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Writing a Book—Communicate Your Purpose With a BookMAP

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I was thumbing through a book that a new author had given me. From the title, I’d thought it would be about building inner strength, and I was interested in learning more. But as I scanned the pages, I felt like the author was shoveling piles of information at me—information about research studies, how the brain works from birth to adulthood, and a random review of another author’s work. The book didn’t deliver what the title promised. It was like the author had this bank of information that he needed to cough up, but he had no clue about what I wanted to learn. The book was about him, not me.

When you write your book, you’re writing for the reader, not yourself. So you’ve got to construct it from your readers’ perspective, not yours. Your job isn’t to push information on readers; it’s to offer them what they’re seeking. Your job is to deliver the reader to realize the purpose of the book. Your Purpose Statement is your compass, and it tells where you want to take your reader. BookMAP 2 works with your Purpose Statement to show how you’ll communicate the book’s purpose to your audience.

We’re all pilgrims on the same journey—but some pilgrims have better road maps.

—Nelson DeMille

BookMAP 2 Elements

Your second BookMAP will contain these elements:

  • Problems
  • Solutions
    1. Features
    2. Benefits
    3. Examples

Problems

What problems does the reader have? Think about why someone would purchase your book. Are they looking for ways to save money? Do they want to help their children? Are they seeking some type of fulfillment or satisfaction? Are they in the middle of a personal crisis? Are they floundering in business? What kind of problems do they have that can be solved by the solutions you present?

Solutions

There’s a lot to explain when it comes to your solutions, which is where your expertise comes in. You may be tempted to gush forth everything you know at this point, and I don’t blame you. You know a lot and have some brilliant ideas to share. In fact, it’s been a world of work to get where you are now, and the lessons were hard-earned.

Your job, however, is to present your solutions in a way that readers can follow and apply them, which means you can’t tell them what to do. You have to show them how you solved a particular problem or helped someone else to solve it.

The way you’ll show readers your solutions is by first focusing on—and later writing about—the features and benefits of your solutions, as well as examples.

Features and Benefits

According to Google, the definition of the word feature is “a distinctive attribute or aspect of something.” That’s what you’re going to record on BookMAP 2—the attributes and aspects of your solutions to the problems you’ve identified.

On the other hand, we’re all driven by “what’s in it for me?” If you want your audience to put your solution into practice, you need to tell them why they should. Why is it good for them? What will they gain? In other words, what’s the benefit? So for each feature of your solution, you’ll tell readers its benefit.

Examples

It’s all well and good to share the features and benefits of your solution, but if you can’t make the concept come alive in readers’ minds, the point will be lost and you won’t accomplish your purpose. The next step is to seal your message with a story. The story is your example.

Our brains are wired to respond to stories. Other than personal experience, hearing stories is the easiest way for us to learn. For each of the features and benefits of the solution, you’ll tell a story that engages readers and causes them to remember the lesson. It’s the story that will convince your readers; it’s the story that will lock the principle in their minds so they can apply it to their lives; it’s the story that will live on when all your words have faded away.

If you or someone you know is ready to write your book and learn how to communicate your purpose using our BookMap 2, contact us today and we can help you take the next step!


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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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How To Get Media Coverage For Your Book

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This article originally appeared on bookbaby.com

There is no one-size-fits-all marketing solution, but that doesn’t mean marketing your book is impossible. The media can still be a powerful partner, and here are five ways to get media coverage for your book.

It’s the most common dilemma in the publishing industry: “How do I market my book?”

This question plagues everyone who has written a book. We’re all searching for that “can’t-miss” marketing technique that will turn our books into best-sellers. And as the marketplace continues to grow , the question is only becoming more relevant. With more and more books being released, readers are increasingly hard to find.

There is no one-size-fits-all marketing solution, but that doesn’t mean marketing your book is impossible. When it comes to boosting your book’s sales, the media can still be a powerful partner.

Take, for example, the story of Carl Johan Ehrlin and his book, The Rabbit Who Wants To Go To Sleep.

Ehrlin, a Swedish psychologist, self published the book in 2010. He had little luck in selling his parenting guide online, so he started giving away free eBook copies. He sent one of those copies to a writer at the Daily Mail, a UK newspaper. That writer wrote an article about how he used the book to put his precocious children to bed.

