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Author Archives: NancyErickson

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Summer Reading Lists-Some Nonfiction Classics Never Die

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Summer is the perfect time to delve into a book, whether you decide to read while lounging on a blanket in a park or curled up on the couch during a summer storm. New releases are exciting, but it’s always great to pull out classic nonfiction books that have stood the test of time. If you are an aspiring author, you can look to some of these successful writers for a bit of inspiration.

nonfiction books for an aspiring author

1. The Power of Less by Leo Babauta

This self-help book focuses on helping the reader narrow in on habits that are preventing them from moving forward in life. The Power of Less could help any aspiring author simplify their life and make more time to work on their book, but this is an especially great read for anyone who wants to write a self-help book of their own. Explore Babauta’s writing style and see what styles and techniques might work in your own writing.

2. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

If you want to write a memoir, this is a great book to read for a bit of inspiration. The book covers one woman’s journey of self-discovery after she goes through a divorce and decides to travel the world. Gilbert is honest about her loneliness and how lost she feels as she hops from Italy to India and Indonesia. Eat, Pray, Love shows how to take a story that is uniquely yours and still make it relatable to readers. Any memoir that can hold a spot on the New York Times Best Seller List for 187 weeks is certainly worth a read for an aspiring author looking to write a memoir.

3. A Brief History of Time From the Big Bang to Black Holes by Stephen W. Hawking

Stephen Hawking is recognized as one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists and cosmologists of all time and he was able to write a non-fiction book that is extremely accessible. This book not only further solidifies Hawking’s status as an expert in his field, but it also shows that he is a stand-out teacher who is able to reach audiences and students outside of his specialized field. If you are looking to share your knowledge in a way that allows readers to absorb the information, take a look at how Hawking managed to do just that.

4. Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff…and it’s All Small Stuff by Richard Carlson

Carlson truly established himself as an authority in the field of psychotherapy when his book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and it’s All Small Stuff, held the number one spot on the New York Times Best Sellers List for over 100 weeks. Carlson even went on to become a popular guest on talk shows, which helped him further promote his book. This book is the perfect read to motivate an aspiring author to write a book that will show off their specialized knowledge and help people along the way.

5. Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

You might recognize the name Malcolm Gladwell from our previous blog post, Writing Insights from Malcolm Gladwell. Gladwell has written several successful nonfiction books, but Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking, is an especially intriguing read. The book discusses how spontaneous decisions made in the blink of an eye are often better than well-thought-out plans. Gladwell is a psychologist who combines intensive research with engaging writing that allows the reader to get caught up in the narrative. This is a great way to expand your horizons and get a good look how one nonfiction author made his specialty interesting and accessible to the average reader.

Every aspiring author needs to read!

This is far from a comprehensive list, but it’s a great start.  Make the most of your summer and check as many books off your “to read” list as you can.


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Even a Business Leader Needs Help

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You’ve been a professional and a leader for quite some time and have learned a few things along the way, haven’t you? Your years of experience, education, ideas, and expertise are what other impassioned leaders need in order to gain the success that you’ve achieved. Perhaps you’re already a mentor to others, and you know that what you know can benefit more than you can reach in person. If you want a greater influence, you need a bigger platform! It’s time to take your solution and help others solve the problems they can’t fix on their own. Yes, you’re successful, but sometimes even a successful business leader needs help reaching others.

Why Should a Business Leader Write a Book?business leader

As a business leader with years of experience, you know deep down that you’re a true leader. Writing a book helps to establish yourself as an expert with those who don’t know your talent-that’s where I can help.

Business leaders write a book for a number of reasons:

  1. You have something to share that will benefit others.
  2. You want to leave a legacy that will impact the future.
  3. You see others struggle and have learned how to overcome obstacles.
  4. You want to showcase your business and the path to success.

Listen to what our writer, David J.P. Fisher, author, business leader, and entrepreneur had to say after he wrote his first book Networking in the 21st Century: Why Your Network Sucks and What to Do About It:

“Writing the first book was definitely a big hurdle, but I found that it was like running a marathon. Once you do one, you look back and want to do it again. I’ve published three shorter books in the ten months after publishing my first book, and there are more on the way. It’s definitely helped build my professional credibility and stature as an expert in my field.”

What do you have to lose? When will there ever be a better moment than now? It’s time to build your personal brand and establish yourself as the expert you are.

If you’re a business leader that has always wanted to write a book, reach out to us, and we can help you take the next step!


