3 Questions to Ask When Handling Criticism and Negative Feedback as a Thought Leader

Putting yourself out there always comes with the risk of criticism. 

When you perceive someone is attacking you, it can be almost impossible to see the negativity as an opportunity. 

But it doesn’t have to be this way. 

You don’t have to get defensive because a hater can become your biggest fan if you learn from negative feedback. 

The most successful thought leaders actively seek out constructive criticism to help them refine their ideas.

So how do you handle criticism and negative feedback in a way that is productive and constructive? Here are three questions to ask yourself before responding:

  1. Is the criticism valid?
    Before you react, take a step back and consider whether the criticism has any merit. Is it based on a misunderstanding or misinterpretation of your ideas? Maybe just a troll? Or is there a legitimate flaw in your argument or approach? If the criticism is valid, acknowledge it and use it as an opportunity to learn and grow.
  1. Who is giving the feedback?
    Consider the source of the criticism. Is it coming from someone who has expertise in your field? Or is it from someone who may not have a full understanding of your work? Understanding the context and perspective of the feedback can help you respond in a more productive way.
  1. What is your goal?
    Think about what you hope to achieve by responding to the criticism. Do you want to defend your ideas? Clarify your position? Engage in a constructive dialogue with the person giving the feedback? Having a clear goal in mind can help you respond in a way that is productive and effective.

Handling criticism and negative feedback is an ongoing process. It takes practice and self-awareness to respond in a way that is constructive and productive. But by asking yourself these three questions and approaching criticism with an open mind, you can turn negative feedback into an opportunity for growth and improvement.

How to Differentiate Yourself from Other Thought Leaders in Your Industry

So many people are so busy fitting in that they forget to celebrate their unique viewpoint. Sometimes you fit in by standing out. 

And when you don’t celebrate what makes you YOU, the world is missing out. 

What if you feel like you don’t have anything “special” to say when there are so many other thought leaders who have communities based around their words/solutions? 

It means you are too close to your own experiences to see the angles you can work to stand out. 

You don’t need to climb Mount Everest or pretend your toddler speaks like a genius to gain attention. All you need to do is sit down with a ghostwriter who can pull out the nuggets of wisdom in your experiences. 

 Here’s how to make the process easier: 

  1. Identify Your Target Audience: Start by identifying the group of people you want to appeal to with your book. Who are they and what are their interests, pain points, and challenges? 
  2. Brainstorm Potential Topics: After you have a clear idea of your target audience, brainstorm a list of potential topics that would appeal to them. Think about the problems that you have faced in your industry and how you have overcome them. 
  3. Research the Competition: Before finalizing your topic, research the competition to see what has already been written in your niche. Look for gaps in the market that you can fill with your unique perspective.
  1. Create a Road Map: Once you have a topic, create an outline of your book to help you organize your thoughts and ideas. This will help you see how your experiences and insights fit together and will give you a roadmap to follow/tweak as you work with your ghostwriter. 

Humanize Your Brand & Revolutionize Your Industry

Just like Steve Jobs did with Apple, you too can humanize your brand and revolutionize your industry.

I understand the importance of building a community around your solutions to connect with more people.

With a ghostwriter, you’ll be able to reach a wider audience and make a bigger impact in the world. I know what it takes to humanize a successful brand; I am here to guide you every step of the way.

Imagine a world where you are the newest icon in your industry, leading the way for others to follow. It can be a reality.

This Podcast Template Can Be Your New Co-Host

Ready to take your podcasting skills to the next level? Podcasting with a co-host can be a lot of fun, but it can also be tough to keep the conversation flowing. That’s why I’ve created this template – so you can focus on your solutions for your niche and build communities around your words.

You’ll sound like a pro with my easy-to-use template; your listeners will appreciate the flow of conversation.

Keep reading and schedule a time to talk with me. <calendly link>


  • Intro: Brief summary of the episode’s contents. Introduce yourself, your podcast, and any guests. (Duration: _____ )
  • [Sponsor message]
  • [Theme music]
  • Topic A: ________ (Duration: ___ )
  • [Segue] (sound effect, short musical clip, or phrase) 
  • Topic B: ________ (Duration: ___ )
  • [Segue] 
  • Topic C: ________ (Duration: ___ )
  • [Segue] 
  • Outro: (Duration: ___ ) 
  • Recap 
  • Call to action 
  • [Sponsor message] 

[Closing music jingle/sound effects]

You’ve been struggling to create a community for your solutions. It’s hard enough to get people interested in your product, let alone engage them enough to stick around and participate in a community built around your solutions.