The article was syndicated to other papers around the globe. Soon after, the book rocketed to #1 on the Amazon and New York Times best-sellers lists.

This is evidence that the media remains a reliable vehicle for promoting and selling books. While you might not achieve the explosive success of The Rabbit Who Wants To Go To Sleep, you can still position yourself and your work in such a way that newspapers, radio stations, websites, and even TV outlets take notice.

Here’s how.

Do a public relations audit

Take the time to think about what the media might find noteworthy and different about you. Are there past experiences that lend themselves to interesting stories? Do you have any industry connections that would pique the interest of a reporter? What aspects of your book are particularly press-worthy? Identify them, then sell them.

You should also conduct an internal audit. What do you hope to accomplish by getting media coverage? Are you trying to brand yourself and promote a business venture? Are you trying to establish yourself as a subject-matter expert? Are you simply hoping to have your book discovered by as many potential readers as possible? Knowing all of this will help you act more purposefully moving forward.

Target potential media partners tactfully

More media outlets, stations, and content sites exist today than ever before. This is a good thing, as it provides you with lots of potential partners, but it also means that the value of any of these partnerships — at least when assessed individually — is more diluted than ever before.

Put together an extensive list of potential partners to target before you start reaching out. Consider which outlets might be a good fit for your book or topic. Consult folks working inside these companies and who lend credence to both local and international opportunities. That paid off for Carl Johan Ehrlin.

Understand what the media needs

Before you start reaching out, consider what the folks on the receiving end of your pitch want and need. You’ll find, more than anything else, they need quality content — books that are well-written, interesting, and new. That’s a given.

So think about what other value your book might add. What tie-in to audiences can you establish? Can you capitalize on your location, content, or theme? Some books lend themselves to be more “newsy” or controversial. Does your book make an allegation or accusation? Does it challenge the status quo? If so, sell that. All these themes could be the cornerstone of your book pitch.

Develop a focused pitch

Finally, after you’ve done all your homework, draft your pitch.

What this means, essentially, is that you’ll need to need to create a press release. This should be based on your core message and informed by what aspects of your book you think might prove relevant to different editors. Chances are, the folks you’re pitching will not have read your book. You’ll need to explain why your book deserves attention and you’ll need to do it quickly and succinctly.

But also be prepared to change or edit your pitch over time. You might be surprised at some of the quirky things that grab the attention of a reporter. That means you need to be okay with trying different angles.

Keep to a PR schedule

Finally, you need to make sure you’re approaching this job with diligence and grit. As such, it pays to abide by a specific schedule. Start out with this rather standard timeline:

  • Six months prior to your book launch: Create your website. Brainstorm ideas and craft a book marketing plan.
  • Five months out: Develop your press kit and media pitches. Pull together your advance review copy (ARC) media list. Start to solicit testimonials, if possible. Research the media you plan to approach.
  • Four months out: Send out your advance review copies (ARCs) to media that have long lead times. Schedule book signings and appearances if possible.
  • Three months out: Follow up on ARC media, including local TV and radio programs. Continue to query book stores and speaking opportunities.
  • Two months out: Contact non-book reviewer media. Approach online reviewers.
  • One month out: Start scheduling interviews. Finish ARC follow-up. Follow up with online reviewers. Look for more blogs and websites for outreach opportunities. Send your media kit to local newspapers and weekly publications.
  • First 90 days after the publication date: This is the time for interviews and stories to run. Media and bookstores see it as new and you’ll be at your peak in terms of attractiveness.

Marketing your book takes a lot of effort, no doubt. But with a little luck and a lot of grit, you’ll broadcast the news and introduce more readers to your hard-wrought words.

And who knows? Depending on what partnerships you manage to form, you might find yourself on that all-important list near the back of The New York Times — alongside sleepy bunnies and all the authors whose work you aspire to match.


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Stages of Writing a Book

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You’ve got a strong message, and if you’ve been thinking about writing a nonfiction book, you may feel hesitant because you don’t know how to get started. That’s no surprise. You can spend a lot of time spinning your wheels and burning precious hours if you don’t have a process to follow. But when you have a step-by-step method and follow it faithfully, you can systematically write a high-impact nonfiction book that will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the best on the market.

