The Wordsmithie Authors Guild

Most journalists, copywriters and editors believe they have at least one good book in them. This is certainly true here at Wordsmithie. But, unlike many others, we actually manage to write them and see them into print.

Take Alexandra Kenin, as just one example. In addition to being an excellent studio director for our Google projects, she’s also the founder of Urban Hiker SF. If you live in the Bay Area, you may have heard of Alex and her amazing company. Her first book is Urban Trails – San Francisco, due out from Mountaineers Books in November.

Urban Trails is the first hiking guide detailing the 70 miles of hiking trails in San Francisco. It covers 40 routes in the city and 10 routes just outside. “There are hikes from 0.4 miles to nine miles, so there’s something for novices all the way through expert hikers,” Alex says. Be sure to pack this guide the next time you’re visiting the Bay Area.

Senior copywriter Ryan “Fritz” Holznagel is a winner of the Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions. In Secrets of the Buzzer, he tells us the secrets of quiz buzzing and how to improve reaction times for winning speed. This Kindle ebook is for anyone who wants to buzz faster, whether on Jeopardy!, in college or pub quiz games, or on any TV game show or trivia competition. “It’s less of a memoir and more of a handbook for contestants,” Fritz says.

Before returning for the Jeopardy Battle of the Decades in 2014, Fritz studied the physiology of buzzing—which hand muscles are strongest, how caffeine affects reaction times, whether the left or right hand is quicker, etc. “Secrets of the Buzzer is a recap of what I learned,” he says. “It includes my own tips for training and speed and sections on the nuances of the Jeopardy buzzer system and gameplay.”

Copywriter Lisbeth Kaiser is the author of Maya Angelou (Little People, Big Dreams), with illustrator Leire Salaberri. This new book is Lisbeth’s first, commissioned by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, London, as part of a new series that introduces revolutionary people as young children, to young children. Kirkus Reviews says Maya Angelou offers “stirring encouragement for all ‘little people’ with ‘big dreams.’” Lisbeth is now working on two more books in the series, about Rosa Parks and Emmeline Pankhurst. She’s thrilled to be writing about “fascinating and groundbreaking women.”

Then there’s Laura Bergheim, Wordsmithie founder and CEO. Busy running the agency in recent years, Laura has authored or co-authored eight books over the years, including The Ten Demandments, with Kelly Mooney, which takes readers into the hearts, minds, desires and demands of customers as they transfer expectations from e-commerce experiences to brick-and-mortar excursions. The Washington Historical Atlas, Library Journal said, is more than a travel guide, “yet not a dry historical account … a mixture of fact, folklore, a bit of humor, a drop of rumor, and lots of atmosphere.” And An American Festival of World Capitals is a coast-to-coast guide to local wonders and celebrations in towns with a quirky capital claims to fame.

Laura isn’t the only author in the Bergheim (or Wordsmithie) family, either. Her brother, David (our chief strategy officer), penned his first novel, the comedic (and timely) Greenbeaux, about a real clown who runs for president. Kirkus Reviews called it a “winsome political tale about a candidate from a very particular minority,” and named it one of the Best Indie Fiction Debuts of 2015.

Finally, I’ve written or edited various nonfiction books and two novels. My latest book is Nine Innings for the King, published by McFarland & Co. last year. This book tells the history of a largely forgotten “baseball match” played by American soldiers and sailors in London on the 4th of July, 1918, during World War I. The topic inspired my wife and me to found the nonprofit Anglo-American Baseball Project. AABP plans to recreate the game in England exactly 100 years later, to benefit US and UK veterans and their families. I also have a baseball history of WWI due out next year, from the University of Nebraska Press.

So there you have it, the Wordsmithie authors guild. But don’t worry. When you come to us for a case study, we won’t write you a whole novel instead. We’ll save that for our spare time.


ABOUT Jim Leeke

Widely experienced in journalism, marketing communications and advertising, Jim has worked with top creative agencies to deliver print, Internet and interactive projects to Fortune 500 companies. His expertise ranges from technology and healthcare/pharmaceuticals to defense and veterans issues. Jim is also the author/editor of six books, writing extensively on the Civil War and baseball. In addition to his Wordsmithie role, Jim is Co-founder and Creative Director of Taillight Communications.