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Writing a book online: Q&A with Lindsey Jacobs

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Future author Lindsey Jacobs on finally sharing her story

Future author Lindsey Jacobs on finally sharing her story

In recognition of our upcoming Spring/Summer 2016 Group Writing Program kickoff, we wanted to take time to highlight our aspiring authors. Today, we are highlighting Lindsey Jacobs, a blogger and aspiring author who is writing her book, When Opportunity Knocks. Lindsey is a 40-year-old single mother and nursing student. She has completed the Ironman and is now driving for another achievement — to write her first book. Lindsey blogs about her experiences at RamblingRunnerGirl.com.

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DESIGNING YOUR BOOK CONTENT TO DELIGHT NONFICTION BOOK COACH, BOOK COACH ONLINE FRONT COVER BACK COVER

Designing your book’s content to delight

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DESIGNING YOUR BOOK CONTENT TO DELIGHT NONFICTION BOOK COACH, BOOK COACH ONLINE FRONT COVER BACK COVERNonfiction book consultant on importance of book design

A lot of people say they want to write a book, but very few actually do it. If you’re contemplating your book cover design, this means that you’ve accomplished (or nearly accomplished) something spectacular. Even if you’re in the early stages of writing your book, it is also valuable to consider how to structure the additional front and back matter that appears in your final book.

Remember, as you are working to craft the design of your nonfiction book, you are also constructing the reader’s experience. The information you include in your book will either help or hinder them from realizing the solution your book offers. You already know that your front and back cover are key, but so is the front and back matter that is a common part of nonfiction books such as memoirs, historical books, biographies, academic books, leadership, self-help, and business books. Here are my recommendations:

Nonfiction book content design elements

Front Matter

Your front matter is typically informational and may include elements such as book endorsements, a title page, a copyright page, and  table of contents. Here are some optional elements that you might also consider:Book Foreword on book jacket cover

  • Foreword: This is the part that comes before the main text of your book. It is typically usually written by someone other than you, often an expert who can attest to your credibility. The Foreword should display the same quality of writing as every other page you’ve painstakingly created. If you are lucky enough to garner a Foreword from a celebrity or expert of note, be sure to add their name on the front cover of your book. (Note: Remember the spelling of this section. Spelling foreword as “forward” can be a credibility killer. This is literally the fore word–the words that come before the core text of your book.)
  • Introduction: This is typically written by you and should be used if you feel there is something pertinent your readers need to know before they read the book. It could be something that gives them a clearer understanding of the book, or you can share why you felt compelled to write the book.
  • Dedication: This is a nice touch if you want to dedicate your book to someone important to you or if you feel that the work was inspired by someone. No author takes the journey alone, and recognizing the ones who support you is an excellent way to thank them.
  • Epigraph: An epigraph is a phrase, quote, or poem that is placed on its own page at the beginning of the book. Be careful when you use epigraphs because they can alienate your reader if the connection to the material isn’t clear. While epigraphs can be used to create an air of mystery in fiction books, when used in nonfiction books they should be clearly relevant. Include an epigraph only if it benefits of the reader.

Back  Matter

The back matter usually isn’t as important to the reader’s experience as the front matter may be, but it is important in other ways.

  • Back Cover Design: Your back cover and content can either support your marketing or kill it. Your front and back cover blurbs are your sales message. In The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, publishers Avon and Bantam Dell Publications shared that twelve words are the maximum number for front book cover. However, you have about seventy-five words to work with on the back cover. Remember, people don’t buy books, they buy solutions! Your back cover is essentially your sales pitch, and this is where you can share the solution your book provides. Lead with your Purpose Statement–the promise that you’re offering to your target audience. Here’s an example of how you can structure your back book cover content with a simple formula that will speak to your audience.

back book cover content design nonfiction book consultant non-fiction book consultant book coach, non-fiction book coach

