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10 tips to help writers stay focused

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The First Word from BookBaby

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completing a book

The First Word

Guest post by Steven Spatz
President, BookBaby

Every journey starts with the first step. Every story starts with the first word. Then it’s just a matter of completing a book.

When I wrote my first book, The End – Now What? – 6 Steps To Take Your Manuscript To The Market Place In Six Weeks, I didn’t have any kind of plan or blueprint to guide my journey to completing a book. I pretty much just relied on my home grown “ation” strategy.

What’s my “ation” strategy? I’m glad you asked.

  • It has to start with inspiration. Creating the content that interests me – and hopefully potential reader.
  • The job of writing takes perspiration. It’s work – damn hard work at times.
  • I recognize that I’ll have periods of exasperation when I’m just sick and tired of that whole damn thing and I take (brief) breaks from the process.
  • Ultimately it requires determination. Keep your eyes on the prize.

The result was a 50,000 word nonfiction book cranked out in fits and starts over an eight month period. I learned a lot about the book writing process during that experience. I’ve learned even more from talking to BookBaby authors about how they covered their own journeys. This time around I’ll be better equipped to do the job.

Here are some of the writing tips and ideas I’ve collected over the last year:

Location, location, location.
Find your writing place. Sure it’s possible to be creative anywhere – sitting on the subway or standing in a line – but for the long haul and more consistent creativity, your best work will come out in a space where you regularly write. That primes you to get into the right frame of mind as soon as you sit down. Or maybe it’s more than one place. I have three: a secluded corner in a local library and two different coffee houses. Set aside a particular place that you do nothing but write or create and you can jump start your creativity.

What time is good for you?
Even more important than “where” is “when.” For me it’s probably going to involve getting up 45 minutes earlier and writing a few paragraphs before work. Forcing yourself to write at 5 am isn’t the solution for everyone. It works for me because I have nothing else to divert my attention in those early dawn hours. There are all types of writers – after-hours writers, lunch break writers, mini-block writers, etc. Track your time and energy for a week or two to find what’s best for you – and then block out that time on your calendar as an appointment with yourself.

Add interval training to your writing
Some writers I know incorporate these short sprints into their writing routine. Here’s how: Use a simple kitchen timer to force yourself to just flat out write. Set it for five minutes to write as much as you can. You’ll likely censor yourself less if you can just write whatever comes naturally and edit later. It’s not about quality during this brief burst of keystrokes. Give yourself permission to write a few lousy paragraphs or pages. You’ll have plenty of time to go back and edit later.

Read if you’re not writing
Like many writers, I feel inspired when I’m playing the part of reader. Instead of turning on the TV when you’re on a break from writing, spend your time reading the work of others. The more “I wish I had written that” pieces you come across, the better your work will be and the more motivated you may be to produce something worthwhile. Some authors find other arts to be inspiring – paintings, movies, photography, and so on. Soak up all the creativity you can when you’re not actively writing.

Don’t break the chain
His television show was “about nothing,” yet legendary comic Jerry Seinfeld’s method for success is very much something – and visual. Each January, he hangs a large year-at-a-glance calendar on his wall and, for every day he wrote new material, he earned the right to draw a big red “X” over that day. Drawing those Xs got to be pretty fun and rewarding, so he kept doing it. Eventually, he began to create a chain of red Xs. The idea was to never break that chain. This simple pleasure can turn into a surprisingly powerful motivator.

Never miss twice
If you don’t have the luxury of Seinfeld’s free time, you can give yourself a very small cushion and still be successful. Let’s say you have your new routines and habits in place, your alarm set to signal your writing time… But one day you wake up and simply don’t feel like writing.

So don’t. We all slip up now and again. Don’t beat yourself up, but also don’t slip twice in a row. It’s inevitable you’re going to miss a writing session, but use the “never miss twice” mindset to get back on track.

Be flexible
Your writing schedule might change – often. Life events will throw wrenches in your plans, but you can plan a new schedule. And then stick to that.

Write or die
If all else fails, you can always resort to using the app WriteOrDie, With a tagline of “Putting the prod into productivity,” this program is absolutely diabolical!

Here’s how it works: First, you configure your writing period, word goal, and your preferred punishment should your fingers stop typing. Once the setup is complete, you’ll need to type continuously; otherwise there will be consequences, in varying levels.

  • The gentle mode is quite forgiving. When you pause your writing for a set period of time, a box will pop up, gently reminding you to continue writing.
  • In normal mode, if you pause, you will be played a very unpleasant sound. The sound will stop if and only if you continue to write.
  • For the true author-masochist, there’s Kamikaze Mode: You must keep writing or your work will un-write itself. Simply disappear from the beginning of the passage! Talk about writing with a gun to your head!

As for my own system, I have one more of my “ation” strategies to think about: The exhilaration of finally finishing that book!


Steven Spatz, President of BookBaby

Steven Spatz is an author, marketer, and the President of BookBaby.


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Writing a book online: Q&A with Lindsey Jacobs

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Future author Lindsey Jacobs on finally sharing her story

Future author Lindsey Jacobs on finally sharing her story

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

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How to Attract an Audience for Your Book

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How to attract an audience for your bookAs a writer, you may enjoy the solitary pursuit of writing, but one thing’s for sure—when your book is finished you’ll want get it in the hands of readers. The best way to do that is to start now, even as you write your book, to attract your audience.

You may have heard the old adage that it takes seven touches to make a sale. In book marketing, that has held true. Your audience needs to hear what you’re about, to learn to respect you as you prove your expertise, and to become interested in you and enticed by what you have to say, well in advance of a purchase.

1. Define Your Audience

Before you can attract an audience, you need to know who they are. Of course, your readers are your audience, but who are they? Picture them as they walk in the bookstore. What do you see? Is it women between the ages of 30 and 50? Parents who want to instill values in their children? Business owners who are short of cash?

