Brad Balukjian’s debut, “The Wax Pack,” is as much a meditation on OCD, love, our relationships with our fathers, and the postmortem malaise of retirement, as it is about baseball.

By Greg Larson

September 7, 2020

THE WAX PACK

On the Road in Search of Baseball’s Afterlife

By Brad Balukjian

At times, Brad Balukjian wants you to believe he’s only a journalist. The Wax Pack author seems to think we’d prefer him as an objective chronicler of facts, detailing his journey to find an often-elusive group of former baseball players.

When he meets Don Carman, his childhood favorite ballplayer, the author informs the reader, “For the first five thousand miles of the journey, I’ve managed to maintain professional distance, working my way into the lives and psyches of the Wax Packers while remaining…


Developmental editing, copyediting, proofreading––what’s the difference?

Developmental editing, copyediting, and proofreading — you’re pretty sure there are differences between all three. But what are they?

Each type of book editing is very different in terms of:

  • Scope
  • Time
  • And cost

Here’s a helpful metaphor:

Editing your book is just like preparing your car to sell. To get the most bang for your buck, you have to make sure everything under the hood works, the body is washed and waxed, and the interior has been detailed.

Getting the engine right is the developmental edit.

Getting the exterior washed and waxed is the copyedit.

And getting the interior…


You could write multiple books, but which one now?

Good news: if you’re a marketing executive (or any other business leader) you probably have multiple books in you.

But that’s also bad news, because you have multiple books in you.

Figuring out which one to write first is overwhelming. Especially if you’ve already got a table of contents for one, a half-finished outline for another, and a rough chapter for a third.

How do I decide which book to write first?

Again: it feels overwhelming. But finding the answer is not a random process. There’s a proven 3-step formula to determine which book you should write first.

The Three-Step Formula

Answer the…


Would you accept your self-talk from someone else?

I used to say horrible things to myself. It became so common that I didn’t even notice anymore.

I’d forget something important or miss a deadline at work and my self-talk became vitriolic:

“You missed ANOTHER deadline, you piece of shit?”

“You don’t deserve to be alive.”

“You’re just gonna self-sabotage for the rest of your life, aren’t you?”

These thoughts came up more than I realized, and their impact ran deeper than I imagined.

Over years of hearing these things, I started to believe this story I told myself — and who could blame me? Over time, I thought…


The Answer Lies in a Lack of Self-Love

Source: Alex Andrews, Pexels.com

Whenever I’m single, I put a lot of effort into changing myself to attract potential girlfriends.

I go to the gym, imagining hot babes I’ll meet once I’m shredded.

I go to the barber regularly, fantasizing about compliments I’ll get for my perfectly manicured beard.

I make time on the weekends to go out and meet people.

But then something funny happens…

It works! I meet someone, and (sometimes) we get into a relationship.

Then I turn lazy.

The desire to get “shredded” suddenly disappears. “Why workout when I already have the hot babe?”

I stop going to the barber…


It’s an Inefficiency Symbol

One of the biggest rookie mistakes first-time business book authors make:

Treating your book’s high word count as a status symbol.

I see it all the time. They’ll refer to their book not by its subject-matter, but by its length:

“My 200-page book…”

“My 50,000-word book…”

It’s like the startup founder who brags about how big their team is.

Your word count, just like your employee count, isn’t a status symbol.

It’s a symbol of your inefficiency.

The more words you use to convey your ideas, the less efficient you’ve been.

Your reader isn’t impressed by your page count. If…


The Answer Lies in Asking the Right Questions

Your best book isn’t the one in which you give the reader answers — they can get answers from a calculator.

Your best book is a deep meditation on the most challenging question you face at this very moment. That book will transform both you and your reader —

which is exactly why most people never write it.

“Did I waste my 20s?”

“Why do people make the decisions they do?”

“Why did my husband leave me?”

An honest, deep meditation on questions like these — in fiction and nonfiction alike — will leave you no choice but to unclench…


What are you still doing because you refuse to quit?

I felt a red-hot rage behind my eyes so powerful that I had to unleash it. If it stayed there, it would drive me mad.

I needed to rip off my clothes, hit someone, or drive my head through the concrete wall like the goddamn Kool-Aid man.

I was in 4th grade playing a basketball game, and I’d just missed an easy layup. That was enough to send me to the Red Place, where the fire of anger was so hot that it made me murderous.

I hated basketball. I hated it so much that I wanted hurt myself and…


The Most Frustrating Part about Being Your Ghostwriter Isn’t What You Think

The other day someone asked me a great question that I have to share here:

“What advice do you want to give your clients, but you’ve never had the balls to actually say?”

I thought for a moment before saying the following (in essence):

**Quit pussy-footing around critical feedback.**

Non-creatives (such as ghostwriting clients, business owners, etc.) have this assumption that writers can’t take negative criticism about their writing.

Something about being delicate artists, probably.

But the truth is the exact opposite: there is nothing more infuriating than a client who dances around critical (and therefore helpful) feedback.

Clients usually…

Greg Larson

Author, Editor, and Ghostwriter in Austin, TX. Greg-Larson.com

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