Let’s explore why you are writing a book. It is, I believe a very personal journey and one that you need to get right, otherwise, your book will never get written.
I have a few books that I have written that are not published, but writing them was deeply cathartic and at the time that was incredibly important.
My latest book Blog Your Book in 30-Days is as you can see very much connected to my business. I’ve enjoyed writing and blogging this book while creating a course of the same name. It has a real purpose. I knew exactly what I wanted to achieve when I started the project.
Find your why and it will be easier to write – I promise.
You will, of course, have noticed that books don’t write themselves, you do need that all-important ingredient called motivation. Motivation starts, I believe with getting your head around the why of your book.
This is a great question. Why oh why do you want to write a book?
Write because what you have to say matters to you and your ideal reader. Write because it fulfils a purpose and certainly write because you want to make an impact with your word.
Writing a book will help you to find your voice and your message, or at least clarify it.
And a book will help you to be seen as an expert and that increases your credibility and desirability.
Writing a book will change your life in many ways. First and foremost you will learn new skills and find resources that you didn’t know that you possessed.
You will heal because writing is cathartic. Of course, this depends on what type of book you are writing.
When you become better known you will attract more of your ideal client to you and that will certainly change your life.
For me, I am an educator so I want to teach you what I know. I also want to inspire and entertain you.
Most of all I want to inspire you to know that you can whatever it is I am writing about.
I believe there is little point keeping what you know to yourself. Knowledge is meant to be shared.
I invite you to fully connect to this question. You may be feeling scared and asking who am I to be doing this? This is good old imposter syndrome. I understand this and it is quite common.
One of the things I suggest to my clients is to create a book cover journal so that they have been through the process of publishing and get to hold their book in their hands. When they come to do it for real it’s not so bad.
I’d hope that you are feeling excited and looking forward to sharing your words. Embrace your butterflies and enjoy the process.
You are the best person because this is your story, knowledge, skills and experience shared in your unique way.
What else? Own this because it’s important.
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” –Stephen King
First of all look at your bookcase and grab some books that you have really enjoyed reading. What do you love?
Then consider the books that you didn’t enjoy and ask why?
Next, the kind of book that you are going to write will depend on your purpose, business, goals and what you want to create in the world.
I always say to my clients, why write a book that you wouldn’t enjoy reading.
In the past, I have written a few healing memoirs and never published. They weren’t right for me. Just recently I have been looking at these and working out how I could turn them into journaling books.
I love books which are story and self help with a section on questions for my journal.
What do you love?
Naturally, you can write any book because you want to. Writing should be fun and if you want to write something for pleasure – then do so. Just know why.
Ready to make an impact? Book in a call and lets explore how you can create an impact with your book (or blog).
Writing a book is a big undertaking and something that I think people often shy away from because it feels too big. When you look at what is involved, it can seem like it is a big undertaking, however, when you look at each part as a chunk, it does and will start to feel manageable. This blog has been designed for you to assess each part of your book journey so that you can become really clear.
I liken writing a book to a bar of chocolate, although that does depend on how you devour your chocolate. Imagine if you will a large bar of unwrapped chocolate.
As you look at it, you will see it is generally made up of lots of little squares. Each square is an element of writing your book. The key is to take your book a chunk at a time. Just as I have put all of the questions into chunks.
Grab your journal and take a deep dive into your motivation for writing a book. These journaling prompts are not designed for you to tackle in one go. No, you need to chunk these too. Start with each part and explore, remembering to reflect.
My goal is that at the end of this process, you will see that writing a book is achievable and that you can see a way to make this a part of your day to day business.
If you look at these and start to feel faint book in for a book discovery session and we will nail the right book for you and look at how you will get it written.
You will, of course, have noticed that books don’t write themselves, you do need that all-important ingredient called motivation. Motivation starts, I believe with getting your head around the why of your book and getting to the heart of your book.
Success means different things to different people. You may write a book and never publish it, yet it is a success because it has helped you to heal. Success could be that your book has helped to raise your visibility and attract new clients. You may have more speaking engagements. It could be that you want to become a bestseller and sell thousands each week. You have to decide what success means to you and embrace it.
Writing a book starts a long way before you start to plan it. People often tell me that they have had a book inside of them for years. Some tell me that they have written many words but have never felt compelled to publish. When it comes to books, my observation is that sometimes books are written to help us to heal, and these may well have served a purpose, and sometimes books are waiting for the right time to emerge.
When you know why this book, how it aligns with your brand and business and what you want to create in the world, things start to fall into place. Your business is about creating and delivering value, and a book is a vehicle to help you to do that. Get clear on where you want to go and what you want to create first.
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A personal brand is all about what you want to be known for and seen as. A brand, in the corporate sense, is the image etched in the mind of the public through the culmination of all communications and experiences with the organization. A personal brand isn’t much different. Every interaction you have with others, what you wear, what you say, what you don’t say, how you react facially or through body language all create an image of you. Everything you do either builds or detracts from your personal brand.
Personal branding is the process by which we understand who we are, what our message for the world is, and how we then ‘market’ ourselves to others. The key to your success is to find your message and calling (aka purpose) and get compensated for it.
Understanding your Personal Brand is the key to planning the direction of your life, business or career and enable you to create a unique position for you in the world. It will help you to focus on how you create value and experiences for your clients while staying true to your values.
You already have a personal brand whether you want one or not – simply by being you, you have a brand. What you do with it is up to you. If it needs bringing into alignment, then you make a choice to do that. Life is always about choices and while it may be tempting to say I don’t care what others think, or they can take me or leave me, the reality is, your personal brand is how others perceive you. Writing a book supports that perception.
You will have many ideas for books; I know that I do. The key is choosing the right idea. This comes back to the earlier question of asking what do you want to create, but also looking at what book is the right book for right now? If you choose your best idea, it will be easier and more enjoyable to write.
Having a book plan is important as it will keep you on track and focused. Yet so many people don’t have one. I like to create a plan which has my book journey set out in stages. I like to reflect often and celebrate when I have completed each stage.
A book outline lends itself very nicely to becoming a product blueprint from where you can create a roadmap for the development of your products and services. From the book blueprint, you can define a 24-month development plan that includes e-books, journals, planners, courses, workshops, retreats and signature programs.
Market research is all about making sure that there is a gap for your book. One of the best places to undertake research is on Amazon and particularly the book reviews. Also, make sure that you check out your competitors and learn from them
When you are writing a book, it is vital that you have a picture of who you are writing it for in your mind. Many people struggle with ideal client avatars but get this right, and your ideal reader profile will emerge. Make sure when you are writing, you are focused on the needs of that one person, and you will create a better book. You need to think carefully about the category your book is in so that your reader can find it.
Not everyone wants to write a memoir or personal story, although everyone does have stories to tell. Consider if your story will add value to your reader and this and if so, which slice of life is relevant. If you are sharing anecdotes, what are they and how to they add to the learning that your reader will get?
Writing your story can be emotional, and for me, there is the aspect of writing it to heal, in which case do you want to publish and if you do, how does it add value to your reader’s life and learning?
Often people who are writing personal stories find that at the end of the process they don’t want to publish because the purpose of the book has been fulfilled. When this happens, I would encourage you to think about how else you could use the content/
Let’s get good old writer’s block out of the way. Writer’s block is always about what lies beneath your resistance, not the blank page. One of my favourite activities is to explore writer’s block and to come up with ideas for moving past it and getting a book completed. When you understand what stands in your way, you can make choices about how to change these things.
Having a book title even if it’s only the working title will bring your book alive. In the ‘my book exercise,’ one of the first jobs is to write the book title and get used to telling others that this is your book. I find that my titles change often and that’s ok because eventually, you will find the one that resonates with you.
When you have a title, it’s like an umbrella for the rest of the journey. When your umbrella is up the outline seems to flow. The outline is the journey that your ideal reader will take towards a good result or outcome. Use these questions to have a go at brainstorming your book idea. Grab a big sheet of paper, some coloured pens and have fun.