Your starting point is here, where you have nothing. Your endpoint is the published book and its purpose, which is reflected in your Purpose Statement.  Let’s talk about the beginning stage-the BookMAP.

BookMAP 1: It’s Personal

When you take our book writing class, you’ll learn that your personal story is one of the most important parts of your book. Some writers, particularly if they’re writing a business book, want to leave out this part and simply share their knowledge or instruct the audience. That would be a mistake.

Before you can tell your readers anything, you must earn the right to be heard. Nobody likes to be told what to do, especially if they don’t know anything about you. What makes you an authority on this subject? Why should they listen to you? Those are the questions you answer when you share your own story.

And your readers don’t want the whitewashed version of you. Share your high points and the deep canyons, the wins and the demoralizing losses, the beautiful and the ugly. You must be real and transparent. So shuck off your pride that tells you if they know who I truly am, they won’t like me. That’s bunk. When you’re real, people will love you. When you’re open and honest, you give the reader permission to be open and honest, too.

I’m not saying it’s easy. It takes a lot of courage to be this vulnerable. We all want to put our best foot forward to make a good impression. We like to hide the messes we’ve made, but sometimes the mess has become your message.

That’s what’s so effective about my Executive Group Coaching classes. In this book writing class, you get to share your failures and foibles in a safe place, test out your message with others in the class, and gain strength from doing so—before you bare your skin to the world.

What about you? What personal story do you have inside? Contact us today, and we can help you get it out of your head and onto paper!

 


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Extended Value of Working With The Book Professor

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You got your story out of your head and onto paper. Your book is finally finished. Your finished book can now become the launchpad through which you deliver your message across multiple venues. When you follow our methodology to construct your book in chapter silos, you can take those chapters and repurpose them for articles, workshops, seminars, keynotes, online courses, video training, podcasts, etc. Exciting times!

But how will people know that your book is available? How will they find YOUR book amongst the masses? Writing your book is the first hurdle; getting others to notice it is the next!

Well, look no further. Through our partnership with the prestigious Smith Publicity, we are proud to offer Book Marketing Services for all of our clients. That’s the extended value of working with The Book Professor!

Get Attention for Your Book and Impact Sales

Learn one-on-one from book industry experts—on your schedule, and tailored to your genre and level of expertise—specific and actionable techniques to drive awareness to your book and author platform. Marketing your book can be overwhelming. These services are designed to take away the fear and put in the fun.

How It Works

 

Social Media Consultation Service Offerings-$325 each

Our packages are completely customized to your skill level and needs. For example, if you’re a social media beginner, one of our experts will work with you to create your platform from scratch and teach you the basic rules of engagement. If you are already well-versed on a social media platform, but would like to execute better, our advanced experts will custom-craft a plan to work with you to optimize your existing site, incorporate your book into your postings (without offending followers), decipher analytics, and/or understand potential advertising options.

Before your call, you complete an author questionnaire that gives your consultant time to research and tailor ideas specific to your book, genre, and goals. You will also receive educational handouts or “homework” before the call(s) to help ensure your session(s) are as jam-packed as possible. At the end of the service, you receive handouts to help you continue developing ideas and techniques.

If you or someone you know is interested in marketing their book, reach out to us and we will help make it happen!

 

 

 

 


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Craft Your Exceptional Story With Structure

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I don’t care if your passion is about a new business process that can save time and dollars, a memoir about overcoming pain and suffering, or if it’s about how to connect on a soul-level with your dog: if you have a passionate solution, someone else needs it. People don’t buy books, they buy solutions. Someone is looking for what’s trapped inside you.

When it comes to crafting your exceptional story, it can be difficult to know where and how to begin. I’m here to help you design your story so you can start writing and get your message out into the world. As a book coach, my life is spent working with individuals who have a story to tell, and helping them share that story in a way that moves people to action.

What is your story?

All of us have our own story, and people are truly interested in hearing it. Every day, each of us are asked questions such as:

  • What do you do?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • Where did you go to school?
  • Do you have kids?

Even if people aren’t directly asking about your story, these types of questions are indirect ways to try to learn more about you and the story you have to tell.  