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Nonfiction Writing Technique: Show Me The Details

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I happen to reside in what is known as the “Show Me” state. When I first heard that slogan, I didn’t get it. Show me what? After a little research, I later found out the slogan was derived from Willard Duncan Vandiver, a Missouri Congressman, during a speech he gave in 1899. He said, “I come from a state that raises corn and cotton and cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me” (Source).

In other words, Missourians are not gullible. Don’t just tell us. If you want us to believe, you need to show us the truth through facts and evidence.

It’s funny. My state’s slogan reminds me of one of the most basic directives in writing: Show, don’t tell! I’m certain you’ve heard that phrase before, so today I want to dive in and explore how to do that by using descriptive details in your writing.

Here’s a quote that I really love, because it sums up the difference between boring writing and really good writing:

sensory languageA couple of years ago, we wrote an article about the importance of sensory language. Sensory language is just what it sounds like – it’s the language of our five senses. When you use sensory language, you describe what you saw, felt, heard, tasted, and smelled.  You don’t write, “I was sad when my girlfriend left me.” You write, “When she told me she was leaving, she smiled as she whispered the words, ‘I’m leaving you.’ My throat clamped tight. I blinked hard, so I wouldn’t cry, but one hot tear fell and salted my upper lip.”

In this passage, you find four of the five senses: She told me–hearing; throat clamped tight and hot tear–feeling; she smiled–sight; she whispered–hearing; salted my upper lip–taste. The only sense not included is the sense of smell.

Sensory language punches up your writing and engages the reader. It breaks up the monotony and helps the reader to visualize the scene so they can experience it.

Sensory language IS the details.

When you add detail to your writing, you ARE like a painter.

Words are your paint, and you can use all the colors!

Writing in detail takes time, but not as much as you might think. There are a lot of resources for learning how to do this, but my favorite is the book Bird by Bird  by Anne Lamott. This is a classic in the world of writers and well worth having on your bookshelf. I want to share a couple of snippets from the book that have helped me in my own writing.

Anne Lamott encourages writers to look at their world in small sections, the size of a one-inch picture frame. “All I have to do is write down as much as I can see through a one-inch picture frame, she says. That sounds easy enough, doesn’t it?

And when you’re frenzied about how much you need to write, step back and look through that one-inch picture frame.

“All we’re going to do for now is to write a description of the river at sunrise, or the young child swimming in the pool at the club, or the first time the man sees the woman he will marry.”

That’s it. Construct the details of your book by looking through these small windows. And when you look through small windows, you see a lot more minutiae, like the curved crack etched in the sidewalk, or the one green pea that rolled under the table, or the rim of grease under his fingernails.

Details make the difference, so show them to your readers!

Ready to get started? Sign up for an online writing class and get your book out!

 

 


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Father’s–We Can’t Do It Without You

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Last month the world paid tribute to all our mothers. On Sunday, June 16th, we celebrate the dads on Father’s Day. In mainstream media, it seems that you only hear about the deadbeat dads who don’t step up to the plate. You know the type: consistently unemployed, emotionally unavailable, and completely uninvolved with the little ones they helped to create.

I’m a mother of two daughters and was fortunate that they had a very involved father, and it makes me angry when I hear about men who’ve simply chosen to optfather figure-out. With the statistics of “single-mothers” now at an all-time high, it’s no wonder we think that some men have abandoned the home.

But, what about the men who do step up to their responsibility as a father figure? We don’t hear enough about them, and sometimes it seems that the father’s role is often minimized when compared to the mother’s. This isn’t true. If you don’t think dads have a critical role in the development of their children, think again.

Studies have shown that children who grow up without a strong father figure have:

  • A diminished self-concept and compromised physical and emotional security. Children consistently report feeling abandoned when their fathers are not involved in their lives, they struggle with their emotions and have episodic bouts of self-loathing.
  • Behavioral problems. Fatherless children have more difficulties with social adjustment, and are more likely to report problems with friendships, and manifest behavior problems.
  • Truancy and poor academic performance. Seventy-one percent percent of high school dropouts are fatherless.
  • Delinquency and youth crime, including violent crime. Eighty-five percent of youth in prison have an absent father, and fatherless children are more likely to offend and go to jail as adults.
  • Promiscuity and teen pregnancy. Fatherless children are more likely to experience problems with sexual health, including a greater likelihood of having intercourse before the age of 16, becoming teenage parents, and contracting sexually transmitted infection.

Source

These statistics keep going. When you look at the problems around our country, you can’t help but wonder how many of them would be solved if more children grew up with a father figure. Remember, not EVERY child that grows up without a father will experience these side effects, but many, unfortunately, do. Dads, if you didn’t think you were important to your child’s life, I hope this changes your mind.

