When I finished the first draft of my book, I wasn’t sure if my message was clear enough. Derek guided me on how to focus the book, what character it should have, and how the book should flow. His book The Business Book Bible complemented his coaching sessions to add great value to my work. Derek’s expertise in business books showed in his practical advice: Chapter layouts, possible subtitles and stylistic elements.

The end result: Fantastic reviews from industry leaders, bestselling authors, and offers from five publishers. Golden Stripes is a book I am proud of. If you believe you have a book in you—talk to Derek!

Captain V.S. Parani
Executive at MSC Mediterranean Shipping
author of Golden Stripes: Leadership on the High Seas

Praise for Golden Stripes

“Inspiring leadership lessons from the sea”.
Rear Admiral Robert O Wray Jr

United States Navy (ret), Saltwater Leadership

“Captain Parani writes with clarity and authority. Through a blend of anecdotes and analyses, this book motivates the mariner to lead effectively at sea”.
Captain Steve Clinch

Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents, Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB), United Kingdom

“I believe Captain Parani’s book addresses a gap in maritime education and one that maritime universities are starting to realize. For too long we have focused on increasing the technical competencies of our graduates and are now realizing the most important ship in their career will be leader”ship.” Golden Stripes highlights the value of leadership through stories, quotes and experience and is an excellent primer for cadets and a companion book for experienced mariners”.
Glenn Blackwood

Chairman, International Association of Maritime Universities (IAMU); Executive Board, World Maritime University (WMU), Sweden; Executive Director, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada

“As President of the Nautical Institute I believe Leadership and Human Factors will be two of the most important issues in our industry in the coming decade. Golden Stripes comprehensively addresses these issues and provides an easily understandable template for ships officers to develop a personal code of ethics and standards for their careers”.
Captain Robert Mc Cabe

FNI, MSc Mgmt. President, Nautical Institute (NI), London

“Finally a book on leadership at sea that is anchored in real life where the consequences of leadership failure are deadly. This book lays out clearly with numerous dramatic stories how leadership, team work, training, and safety management all have to combine to make this major industry work for all of us. What we learn applies to all of our daily endeavors”.

Edgar H Schein, PhD

Professor Emeritus, MIT Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts; author of Organizational Culture and Leadership

Golden Stripes describes a particularly powerful and effective approach to developing leadership skills on a ship–or anywhere else. Captain Parani weaves together lessons learned from his own remarkable career with cutting-edge insights from psychological research on expertise to produce this invaluable step-by-step guide to becoming a leader on the high seas”.

Robert Pool, PhD

co-author of Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise.

“This is an extraordinary book, from a real captain of the seas. Leadership is usually a mushy subject, but I was gripped by this. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to lead anything, anywhere”.

Richard Koch

author of million-copy-selling The 80/20 Principle.

In a world where there is so much people around that do business first, it was for me refreshing and so helpful to find someone like Derek, a truly professional focused on customer needs first.  His comments on my manuscript were invaluable.  The time he took to explain the ins and outs of the editing & publishing business were a blessing.  No, Derek is not in business, he’s on a mission.  A mission of helping those with knowledge and ideas to get them out to the world.

Marc Bastien
IT Architect and Strategist
author of forthcoming book on managing corporate IT assets

I coach business authors. I’d love to help you, too.

How can we work together?


For those who need to know what to do with what they’ve got.


The expertise of a ghostwriter; the gratification of doing it yourself.


In-person, in-depth, invaluable.

“I hired Derek as a book coach while writing my initial book. I can honestly say he is one of the most patient people on this earth. He really took the time to understand my needs and the direction I wanted to go. More importantly, he gave me some critical tools to help me reach my goals. Heck, he even listened to my silly stories. Whether that was the check I gave him or he was interested doesn’t matter—HE LISTENED. I love his enthusiasm and his attention to detail. He truly has a gift and shares it effortlessly. Thank you, Derek. I could not have done this without you.”

Larry Schexnaydre
co-founder of one of the nation’s premiere musical theatre companies
author of The Monologue Guru

Manuscript Consultation

Here are the two statements I hear most often from writing authors:

“I just worry about whether it’s really any good or not!”

“I know it needs work—I just don’t know where to go from here!”

Fear not, weary writer.

My client-authors don’t work with me just because I know how to put a couple of sentences together. The real value I bring to the table is a wealth of wordsmithing business manuscripts and the ability to be an objective third-party.