The phrase making time always amuses me. We all have 24 hours and so the idea that we can make more time seems odd. However, there are many ways in which we can waste time or not use our time productively. Right now, if writing a book is a priority considering how to become a more productive writer is a must.
What works for me is to write first thing in the morning before my doggie walk. On the walk, I have time to reflect. Later in the day, when the working day is over, the last walk done, I put my computer on my lap, leave the TV on in the background and edit. The key is to find a routine that works for you.
I’ve known clients say that they will miss their morning writing time when the book is over. They have cultivated this great habit and seen their books come alive, and now they are left with a hole to fill.
There are many ways to write a book. You can write it; you can blog it, you can use transcriptions from videos and podcasts, you can talk it, ask someone to co-write or hire a ghost-writer.
The pleasure for me is to write the book myself. I adore writing and love the feeling of the words flowing from me onto the page. But this is not true of everyone, and this comes back to your motivations for writing a book. If this is an exercise in raising your visibility and you have the budget, perhaps hiring a ghost-writer is the best option.
One of my favourite and sometimes frustrating tasks is deciding on what the book cover will look like. Sometimes I can wander down many rabbit holes researching on Amazon and looking endlessly at images and fonts. What I have learned is that you need a good cover design specification and cover designer. My cover designer gets me and usually comes up with ideas that need hardly any tweaks. You need to spend time getting to know your designer and trusting that if you are open and positive in your communications, you will get a great cover.
Self-publishing is a wonderful way to get your book onto the shelves quickly. It has become a hugely popular route for many writers. You have total control of the process, even if you do have to share your profits with your publishing platform (Amazon). However, for some, it is important to be traditionally published. This will take longer, and you have less control of your book. To ensure that you sell your book to a potential agent or publisher, you will need to write a book proposal. Be prepared for rejections and when you do find the right publisher check out how to make the relationship work for you both.
Marketing is something that many leave to the last minute. I always recommend that you should start marketing your book before you start writing. A launch plan will help you to focus your mind and the tasks. If you start it early, then it won’t be a mad rush when you hit publish. Then, of course, there is the all-important question what goes into your marketing plan. You need to look at the overall marketing plan and goals of the business and align your plans. They are not separate, yet many see them as so.
Planning and writing a book with a proven system also helps. Ready to make an impact? Book in a call and let’s explore how you can create an impact with your book (or blog).
You don’t have to be a famous name to make an impact, all you need is your heart in the right place. Not that I imagine for a minute that your heart could physically move, more your emotional heart. The one that beats with your innate wisdom and goodness.
One of the easiest ways to create an impact is through daily acts of kindness which start with you. How kind are you being to yourself? When I embarked on what I call my journey to self-love, my journal was a constant companion, helping me to create personal impact through self-awareness.
Impact I believe starts with self.
Just take a moment to reflect on your many journeys and the positive impact you have had on other’s lives – just by being you, making the choice to change and sharing your stories.
Many people have taken their hot mess and turned it into a message, and just as many have connected with and shared the wisdom gained through experiencing life through another lens. What is important is that they have shown great courage to dare to share.
People with a sense of purpose, no matter where it emanates from, light up others lives completely driven by their reason to be here. They shine a light, hold a space, listen and they are not afraid to get out there.
But where could one start, if they wanted to make an impact?
It’s amazing what doors can open if you reach out to people with a smile, friendly attitude, and a desire to make a positive impact. – Richard Branson
A smile is so simple. It lights you up, changes how you feel and when it radiates out and touches another you will make a connection. Of course, not everyone smiles back and that’s ok. It always makes me laugh when someone’s face doesn’t change. I wonder what is so awful in their lives that they can’t trust themselves to smile back.
Ask yourself what is the impact you want to make?
I did this on the weekend. Standing in front of my flipchart I scribbled with no other intention that to allow some words to flow. They are and these are without context:-
I’m letting these sit for a while and then I will reflect on what they mean.
You do not need to make grand gestures (unless you want to). Something small everyday will make the difference.
I’ve picked these inspirational and motivational quotes so give you something to mull over while you ponder the impact you’d like to make in the world. Read each one, think about what it means to you and explore in your journal.
Fame is easy to acquire; impact is much more difficult. – Hans Rosling.
A man who liked to use data to explain how we could change the world. He has lots of talks over on TED go, look him up. You’ll never look at data in the same way.
If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room. – Anita Roddick.
The incredible person behind Body Shop who shaped our thoughts behind natural products and being more ethical in our daily lives.
And as for mossies – no thank you!
Recognise that every interaction you have is an opportunity to make a positive impact on others. – Shep Hyken.
Hyken talks about customer service and says your customers don’t compare you to your competitors, but to the best customer service they have ever had. Now that’s food for thought.
Every action we take impacts the lives of others around us. – Arthur Carmazzi.
I confess I hadn’t heard of Arthur until recently. His purpose is to impact the world of leadership. He works to inspire leaders to change the culture of the organisation so that they create environments that are happier, motivated, competent and more effective. He has developed a methodology called Directive Communication Psychology. Coming from the world of corporate I applaud anyone who can achieve this.
Genius is in the idea. Impact, however, comes from action. – Simon Sinek.
I think most people will have heard of Simon Sinek and his work around Start With Why. This simple command always gets people thinking. What’s your why? And why is your why important to the impact you want to make?
Each of these has written a book. They probably didn’t set out to write a book when they decided they wanted to change the world in some way. They connected to their why, purpose and what and took consistent daily actions.
One day something would have tickled their grey matter or someone would have said, you know, it would be great if we could capture your greatness in a book so that more people could learn from you.
And so they did. And so can you.
Don’t ever underestimate the impact that you may have on someone else’s life. Start with a smile and your journal see where it leads you.
Ready to make an impact? Book in a call and lets explore how you can create an impact with your book (or blog).
Want to write a book? Is it on your bucket list or a must have or an mmm not sure, one day maybe?
I knew from a young age that this writing malarkey was part of who I am. Although I never relished going to school, I did enjoy English when we had an interesting book to read. I found myself carried along with the characters and transported to another world.
These lessons inspired me to write in my journal and explore my own life. I dreamt of being an author and having my books turned into films. When I wrote creatively my life changed, I could be anyone and go anywhere. The ending was under my control.
Life took me along another path. When it came time to write a book, it was not the novel that I dreamt of; it was a book on marketing. Of course, it was, I was in the marketing game, and people really needed a book on how to conduct a marketing audit. They did really!
The funny thing is even though that marketing audit is not in print, in those days you offered PDF’s from your website, I still get people asking for permission to use it. Just recently a college in the states approached me to ask if they could use it as a teaching tool. If you write a book its legacy can live on beyond your expectations.
Despite starting many novels, it has never the right time for me. Rather I have so many other ideas that I want to share. And that is where my frustration lies, I love to write and there are never enough hours in the day to indulge my passion. Although, in truth, I get up early and write as I love the peace of the morning and the freshness of my muse. Dogs willing of course.
Unlike me, writing might not be your thing. As you ponder the mysteries of the gifts of wisdom bestowed upon you, you might ask, how can you write a book, if putting pen to paper is not for you?
Writing a book is a balance of time and money. I see it as an investment of energy. If you make the time, invest your time and resources here and if you have the money pay someone else to write a book for you. There are a series of solutions in-between. Let’s explore.
This would always be my first choice. When you decide to write a book, find your best idea for right now, map it out and spend time each day writing. Unless you are skilled in planning a book, you may find yourself getting stuck, but with a little back and forth you can sort it out. I am sure that once the book is written, you will feel delighted at your best efforts and you can hit publish.
The beauty of self-publishing is that if you spot any mistakes you can upload your amended manuscript straight away.
In this scenario, you invest in a course that takes you step by step through the planning process and guides you to getting your first draft written, edited and published. This would suit like above someone who makes the time to learn the steps and takes action. Similar to using a course, you could also use a book. This suits self-directed learners.
I’m a fan of this way of doing things as I can tackle things bit by bit and have the back up of a video or book. If it’s a course, it has to have videos as I am a visual and active learner.