Fathers, Learn How To Connect With Your Kids With The Help of Rich Daniels

When Rich came to us with his book idea, we knew it was something we wanted to be a part of. Through stories of his own shortcomings and experiences as a father to his three beautiful and uniquely different children, Rich brings hope and inspiration, as well as a multitude of ideas for fathers to try so that their kids feel they are known, valued, and loved. The key is to connect in areas that are important to the child and to engage with them there.

The purpose of his book is to teach and encourage fathers who yearn for a deeper relationship with their children some specific attitudes, actions, and behaviors that will build rock-solid relationships and anchor their children because they feel known, valued, and loved. His book, A Tourist In My Own Life: For Father’s Who Yearn For a Deeper Relationship With Their Children is available now for purchase and would make a wonderful gift for every father this Father’s Day. Click here to get your copy today!

The Good Guys

Fatherless children are a big problem in our country, so I want to pay tribute to some of the people who have chosen to be part of the solution, such as organizations like The National Center for Fathering, which was created in 1990 in response to the social and economic impact of fatherlessness in America. Their dedicated team of professionals wholeheartedly believe every child needs a dad they can count on.

The research is clear: children thrive when they have an involved father or father figure—someone who loves them, knows them, guides them, and helps them achieve their destiny. The National Center for Fathering works to improve the lives of children and reverse the trends of fatherlessness by inspiring and equipping fathers, grandfathers and father figures to be actively engaged in the life of every child. Source

For more information about this organization or how to become involved, please visit them at www.fathers.com


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Nonfiction Writing Technique: Pacing

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This summer while you’re working on your book, it’s important to keep techniques like pacing top-of-mind. Never heard of the term? It’s OK! Keep reading to learn how mastering this format will make your readers eager for more and keep your book at the top of their mind!

The term PACING in literature refers to the rate at which your story progresses. Your job as a nonfiction writer is to move the story along without losing your audience. It’s important not to go too fast, and you certainly don’t want to go so slow that you bore them to death. When you understand how to control the pace of your story, you’ve grasped one of the most important skills in writing.  Keep the following in mind when you write, and you’ll be a master at story pacing in no time.

story pacing1. Length controls speed.

Short scenes and chapters, terse sentences, and snappy dialogue all contribute to a feeling of intensity and speed. This is probably the easiest way to control your pacing. As your story nears the tense scenes, make it a point to condense everything. Limit the length of your scenes to 500-800 words, cut your scenes short at important moments, and switch back and forth between points of view.

Fragments, sparse sentences, and short paragraphs quicken the pace. Crisp, punchy verbs, especially those with onomatopoeia (crash, lunge, sweep, scatter, ram, scavenge) also add to a quick pace. Invest in suggestive verbs to enliven descriptions, build action scenes, and milk the suspense.

Harsh consonant sounds such as those in words like claws, crash, kill, quake, and nag can push the reader ahead. Words with unpleasant associations can also ratchet up the speed: hiss, grunt, slither, smarmy, venomous, slaver, and wince. Energetic, active language is especially appropriate for building action scenes and suspense and for setting up drama and conflict.

A fast pace means you trim every sentence of unnecessary words. Eliminate prepositional phrases where you don’t need them: For example, “the walls of the cathedral” can be written as “the cathedral walls.” Finally, search your story for passive linking verbs and trade them in for active ones.

2. Vary Story Pacing

As important as the high-tension race-‘em-chase-‘em scenes are, it’s even more important to vary your pacing with slow, introspective scenes. Without the slow scenes, your characters and your readers won’t have a chance to catch their breaths. Even the most exciting scenes lose their intensity if they aren’t balanced with moments of deliberate quiet.

3. Pay Attention to Details to Build Momentum

In film, directors often show scenes in slow motion to indicate that something dramatic is happening or about to happen. One of the best ways writers can mimic this technique is to slow their own writing down by piling on the details. Let’s say one of your characters is shot. This is an important moment in the story, and you want the readers to feel its impact. You can do this when you take your time and describe every detail: the look on the gunman’s face as he fires, the recoil of the pistol, the flash of the barrel, the horror that chokes the victim, and finally the collision of the bullet.

4. Control Your Tell vs. Show Ratio

Although “showing” your audience the blow-by-blow details is key to engage the reader and make them feel the tension, sometimes the best way to hurtle them through a scene is to condense certain actions into “telling.” Perhaps you want to use that scene where your character is shot, but you don’t want to linger on it. You want to do a quick flyby, shock your readers, and plunge them into the action after the gunshot. Instead of taking the time to show the details, you can thrust the gunshot upon the reader simply by telling him/her that it happened.