  • Epilogue: An epilogue is used to bring your readers up-to-date on any developments that came after the end of your book or to provide closure to the story.
  • About The Author: This section can be included in a separate page or on the dust cover of your book. This is your brag page. Self promotion is never easy, but this page should be promotional. This is a great place for a listing of your credentials, experiences, and expertise. One of your goals for writing your book may have been to establish yourself as an expert, a brand. This page is an important step in that journey. It will likely be used as your introduction at future speaking events, so be sure it’s well-written and contains information that you’re proud to share.
  • Acknowledgements: This section can be used to highlight anyone who contributed to the information in your book. These people may have simply been an inspiration, or they may have had a direct contribution to the work itself. Some authors put their acknowledgements at the front of their book, but I prefer to have acknowledgments at the back, so the reader can jump right in to the core material.
  • Index: This is an alphabetical list of names, subjects, events, and key ideas in your book. If your nonfiction book will be a reference guide, I recommend that you hire a professional indexer to create this section. This can only be created once the book has been finalized for print.
  • Glossary: A glossary may be a suitable substitute for an index. These can be useful to explain terms and can be a place where additional resources are referenced for those who want to learn more about a particular concept.
  • Additional Resources Section: If there are complementary organizations or online resources that add to the experience of your book or make it more useful to the reader, you can add a page or two with additional resources your reader can explore.

If you need help to write your book, consider one of my nonfiction book coaching programs:


author-coaching-book-coach-online-writing-class-get-my-book-outAbout Nonfiction Book Writing & Publishing Expert Nancy Erickson

Nancy Erickson is better known as “The Book Professor,” a writing and publishing consultant who specializes in helping aspiring nonfiction authors bring their book ideas to market. Nancy works as abook coach assisting authors that write self-help books, biographies, business books, and other nonfiction books through online courses and book coaching. Contact Nancy with questions or to have her speak at your upcoming event by clicking here.


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a simple formula for telling your story non-fiction book consultant how to write a book learn how to write a book

A Simple Formula For Telling Your Story

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a simple formula for telling your story non-fiction book consultant how to write a book learn how to write a bookSo, what’s your story? Has anybody ever asked you that?  It kind of sounds like a pick-up line, doesn’t it?

Maybe nobody has asked you that exact question, but they have asked that question in other forms. They say things like:

  • What do you do?
  • What line of work are you in?
  • Where are you from?
  • Do you have any children?
  • What does your company do?
  • Where did you go to school?
  • What do you sell?
  • How do you differentiate your product / service / self?

How you tell your story is just as important as the story itself.

How To Craft Your Exceptional Story

You can apply what I’m about to teach you to any story you tell, whether it’s about you, your company, your product, or your family.

The first step is to build its foundation, and you can do that by answering these two questions:

What’s the purpose? AND Who’s the audience?

  1. What’s the purpose?

You probably have a general idea of what you want to tell, but I challenge you distill it down to a single Purpose Statement before you start. Your Purpose Statement should say, “The purpose of my story is to ___________________. 

Complete that sentence. Bear in mind that it’s one sentence, not a paragraph.

Let me give you an example using my own purpose statement: The purpose of my story is to give people the courage to tell their truth and the tools they need to write a high-impact nonfiction book that will save lives, change lives, or transform society.

  1. Who’s the Audience?

If you don’t know your audience, it’s like playing spin-the-bottle in the dark. Don’t you want to know who you’re going kiss before you pucker up? Likewise, you need to envision your audience. Who do you interact with? What’s their age, demographic, marital status? Are they male or female, conservative or liberal? How do they identify themselves? Complete this sentence: The audience for my story is __________________.

Example: The audience for my story is everyday people.

  1. Pull it all together.

Now pull these components together to craft a single statement.

Example: The purpose of my story is to give everyday people the courage to tell their truth and the tools they need to write a high-impact nonfiction book that will save lives, change lives, or transform society.

Now that you have your Purpose Statement, you’ll want to write your story from your audience’s perspective, not yours. What do they want to know? What information are they seeking? What new message or perspective can you deliver? Compelling content always meets the need, and your job is to deliver what your audience is seeking.