Once your book is outlined, using something like Dragon Naturally Speaking you can support you to talk your book. I’ve done this and magically written 40,000 words in a weekend. Admittedly apart from eating and walking my dog that’s all I did. The big edit revealed that Dragon didn’t quite understand everything I said, but I had a lot of words to work with and that made life so much easier.
There are apps you can get for your phone which mean that you can be talking your book in the bath, walking the dog or driving to work.
If you have online courses which have videos already recorded, you can send the files to somewhere like rev.com and get them transcribed. I hate making sense of transcribed files, but once again you do have a head start.
Although I like the idea of talking a book, I much prefer putting my fingers on a keyboard and writing. But if you are short on time or do not like writing, this is perfect. You’ll need to be a tough editor and maybe this is where you get in some extra help.
This is one of my favourite options. Using your blog to write the content. There are several ways that you can approach this. One is to plan your book and write a blog a day or several blogs a week to get the content into the hands of your reader.
Another is to have no plan but an idea that you may want to write a book. In this case, you blog in the same way and then come back and deconstruct your content, timeline it, look for the gaps and compile it into a book.
Personally, I favour the idea of creating an outline and then allowing the blog to flow, but sometimes great books emerge from connecting with your muse and allowing the content to make its way into the world. I have a blog your book course and group that can guide you through this process.
There is a lot to writing a book and this option is for those who value being supported by someone who knows the ropes, can guide them, hold them accountable and get them through the hump days when you simply do not want to write. They hold a space for you and gently guide you through this incredibly life-changing process.
Being a part of a team who supports you through this process can be just what you need to stay on track. When I invest in group programs or in anything, I make sure I turn up, no matter what. There is something inside of me that says I have paid, and I want every ounce of value. When I did my executive coach training, which took a year, I turned up, I did the coaching hours and I delivered every piece of content required even when I didn’t want to.
On a group program, you are guided through all of the steps, held accountable, inspired and supported not only by your facilitator but by your peers.
Like anything in life you only get out what you put in and you do need to show up.
I love this model of coaching and with my groups, they also have the benefit of all of my online courses so that they have lots of additional resources. My door is always open so that when someone is stuck, they simply have to reach out and if I can I will get on Zoom and help them through.
If this is an option for you, consider what you get and how available your coach is. There is nothing worse than showing up for a class, later having questions and nowhere to direct them.
There are a couple of ways to look at this. You may co-author with someone whose name goes on the book or they may write for you in return for a fixed fee and a percentage of the profits.
Like any relationship, there needs to be clear boundaries and allocation of tasks. I’ve written with 3 other authors and they were a wonderful team to be with. The book took much longer than I anticipated but we are all delighted with the result.
I have also written for people and not had my name on the credits. One of the things that I pride myself on is being able to write in someone else’s voice – once I get to know them. So, when a client needs part of a chapter or even a whole chapter writing on those hump days, I can fill in the gaps.
This is a great option if you are up against a deadline with your publisher and time is not on your side.
Having someone else write your book does not mean handing over the reins to someone else and swanning off to do something else. Once you have found the right person to write your book, you need to build a relationship so that they can get inside your head and heart. The process needs interaction, interview time and feedback. This is a collaboration of a very intimate kind.
You may have workshop material or other documents that your ghost-writer can access, learn and translate along with your story into a book. The ghost-writer needs to understand what it is that you are trying to create not only with your book, but your business, so you must spend time taking them into your world.
The work can be conducted online quite easily, you could also ask your ghost-writer to come to your location or you could go to theirs. I’m in Spain so the perfect place to hire a villa and get your book out of your head.
Here’s the thing they all cost you in some way. If you write a book yourself the whole process could be around 700 or more hours. Yes seriously. From ideas to publication you need a lot of time. Price up your time and you’ll get an idea of what it theoretically will cost you. Pricing this way can be pretty scary if you use your charge out rate…
If someone else writes for you, they take on the time and energy and you will pay them (generally) by the hour or a contract price. Consider what you charge your clients per hour and expect your ghost-writer to charge you accordingly. Consider their experience and skills and how these can deliver you a book in your voice that will greatly enhance your brand and visibility.
Outside of your time and the cost of the ghost-writer, expect to pay for proofreading, cover and interior design. You may also need support with a book proposal for a publisher, uploading to Kindle Direct Publishing if you are self-publishing, marketing and PR support.
Look at this in a different way, this is an investment. The world doesn’t need books, but they do need wisdom, inspiration and guidance and a book is a perfect delivery system to a world hungry for knowledge, personal growth and stories.
And finally, whatever you chose as your way to write a book, please do it. Your words, wisdom and experience have the power to inspire and change not only your life as you write or share with a ghost-writer, but they have the power to change others lives. You only have to read the reviews on Amazon to understand this or listen to someone whose life has been changed after reading a book.
One or two of these options will resonate with you, work out why, ask how important having a book is to you and what you are prepared to commit to – time or money?
If you are not sure of which option, book in a call and let’s explore.
People talk about finding your writer’s voice and it seems like such an odd expression given that we are (typically) born with voices which develop as we grow. And that’s the point they develop as we learn to express ourselves and they certainly develop as we write more.
I found my writer’s voice through journaling. Writing has always been where I made sense of the world. I would write about my day, about people and experiences and try to understand why I felt the way that I did.
This was a different voice to the one that wrote training manuals, blogs for clients and words for their books. In these scenario’s my voice is always someone else’s, but that is another story. While it brought me enjoyment writing for others, it was when I wrote for me that I felt connected to the inner me.
It’s one thing finding you and your writer’s voice through private writing and quite another sharing it with the world. I find my style is instructional, I love to teach and mixed up with stories, because I also love stories. What I notice is that no matter what I write, it reveals something of who I am. That is my writer’s voice. I didn’t find it, it simply evolved.
The question of how do you find your writing voice will continue to confound people. The answer, for me, is quite simple, and a little bit scary. All you have to do is to start writing and keep writing. Stop looking for your voice. The more you search for anything, the more frustrating it will be and the further away it will seem.
The magic in any writing comes in the editing. Just like in life. What I mean by that is in life you find who you are, where you show up, demonstrate courage, change and grow s you live your life and you’ll find those same qualities as you write.
If you are anything like me, your voice will have been suppressed. You will have been told to shut up or children are seen and not heard. Later in meetings at work, you may have found yourself spoken over or ignored and the voice you long to share takes a back seat, afraid to be witnessed.
Writing in a journal frees that voice trapped by cruelty, writing blogs gives you a chance to learn how to express yourself. It’s where you share your knowledge, skills, experiences and lessons learned.
What’s the worst that can happen? Yes, people won’t read them.
The best is, as your writing improves with time the way that you are viewed changes. When it comes time to unleash your wisdom on the world in a book you will have practised and although you may feel shaky to start off with, like in life you will find your voice.
Give yourself time, keep writing and give yourself permission to grow with each word.
How often do you stop and listen? I remember going to a presentation by Nancy Kline and there was a simple exercise we had to do. Listen to the person we had been partnered with for five minutes. I thought it would be easy, but it wasn’t. I was to give my full attention to the person in front of me and not think about something else. It was hard, but it taught me a lesson and that was if I don’t pay attention I will miss the beauty of what is around me.
When I go for a walk each morning, I step out into a world that is alive with the sounds and smells of Mother Nature. There is so much to hear every day and some days I will stop and sit on a rock and allow my hearing to extend across the hills.
What can I hear I ask myself? This is so different from what I could hear when I lived in a town. When I ask that question I always hear new sounds. It amazed me that I could hear the cars on the distant motorway and I would wonder about the lives of the drivers, where they were going and why?
Listening allows us to hear others people’s voices and by that I don’t mean the tone or the pitch, I mean the quality of who they are. You get that when you read books and blogs. You will get a sense of who that person is and how their experiences have shaped their lives. I think that writing shows where your passion lies. Passion for life, values, experiences, and energy.