Physiologically, humans are wired to enjoy and relate to stories. Stories have been a part of the human fabric since the beginning of time. People like to listen to stories, relate to them, and remember them. Find your story and give people what they crave!

It’s important to understand the difference between telling your story and presenting your resume. You cannot tell your exceptional story by reciting a list of your accomplishments or delivering an elevator pitch. You need to dig deeper. Your story will communicate who you are, so you need to figure out exactly who that is and how to showcase that person.

Start with the foundation of your story

Before you start writing your story, you need to answer two questions:

  1. What is the purpose of your story?
  2. Who is the audience?

Stories can help you cross racial, social-economical, political, and religious, boundaries; they are that powerful. I believe there are two key things all people need: hope and help. Your story has the power to offer hope and help to others. Your story can change lives and have an impact on society, but you need to decide just what kind of impact you want to make. What do you want your story to communicate? What change do you want to invoke in the reader? How will your story help people?

Knowing your audience is essential. Your target audience will determine what you tell them and why. Cater your story to grab the interest of your audience, so that you can deliver a helpful and memorable story. Take a look at my blog post, How to Define an Audience for Your Book, for a more in-depth explanation of how to tackle this important task.

Outline the three parts of your story to lay the plan for your nonfiction book

Obviously, all stories have a beginning, middle, and end, but the three parts I suggest you consider are these:

  1. What it used to be like
  2. What happened
  3. What it’s like now

Start with what life was like before the change happened.  Were you happy? Overworked? Unfulfilled? Paint a picture of your “before” and set your audience up for the change.

The “what happened” section is the turning point in your story. It’s your pivotal moment, the bridge that connects the before and after. Something happened that caused a change in your life, and that’s what you’ll share with your audience. Some changes are internal, such as an “aha!” moment that directed you to take action or make a change, but some people need more of a push. External changes are things that force us into change, such as the death of a family member, birth of a child, a divorce, loss of a job, or some other life-altering occurrence. What happened to you? How did it force you to change and why?

Create closure in your story

Next, tell your audience what it’s like now. Where are you in your life? How are things different?

If you’re struggling with how to wrap up the impact of your life or a specific chapter in your story, consider these six areas of your life and how they have been impacted by the events you shared in your memoir or business book:

  • Spiritual
  • Health
  • Relationships
  • Emotional
  • Professional,
  • Financial

How have these areas of your life been affected?

If you take these three aspects–What it Used to be Like, What Happened and What It’s Like Now–put them together, and seal them with a solid purpose statement that clearly communicates the purpose of your story, you will have a solid design in place.  

You have a story to tell, and people are ready to hear it, but whether or not they will relate to it and remember it depends on how well you tell it. How you tell your story is just as important as the story itself. I can help you craft your story and work with you when you have trouble writing. Don’t let fear of writing keep you from sharing your story with the world!

If you need help to write your book, consider working with me as you write your first book. Details below!

 


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Writing a Book is Hard But Can Be Done When You Organize it Bit by Bit

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If you’ve never written a book, how would you know how to get started?

Some people just sit down and start writing. But they soon discover that all the ideas that have been rattling around in their head have no form, no shape. What comes out is like a spaghetti messa bunch of unconnected threads. They have a message, but they don’t know how to get it down on paper.

The problem with the “write-first” approach is that it’s like trying to build a house without any plans. You have no blueprint to follow, no foundation poured; and you don’t know what the house will look like when it’s finished. Writing a book is hard but can be done when you organize it bit by bit.

Tiny Little Steps

When you first learn about writing your book, it’s important to realize that it’s a large project. It’s not something you’re going to accomplish overnight. And you know the key to large projects, don’t you? You have to break them down into tiny little steps.

Have you ever heard anyone say, “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer is one bite at a time. And that’s true. You have to break down the tasks writing a book into bite-size chunks.

When you work with me, we develop a BookMAP, which is a visual representation of your entire book.

And when you have a BookMAP, I contend that you can actually start writing your book in 15-minute increments. Your BookMAP is broken down into such small pieces that you can write those small bites and ultimately assemble them into a comprehensive manuscript.

Your experience is unique. In fact, no one else has your story or has lived through what you’ve learned. You are the only one who can do this, but if you’ve never written a book before, you probably don’t know how to get started. And how would you know?