Three Elements Of Your Story

Now I’d like to teach you the three elements of telling your story – and, no, it’s not beginning, middle, and end!

Stories are powerful, but only if they have a point. Your challenge is to think about your audience and convey what would be meaningful to them. Resist the temptation to tell them everything – you’ll bore them to death! Pare your story down to your purpose, and leave the rest behind.

Here’s a simple formula that you can use to tell your story:

Part 1. What it used to be like

Before you were where you are now, your life/work/health was a certain way. What was it like?

  • Was it pleasant and peaceful? 
  • Was it stressful and harrowing?
  • Were you broke and despondent?
  • Was there something missing in?
  • Something frustrating?
  • Was it seemingly perfect?

Example: I was trapped in a high-paying high-tech job that I hated but couldn’t leave because I was too afraid.

Part 2. What happened?What it used to be like

This brings us to the pivotal point in YOUR story. The pivotal point is the “what happened” of your story.

Change usually takes place due to one of two things. Perhaps you had an aha! moment and were internally motivated to try something new or move in a new direction. You realized something and made some changes. Those changes were internally motivated.

However, for a lot of us, change is forced upon us by external factors such as an illness, death, divorce, a marriage, new baby, or a lost job. What happened in your life that caused you to seek a new direction and put you on a different path?

This is the turning point in your story. It’s the event/circumstance/situation that bridges the before and after. What happened that changed everything? What was your pivotal moment?

Example: My dad was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor and I shut everything down and traveled back and forth to Florida to be with my parents. After he died, I had the opportunity to start over, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I always loved to write, so I went back to school to get my Masters of Fine Arts degree in Writing. After I graduated I joined the faculty to teach writing, then started a small press to publish nonfiction books. I realized that most of the powerful stories were not being told, they were trapped inside of people, so I took what I knew as a university professor and a publisher and created a step-by-step methodology to turn people who aren’t writers into authors.    

Part 3. What it’s like now

This is the “After” portion. What is your life like now? How are you different now?  What are you doing to add value to your world?

Example: Now the people I work with have become the voices of hope and help. They are reaching out and changing people’s lives, simply by telling their stories.

When you write your story using this formula—what it used to be like, what happened, and what it’s like now, then seal it with your Purpose – then you have crafted your exceptional story.

Let’s take a look at all the elements pulled together.

I was trapped in a high-paying high-tech job that I hated but couldn’t leave because I was too afraid. But then my dad was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumo,r and I shut everything down and traveled back and forth to Florida to be with my parents.

After he died, I had the opportunity to start over, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I always loved to write, so I went back to school to get my Masters of Fine Arts degree in Writing. After I graduated I joined the faculty to teach writing, then started a small press to publish nonfiction books. I realized that most of the powerful stories were not being told because they were trapped inside of people, so I took what I knew as a university professor and a publisher and created a step-by-step methodology to turn people who aren’t writers into authors.    

Now the people I work with have become the voices of hope and help. They are reaching out and changing people’s lives, simply by telling their stories. The reason I do this is to give everyday people the courage to tell their truth and the tools they need to write a high-impact nonfiction book that will save lives, change lives, or transform society.

That’s MY story and I’m sticking to it!

What about your story? You’re the only one who can do it.

If you would like support, consider one of my nonfiction book coaching programs:

 


author-coaching-book-coach-online-writing-class-get-my-book-outAbout Nancy Erickson

Nancy Erickson is better known as “The Book Professor,” a writing and publishing consultant who specializes in helping aspiring nonfiction authors bring their book ideas to market. Nancy works as a book coach assisting authors that write self-help books, biographies, business books, and other nonfiction books through online courses and book coaching. Contact Nancy with questions or to have her speak at your upcoming event by clicking here.