5. Manipulate Sentence Structure

The mark of a professional writer is his ability to control the ebb and flow of his sentence structure. The most subtle way to influence your story pacing is through your sentence structure. The length of words, clauses, sentences, and paragraphs all contribute to the pacing.

Long=slow

Short=fast

When it’s time to write the intense scenes, cut back on the beautiful, long-winded passages and give it to your reader straight. Short sentences and snappy nouns and verbs convey urgency, whereas long, measured sentences offer moments of introspection and build-up.

To write like a professional, you must master the art of story pacing. This is critical to the success of your book. Once you perfect this writing technique, you will leave your readers eager for more. It takes practice, but the payoff is worth it in the end.

What about you? Do you need help writing a book? Have a manuscript but don’t know where to go from there? We can help. Contact us today to find out how

 


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Define Your Purpose

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It’s almost summer. School’s out, and that vacation is just around the corner. Take some time off, but no matter how hot it gets outside, you must take time to water the garden! Let me explain. As a nonfiction book coach, I have the privilege of working with people from all walks of life. But something funny tends to happen in the summer. They’ve worked hard all year on their book, but for some, the summer months can make them want to go kerplunk and put their book aside until the Fall. Don’t let that be you. Whether you’re a coach, speaker, or entrepreneur, you still must water the garden, even when it’s hot outside! And that means the work should continue!

This is especially true for public speakers! If you’re a public speaker, you must continue to work the garden to set up speaking engagements, whether they’re scheduled now or later in the year. But first, your purpose must be defined.

Brand Yourself to Show People What You Are All About

If you want to prove yourself as a desirable speaker and land more speaking engagements, you need to establish a clear purpose. When you try to appeal to every audience, you don’t stand out as an expert in anything. If you brand yourself as an authority in a specific field, you are more likely to get booked to speak at relevant events.

So how can you decide on your personal brand and purpose?

brand yourself

It’s important to take a closer look at who you are, what you do, and what messages you hope to convey through your public speaking. If you are a personal finance expert, maybe your purpose is to help the average person better understand their finances and manage them. If you are a domestic abuse survivor, maybe your purpose is to tell your story of survival and help others recognize dangerous situations and see that they are strong enough to get out.

Be unique

Your personal brand and purpose might be similar to others within the same field, so what makes you so special? When you brand yourself, make sure that your purpose sets you apart from the rest. Make your message one that people will be dying to hear. If you want to get booked, you need to be like a great movie trailer — catch people’s interest and leave them wanting more.

Show The World You Are Available

You could be an excellent public speaker with a wealth of knowledge, but how will anyone ever find you if they don’t know you are available? If you want to brand yourself as an expert and public speaker, you will need to put information about your skills online so that the people who are interested in booking you can find you.

A bio is essential, as people will want to know your background, including relevant personal, professional, and academic achievements. There should be a clear statement, separate from your bio, stating the topics that you address for your public speaking engagements. That clarity alone will give a valuable preview of your unique message.

Visuals are always useful to catch people’s eyes, so whenever possible, include videos and photos of yourself in action. You want to demonstrate that you are confident and captivating in front of an audience.

Find Your Purpose And Be the Best You

As I always say, you are the only one who can tell your story. Explore yourself and your story to decide what your purpose is as a speaker, and then commit to the brand you have put forward. Clarity and confidence are sure to lead to more speaking engagements on your calendar.

Of course, one of the best ways to establish yourself as an expert in your field is to write a book, and it would be my privilege to show you how. But no matter what, continue your work this summer and enjoy the fruits of your labor later with a busy Fall speaking calendar!

 


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Nonfiction Writing Techniques: Conflate

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Do you know that word—conflate? Conflate means to combine or blend things, to fuse them into a single entity. It’s a helpful nonfiction technique where you merge several events or conversations or relationships and present it as one single event or conversation or relationship. It allows you to efficiently cover a span of time without boring your reader to death with the blow-by-blow details when all they really need are the pertinent points.

Do you know that word – Conflate? Conflate means to combine or blend things, to fuse them into a single entity.  It’s a helpful nonfiction technique where you merge several events or conversations or relationships and present it as one single event or conversation or relationship. It allows you efficiently to cover a span of time without boring your reader to death with the blow-by-blow details when all they really need are the pertinent points.