If you want to know how to start a book, how to publish a book, or how to write an eBook, The Book Professor is here to help.

Reach out for personalized help on your book project. Your options include one-on-one coaching, group executive book coaching, and self-paced learning. We can help you move your project forward. Contact us today to learn more!

 


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Nonfiction Writing Tip: Use Sensory Language

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Human beings are wired to respond to stories, and we remember things that have an emotional impact on us. Think about it. We can watch an emotionally charged story on the news and remember it for weeks or even months. The same is true when writing a book. When you write your book, there’s a nonfiction writer tool you can use to impact the reader. It affects them on an emotional level, so they will remember what they read.

How do you do that? Well, it’s not so complicated. One way to impact your reader is to bring them in close, to make them feel like they’re right there in the room with you. You do that by creating scenes that use the nonfiction writer tool of sensory language.

Sensory language as a nonfiction writer tool

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.

Before and After

Take a look at the two passages below, and notice how sensory language makes a difference.

1. Becky called me and said that something terrible had just happened. She wanted to talk about it, so I asked her to meet me at the grill on the ground floor of my building. It was almost noon, and I was hungry, so I asked her if she wanted something to eat.

Compare that to:

2. “The police just barged in my house,” Becky said. “It was raining, and their boots tracked bits of grass and mud all over my white carpet. Didn’t even bother to wipe their feet. It’s like they used my carpet as a door mat. There were six of them.”

A piece of red hair – I Love Lucy red hair – escaped from behind her ear, and she slicked it back without taking a breath. My watch beeped twelve o’clock, but she yammered on. The grilling onions made my stomach lurch. I hadn’t eaten breakfast.

“Wow,” I said. “I’m so sorry. Can I get you something to eat? I could use a bite myself, and maybe that would make you feel better.”

Her head banged down on the table, and she hiccuped massive sobs. “What do you think I am, a twelve-year-old?” she sputtered. “It’s not like a snack can make me all better!”

Sensory language is a nonfiction writer tool that is easy to incorporate. All you have to do is describe what you hear, what you smell, what you see, what you feel, and what you taste. Drop those elements in a scene and watch your writing come alive!

What about you? Are you ready to put sensory language to work? 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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How to Stay Organized When Writing a Book-Block Out Your Time

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Call me strange, but I dont exactly know what time is. I do know that Ive been a slave to it for much of my life. My life, like yours, is filled with so much: things I want to do, things I need to do, and a lot of things I dont really want to do but must. Theres always a race against the clock, which leaves me feeling scattered and torn, like a scarecrow with his stuffing pulled out. At the end of the day, there isnt much left, and whats left doesnt feel like me.

I assume that you’re a busy professional and you’re not looking for extra things to do. Life is busy enough with work, but when you layer on the more important things like faith and family, there’s no wiggle room, no gaps where you can sneak in a major project like writing your book. And yet it’s something you want to do. You want to make a difference.

You actually have the time to do the things you want to do like write your book if you learn to organize your time.

Time Blocking

I use a method for organizing my time called time blocking. Time blocking is exactly what it sounds like. It’s organizing your time in blocks so you can be most efficient—not just in your writing but in everything you do. It requires you to look at all your responsibilities and organize them into specific blocks of time so you can accomplish everything on your plate.

After you organize your calendar in time blocks, you must enforce it. This takes discipline, but it’s very effective once you get the hang of it.  Here’s my calendar as an example:


When I was first introduced to time blocking, I thought, Good grief! I’m going to have to get up at 5:00 every morning to get everything done! I don’t suggest that your weeks be as long as mine are but, on the other hand, if they need to be while you’re writing your book, then so be it.

Notice how I block my time. You can see that I devote blocks of time to my tasks—not just fifteen minutes here and there. I organize my time so I fully complete one thing before moving to the next.

Take a look at the blocks called content. I often say that books don’t write themselves—and guess what? The classes and workshops I teach don’t write themselves either. I have to schedule time to plan, write, deliver, and produce my classes and presentations. So I figured out how much time I needed per week to do that writing and allocated it across the week in specific blocks.

While I’m working on content, I’m not answering the phone—it’s turned off. And I’m not checking email. I close it so it doesn’t ding me to death. And I’m not futzing around online, either. I’m writing content, and that’s the only thing I’m doing. I don’t believe in multitasking.