I can help with the tools and resources needed to get started, including a co-host template that makes it easy for you and your co-host to get communities built around your solutions.

Your Template for an Interview-Based Podcast

The most popular podcast format is the conversational/interview show. Audiences love the easygoing nature of conversations, where listeners feel that they’re simply sitting in on a talk between friends (whether the content is comedic, educational, or simply friendly banter).

These types of podcasts work best with a loose structure that supports the conversational element. It’s key to give the hosts space to speak normally and let the conversation flow as it wills while providing the right amount of structure to keep it from going off the rails.


  • Intro: Concise summary of the upcoming episode’s contents. Intro yourself, your podcast, and any guests. (Duration: _____ )
  • [Sponsor message]
  • [Theme music]
  • Guest introduction: Guest bio, including their title, experience, and any relevant accomplishments. Thank them for joining the podcast. 
  • Question 1 (Duration: ____ )
  • Question 2 (Duration: ____ )
  • [Sponsor message]
  • Question 3 (Duration: ____ )
  • Outro: _____ (Duration: ____ )
  • Recap
  • Call to action

[Closing theme music]

Ready to build communities around your solutions? Schedule a call with me!

Script for Your Solo Podcast

You don’t need a co-host to produce a great podcast. With my easy-to-use podcast template, you can create a professional-sounding podcast on your own – without any prior experience.

My template is simple to use and helps you sound like a pro from the start. It is also easy to update as your show grows.

Get started today and create your very own podcast!

Bare bones template

  • Intro: _____ (Duration: _____ )
  • [Sponsor message]
  • [Theme music]
  • Topic 1: _______ (Duration: ____ )
  • Notes
  • Topic 2: _______ (Duration: ____ )
  • Notes
  • Segue
  • Topic 3: _______ (Duration: ____ )
  • Notes
  • Outro: _____ (Duration: ____ )
  • [Closing theme music]

Detailed solo

  • Intro: Brief summary of the episode’s contents. Introduction of yourself and your guest. (Duration: _____ )
  • [Sponsor message]
  • [Theme music]
  • Topic A: _______________ (Duration: ___ )
  • Main point
  • Supporting points
  • Data, quotes, or other information 
  • Topic B:  _______________ (Duration: ___ )
  • Main point
  • Supporting points
  • Data, quotes, or other information
  • Segue
  • Topic C: _______________ (Duration: ___ )
  • Main point
  • Supporting points
  • Data, quotes, or other information
  • Outro: _____ (Duration: ____ )
  • Recap
  • Call to action
  • [Closing theme music]

Podcasting can be a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of work. Not only do you have to come up with interesting topics and guests, but you also have to write the show notes for each episode.

I can help with my quick and easy podcast writing services that will engage your audience and help build communities around your solutions.

How NDAs Help Your Brand…

The relationship between a writer and their client is always important. It is especially critical when working with a ghostwriter. Finding fresh angles can be difficult in a market so crowded with all types of voices. Having an NDA in place ensures all parties understand the terms of the relationship and the scope of deliverables they are creating together.

An NDA protects both the writer and the client, giving each peace of mind and confidence during the process. Without an NDA, there could be confusion surrounding ownership of ideas and compensation claims, which could lead to conflict down the line.

By having clear rules established up front through an NDA, both writer and client can collaborate seamlessly and focus on what really matters: creating a great piece of content that will stand out in today’s crowded market. If you’re considering hiring a ghostwriter for your next project, make sure to get that vital NDA signed as soon as possible.

Let’s get started on your NDA today:

What You Need to Know If You’re Thinking of Hiring a Ghostwriter

Finding the best writer for your project is critical. If you’re considering hiring a ghostwriter for a book, article, or other project, there are a few key things you need to know about this process.
What to look for may surprise you.

References and a portfolio are not always available

If a ghostwriter is conducting business correctly, they will not have a wealth of references. It might also be hard to get samples of their work. After an NDA is signed, the writer cannot share their work. You can pay a ghostwriter to create a sample chapter or deliverable to evaluate their work.

Not having experience in your industry is normal/acceptable
A ghostwriter doesn’t need to have experience in your field as long as the writing skills are there. In fact, it may be best if they don’t. You won’t have to correct any misconceptions and can even guide the writer to have the same perspective as you.