That’s a tough one isn’t it? One way is to distance yourself from what you have written and see it from the third person. Another you if you will looking in to observe and be a witness. Could you imagine yourself as a character in a book or a film? What do you feel when you watch or read about them? Curious isn’t it when we lend our imaginations to seeing ourselves and hearing our voice from another perspective.
When you write, not only does your written voice change but so do you. That is the power of writing and words. Things will happen that will help you to uncover who you are and instil a level of confidence that will help to shape your life and your business.
Blogging your book gives you a chance to show others who you are and you get the added benefit of building your brand as you do it. Another bonus is that you get feedback on your writing and with that you can implement this feedback if you desire to do so. There is nothing quite like being heard.
Your voice is how you see and share your world. Your voice is full of your experiences and personality. Your voice is also how others feel and experience you. Of course, you can’t control how others feel about you, but you can help them to understand who you are by the way that you express yourself through your writing. Your voice is your value. I have a nifty acronym called value which I use to remind me of my voice.
Values are ways of being that mean something important to you. Your values are the qualities that you want to present to the world. They are what you believe are important and they are the foundations of who you are. Values give you focus and direction and fuel to your passion, purpose, dreams and vision.
Conversely, when, what you do is not in alignment with your values you will feel unhappy, lost and without focus. You will also feel at odds when you are with people who cross your values and in harmony with others who make your heart sing.
Avatar has two meanings here, one is the reader that you write for and another is how you help your reader with your writing. An avatar is a divine teacher. When you think about your writing ask yourself how would you like to inspire your reader? What kind of outcome would you like for them?
We can never guarantee that someone reading our book or blogs will achieve the outcome we desire, but as long as they get something from it then our work is done. We look at our reader and the questions they are asking in chapter…
Write about what you love from your heart. The mind often takes over when we write. I find that I’ll start to write something and my fingers are racing along as I unconsciously download and then something will distract me and my rational mind says what next, why are you writing that and the moment is lost. Then my writing becomes stiff and not at all what I want to say.
The best way is to connect to your muse and allow the flow to come. I talk about doing things in chunks (How to be a more productive writer) and if you have brainstormed the night before, what happens the following day is that your muse will be ready to help your words flow.
Every voice has a unique melody. I notice that the authors I gorge on have a distinctive way of writing, I can almost hear them speaking their books to me. I also believe that we all have a song in our hearts and that is what we are releasing when we writing. Think how music moves you. It’s that feeling you want to give your reader.
There is an energy to your writing. A tempo and a pace. Think of a piece of writing that you love, what is the quality of the energy that vibrates from it? What words come to mind as you read it that tell you about the energy of that person? Now do the same for a piece that you are writing. How would you describe the energy of the piece? And I double dare you to read something you wrote a few years ago, how would you describe the energy of that?
Start writing and when you read it back what words would you use to describe what you have just read? Is it fun, straight, quirky, melodious? Then ask the question is this how I talk? I like to think that when I write that I add in a little sense of humour. So, I’d want my writing to feel like it’s fun when it needs to be.
However, as I said earlier, I like to teach in my books and blogs so it will also be instructional. Do I talk like a teacher? Well, yes I do when I get asked something technical. I also try to get concepts over in a simple way. Do I do this? Yes, I do. I step back and consider if what I am about to say is going to fly over someone’s head or will it make sense? I want to get people thinking and my biggest desire is to inspire.
What I also consider is my ideal reader (see avatar above) and I’ve discovered that they are action takers. They like me read something with a journal in their hands. They make notes and work out how to implement what they have learned and they are full of ideas.
What I also advise is to go and look at the books (read the reviews too) and blogs that you enjoy reading. I advise my writers to look at books a lot because when you know what you like to read, you will know how to get a sense of how you might write.
Grab a journal and review a few books that you love. Have the idea of writers voice in your head and write what you discover and what they mean to you. Make a note of phrases that you love. Think of how they emotionally connect with you. Why do you love their writing? Conversely is there something that you don’t like? Why is that?
If you are feeling brave share your writing with some trusted friends and ask them what they learn from your written voice. Be prepared to take critique and not to treat it like criticism. Is the feedback something you need to work on.
Read your writing back and ask that all important question would you read it if it weren’t you? If you don’t like it learn to change it. This might not be that easy, after all you have just written it and it’s your baby. But on this occasion it makes sense to take yourself out of the equation and become a reader.
What about things that you like to watch and music that you listen to? I loved a series called After Life by Ricky Gervais. I found myself both laughing and crying at the same time and wishing I could write in a way that moved people to rave about how emotional they felt like the stories connected with their hearts.
One of my go-to bands is Nirvana. As I listen to the opening bars of Come as you are, I am moved emotionally and I want to get up and dance wildly. Music is primal and speaks to the emotional part of our brain. I often find myself watching TV or movies and listening to music captivated and feeling that part of me that wants to inspire others through writing has been poked and woken up.
Just as you are either turned on or off by what you watch and listen to others will notice that about your writing. They will be able to tell if you don’t enjoy writing, it will show all over the page because your voice will be missing.
People feel your emotional state when you write.
Think back to how you write in your journal when you are feeling in need of getting it all out. That’s the raw naked you.
To inspire your creativity go back to your favourite music and notice how that makes you feel or watch one episode of your latest favourite box set. With any luck you’ll be invigorated and ready to write.
Finally, stop worrying about what others will think, connect to your muse and allow your words to flow. If you spend time worrying about others you will never write and never find your voice. Worrying about others will stunt your creativity and your writer’s voice.
Imagine the energy you feel when you write. Now imagine that you have given all of the wonderful positive vibes to the dark. Which would you rather harness and utilise?
What I often do with my writing is to plan the blogs out, write and then leave them until I feel that my muse is ready to put her energy into the piece. Sometimes a piece will never see the light of day. This isn’t necessarily about what others think, but more that it’s not right for right now and that will show if I publish.
When you give energy to what others think you are giving part of you away and that’s not great, is it? It’s far easier to accept that some people will love your writing and some won’t and that’s ok. This is where your private journal will let you explore and find clarity.
You can always learn from others, but comparing yourself and your writing with someone else’s will kill your writing dead, before you even start. I find that when I compare myself with others it kills my creativity. What I do instead is ask what do I love about what someone else has written and what can that teach me?
The question is are others better than us or just different? I like to think that they are different rather than better me. I bet if you find a writer that you adore and if you were able to read their first scratchings you’d be amazed at how awful their writing was.
I know mine has changed and improved over time and the more I do it the better it will become. Focus on your writing and allow yourself to grow through it. Say to yourself I love to write and my voice deserves to be expressed and heard.
Enjoy writing and allow your voice to emerge. Stop looking for your voice because it’s already there and when you think you have found it, keep developing it, keep writing and keep putting your content out there.
Before you get to the practical stuff write 500 words with no holds barred. This is a piece that is not for anyone but you. Simply connect to your muse and write from your heart.
As someone who loves challenges, I’m a sucker for most 30-day writing and blogging challenges. The only time I have failed utterly is when I did NaNoWriMo, I managed 20,000 words and ran out of steam, twice. Without shaming myself too much the reason was on both occasions I did not outline the book and I wasn’t prepared.
In my defence, if NaNoWriMo had been a non-fiction challenge I would have prepared, it was just that I thought that my novels would somehow magically morph out of my amazing brain. Sadly they didn’t and I doubt if I work in this way in the future I will fail miserably again and I’ll only have myself to blame.
Ok, beating myself up over, this is what I have learned that does work for 30-day writing and blogging challenges.
At the point of signing up, I start to prepare myself mentally. I visualise myself completing the challenge and giving myself a reward or a series of rewards for achieving different milestones.
Having the right mindset and attitude will make the difference between success and not finishing.
If there is any research that needs to be undertaken, now is a great time to go and do it. Create a swipe file, collect and collate your research. If there are books to be read, start to skim read them now, making notes in your journal or research file.
What resources do you need? If you are blogging and don’t have a blogging platform, where could you blog that doesn’t need much setting up or learning time. I suggest LinkedIn or Medium depending on where your audience hangs out.
