and difficult work on your brands. Since Jeff so generously offered to giveaway 5 each of his 2 great ebooks, I’ve randomly selected (using 10 winners. Here they are:

      Anne Honzel
      Stacy S. Jensen
      Margaret Dubay Mikusm
      Leanne Shirtliffe
      Heather Marsten
      Lisa Sypher

      I’ll be in touch by email.

  23. Rhonda says

    Congratulations to the winners…so sorry to miss out on this opportunity. I’m sure that Jeff’s book is a winner also. I’ll have to put it on my wish list. TY for the chance to win!

  24. says

    Excellent post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed!
    Very useful info specially the last part :) I
    care for such info a lot. I was looking for this particular information
    for a very long time. Thank you and good luck.

  25. kevin conway says

    Brand? The title is “Confessions of a Wayward Baby Boomer” so when read I would hope that people would be intrigued by the wayward part.

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