Spare Your Readers the Unnecessary Details

Let’s say, for example, that you had umpteen conversations with your spouse about adopting a child over the course of two years. In the first conversation, you might have talked about the possibility of adoption. And you talked about that for a number of months. Then you moved on and had numerous discussions about foreign vs. domestic adoption, older child vs. infant adoption, same race vs. other race adoption. These conversations took another several months. Finally, after two years, you made the decision to pursue a foreign adoption of an older child.

Do you need to drag your readers through all those conversations and decision points?  Maybe and maybe not. It depends upon the purpose of your book. Let’s conflate writing tipssay your book is about helping a foreign-born child assimilate into a family and culture that doesn’t look anything like them, and how to be your child’s advocate to overcome the unique obstacles they will face.

Does the reader really care about the two years you spent discussing adoption, or do they want to get to the purpose? My guess is they want the meat of your message, not your method of arrival.

So how do you handle those two years of discussion? Conflate it! Use dialog to convey all the pertinent information, and boil it down to a couple of conversations. Here’s how you might approach it:

“I think it’s time we face the truth. We probably aren’t going to give birth our own child, but maybe we’re not supposed to,” he said.

“It’s hard to give that up,” she said.

“I know, honey,” he said, “but we’re not getting any younger. What if we changed course while we still can? We’re not too old to adopt. I know the process takes time, who knows how long? If we want to have a child, I think we ought to consider this. To move in a new direction.”

“I don’t know. Maybe you’re right. It’s practically impossible to find a baby here, so I don’t know if that would be any better,” she said.

“What if we don’t look for a baby?” he said. “There are lots of children who need a loving home. Maybe we should think about rescuing a child, instead of searching for an infant.”

“One of the women in my support group showed me a picture of the orphans in Haiti,” she said. “They gathered them together after those earthquakes, but there aren’t enough adults to take care of them. One little girl – she looked about seven years old – had the brightest eyes, but her smile, it wasn’t right. Like she knew she had to smile for the picture, but only her mouth moved. She looked really, really sad.”

You can CONFLATE two years of the backstory of how this couple decided on a foreign adoption into a single conversation, and move the action forward.

Tell Your Story Like One of the Great Storytellers

Here’s another example of conflating. Let’s say you are a teacher, and you have had numerous students with a mild form of autism. Your book is about the socialization of the classroom, and over time, you’ve learned how to help these special needs students open up and relate to their classmates. Why not illustrate that through the eyes of ONE child, not four dozen children? Why not show the experience through a single set of eyes, give that child a representative name, and use a single character to demonstrate your teaching methods?

Does this seem dishonest to you? Insincere maybe? Well, if it does, then consider this. All the great teachers were story-tellers. Jesus, Aesop, Buddha, Indian Tribal Chiefs. They taught their people valuable lessons by telling stories. Were the characters in the stories real or did they conflate a number of people or people types into one representative character?

You tell me. Who was the Good Samaritan? Who was the Prodigal Son? Does it matter? Did you learn anything about human nature through Aesop’s fables, even though the characters were animals? Are the lessons any less valuable because you can’t attach them to a specific person?

When you conflate, you tighten your writing and move your story forward. It takes practice, but your story is worth it!

Ready to put this technique into your book? Contact us today and we can help you take the next step!


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Teachers Are Out of This World-Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week May 6th-10th

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This year we’ve talked a lot about writing, publishing, and promoting your book because that’s what I love to do both personally and professionally.  But I want to take a moment this week to pay tribute to teachers across the country.

Teacher Appreciation week is very important to me. As a professional book coach, writer, and former collegiate professor, I will forever be grateful to the teachers who ignited my love for all things “books.” I’ve always had an interest in reading and excelled in writing as a youngster, but it was my teachers who kept me motivated to pursue my dreams. They were always there to offer a kind word of encouragement when I felt discouraged. I believe there isn’t enough appreciation in our world for teachers. You usually only hear about the bad ones when there are millions of terrific teachers who do what they do, simply because they care. Teachers are often underpaid, criticized, and unappreciated for the job they do: to help shape and guide today’s youth. That, in my opinion, deserves more than a simple “thanks.”

teacher appreciation

I believe that our problems—all of them—can be solved, and that the answers are trapped inside of everyday people like you. If we didn’t have teachers to educate, inspire, lead, and cultivate the natural gifts that each person has, think about all the problems that would’ve gone unsolved.