 


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book marketing resources

6 marketing resources to help you sell more books

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book marketing resources

By Nancy Erickson, The Book Professor

The process of promoting your book starts well before you’ve published it. Building a network of interested and supportive followers is a process that should start while you’re writing your book, and it should continue as long as you want to sell your books. This is especially true if you are opting to self publish. Your friends, family, and colleagues will be a rallying point to keep you motivated as you go – and they will also be rooting for your success all along. They will celebrate as you launch your book, and their enthusiasm, likes, and shares on social media will help you to reach their friends and family as well.

This month, we’re going to focus on marketing your book – how to promote your book to realize stronger sales numbers. In today’s blog post, I’m going to introduce you to six experts who have created expert marketing resources in the form of websites, social media posts, and podcasts, who can help you begin to master digital marketing.

Social media made easy for authors.

Amy Porterfield produces a weekly Podcast, Online Marketing Made Easy, which is full of great information and easy-to-implement advice that can help you successfully market your book on Facebook. If you think Facebook ads are a waste of time and money, I guarantee, Amy can change your mind!

Before you completely write her off because you don’t think you have time for Podcasts, hear me out. I used to avoid Podcasts because I didn’t believe I had the time to sit down and listen to a full Podcast. Then I realized how much “dead time” I had throughout the day when I am in the car, getting ready in the morning, cooking, cleaning, etc. These are all perfect times for listening to a Podcast and getting some great information. I now listen to so many Podcasts in my car that I call in my “Auto University.”

Not only is Amy herself a wealth of information, she also uses her Podcast to introduce you to other online marketers and their Podcasts. All of these marketing gurus can teach you so much, all while you multitask in the car, in the kitchen, or anywhere you can tune into an episode.  

Here are a few of my favorite online marketing Podcasts:

Create online courses to supplement your book.

If you feel like you have valuable information to share, and want to take it a level beyond your business book, David Siteman Garland can help you develop an online course to complement or supplement your book. He offers a step-by-step proven system for creating, promoting, and then profiting from your own online course. His free video series: How to turn your ONLINE PLATFORM (blog, web show, Podcast, etc. (into REVENUE by creating your own ONLINE COURSE, can be found right here. Follow his advice and you’ll be turning a profit in no time.

Powerful mobile marketing expertise.

Anyone who has a smart phone of his or her own knows that mobile marketing is essential. Greg Hickman can help you incorporate mobile marketing strategies for your retail business and show you how to be successful with that marketing. He’s all about making use of his extensive network of marketing expert friends to help you dominate mobile. Greg’s web show gives you access to free, uncensored interviews with some of the world’s top experts and most successful mobile marketers. Listen in and take advantage of their experience, insight, and expert advice about how to help retailers and marketers completely dominate mobile marketing.

Managing your book marketing and promotions with help.

If you consider your book a business, the New Business Podcast is for you. This weekly show introduces you to top minds within the “new business” realm. You’ll hear discussions about everything from branding, strategy, business growth, and much more. Chris Ducker is known as “The VA Guy” (VA, as in Virtual Assistant) so when it comes to the world of outsourcing, he really knows his stuff.

Create a successful podcast to promote your book.

Ready to strike out on your own and create your very own Podcast? John Lee Dumas, the founder and host of EntrpreneurOnFire, can help. This award-winning Podcast covers the inspiring journeys of successful entrepreneurs, every day of the week. This Podcast generates over $250,000 a month in revenue, which in itself is a pretty solid argument for you taking the free 15-day course on Podcasting.

Up-to-the-minute social and digital marketing expertise.

If you are looking for a Social Media marketing guru Michael Stelzner is your guy. His on–demand talk radio show, Social Media Marketing Podcast is designed to help business owners and marketers figure out what works and what doesn’t when it comes to social media marketing.


 

author-coaching-book-coach-online-writing-class-get-my-book-outAbout Nancy Erickson

Nancy Erickson is better known as “The Book Professor,” a writing and publishing consultant who specializes in helping aspiring nonfiction authors bring their book ideas to market. Nancy works as a book coach assisting authors that write self-help books, biographies, business books, and other nonfiction books through online courses and book coaching. Contact Nancy with questions or to have her speak at your upcoming event by clicking here.