Communication shouldn’t be 24/7

A writer needs time to write. If both of you have agreed upon a process, communication can be flexible. What matters is your vision is exceptionally reflected. Make sure to provide a brief for the project so there doesn’t have be a ton of back and forth. 

Although ghostwriters keep a low profile, they are accessible. Let’s discuss your upcoming projects. Schedule a time with me now:

The Power of Consistent Messaging

When it comes to success in the business world, communication is absolutely crucial. Whether we are talking to clients or giving presentations to colleagues, it is essential that messages come across clearly and powerfully. What exactly makes a message powerful? According to studies, one of the most important factors is consistency; that is, a consistent message will foster trust and good relationships between you and your audience.

With clients or representatives from other organizations, it is important to be deliberate and consistent in everything you say. One great way to achieve this is by using ghostwriters. You maintain consistency even when you face daily pressures from competing priorities. By understanding the power of consistent messaging, executives can ensure their success both now and in the future.

Examples of consistent messaging

Consistent messaging is a key component of any successful marketing strategy. Whether you are promoting a new product or trying to build your brand, it is essential that every message you put out to the world is clear and consistent. Although this may seem like an obvious concept, many companies still struggle to establish and maintain a coherent message over time. Fortunately, there are examples of successful, consistent messaging campaigns that can help you better understand what this practice entails. Here are a few.


For decades, Starbucks has been synonymous with high-quality coffee and good times. With its iconic green logo and ever-present storefronts, the company is truly a cultural icon. It is also an unregulated bank. Their rewards program lets millions of customers preload money onto Starbucks cards. Customers are loaning the company more than $1 billion at 0 percent interest. Their consistent messaging helps keep the focus on the exclusive yet convenient coffee experience.


Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan launched in 1988. It has become synonymous with Nike’s core values of hard work, determination, and perseverance. By pairing this powerful message with advertisements featuring some of the most inspiring athletes of each generation in history, Nike has created an indelible brand identity that resonates with consumers all over the world.

Year after year, century after century, Coca-Cola has maintained an image that is clean and modern, yet always rooted in tradition. This streamlined approach has proven to be remarkably effective at engaging consumers from all walks of life. Whether it’s through print ads, television commercials, or multimedia campaigns on social media, CocaCola has demonstrated a remarkable ability to connect with its target audience. By tapping into universal themes like happiness and fun, the company has been able to create an enduring brand presence that is virtually synonymous with success and excellence. For generations to come, Coca-Cola will no doubt continue to deliver on its long-standing promise of consistently stellar products and services.

Your marketing campaign can have lasting impact if your messaging is clear and consistent at every turn. When it comes to effective communication, consistency is key. Whether crafting blog articles, podcast show notes, doing interviews, or writing an e-book, it’s important to always use the same language and messaging to create a cohesive brand voice. Executives have to focus on operation, not brainstorming, writing and editing. 

Ghostwriters can help communicate consistent messaging in an engaging, on-brand way.

Let me be your boo!

Demystifying the Ghostwriting Process | Siren Publications

When Steve Jobs rejoined Apple in 1997, the company was struggling to stay afloat. He already had a reputation for being difficult with scant management experience. One of his first orders of business was laying off 31 percent of workers. The company had losses of up to $600 million every quarter.

The company lacked credibility and popularity in the rapidly changing landscape of technology. Under Jobs’s guidance and leadership, however, Apple quickly made a name for itself as one of the most innovative companies around.

Whether it was by introducing bold new products like the iPhone and iPad or overhauling existing offerings like iTunes to make them more user-friendly, Jobs constantly pushed boundaries and expanded the realm of what was possible with modern technology. In this way, he added greatly to Apple’s credibility and paved the way for its success in today’s digital age.

A move that proved pivotal for Apple was Jobs authorizing a self-titled biography written by Walter Isaacson, a former CNN and Time magazine executive, in 2001.

By using stories from this book to market itself and its products, Apple was able to demonstrate its commitment to quality design and innovation at every level. Through this newfound credibility and trust among consumers, Apple went on to become one of the most dominant companies in tech.

Although many doubted Jobs’s ability to lead Apple through its early struggles, it is clear that this book helped secure the company’s place as one of history’s greatest business turnarounds.