Take a look at what some of these leaders have to say about their former teachers:

“My high school band director, Virgil Spurlin, had a huge impact on my life. Not because he was a particularly great band director. He was quite good, but he was a world-class human being. He took a personal interest in kids, and seemed to instinctively know when they were having trouble at home or having trouble in school, and always to know what to say to them and more importantly maybe what questions to ask to find out what was really going on in their lives. He also was always looking for things that young people could do besides play music. We put on the state band festival every year, for example, and he let lots of us help. And he taught us basic organizational skills and how to allocate resources and move things around. But always he was trying to find things that people were good at. He thought that everybody was good at something and if he just looked hard enough he could find it, he could convince them of it, and he could raise their aspirations and their hopes. He was unbelievable. All my life I thought of him. I stayed in touch with him on and off until he passed away. I really felt that my early years with him convinced me that I could organize and run things. That I could do whatever I wanted to do and that I could actually marshal other people in a common effort, and of course if you’re in politics that’s very important.”                  

-Bill Clinton

“There’s no way there would have been a Microsoft without what they did.”

-Bill Gates

“I credit my education to Ms. Mabel Hefty just as much as I would any institution of higher learning. She taught me that I had something to say — not in spite of my differences, but because of them. She made every single student in that class feel special.”

-Barack Obama

“I doubt I will ever meet another person who had the impact on my life that my English teacher at Episcopal High School did. All children should have a teacher like I had, who they remember when they have children and grandchildren as one of the most fortunate relationships in their lives.”

-Senator John McCain

Ways to Get Involved for Teacher Appreciation Week

The theme for this year’s Teacher Appreciation Week is “Teachers Deliver.” There are countless ways you can get involved this week and show your support for the teachers who have impacted your life. You don’t have to do anything fancy. A simple letter, email, or phone call to the teacher(s) that helped shape the person you are today would be great. Social media is also a great way to get involved. Check out this Promotional Event Toolkit from the National PTA for other ways to celebrate the teachers in your life.

What about you? Do you have a story to tell that can save lives, change lives, or transform society? When you share what you know and what you’ve learned, you become the solution. The answers are inside of you.

If you or someone you know has always wanted to write a book, reach out to us, and we can help make it happen!

 


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Writing a Book Memoir-Best Practices

I often find myself reflecting about the legacy I’ll leave behind. I’m blessed and beyond grateful to have experienced love, success, and the joy of having children and grandchildren in my life. But like many of you, my journey hasn’t always been filled with sunshine. I’ve had trials, tribulations, and problems that I’ve had to endure like anyone else. It was in some of my darkest moments that I learned many lessons about life for which I’m forever grateful. And it’s those lessons that I hope to share one day with not only my family but the world through my memoir.

A memoir is a written story that typically covers a portion of someone’s life. This type of book is often written by “normal” people like you and me, and can start at any point within an author’s life. Life is hard at times and people need real solutions to their problems. If you’ve experienced some of life’s greatest challenges and learned some valuable lessons along your journey, you have a message inside you that can change lives, save lives, or transform society.    

How to Write a Memoir

Your story deserves to be told – and, in fact, I believe it is your responsibility to tell it. Most aspiring authors get caught up in how to approach their memoir and become overwhelmed before they even begin. Below are some tips & tools, including some I’ve developed for you, which will help you share your truth.

“An autobiography tells the story of a life, while memoir tells a story from a life,”

-Gore Vidal

Developing a Concept for Your Memoir

A memoir captures a period of time or a set of events within your life, rather than cataloging your experience from cradle to grave, as in an autobiography or memoirbiography. In order for your memoir to have an audience beyond your friends and family, you need to develop a solid concept that helps bridge the space between your life and that of your reader. Publisher Sharlene Martin once said, “Your memoir needs a solid concept for the book that invites the reader’s concerns into the experience of reading it, instead of just saying, ‘Let me tell you all about wonderful me.’” Consider the elements of your story that are universal and find ways to write them that will invite your reader to imagine and consider their own life through the lens of your circumstances.

Make it Memorable

Nonfiction books can be as memorable as their fictional counterparts through the use of sensory language that conveys how you felt, what you saw, heard, smelled, and tasted during the pivotal moments you present. I often tell my writers to close their eyes as they begin to write a pivotal scene in their memoir – to take themselves back to the place, the time, and the emotion of the moment. Once you’ve transported yourself back to that moment, open your eyes and write your first draft. Once you’ve gotten it onto the page, go back through and look for ways that you can vary your language to make it richer, more interesting. Break out your thesaurus if that helps!

The Market for Memoirs

Memoirs continue to be a steady seller among book genres, enjoying a 15% increase in sales from 2013 to 2015, according to Publisher’s Weekly. Those that can be aligned with a universal theme of timely interest or that can be aligned with an organization, a cause, or an event tend to sell best.