It’s hard for you to see the forest for the trees. That’s why everyone—me included—always needs another set of eyes on our writing to see if what we’ve done passes muster. Is it actually good? Or do you think it just sounds good because you wrote it? Worse, do you think it sounds awful just because you wrote it?

You can drive yourself crazy going around in circles.

Let a professional take a look.

I promise that I won’t judge your grammar, I won’t think it’s the worst thing ever written in the history of language, and I won’t make you feel like you’re back in high school English.

In fact, my job is primarily to find what’s right with your manuscript, help you bring out the best in it, and give you a game plan of how to get where you want to go.

What do you get?

  • A complete read-through of your entire manuscript
  • Notes, suggestions, and advice throughout the manuscript, as needed
  • A summary document of the strengths and developmental needs of the manuscript
  • A plan on how to finish your manuscript and turn it into a book
  • A 2-3 hour conversation to ensure my advice makes sense, both to you and for you

If we decide to move forward, my consultation fee will roll into my editing fee.

If you decide to do it yourself or work with a more cost-effective editor, then they’ll have a template and specific notes on how to implement the plan.

“When the idea popped in my head, I knew I had a book in me. Unfortunately, although I did research and sporadic writing here and there, my project dragged on for seven years without much to show for it. I didn’t know what to do, but I didn’t want to give up. 

Then I found Derek. He brought organization and new motivation to a project that was adrift. Derek’s coaching and editing helped me finish in months. Thank you for that.”


– Lt. Col. Giles Miller, USAF
President of Phoenix Closures
author of Hip-Hop Your Way to the Top

One-on-One Coaching

The great artist and author Julia Cameron said,

I believe that what we want to write wants to be written.

The great Stephen King said it like this:

My basic belief about the making of stories is that they pretty much make themselves. The job of the writer is to give them a place to grow…Stories are found things, like fossils in the ground…The writer’s job is to use the tools in his or her toolbox to get as much of each one out of the ground intact as possible.

It sounds odd to speak of a book as if it had a mind of its own. And maybe you could behind the idea of being all touchy-feely with a novel you’re writing…but a business book?

Yes. Even business books are inspired works of creative genius—if you do it right.

If you’re like me, you believe business books matter.

Business books inform, influence, and inspire entrepreneurs, corporate leaders, and everyday people.

Business books matter.

That’s why you’re searching for a business book coach.

A writing coach can help you write better.

You don’t have a problem with writing—you’re trying to figure what to write in the first place!

You have some content on paper (or on the screen), but something’s missing.

You keep wrestling with ideas. You keep fiddling while the city burns, Nero.

You can see the vision so clearly—and your draft is clearly not that vision.

How a Business Ghost Coached a Blueblood To Write a Book on Rap

To speak to him, you might not get a taste of Lt. Col. Giles Miller’s humor at first. He’s somewhat low-key and reserved.

(That’s probably a good thing, since he was in charge of jet fighter ground control during the war in Iraq.)

Yet there’s never been another author whose writing made me laugh more, especially with his subject matter.

This sixth-generation bona-fide blueblood runs the family business with his brother. His childhood memories include operating the factory machinery with his family during a strike while the union workers protested outside.

So what did he come to me for help with? His would-be book Everything I Need to Know About Business I Learned from Hip-Hop.


I learned more about Snoop Dawg, Slim Shady, and Iceberg Slim’s world in those pages than everything else I’ve learned about rap from everywhere else.

Why did Giles write about hip-hop?

A few reasons. It was a tribute to his and his brother’s teenage years when they were heavily into rap. It was something he’d been trying to finish for years—an itch that he absolutely had to scratch. It was a salute to the brilliant and unorthodox lives of hip-hop artists who made it against all odds.

For me, it took these media personalities with bling and turned them into human beings—people I could understand and relate to. Even gain some respect for.

I loved working the Giles. I loved getting a whole new perspective on something I’d never given much thought to before.

More importantly, Giles loved his book.

Giles carries a to-do list notepad with him at all times. At the beginning of every year, he starts with a fresh notepad, but carries over everything he didn’t accomplish the previous year.

For seven years, “write the book” was on the list. Seven years. Seven times of writing that down. Seven years of his pocket feeling heavier than it should, and growing heavier with each passing year.

After we finished, the following January I emailed him, saying it must have felt great not having to carry over his book to-do into his new notebook.

He agreed.

Why Did Giles Need a Business Book Coach?

Giles didn’t come to me because he didn’t know how to write. He was a great writer.

He didn’t come to me because he needed a general book coach. (Honestly, I don’t think most book coaches would have had a clue of where to start, much like I’d have no idea where to start on a romance novel.)