I can hear you say, “Well, of course, you can block off time to write. That’s your business.” And you’re right! But if I want to take care of myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually, I have to start my days at five in the morning to get in that extra activity. Do you think I want to get up that early? I really don’t. But taking care of the other parts of my life is a priority, so that’s what I do.

To write your first draft, block five hours each week for sixteen weeks. That’s four months to your first draft! When you keep your eye on the prize, writing your book suddenly seems more doable.

 

What about you? Now that you have the tools to block out your time, what’s stopping you from writing your book? Contact us today and we can help you take the next step!

 

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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: Focus On The Purpose

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I love meeting people who want to write stories. But you know what I love more? Meeting people who want to write stories that have a purpose, which is something I stress in my book writing courses. I recently heard a podcast, and the speaker suggested that not everyone has one true calling. She dubbed people who have many interests and talents as multipotentialities. She said that living in a society that asks “what do you want to be when you grow up?” can have a detrimental effect because it makes people feel they have to commit to one thing forever—and that many of us don’t have one “one true calling” or one purpose. Interesting.

I know what it’s like to go through life doing jobs that were never suited for me in the first place. (Yes, I was once the owner of an asphalt paving company!) But I do believe that we were all put on earth for a purpose. It’s no different when writing a book. You must focus on the purpose of your book. It’s the only way you will impact your audience and make a difference in their lives.

Give Your Nonfiction Book a Pointed Purpose Statement

The Purpose Statement for your book is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a statement—a single sentence, not a paragraph—that states what your book will accomplish for its specific audience. If you want your book to make an impact, it must perform an action.

Here’s a fill-in-the-blank formula that will help you craft your Purpose Statement:

The purpose of this book is to do ___action_____ for _audience_____.

What do you want your book to do? Hard question. Maybe it’s easier to explain what you don’t want it to do: You don’t want your book to raise awareness. Seriously.

You might think, I think I do want to raise awareness. Actually, you don’t. If you write a book to raise awareness, you miss an opportunity to change lives, save lives, or transform society.

You could write the most captivating, awareness-raising book in the world, but at the end, your readers’ response will be, “Well, that was interesting. Now I know about that.” Then they’ll shut the cover and promptly forget about it. Or maybe it will stick with readers for a few days, and they’ll think, “Somebody should do something about that.” But that’s as far as it will go. In the end, you’ve spent your time, energy, emotion, and money to write a forgettable book.

You want to create change in a specific, targeted audience, and you can use this formula to write your Purpose Statement:   

The purpose of this book is to _action_ for _audience_ so they can result.

What change do I want to invoke in my readers? Change implies action.

Here’s an example from one of my clients:

Nancy Nelson, Lessons from the Ledge: The purpose of this book is to guide women in crisis to dig into their resilience, to push past the pitfalls, and to reframe the pain so they can thrive instead of merely survive.

Let’s analyze Nancy’s Purpose Statement in light of our formula:

The purpose of this book is to guide (action) women in crisis (audience) to dig into their resilience (result 1), to push past the pitfalls (result 2), and to reframe the pain (result 3), so they can thrive instead of merely survive (result 4).

Your Purpose Statement is the foundation of your book. It defines your mission and describes your job as the author: to deliver your audience to realize the purpose of your book. It should be clear, concise, and specific. It’s the guide for everything you’ll write.

What about you? If you or someone you know is ready to tell your story with purpose, please contact us and we can help you enroll in a book writing course today!


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Trends in Publishing

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This article originally appeared on bookbaby.com

The publishing industry gets rocked by a blockbuster title, and for years after that, publishers and authors play “follow the leader.” It’s smart — millions of books are sold and billions of dollars are amassed annually by chasing trends in publishing.

The publishing world is historically one of fads and trends. They descend upon the market like storms, altering the landscape. Ten years ago, it was Twilight-inspired vampire novels. Then came the phenomenon of young adult dystopia and Fifty Shades of Grey-style romance. And only two years ago did we emerge from the fad in which every other thriller novel included the word “girl” in the title.

Over the last two years, oddly, the industry has been in a drought, with no end in sight. That’s one of many things I learned when I attended the Book Expo America in New York City in 2018: There is simply no dominant creative trend dictating strategy in publishing right now.