But what about other resources? What do you think you need? I always have a journal for the journey, a roll of brown paper and coloured pens for brainstorming.
Creating interviews, editing and transcribing video’s is time-consuming. Get ahead of the game by booking your interviews in well in advance and start the interviews now. As soon as you have completed an interview get the video transcribed on somewhere like rev.com. You can sort out editing the transcriptions out as you go along.
Also decide where you are going to host them and prepare the platform. If you are also using the interviews for your podcast, make sure you have enough time to do this too. If not add these to your podcast when you do. This is all about creating and testing a process that works for you.
In the two weeks prior to a writing, blog your book or write your book challenge, make sure you understand who your ideal reader is, what questions they are asking and what the customer journey is for your book.
Have an outline, no matter how rough it is, get this out of your head and written up. In an ideal world, this would be completed, but I reckon better done than perfect. And you can always refine your outline as you go along.
Remember the outline is a way to chunk things up so that you are not seeing this as an insurmountable huge block of writing.
Get an off the shelf content planner or design your own. Brainstorm ideas around the questions that your ideal reader is asking and work out what your keywords are. Write yourself a list of blog titles, leave to reflect and put them in some kind of order if you are blogging or writing a book, otherwise connect them to events or an order that works for you.
Set the dates, SEO detail and any other information that is relevant to you. For me I would the chapter title.
Making time. This is a biggie and normally where people fall down. I get up an hour earlier and write. I also batch write in the evening and weekend to get my first drafts out. Then each day I only have to edit and refine what I am publishing that day.
At least two weeks before the challenge I will create as much content as I can, even if they are a bit scruffy. Put this in your diary, set a reminder on your phone – do something that visually and audibly reminds you to write.
Join the 30-day writing and blogging challenge community as soon as you can, say hello, connect to your fellow writers. Add as much value and support to others as you can. Ask questions no matter how silly you feel. You may even be lucky and find yourself an accountability buddy.
And a final note on preparing for 30-day writing and blogging challenges…
Do they work?
The answer is it depends on you and your motivation. They won’t work if you take them on and are not sure if you will have the time or can be bothered.
You need a clear outcome and as I said earlier the right mindset and most importantly you have to take action. If you fall off the horse don’t give up, miss a day and continue, cross the line doing the best you can.
The key is to find a challenge that meets a need that is important to you. I have wanted to do some exercise challenges and have found that with the best will in the world, my body wasn’t ready. However, because I have a series of books to write a 30-day writing and blogging challenge is right up my street because I can get at least 30,000 words written and feel like a champion.
Ready to write your book and maybe blog your book? This course has been designed to get your book and blog ready.
Look out for the next 30-day blogging challenge so that you can fast write your book.
If blogging your book in 30 days feels too much take the Blog Your Book course and join the blogging group and share when you have a blog for your book ready to go.
There’s a lot to be learned by asking the right questions. Simple questioning will help you to get better connected to what your reader wants to know.
I was introduced to questioning when I first became a sales person and then later in coaching school, we were drilled in asking the right questions and then shutting up to actively listen to the response.
When I am with a client and we are considering how to outline the book or brainstorming blog ideas for the book, I ask the question – what questions is your ideal reader asking?
We explore what that means. We often think our ideal reader is asking certain things, however we need to explore and discover what are the right questions, rather than what we think the right questions are. When we have the right questions then we can dig deeper and create the book outline and generate useful blog content.
There are several steps to using questions that are useful to you as a writer.
In this article, we are going to look at the art of simple questioning. This might be going back to basics for you but getting your foundations right will help you with step two and three. In other articles, we will be expanding how to use these questions in your content, exploring other kinds of questions and how they can support the process of writing or blogging your book.
These are useful in getting another person to speak or think. They often begin with the words: What, Why, When, Who, Where and How. Sometimes they are statements: “tell me about”, “give me examples of”. They can provide you and your reader with a good deal of information.
Use these to elicit what is worrying your ideal reader in your reader research.
These are questions that require a yes or no answer and are useful for checking facts. They should be used with care – too many closed questions in a coaching scenario can cause frustration and shut down the conversation and thinking.
Use these in quick and short surveys and perhaps a poll in your group.
These are used to determine facts. For example, “How much did you spend on books each month?”
Use these to get evidence to back up a point.
These check for more detail or clarification. Probing questions allow you to explore specific areas. However, be careful because they can easily make people feel they are being interrogated “Why did you do that first?”
Use these to expand your other questions so that you can be sure that you can address the right issues in your book or blog.
These pose a theoretical situation in the future. For example, “What would you do if…?’ These can be used to get others to think of new situations. They can also be used in to find out how people might cope with new situations.
Use these to engage with your reader, invite them to question themselves and to inspire them to explore further.
You can use these to reflect back what you think someone has said to check understanding. You can also reflect someone’s feelings, which is useful in dealing with difficult or emotional situations. “On reflection what could have been done better?”
Use these again to invite further exploration so that you can get clarity.
When you write your book or blogs you want your readers to gain facts, understand concepts and make connections. You also want to encourage creativity, imaginative thought, awaken awareness, and develop critical thinking.
When you look at these simple questioning types reflect on your experiences and start asking these kinds of questions in your journal so that when you come to create the content in your book and blogs, you will know how to use them more effectively.
You are simply asking for facts. You want to solicit reasonably simple, straight forward answers based on obvious facts or awareness. These are usually your lowest level and foundational questions. These are like the specific questions described above.
Example: What is your vision statement? What is your book about? How long have you been writing?
Divergent is about generating ideas before you bring them together (converge) and create a solution. Mind mapping and brainstorming are wonderful ways to get at the answers. These questions invite you to expand and stretch your thinking.
These are like the probing, hypothetical and reflective questions where you are inviting exploration. Here you are inviting your readers to analyse or evaluate something and potentially project or predict outcomes. These open up possibilities and opportunities for learning.
Example: What are some of the alternative ways that you could get your book written quickly? With regard to your decision to write this book how do you think it will support the vision, you have for your business? What is another way of looking at this?
Convergent means coming closer together. Imagine two roads converging together to form one. This is where lots of ideas and concepts are brought together to form a conclusion.
These get you thinking and they will deepen your comprehension and analysis of something. Our goal is to narrow down, refine or hone in on your ideas These questions usually have a single answer.
Example: On reflection how do you think your values contribute to your vision statement? What is the overall theme of your chapter/book/blog?
An evaluative question is useful for asking the reader if they agree or disagree with your point of view, using their own knowledge, values and experience as the basis for the response.
As the name suggests the reader analyses things from multiple perspectives before arriving at a conclusion. You are basically asking your reader to ‘think it through’. You want your reader to evaluate what you have written so that they become an active part of your book or blog.
Example: Why and how might the concept of x be related to the concepts of y and why might this be important when …?
Naturally you can ask all of these in combination with each other.
My invitation is for you to start asking the right questions of not only yourself but your potential ideal readers so that when you come to outline your book and create the content for it and your blogs you are answering what they want to know, and not what you think they want to know.
What can you do today to open up the portal to knowing what your reader is really asking?
This exploration into simple questioning forms a fundamental part of Blog Your Book, which helps you to discover your book and blog it so that you answer the questions your reader is asking and you produce better blogs and book. Grab a spot here.
The quest for most people who want to write books or blogs is how to be a more productive writer. Not how to churn out more content, but how to produce good quality words which add value to the reader.
The reality is that most people need help to become more productive writers so that they can manage their work with a level of ease.
I learned a long time ago that to get my writing done, I first needed to know how I liked to do things, what would keep me motivated and the power of the chunk.
If you want to publish your book by a set date, you have first to set your outcome to get it done and then plan your time effectively. Your next job is to set some dates. I like to do things in chunks and my book blog week needs organising so that I achieve my goals.
By having a plan and knowing how you like to write you can, I promise, become a more productive writer who enjoys the process.
The all-important mindset needs to be considered and working out how to overcome writer’s block.