Giles sought me out because he saw that I knew how to weave stories, facts, and expertise into a book that entertained people while at the same time educated them.

Interest and information: that’s the ideal business book.

Now, let me share a secret from being a business book coach:

You Can Write A Better Book Than I Can

If you’re even considering a book coach, I guarantee you that you can write. You wouldn’t have read this far otherwise. The people who truly cannot write (or, more likely, are too terrified to attempt it) don’t even pursue the possibility.

Let’s get that out of the way: you can write.

What’s more, you can write your book better than I ever could.

Don’t get me wrong—I love ghostwriting. I love digging down into authors’ ideas and bringing them to the surface. I love getting my hands dirty.

Then I translate their content, words, and insights into book form. We work hard to make it sure their book not only reflects their thoughts but their voice, too.

But you can write more like yourself than I ever could. Instead of me channeling your mind onto paper, as your coach I guide the channel that is your mind as you put your mind to paper.

This is your baby. I’m just the birth coach.

How Does Business Book Coaching Work?

Glad you asked.

It mirrors my five-step writing and ghostwriting process just so:

  1. Discovery and devil’s advocate
  2. Assess the blueprint
  3. Coached frankendrafts
  4. Line-edit
  5. Finishing touches

You probably have some content already (though it’s fine if you don’t—even advantageous in some regards).

But is it the right content?

That’s why we still have to go through the discovery process. I get to play devil’s advocate (my favorite pastime!) so that we’re both certain that we know what your vision for the book is and that what you’re doing aligns not only with that vision but your larger personal and professional goals.

(Yes, you get a little life coaching for free.)

Then we double-check the structure of the book. Do you have the right content? What’s missing? Does it flow logically? Does it make sense? Will it meet the reader’s expectations?

As a first-time author of a full-length book, I had a lot to learn about the process. As someone who had been writing feature-length pieces for years, and worked in student journalism during my college years, I thought that putting together a complete business book would simply be a longer exercise on something I already knew how to do. Boy, was I wrong.

After working on it for about three months, I knew I was going to need help in order to finish the book on time while also performing my day job as a CEO. Besides, you can’t edit yourself, and I knew I would need an independent eye to review my raw output and help me see the forest for the trees.

I was fortunate to have secured a contract before I began writing my book based on the strength of a proposal I had written for the publisher. I had a detailed table of contents, and I thought that I knew what I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it.

I was only half right.

I know my subject matter cold, but Derek completely redirected the way I would convey that knowledge to my readers. Left to my own devices, I would have cranked out a fairly dry tome, more in the style of a textbook or reference work than a story with a narrative arc that pulled the reader along and rewarded his interest. Early in the process, Derek redirected me to be a storyteller rather than a technical writer. His “one reader” methodology was invaluable in forcing me to focus my message on a single idealized reader. Without it, the book would have had more a more diffuse shotgun approach that tried to be all tings to all readers, which naturally doesn’t work.

Derek is a deft editor and an invaluable sounding board. Even though the subject matter of my book was fairly technical and very much an industry insider’s take on physical security, Derek found his way into the material and was quickly able to discern the essential from peripheral. I mourned some of his editorial cuts, but they added much clarity and strength to the final product.

I also have to recommend Derek’s The Business Book Bible: Everything You Need to Know to Write a Great Business Book. It’s valuable on its own as a guide to the most important questions you will face as a business book author, but it’s even better as a companion to actually working with Derek on a real project.

Derek is a pleasure to work with, and an excellent collaborator.

– Steven Van Till
Founder, President, and CEO of Brivo
Chairman of the Security Industry Association Standards Committee
author of The Five Technological Forces Disrupting Security

Author Retreat

If you truly want to jumpstart your literary journey, then you need an author retreat.

You and I lock ourselves away from the world for 3-4 days and devote ourselves to getting all of your experiences and expertise out of your head.

For every author I’ve ever had, this is the first time they’ve ever had hours and days on end just to get it all out—their stories, their ideas, their life journey…everything.

It’s my job to listen, ask thought-provoking questions, and play devil’s advocate.

We’ll go through a number of exercises as we find the disparate threads of your book, discover your One Reader, brainstorm titles, draft cover copy of your book, and more.

Ready to Hold Your Book in Your Hands? Let’s Talk.

I know writing a book seems like a herculean task—and it is—but that’s why I’m here.

It’s easy to book a time just to talk.

Let’s book a time to talk about your book!

P.S. Do you really want another year to go by without writing a book?
Take the leap. Book the call.