Share your vision
People understood the tech visionary behind Apple because his authorized biography humanized the brand. Jobs was selling his expertise, but it raised the demand for Apple products and built a community around his expertise

Buying Apple products became a symbol of understanding the man/vision behind the brand.

The next great business book is waiting to be written. Your book could change your business, your industry and even the world.

Understanding the ghostwriting process from start to finish
Your book is an investment in your reputation. A ghostwriter can help keep your focus on what you already do best: keeping your business running. Keep in mind that you need to have a plan for what you want the book to be about and how you want it to sound. A ghostwriter can also help keep your community engaged with fresh content while they work on making your book a reality. This is important because publishers will look at how popular you already are when they decide if they want to publish your book.

Mastery versus expertise
Mastery and expertise are two concepts that are often used interchangeably, but they actually mean quite different things. Mastery is a state of being in which one has a complete and total understanding of a given topic or skill, whereas expertise is the highly refined understanding of a particular field that comes from years of experience.

Mastery requires extensive knowledge and practice, as well as an ability to apply that knowledge to difficult and unfamiliar situations. Expertise relies on skill, intuition, and a deep familiarity with the subject matter at hand.

How to create an ecosystem
After you figure out what you consider yourself an expert in, consider what your unique selling point is and how it fits into the world. This will help you create an ecosystem.

A book is your intellectual property and it is the most important component in the ecosystem you have built. Think of publishing a book as the grand opening of an ice cream shop. After people come to your shop initially, you need to have ice cream in various flavors to keep people happy. This can include articles and podcasts. 

Amplify your ideas
A book amplifies your ideas and opens the door to speaking engagements, consulting and being a standalone expert. Keep in mind that the book is not the product. The anchor of your branding is your expertise, reputation and authority. 

Realize it is not a numbers game
Despite what you may have heard, getting published is not a numbers game. Publishers and agents look for actual engagement when it comes to communities. You can have a million followers and only 20 comments on any given post. Publishers want to see numbers that prove you are connecting and expressing mastery to your community. 

Understand your community
What are these communities? Well, they should be immediate and direct. When it comes to creating engaging content, few things are more important than building a community around that content.

For business experts, this requires fostering an online environment where readers can engage with the ideas shared in the content. This may be done through social media platforms, online forums and discussion groups, or email newsletters.

These communities can also provide valuable feedback and input for future content ideas. By intentionally fostering a robust community around the work, business experts can build a platform for generating new readers and gaining valuable insights into what the audience finds most compelling.

Build a community around content to grow brands and reach millions of readers on the web.

Define what ghostwriting is to you
Ghostwriting is an umbrella term. The process is really a collaborative writing relationship. You may be the owner of the framework and context while the ghost is writing every word.

You may have an outline ready to go or have a few chapters jotted down. In this case, you will want a developmental editor who can make your words compelling. 

Start by asking yourself what your specific needs are. Do you need a writing partner or an editor? How do you define good chemistry with either person?

Writing a book is a major commitment. Compatibility is important when choosing your ghost.You will be collaborating and need to have a connection. Working styles should also match. You may want to write every other chapter or just provide a blueprint. There is no right answer to who you should work with on your book or how. 

Being clear on expectations, including division of labor, avoids potential misunderstandings. A ghost has to understand how involved you plan to be and click with you. These two factors should be considered non-negotiables when selecting a writing partner. 

Forget guilt or shame
Own the fact that you will be an actual author even if your partner has done all the writing. This is your intellectual property, not theirs. 

Own how the process goes and the finished product. When you are running a business, no one expects writing to be part of your skill set. Your role is to master your subject matter, communicate ideas and engage with your communities. 

An author does not have to be a writer, so ask for help and get a writing partner. Your company has teams for areas you do not have mastery in. It is the same with writing. Your vision and name are an expression of you. Remove any shame or guilt from hiring a ghostwriter and invest in your reputation. 

Jump into publishing
There is so much mystery around book publishing and an unnecessary stigma around self-publishing. Before deciding on traditional or self-publishing, consider the type of experience you want and the team you want to work with.

When it comes to self-publishing vs. traditional publishing, there are pros and cons on both sides. For example, if you decide to self-publish your work, you have full control over every aspect of the process, from choosing a cover design to tweaking the wording in your manuscript.

This flexibility can be great if you want complete creative control. However, self-publishing can also be expensive and time-consuming, because it involves tasks like website creation and marketing efforts. You may encounter quite a few learning curves that can lead you down a few rabbit holes.