If you are blogging your book and taking the 30-day challenge, you will have set your goal to write 30,000 words in 30 days. This is possible if you put your mind to it and stick at it. These will be better than first draft words. Which is a reward in itself.
You may find that blogging for 30 days is not possible. In which case look at writing for 5 days a week to get your first 30,000 words done. If that is too much the find a blogging schedule that works for you. The key is to plan, focus and do what you can.
Imagine your book is 30,000 words. How many words can you write in an hour? 500 or 1000? How long are your blogs? Mine are around 1000 or more… How many words can you write per day? 1000, 2000 or 3000? Will you write every day, or will you set a weekly target and batch write your blogs? When I do the challenge, I will write every day with a target of 1000 words or more.
Once my book is at first draft I need to take time out to reflect, after which I spend 2-3 weeks editing. I find reading my book as a ‘real’ book (printed) helps me to see it in another light. When I have edited my proof, I will order another set of proofs for beta readers and then again for the proof reader. I usually give the proofreader 2 weeks.
When I look at what needs to be done in a book, I first consider, my overall goal and then the big chunks (e.g. the plan) followed by the smaller chunks (e.g. the outline). Each chunk is given a priority and a date deadline.
But first, how do we find the time to get all of this done so that we hit our publishing date?
Working out how long it will all take in a perfect world is all well and good. However, procrastination and time stealers are the enemies of the writer. For everyone who hates planning, just swap TV time for writing time. Have a go at working out where your wasted time is.
Ask yourself how long do I take doing unimportant things that take me away from my writing? Is there a pattern to my time-wasting activities? It will be interesting to see where you waste or use your time. In your journal make a list of what you have been up to and rate each activity. Scarey right?
No two people write in the same way, so you need to find a way that works just for you. Whatever that way is, it is perfect. When we want to go somewhere, we use a map.
To find out what your map is, it would be useful to understand how another writer writes and notice his or her patterns. In a perfect world, we should be able to interview, watch and fully understand how an expert writer operates. Sadly, we don’t live in an ideal world, and you may not have access to other writers.
This means that you will have to map out what you do and how you do it. Analyse it and work out how you can become more effective and efficient in the process or accept the way in which you do things and make allowances. Remember, you are not alone, and there are always tools, people and resources which you can call on for help.
To work out what your process is you must walk through all the steps that you take.
The key now is to think about how you will get the most value out of your writing process. What works for me is to use my chapter synopsis and to tackle a chapter at a time. I start by mapping out what I think I want to write about using a ‘what’, ‘why’, ‘how’ and ‘what if’ framework (more on that later).
I look at keywords, key messages, concepts and calls to action and I consider how it fits together and flows. Then I brainstorm blog ideas. I brainstorm my blogs the evening before as I believe that what I need to write will become clear to me in the morning.
In the morning I will write until it’s time to walk the dogs, which gives me reflection time. I like to batch write. When I am blogging a book, I do a 30-day blogging challenge so that I get at least 30,000 words written. Because I am chunking the book and getting lots written in a short period I am motivated and inspired.
You need discipline – full stop. Sometimes it is very difficult being disciplined and getting on with your plan, writing or editing. The dog needs walking, the kids need feeding, and your clothes need ironing! Look at your writing plan, the number of words you set yourself and the time you allowed. Stick to it, and you will create a habit. When you have created a habit, this will be hard to break. Consider the behavioural patterns that you have, understand yourself and try to flex your style.
Let your important people know that you need time and space to write. Give yourself permission to take the time out to write. Let them know when you will be free again.
Where gives you the most peace to write? If your space is not right, with the best will in the world, writing will become a chore. Turn all the noise off; that means phones, the internet and any other distraction. Do you need to go to a coffee shop or sit in a cafe? Is there a space in your home that is just right for you? What about a certain chair or room? Only you will know. For me it’s in bed in the morning.
Your mindset may be fixed with certain beliefs about your ability to write this book. I want you to challenge that fixed system, take a hammer to it and shatter it. Using the power of positive thought is well documented. Feeling positive about yourself and your book is no different and will result in successful outcomes. Where you focus your thoughts, actions will follow, and consistent actions lead to great habits.
Breathe and meditate, just let your unconscious mind go free. Settle and ground yourself. Ask yourself, what do you have to do to get into the right frame of mind? What I love about blogging a book is that you get a daily reward for each blog that you publish and you see your book growing at the same time.
Factor in stop and think times. Sometimes procrastination is just the way our brains are saying – ‘I’ve had enough, just for now.’ Stop and reflect often.
Where are you going to record the dates and times for your writing timetable? Using your day-to-day digital diary is great as you have a visual of when. What will work for you? Don’t forget your writing buddy, who can call to check that you have done your writing.
At the end of the day work on your outlines and to-do’s. The key is to just choose 3 things that you are going to do. Each morning I write a goal in my journal and the 3 things I am going to do that day. I focus on getting a reward early on in my day, as this sets me up for the rest of the day.
It doesn’t matter when you do this, just make it your writing time. What works for me is first thing in the morning before I do anything else. What would work for you?
Outside of your blogging challenge find a way to manage your time so that you enjoy the process of writing and blogging. During the challenge you are focused on 30 blogs in 30 days. Outside of that you may blog 2-3 times per week.
I love using my chapter synopsis and brainstorming blog ideas from that. I also factor in time to learn how to blog or write better. You could factor in one to two things to learn a month.
With the best will in the world sometimes planning will overwhelm you. I always do the plan, create the structure and then go with the flow. Remember life happens and done is better than perfect.
You can’t automate your writing, but you can automate other tasks. Work out what you can automate or delegate so that you can focus on what you do best.
When I have outlined my chapter and brainstormed what blogs I am going to write I put these into my blogging calendar. This is different to my normal everyday Google calendar which is my go to for everything else. I factor in dog walks and downtime. My publication date goes into my calendar as do my other milestones.
The Pomodoro Technique is a method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. By using a timer you break down periods of work into short chunks of activity of 25 minutes maximum, separated by short breaks. It’s called Pomodoro because the timer was shaped like a tomoato. The method is based on the idea that frequent breaks can improve mental agility. Sounds easy right? I love chunking so this works well for me.
When you get to writing your blogs you will find this useful. I recommend writing your blogs in chunks.
Look out for the next 30-day blogging challenge so that you can fast write your book.
If blogging your book in 30 days feels too much take the Blog Your Book course and join the blogging group and share when you have a blog for your book ready to go.
There are several reasons to write a book proposal, and even if you are not looking for an agent and publisher, it still remains a vital document for aspiring authors.
Writing a book is an incredible experience, but as I have said many times it has to be the right book.
By writing a book proposal and undertaking your market research, you will, without doubt, have a better book.
And of course, the book proposal remains THE document for an agent to be able to make a decision about your book and its value to them. Agents are looking for something specific, and the format of this document helps them to quickly assess if your book is the one.
It can feel like going on a blind date, you write your book proposal, add on a cover letter and keep your fingers crossed that the agent or agents that you have been targeting wants your book.
Writing a good proposal does not and will not guarantee that you get a publishing contract, but without one, you definitely won’t.
The agent will look at your book from not only their perspective, they are in the business of making money from your book, and this is their reputation but from the perspective of the ideal reader.
In effect, your proposal will go through each of these areas so that the agent can make a decision about taking on your book.
If you have ever written a marketing plan for investors or for your business, this is similar and requires a similar effort.
Who are you? Think about the times when you have applied for a job, this is when you will have wanted to highlight why you are the best person for the job. If you are writing a book on personal branding, what are your credentials and what is it that you do in this area that makes you different? A book on a reversing a disease would be more interesting if this is something that you have tackled personally or if this is your specialist area.
Who do you know? We are always told that we need to have a platform for our book before submitting the proposal. What if you have an amazing idea and no platform? I’d say do not be put off. This is something that can be worked on. However, it always helps to have developed your platform and followers to demonstrate that there is an appetite for this subject. You will need to show that have an audience to market your book to.