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5 powerful quotes for aspiring authors

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inspiration for writers aspiring authors quotes

Every aspiring author has moments of doubt and frustration – times where the finish line seems far away and their purpose seems unclear. I’ve gathered together a few of my very favorite quotes for aspiring authors – particularly my nonfiction writers crafting memoirs, biographies, motivation books, business guides, and the like. I hope these will inspire you to always, always, keep writing!

I encourage you to pin these quotes and share them on Facebook to inspire the aspiring authors in your life!

Inspiring Quotes for aspiring authors5. “Every writer I know seems to agree on the same thing: You need to write, a lot.”

Thanks to Goodreads for sharing this. The Goodreads Pinterest feed is a constant source of inspiration and my go-to in moments of occasional writer’s block.

 


inspiring quotes for authors write something ben franklin4. “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
-Ben Franklin

As someone who works closely with aspiring authors who aren’t necessarily professional writers – primarily, people with something they need to share with the world – I find this quote from Benjamin Franklin particularly powerful. This quote was the seed of inspiration for many powerful memoirs.

 


john steinbeck quote how to write a book3. “Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish…”
-John Steinbeck

As a nonfiction book consultant and writing coach, I teach my students how to plan out their book writing journey with through their BookMAP. I’m hardly a proponent of losing focus of your book’s content, but this quote by John Steinbeck is powerful advice for many writers that I work with. Instead of getting caught up in questions like, “How do I write my book?” and “How long should it be?,” there is some value in writing until you’ve said what you needed to say.


Amy Tan quote for writers gift how to write a book2. “Writing is an extreme privilege, but it’s also a gift…”
– Amy Tan

I wholeheartedly believe our world is in crisis, on so many levels – one that government can’t fix. It is through the power of everyday people that change happens – those who share their wisdom and knowledge with one another through memoirs, nonfiction books, stories of triumph and guides filled with wisdom. Sharing your gift is a truly a duty. 


power-of-books-inspiration for writers nonfiction writing coach1. “One must be careful with books, and what is inside of them, for words have the power to change us.”
-Cassandra Clare

 

This quote is from Cassandra Clare’s brilliant book, Clockwork Angel.

An excerpt:

Will grinned, “Some of these books are dangerous,” he said. “It’s wise to be careful.”

“One must always be careful with books,” said Tessa, “and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.”

What is your story to share? How will you change the world? Do you know something that can save lives or change lives? I want to help you do that with a book. You don’t have to be a writer to write something extraordinary.

Considering working with me to complete a nonfiction book that will serve to build your authority, solve real world problems, grow your following, and transform society.

Are you ready to write your book?

Get My Book Out!™ is an online writing class that gives you a step-by-step framework that will help you write your nonfiction book in less than one year. Learn more & register here to start today.

I also lead groups of executives through group coaching sessions online as they write business leadership books. Learn about my group book coaching for executives.

Have you already started writing but need a professional book writing consultant and editor to help shape your book for publishing?

I offer professional nonfiction book editing services, ghostwriting assistance, and personal writing coach services on a 1-to-1 basis.

Let’s work to create a book that will establish you as an expert.

Reach out to start writing your book.


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Writing Consultant Tips: 12 questions to answer before you begin writing a book

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12-questions-to-ask-before-you-write-your-book-writers-consultant how to write a bookThe journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step.
– Chinese Proverb

The first steps to start any large project are the hardest, but when you make them as small and comprehensible as possible that can make the difference between overload shutdown and a manuscript completed. I’m a personal writing consultant, focused on helping aspiring nonfiction authors bring their ideas to life.

With my clients, I have found that a step-by-step approach to help focus and structure their big ideas is essential to help them stay on task and feel rewarded at each step of their journey.

Writing a book is a lot like building a house.