On the other hand, traditional publishing allows authors to focus solely on writing their stories while an experienced publisher handles all of the logistics associated with getting a book into stores and online retailers.

An author must typically give up some editorial control in exchange for assistance with things like distribution and promotion. Ultimately, whether you choose self-publishing or traditional publishing depends on your own preferences and priorities as a writer. Whichever path you choose, just remember that there is no right answer; each route has its own unique set of benefits and challenges.

Find an agent
Finding an agent can be challenging. You can go on websites like to explore your options. Check out a publisher’s website before pitching. You can tell a lot about a publisher and their team’s experience by their website and the books they publish .

Consider your rights
Traditional publishing has a licensing model. The rights to your book do not belong to you. Giving away your intellectual rights should only be done after much consideration. 

You can have a team with years of experience and the perceived clout of a traditionally published book in exchange for your rights. 

Self-publishing allows you to retain all rights. However, this type of publishing can make you feel alone without a traditional team to support you. Self-publishing is more casual. 

There is a legacy bias with traditional publishing. However, traditional publishing can be slow. It can also be hard to find an agent, costing you time and money. You can always get a self-publishing coach to get you on track.

Breathe new life into your business
Long-term brand equity is the value and strength a brand develops over time. The value is based on factors like consumer trust, awareness, and loyalty, all of which are earned through strategic marketing efforts and strong branding.

One common way to build brand equity over time is by producing high-quality content that aligns with your brand’s mission and values. One particularly effective type of content for this purpose is a ghostwritten book. By paying an experienced author to write a book for you, you can gain the credibility and expertise necessary to establish yourself as an authority in your field.

Because your name appears on the cover of the book as the “author,” you will benefit from all of the positive associations and goodwill consumers tend to have toward authors.

By hiring a professional ghostwriter to create professionally written content for your business, you can build long-term brand equity that will position you as an industry leader for years to come.


  • Selling your company’s expertise is more powerful than selling a product or service 
  • Providing thought leadership can shape your industry
  • Having a community and archive makes it easier to get a traditional publishing deal
  • Humanizing your brand can make you a visionary
  • Boosting your profile with a book can give you the right kind of clout while you run your business effortlessly 
  • Maintaining long-term brand equity is everything

Work with me

Do you want to write a book but don’t know where to start? My name is Maureen Castellon and I’m a professional ghostwriter. I can help you write your business book while you run your business. Not only will a book help build your brand, it will also give you the credibility and authority that comes with being an author.

You’ll be able to share your knowledge and expertise with the world, and readers will learn from your experience and insights. 

Click here to schedule a time to chat with me about your business book goals. 

A book is a milestone to build your branding around. I’ve had a 15-year career as an adjunct business writing professor and grammar teacher. I understand how adults learn and what connects to their professional lives. Right after I left the classroom, I started ghostwriting business books and copywriting for agencies, start-ups and corporations. 

Here are just a few of my record-breaking results:

I have ghostwritten more than 35 business books and was the executive voice of Sherry Chris, president and CMO of Realogy, for the Distinctive Collection magazine, social media and press releases.

The copy I generated for MONAT Gear via pop creative helped sell $415,000 in just one hour.

An abandoned cart email campaign I wrote for Hello Mobile had a record-breaking signup rate of 77 percent.

An article I wrote for Horus Straps via Absolute Web on the holy trinity of watches ranked no. 1 on Google’s search page (out of 10,500,000 results).

I help busy execs  like you communicate genuinely and connect authentically to build communities. 

Leading is a full-time job. Creating content shouldn’t be for execs. I can create your business ebooks, LinkedIn content and social posts.






📚Writer of more than 35 business books

📈Record-breaking copywriter

📄SERP-topping SEO specialist

🏆 Award-winning journalist

🖊️ B2B editor

🧜🏻‍♀️Founder of Siren Publications

🦩305 native

Let’s collaborate on your book! ​

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You have something valuable to share with the world.

What you know can make a difference in your industry–and beyond. That’s why I’m here to help you get your message out there through thought-provoking content that buildsto build communities. 

I want to help you shape the conversation in your industry so you can be considered a visionary. nerBy making me your collaborative writing partner, you can maintain long-term brand equity effortlessly while running your business effortlessly. And when it comes time to boost your profile, what better way is there than with a published book?

Contact me: to learn more about how Siren Publications can help you share your expertise with the world!