There are, however, various shifts happening within the publishing industry regarding how insiders are finding new talent, and that will dictate the challenges facing new writers moving forward. Three of the most important trends in publishing include:

  1. Diversity continues to be a driving economic force
  2. The competition for readers has reached new dimensions (and media)
  3. Alternative media will drive tomorrow’s best sellers

1. Diversity is a driving economic force in publishing

One of the most popular sessions put on at the Book Expo was, “Opportunity Cost: Why Diversity is Financially Critical To the Book Industry.”

In it, panel members discussed just how influential the promotion of multicultural voices is — and will continue to be — in the publishing world. In this sense, they dismantled the conclusions of 2015’s “Diversity Baseline Survey,” which stated, “The publishing industry is white, straight, and physically able, and the vast majority of books published are intended for these audiences.”

The panel also highlighted just how quickly things are changing. The bottom line now is this: if authors and publishers do not embrace diversity, they will lose economically. That’s an easy concept to grasp when you consider the recent economic success of movies like Black Panther, Get Out, and Crazy Rich Asians, and even recent award-winning books like The Underground Railroad and Sing, Unburied, Sing.

“It’s incumbent upon us to make sure that diversity is front and center,” BookExpo/BookCon event director Brien McDonald told The Associated Press during a recent telephone interview.

The industry seems to be following through on this commitment. Other panels on the subject at the Expo focused on immigration, gender, and sexuality.

Panelist and publisher Jason Low was one of the authors of the aforementioned Diversity Baseline Survey in 2015. He summed up the momentum for mixed content in this way: “My doctor tells me that my gut or stomach health is at its peak when I give it a diet of different foods to digest — even unexpected new elements. Your reading appetite is just the same.”

2. The competition for readers has reached new dimensions (and media)

Another of the emerging trends in publishing is this: readers are accessing books in an ever-widening array of media.

Vienna-based consultant Rüdiger Wischenbart recently shared data around how much time people generally spend accessing entertainment on their mobile devices. One group, comprised by more traditional readers — such as urbanites, the well-educated, and folks over 40 — has seen their “mobile time” rise from a modest 26 minutes a day in 2012 to over one hour a day in 2017. The younger generation — let’s call them “Millennial Book Lovers” — spend almost three hours a day consuming content on their phone.

This increase in leisure time is good news. The bad news for publishers and authors is how potential readers are spending their mobile time. Consumers have a larger number of entertainment options at their disposal than ever before, and the data is suggesting that people are not spending their time reading books. That means you’re not just competing against other authors and books in the digital space, you’re competing with TV, social media, games, movies, and more.

“Digital means that publishing’s readership is somebody else’s viewership, and listenership, and gamers, and video fans, and rockers,” says Wischenbart.

There’s still plenty of money and attention available for authors — publishing industry revenue last year topped $112 billion, while the movie industry took in just $38 billion — but reader habits are changing. Authors need to be prepared to fight for their attention.

3. Alternative media will drive tomorrow’s best sellers

To garner attention, authors need to turn their focus to alternative media. That’s because one of the next big trends in publishing might just be alternative writing platforms, like Wattpad. Wattpad was launched 12 years ago and quickly turned into a fan fiction platform. Today, Wattpad might be the most important incubation ground for the authors of tomorrow.

How influential is this Toronto-based business? In the last five years, Wattpad has gone from five million unique users per month to over 65 million. The site now hosts over 550 million stories contributed by writers from all over the globe.

And these writers are getting noticed. Beth Reekles, from Newport, CT, wrote The Kissing Booth when she was 15 and published it on Wattpad. Now, she’s landed a major publishing deal and the book was made into a film that debuted on Netflix earlier this year.

While 90 percent of the average users of Wattpad are under 30, this platform isn’t just for kids. Famed Canadian author Margaret Atwood has embraced Wattpad and other new technologies as a better way to reach today’s generation of readers.

And traditional publishers love finding new authors on Wattpad because it doesn’t just lead them to talented new writers, it connects them to their very loyal readers as well.

Embracing diversity and innovation are the signatures of these new trends in publishing that will prove most influential in the publishing world of tomorrow. You would be wise to take notice.


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