According to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks about 70 percent of U.S. book sales, total sales in the categories of Personal Memoirs, Childhood Memoirs, and Parental Memoirs increased more than 400 percent between 2004 and 2008. Also, memoirs in Britain occupied seven out of ten bestselling nonfiction hardcovers in both 2007 and 2008.

What are you waiting for? What better time is there than now? Tomorrow is not promised, and someone needs your memoir today. When you share what you know and what you’ve learned, you become the solution. The answers are inside of you. You ARE the solution.

Contact us today to get started on your memoir!


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Plant, Water, and Watch Your Business Grow-Author Success Stories

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At The Book Professor, it’s a privilege to work with aspiring authors who want to write books that change lives, save lives, and transform society. Whether they’ve completed one of our group coaching programs or worked with me one-on-one, I never forget the look on the author’s face when they hold the first printed copy of their book.

You know what else makes me beam with pride when my clients complete their book? It’s watching their business grow. When they finish their book (plant), market it properly (water), my authors are amazed by the growth of their business and brand. And I’m grateful to be a small part of their success story.

Take Maryanne Dersch. When you hear the term nonprofit organization, you might think of groups like The American Red Cross, Girl Scouts of America, and Habitat for Humanity, just to name a few. All of these groups do wonderful work and have provided assistance and guidance to millions of people across the globe. But when you work for a nonprofit and are responsible for soliciting donors, you quickly realize the intricate planning and strategizing that must be executed to succeed. Nonprofit fundraising is not easy. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could attract more long-term committed donors year after year? “If only it were that easy,” you might think. With the right guidance and innovative strategy in place, it can be, and with the advice and direction of Maryanne Dersch, your nonprofit will succeed.

Meet Maryanne Dersch, Author, Principal of Courageous Communication, LLC

Maryanne Dersch has spent more than 25 years working in the nonprofit world, where she helps clients reach their communication and branding goals.  From this experience and her experience with cognitive behavioral therapy and behavior change psychology, she believes that teaching people how to communicate more efficiently requires a change of feelings, which changes their thinking and then changes their behaviors. As a leader within your nonprofit, if you see your organization as smart, stable, interesting, confident and strong, then you can begin to communicate more effectively about it to others. Look at the feelings and thinking FIRST, then the behavior.

Nonprofit Fundraising: Attract Like-Minded Donors and Raise More Money

Because of her successful career in nonprofit branding and communications, Maryanne came to us with a book idea to help other non-profits achieve the same success. Maryanne’s book: Courageous Communication: How Co-dependence is Making Your Nonprofit Brand Boring and What to Do About It, is changing how nonprofits are doing business!  The purpose of this book is to show nonprofit organizations how to stop trying to be everything to everyone and to develop their own organizational personality, so they can attract like-minded donors and raise more money. Maryanne Dersch works with nonprofits to create brands of attraction so they can connect with long-term, loyal donors and raise more money. In addition to being the author of Courageous Communication: How Codependence Is Making Your Nonprofit Brand Boring and What to Do About It, she is also the founder of Courageous Change workshops.

She’s leading a movement to change “nonprofit” to “human investment company” to accurately reflect the contributions of the sector. She is a contributor to the Giving Back podcast and International Association of Business Communicators Communications World website and is known for her love of ultrahigh heels, extra-large Diet Cokes, and short karaoke rotations.

This book can help you reach new non-profit fundraising goals and is available today! Click here to get your copy.

What about you? Are you ready to plant, water, and watch your business grow by writing your book? If you or someone you know has always wanted to write a book, reach out to us, and we can help make it happen!


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Writing A Book Is Hard But Possible With The Right Guidance

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I can’t do this. No one will read it anyway. I don’t even know where to begin. This is hard.

Have you ever said any of these things to yourself? As The Book Professor, I help people write books that change lives, save lives, and transform society. But it’s the people I meet that want to write a book but have sadly talked themselves out of it because they don’t believe they can do it. When you’ve built your life on a lie, it’s hard to overcome that thinking. I say “lie,” because deep down these lies boil down to one thing: the belief that you aren’t good enough.

I believe its the lies we tell ourselves that prevent us from doing the things we were meant to do and for which we are gifted. I don’t know what lies you tell yourself, but I know the truth. You do matter. You are important. You can help other people. Writing a nonfiction book is hard at times, but you can do it with the right guidance!