Describe your book in two or three paragraphs (500 words or less). Make sure that the first sentence provides the hook so that your agent will want to read on.
This is your opportunity to quickly sell your book. I would start with a mind map, then record yourself talking it through, listen to the recording and write. Once you have the first draft, leave it and rewrite as succinctly as possible. Questions to ask yourself:-
You may wonder why you need to go through such a lengthy process for the introduction, but I feel that if you can do this, the rest will flow. This reminds me of trying to write the all-important elevator pitch, and in some ways it is.
When you have done this imagine if this was the back blurb of your book or the description on Amazon and rewrite again. You want to make it really cry out to your audience and by this imagine there were no boundaries, and let your passion shine.
If you are stuck, go and read other blurbs from competitive titles and learn from them.
Write this last. It is the executive overview. Short, no more than one page, double-spaced.
Purpose: if the editor reads nothing else, they will know what you have in mind. Ideally, it will be sufficiently compelling to make the editor read the rest.
What would help you is to write yourself a manifesto and then cut it down. A manifesto is a written statement, which publicly declares your intentions, motives, or beliefs. It comes from the Latin manifestus – to manifest, clearly reveal, to make real.
Having a manifesto crystallises what you believe in and stand for, and it is from here that you can create your core message and in this case the core message of your book.
I see it as the foundation from which you can build a platform, community, tribe or movement. Where you can connect the pieces of who you are, what you do, why you do what you do, what you have to say and how you do it – values, passion, vision, purpose.
As the word suggests, you are using your manifesto to cement everything you want, the value you add and how you bring about a manifestation of what you want you to see and be in the world. Clearly, you would need to write it so that it was book related…
This is not a book for everyone. Create your ideal reader profile. You can start with a matchstick person and brainstorm.
Look at your reader archetype and summarise them. You need to not only think about what they get but where you find them and why they will buy this book.
I talk a lot about the ideal reader, and it’s important to not skip this or gloss over it. Having a detailed ideal reader profile will also help you to write a better book.
When I put together my reader profile for Healing Osteoporosis Naturally, I knew that my ideal reader was newly diagnosed, in fear and looking for the root cause so they could heal naturally. I could not target long-standing complicated cases, I wanted to help people who were just like I was back then. I do remember getting in a tizz because I wanted to share all that I had learned, but this was ridiculous. By having my profile in front of me, I was able to stay on point.
What is important here is not only who they are but how many there are. If I look at the market for osteoporosis, I discovered that there are 200 million people worldwide. What I don’t and can’t know is how many of them would want to try a natural approach. I can find out some of these numbers by researching forums for natural healing.
My book on planning a nonfiction book is of no use to fiction writers, and I can see from book sales research how big the potential market for nonfiction books. The same applies to the dieting industry, the healing whatever disease industry, the business market, digital marketing, in fact, all markets.
What you can not know is the exact numbers, but you need to show that you understand your market and you can show some evidence to persuade your agent that it is worth investing in you.
It’s important to demonstrate that there is a need for your book and that you know how to position it. Look at six to eight titles and include four of the best.
List and summarise the major competitive titles and explain why yours is different from each. Don’t worry about sales because your agent has insider knowledge about the industry and you won’t be able to scratch the surface. They will look this data up.
This example is the long version. Write it out and then rewrite it
Book Title, Author, Publisher, Publication Date, Price, # of pages, Format, ISBN. Analysis of this book.
This book is aimed at women in their 20’s, and 30’s who resonate with Mel’s young, healthy vibe. These will be women who already have a poor relationship with food and want what the author has – boundless energy and that ‘happening’ life. The author is a part of a new generation of younger more spiritual and conscious women who are bringing a message of self-love and why loving yourself first is the foundation for living a good life.
This book covers:-
Laid out in sections that are easy to understand and consume, it takes the reader on a journey with their relationship for food and asks them to examine what they are really ‘hungry’ for. When they know what they hunger for they can begin to understand their relationship and feelings about food so that this opens the door to being able to change their mindset and begin to love themselves.
My book focuses on how to help the reader find their natural diet, nothing is prescribed and nor does it tell the reader what to do. Working also from a foundation of self-love, I introduce the notion that the body knows intuitively what it wants and needs. Using writing and meditation as the tools to get to know yourself better the reader is invited to learn how to listen to their body and to notice the clues and cues of what is causing the underlying stress. From there how to create a unique healing plan.
Make sure you are clear about why your book is different. Also, consider the age group at which you are pitching it. The book mentioned here is for a young market, what if your book is for the over 50’s woman. Make sure you are comparing like markets.
Constantly do your research. If you start your book proposal at the beginning of your journey, be sure to check in on any new releases before you submit.
I find that reading the book reviews and hanging out in forums and groups extremely helpful when undertaking this research. Keep the books you are reviewing to those that are under five years old as the market changes. I know there are some brilliant classics, and they may be worth mentioning, but this does depend on your book idea.
Never trash your competition, apart from being unprofessional, it could come back to haunt you. Every book gets negative reviews, and this is painful for the author, although you have no idea about someone’s motivation for doing so. Don’t be like that.
Also, never claim there isn’t any competition, there always is, and it makes sense to show that you understand your market.
What other suggested titles do you have? How do they all fit together? Is this a one-off or do you have other books up your sleeve that could mean that the agent can build a longer-term relationship with you and that there are continuity and resilience in the plan?
If you are writing about an intuitive healing plan, might there be a journal and planner, a recipe book and a book on how to maintain your diet? Think about how you can build a business around your book.
What price would you pitch it at and why? Remember that your publisher will set the price.
The number of words. This is a great time to consider how long it will take you to write and edit the book, now add 30% on. This should form part of your writing schedule.
The marketability of your book is critical to an agent. Why would anyone take an on any product that could not be sold? Not only do you have to be clear on who will read it and why, but you also need to know your market will accept a book like this from you.
We talked about your bio earlier, this is another opportunity to consider your authority. Why would someone buy a book about dieting from someone who did not have any credentials?
Although I am not a nutritionist or a bone expert, which did concern me when writing my book, I knew that I had personal experience, had trained as a nutritionist, healer and had successfully found my root cause and use natural healing to gain stronger bones.
It often seems bizarre to me that as a business coach I would write a book on osteoporosis, but I knew that there are a lot of people that could benefit from my experience and that is what drove me on.
Unlike other books, I have chosen to not publish this book for two years as I believe that I need to demonstrate that I have full health and this is not a quick fix solution.
The market for osteoporosis is massive with over200 million sufferers worldwide, and the forums are full of people in fear and not knowing what to do.
Why would someone buy a book from someone about building a large profitable following on LinkedIn unless they had done so themselves?
Remember you are here to share useful information and knowledge to your readers and there need to be lots of those readers who want to learn what you have to impart.
It’s worth reminding you that you don’t have to be the worlds best writer because your writing can be honed and you can get help with this.
Your book and the marketing needs to reach people who care enough about your message to want to buy your book. Stay focused on needs and what questions your book answers.
Also, think around your subject. Can your readers easily access what you have to share elsewhere? Is yours a declining market?
I am often asked by people who blog or video blog their book if there is any point in writing a book. My answer is yes. Although someone can access lots of information on the internet, a book is your process conveniently packaged.
For example, there is lots of travel and tourism information available, but people still like to have a book in their hands when visiting new places, and the internet is not always available.
Then it is about your numbers and platform. This can be tough for a writer. You now have to learn a whole new skill set. Although we tend to think that most people already have a website and social media presence that does not mean that yours is already clear. Spend some time auditing what you have and then researching what you need (if anything).
Your potential agent and publisher want to know that there is a large platform full of influencers waiting to buy this book.
This is a great opportunity to look at your personal brand and current marketing plan.
Include the first one or two chapters – not the introduction, chapters that provide a sense of the style, voice, expertise and structure of the book. When you look at the agent’s submissions process, they will tell you how many chapters.
Make sure that these are well polished and use a tool like Grammarly to check and double check everything. Read your chapter aloud so that it makes sense to you. I’d also suggest that you read it to a friend who has permission to critique it and ask you good questions.