It’s a multi-layered project, and you must start with the foundation. When you build a house, you start with a concept, then draw up the blueprints that show all the details. The same is true for your book. As a personal writing consultant and publishing expert, I work to help authors learn how to take those first steps.

We’re going to take your current concept, which is your initial idea, and build it up layer by layer until it has the detail, color, and depth to tell a story that will change lives, save lives, or transform society.

Before you build a house, there are a few things you need to know before you get started, such as:

  • Should I even build a house?
  • How big will it be?
  • What will it look like?
  • Will it fit my lifestyle?
  • Will it look the same as the others in my neighborhood?
  • Will my family be comfortable here?
  • Is this a good investment?
  • How much will it cost?

When you’ve answered these questions, there are no surprises, and you have a clear understanding of what it takes to build a house. The same idea applies to writing your book. When undertaking a large project you must know what you’re building and it’s essential to take the time to plan it and build a good foundation!

Get started NOW using these 12 steps and about 30 minutes!

This month I am offering my FREE guide to my newsletter subscribers called “How to Start Your Nonfiction Book: Twelve Questions To Answer Before You Begin.” It will help you lay a firm foundation for your book that will guide your entire writing process.

If you have half your manuscript finished, or if you haven’t written a word yet, this guide will help you get clear on your intent, your focus and, ultimately, why your book will appeal to the audience you want to reach.

Want to receive your FREE copy? Just sign up for my newsletter with the form below!


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"You should write a book."

“You should write a book.”

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Has anyone ever told you that you should write a book?
How did that make you feel?

Maybe you’ve been told many times that you should write a book. How does that make you feel? Flattered? Annoyed? Scared? When I teach writing, I talk a lot about audience and how to connect with them, but the first step is to connect with yourself and be honest about the emotions you have about the prospect of writing a book. What are you feeling?

Do you want to write that book but don’t know how to get started?
How does that make you feel?

Have you ever had “write my book” on your mental to-do list? If so, that goal is probably jammed in there like this:

  1. Finish project at work
  2. Go to the kids’ ball game
  3. Make appointment with financial advisor
  4. Write my book!

Oh yes, let me just WRITE MY BOOK in between juggling my work schedule and a busy family life!

How do you feel when there’s such a huge item on your list that you know you won’t accomplish in one night or even one month — along with the smaller items that you will? Don’t set yourself up for failure! There’s a better way.

Did you start to write your book and get tangled up?

How did that make you feel?

Maybe you put pen to paper and started to write, but you got lost along the way. Perhaps you started with one idea, then drifted to another, and now nothing is organized or seems intelligent. Are you Frustrated? Aggravated? Defeated?

Now…

How do you WANT to feel?

The great news is that you CAN write your book in less than one year, and when you do that, you will feel emotions like accomplishment, completion, and triumph.And this is only the beginning!

Listen to my friend and client Helen G. and what she said about writing her first book: 

“I knew I wanted to write a book and had already begun. … In 2007 I met Lundy Bancroft at his St. Louis workshop, told him my childhood experience and he strongly encouraged me to write a book about it.

[Since I wrote my book] my life is still very busy …[but] the best part of what I have experienced is the positive effect it is having on my family who are very supportive~~and the many friends and colleagues who seem eager to read my book.

I have dreams of a long vacation, time for some R & R. After that, get started on my next book, to be followed by a third! … At 74 I hope to be able to keep up with my dreams.

Nancy has been wonderful to work with. She is a person of integrity and compassion. She is supportive, knowledgeable, and available.

The most difficult thing for me has been the fact that all of this is so new to me and I don’t always know the questions to ask. However, I’ve always felt that my questions were addressed with respect and understanding.

I now consider Nancy a dear friend whom I hope to continue working with. She deserves the very best. I could not have done this without her and the resources to which she directed me.”

Are you ready to start down the path that I have painstakingly and specifically built for you to follow to write your nonfiction book?


Learn How to Write a Book