Why You Should Write A Nonfiction Book

There are many reasons to write a nonfiction book:

  1. Maybe you survived a harrowing experience and want to give others the strength to fight through their issues.
  2. Your business expertise may have driven you to the top of your field and you’d like to help others succeed.
  3. Perhaps you’ve been blogging for years and have built your brand and you’re ready to write a book.

There are so many reasons to write a nonfiction book, but people always seem to focus on the reasons why they can’t. They make excuses like, “I’m not a writer” and “I wouldn’t know where to start.”  Working with a book coach online can help you start and finish your book, and it will ensure that you put out a quality product.

Work With a Coach Online

Life is busy and it can be difficult to not only sign up for classes, but it also takes the time to commute to class. When you work with a book coach online, you can access instructional videos, lessons, and handouts at any time, day or night. Your study time is whenever you want it to be. My Group Writing & Publishing Program includes homework assignments that will ensure that you are making progress on your book, as well as one-on-one coaching sessions. Halfway through each of the 3 modules, you will have a 45-minute one-on-one coaching session where you can go over your work in greater detail, discuss any issues or challenges you are facing, and receive valuable feedback. At the end of each module, you will have another 45-minute one-on-one session to discuss your overall progress in depth.

Stay Motivated With a Group

The Group Writing & Publishing Program is perfect for people who want constant motivation and feedback. Without structure, it’s easy to put off writing your book. The Group classes force you to carve out time to work on your book. Each 16-week module includes weekly Group Coaching calls that allow you to discuss your progress and get feedback from other members. In short, it’s your own Book Mastermind! The lessons are available online all the time, and the weekly Group Coaching calls are scheduled on the same day and time each week. Flexibility for solo study is great, but the regular meetings with your fellow writers ensure that you receive your weekly dose of motivation. They give you the chance to share what you have been working on, receive feedback, and workshop with other authors, while providing accountability and guidance, every step of the way.

If you’re not a writer, don’t worry. You don’t have to have one sentence written, and you don’t have to be a professional writer to publish a powerful nonfiction book. You simply need to have an idea – and the commitment to see the process through, and I’ll help you every step of the way.

To get more details about the curriculum, read testimonials from past participants, and to register for the next session, click here!


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Writing A Book About Abuse

Abuse. It’s one of the hardest things for someone to experience and recover from and can present itself in many forms: emotional, physical, sexual, and even spiritual.  But one of the most under-reported forms of abuse in our country is domestic violence. Domestic violence against women continues to be one of the biggest problems in our country. Sometimes it’s obvious who these victims are, and other times she might not “look” like your average victim. Domestic violence victims come from all races, and all social, education, and economic classes. They could be someone you see in your own neighborhood.

These victims are not just abused physically, but emotionally, verbally, financially, and spiritually. You might be thinking, why don’t they just leave their abuser? It’s not as easy as you think. Many times, they’ve grown up in in a cycle of violence that began in childhood, and it follows them into their adult life. The feelings of being unworthy and undeserving were ingrained in them as children, and many of them witnessed horrors in their own home.

Take a look at some of these statistics:

  • 1 in 4 women will be victims of severe violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
  • 3 women are murdered every day by a current or male partner in the United States.
  • Over 4 million women experience physical violence by an intimate partner every year.
    Helen Gennari

    Helen Gennari

  • 8 million: The dollar amount working women lose every year due to time off from the job because of the abuse perpetrated against them by current or former male partners. The loss is equivalent to over 32,000 full-time jobs.

(Source)

Meet Helen Gennari: Author, LCSW, MSW

Helen Gennari is a licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist, and advocate for abused women who has taught and counseled many women toward self-empowerment. She offers compassionate guidance and hope for healing, especially to women who have grown up with family violence. She believes that abused women can be more than survivors–that they can return to their true selves, replace the patterns that kept them imprisoned, and thrive as whole happy people. After working with Woman’s Place in St. Louis, a shelter for abused women, Helen was confronted with her own issues, which led to writing a book she initially never planned to write.

Hope and Help for Abused Women

helping abused womenWhen Helen first came to us with her book, she already had much of it written but needed some help to pull it all together and get it ready for publication. Her book: From the Heart of an Abandoned Daughter: My Personal Journey Through Family Violence and Beyond is her personal story about growing up with and surviving family violence, and how to work through the emotional aftermath. We are honored to have been a part of this journey for Helen and are humbled by the countless women that she helps daily. This book is a must-read for anyone affected by domestic violence and/or childhood family abuse.

If you or someone you know has an autobiography or memoir you would like to write, please contact us today and we can help make it happen!

 


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