List each of the intended chapters and what each is about. Stay focused on the core message of the book and what need it fulfils in your reader. Do not be super clever and use silly chapter titles that make no sense. Try to take your agent on a journey that demonstrates the path that the reader will take and why.
I find writing a chapter synopsis in the what, why how and what if format helps me to focus on the outline and reader journey.
As you can imagine this is an important document that is worthy of your time and effort. I would work on it over approx. two to three weeks as you are planning your book. Putting in time and resources for book planning means that you get a better book, one that is easier to write and one which will sell better.
I’d write a master proposal which could be anything from20 – 40 pages and then when you have found the agent that you want to submit to follow their submission guidelines. You may read no more than 10 pages, in which case you have to take the best parts of what you have and make sure that it contains the vital information that they ask for.
I think that this depends, if you are a new writer, I would definitely go through the book planning stage and write most of my book before I started submitting proposals. A lot could change as you write and you may decide part way through that you would prefer to self-publish as you have the audience, who you are already marketing too. You may also want to get to market quicker and not have to deal with rejections.
Also by writing the book first, you get more clarity of your book and what the ideal reader wants. I often suggest that writers blog their books so that they get feedback as they write.
Does it seem like that is a lot of work to write a book proposal? Yes of course, but it is worth doing and is often an area neglected by writers in their rush to write and publish a book. However, if you want an agent and publisher, you have no choice. For everyone, else I’d recommend that you do it as you will have a better book.
To get a copy of your book proposal click here.
Book in for a book consultation and let’s get your book written and published.
Many people who want to write a book, dream of how their book will make them money and change their life. One of the best ways that I know is to think about how to build a business around your book before you start writing.
This concept is often one of the last things that people think about as they consider the task of writing a book. Yes, a book does take time, but then so does all products that are worth waiting for.
It is often argued that it’s easier to produce an online course first. As someone who also does this, I can tell you that it takes time and effort to produce a course. Even courses that are text-based that do not require you to make and record videos still need planning and the content creating.
Nothing that is worth having will come in a flash, unless of course you win the lottery and then you still have to buy a ticket and keep your fingers crossed – for a long time.
You start with a business plan. I’m also assuming that as part of the business plan you have a marketing plan. Yes, really. But for the purpose of this article I am going to assume that you have a plan for your business and it’s more about product development.
Next, then become clear about why this book. In fact, why a book at all? I guess for most people you write a book because you want to reach others with your message and inspire them. You want an asset that enables you to raise your visibility, be seen as credible and an expert in your field.
Remember you may not always end up with the book idea that you first started with.
When you have a clear vision about the book and your message then you can start to imagine what other products you could be selling that makes running your business more interesting, which gives you greater flexibility and variety. Plus, you have a business which is both more enjoyable but also sustainable.
Writing your book gives you clarity of purpose and message and it gives you a starting point for developing ideas for other products and services. It makes sense to see your book as a business asset around which you can create a business that you love.
It will mean venturing into the unknown and perhaps adding to your skill set or utilising a skill set that is a little rusty and it will mean tearing your hair out at times learning the ropes of this new way of thinking.
Because I’ve come from industries (IT and manufacturing) where product development is the life blood of the business, I can see clearly how this works and so, I hope, will you.
Before you can bring your book or books to life, I always ask the question what you want to create in the world? Never what is your why? What I have noticed is that while start with why is popular it seems to stop rather than start the conversation, or at least for a while.
I, for example, am creating a community of people who want to make a difference. Where people come to write to heal, through this they find who they are, who they, in turn, want to inspire, by writing a book, developing other products and services, share their knowledge, skills and experience and uncovering what they want to create in the world.
Words change lives, whether that is writing in a journal, a blog or a book, words change the way that people think about themselves and the world.
As you write your book, you will change. Even writing a book that you think is based purely on a business concept will change you. One client shared that writing his book enabled him to gain clarity about his coaching process which he’d never had before.
For me, it means using my skills to help my clients to share their knowledge, skills and experience in a way that supports them to build a business around their book from a place of creation rather than feeling like they should do it.
Everything I do comes back to will this support a writing community?
It is more than writing because when someone sets out to write the book, I encourage them to think of the bigger picture and ask what else can you create with this book or series of books?
Then out of that, there are the many business building tools that are needed. In simple terms, when you write a book it is not a single solitary act, it requires more thought, depth, planning and resources.
I think my many years as a business consultant drummed it into my head that it’s ok to have a brilliant idea, but you have to create a brilliant business around it too.
ACTION: Let’s get back to that all important question – what do you want to create in the world?
Daydream a while, then bring your imagination into reality by writing it down, play with your ideas, then start to map out the possibilities and the actions required. It’s ok you don’t have to do it all yourself, however, while you are at it think about what resources you might need.
This creates an umbrella over your business. Or a rainbow if you like of the many possibilities you are now going to manifest.
Creation and the core message go hand in hand. This is the big idea which lies at the heart of your business.
This answers the questions of why you do what you do, your values and the value you deliver, the what, which is the difference you make in your customer’s lives.
Because it is about making a difference, isn’t it? It’s about solving ‘problems’ for other people and adding value to their lives in some way. And finally, the how, which is the way in which you do things. If you can distil this into a few sentences you will be able to show what this is.
ACTION: On a sheet of A4 mind map the answers to the questions above.
When you have your core message, everything hangs off that. Your core message has to come from within, which is why after creation, I move onto my values. My business values look like this:-
My values tell a story. If I create and deliver value, inspire the right people who want to make a difference, I will create wealth for all and have the community I desire.
ACTION: What are your business values? Do they tell a story, and can you use them to craft your core message? What do each of your values mean to you?
Outside of making a profit, whenever I think of my business the word inspiration always comes to mind. I want to inspire others to use their wisdom to inspire others. I believe that if we can inspire one other person to change and grow and they go out and inspire someone else we can make this a better world.
Perhaps a little too idealistic for you? You might want something more practical. My business exists to fulfil the needs of its customers, I assume yours does too.
The practicalities come in how I do what I do. Planning, writing and publishing the book. The development of the launch and marketing plan and product roadmap are other elements which we consider. Then we can get right down to the detail for example of the day to day brand building stuff such as blogging or creating an e-book and lead page.
ACTION: Start with a word that helps you to feel your why and then think about what you might build a business around. Then consider what problems you solve for your clients and then the how can flow from that.
This is your ideal reader or ideal client. The one person that you want to connect emotionally with and ensure that their needs are fulfilled. A client who loves your book may engage you to coach them, or they will find your website and book a retreat or perhaps enrol on a course or into your membership system.
ACTION: What are the characteristics and behaviours of these people and where will you find them? A matchstick person will suffice for this quick brainstorm.
This is going to sound glib, but you really are limited only by your imagination and the energy to create said products and services. You can as I said earlier create coaching programs, courses (on and offline), retreats, memberships systems, add on journals, and apps.
These products can be for the end user and/or they can be to support people like you in your industry. You can package what you know and sell it to other people to teach and resell. On top of these you can also design a speaking career where you get to share your message with a larger group of people all at the same time.
What about live streams, webinars and videos that can support building your brand? You can associate affiliate links and targeted ads with these.
ACTION: Make a list or mind map all of the related product ideas that you have, connect the ones that are related to this book and the rest ponder if they would be related to another book or if they make sense in this business at all. Never throw away an idea as you may be able to adapt it later on.
Ideas are the lifeblood of every business. Every business started with an idea. One of the problems we have is that logic and limited beliefs creep in. They become a monkey on our shoulder telling us why we can’t. Or it can seem overwhelming to take an idea and consider all of the amazing things that you create.
Every product takes time, but if you chunk everything down. Chunk the book down into stages, write out your product roadmap so that you can see 24 months into the future, and do one thing at a time, everything will come together. At this point forget logic and allow creation and daydreaming to show you what is possible.
Let me leave you with this one question ‘how open am I to exploring how I can improve my business with new products and services?’