The key is to figure out who your audience is before you begin writing your nonfiction book because that’s the group you will influence, the group you will impact, and the group you will target when your book is complete.

2. Define Your Book’s Market

Isn’t your audience the same as your market? Not necessarily. Your market is the people/organizations/institutions that will purchase your book. For example, if you are writing a book for children, children are your audience, but they’re not your market. Your market is the person with the pocketbook – the parents.

Think about those people/organizations/institutions that might purchase your book, for example, educators if you’re writing about children, or mental health practitioners if you are writing about walking conquering depression. Try to identify at least six markets for your book – a primary market and five secondary markets. You’re going to use this information when you start reaching out to potential customers, so be thorough.

3. Classify Your Book

Part of knowing your audience is knowing where your book fits in relation to other books. In other words, what is it’s genre?

The term genre simply means a particular classification or type of book, and there are two main genres in writing: fiction and nonfiction. There are numerous sub-genres within each of these genres, and you need to know where your book fits. Why is this important? It’s important to you because you want to reach a certain audience, and people often select the books they read according to genre. That’s why bookstores divide their selections by genre—it makes it easier for people to find the books that appeal to them.

Think about your audience again. If they are looking for your book, what section will they browse in a bookstore? Assume they don’t know the book title or your name as the author. They simply want to find the information that your book delivers. Where are they going to look? Identify your book’s genre, and you will have some insight on how to reach your market.

This is the starting point for identifying your readers, but there’s more to it than simply identifying your genre. Your readers are buried within your target markets, and I want you to know how to scout them out.

4. Target Your Markets

With all the books being published, it’s more important that EVER to know your market and how to reach your audience.

So, go back to your ideal customer. They’re hard to find because they look like everyone else, so we have identify them according to what they need. And what is that? They need the SOLUTION that is found in your book. You may think, “I know who they are – generally – but I don’t know how to get to them specifically.”

Go back to your list you made of primary and secondary markets and create a detailed plan to reach them. Do this before your book is finished, so you’ll be ready to get your book in their hands when it’s published.


 

 

 

 


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How to Define an Audience for Your Book

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When it comes to book marketing, knowing your audience is essential. You need to figure out who your book is for—and there may be multiple audiences—but please know that your book is not for everyone. Not everyone will benefit from or even enjoy your book, so don’t try to appeal to the masses. Hone in on your intended audience and get your book on their radar.

So how do you define that audience of book readers?

how to define an audience for your book book writing classes online book coach

Do your research before writing your book.

All too many authors write their book without defining the target audience, and defining your audience is particularly important when writing nonfiction. And yet, if you narrow in on something too niche, you might discover that your audience is simply too small. For example, you might write a riveting book about how to maintain antique farm equipment, but will enough people be interested in that topic?  It’s possible, but you want to be confident that you have solid book marketing plans before you start to write. You must think about your target audience when planning your book, as well as throughout the writing process.

Here are some questions to ask yourself regarding your target audience:

  • How old are they?
  • What is their gender?
  • What’s their education level?
  • What concerns/problems do they have?
  • Do they live in one specific geographic area?
  • What shared interests will they have?

Self-published authors, especially those who write memoirs or biographies, may think that their target audience are people like themselves, when in reality, your audience may be quite different from you. It’s important to identify what your audience actually wants and needs, not what you think they do.

Book Audience vs. Market

For example, if you are writing a book for children, children are your audience, but they’re not your market. Your market is the person with the pocketbook – the parents.

Be specific when defining your primary market. Picture the person who will buy your book. Is it a woman between the ages of 30 and 50 who is unhappy with the signs of aging? A target audience of all women between the ages of 30 and 50 is too broad, so it’s important to consider what subset of that group you want to attract. Ask yourself what will draw them in. How do you hope to influence and/or interest these women?

It’s also important to consider secondary markets. Secondary markets are those are the people/organizations/institutions who will also purchase your book, like educators who might be writing or teaching about your topic, or mental health practitioners if you are writing about a mental health topic like depression. Think hard about all the different groups that might benefit from your book. Try to come up with at least six markets for your book – a primary market and five secondary markets. You’re going to use this information when you start reaching out to customers, so be thorough. 

What is the goal of your book?

It’s important to know what you hope to accomplish with your book. You should know what message you are trying to send, and whom that message is supposed to reach. Book marketing is about knowing who will benefit from your book, and then focusing your marketing efforts on that audience.

When it comes to marketing your book, choosing your target market and audience is essential to your book’s success. Consider all the possibilities to ensure that a proper audience and market exist for your book, and then create your plan to grab their attention.


Get the help you need to get your book published.

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


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

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

 


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

Designing your book’s content to delight

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

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

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

Nonfiction book content design elements

Front Matter

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

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

Back  Matter

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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Free Guide: Social and Digital Media Marketing For Authors

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DOWNLOADABLE-GUIDE-BOOK-MARKETING-DIGITAL-SOCIAL-MEDIA-AUTHORSThe hardest part about writing your book is making the decision to do it. The second hardest part for many is the self promotion required to sell that book. 

Marketing yourself can feel uncomfortable and inauthentic. You worry about how your work will be received, and how your promotion will be as well. However, marketing is something you’ll need to master – and something you absolutely can. 

For published and self-published authors alike, it’s imperative to start marketing well before your book is available – to build a recognizable brand and to build that suspense for your book. The marketing process starts around the same time you decide to endeavor to write your book.

Billy Coffey, Author of Snow Day, said “Whether fair or not, getting your story into the hands of the public now depends in large part upon your reach, and your reach depends in large part upon your savvy with blogs and social media. This can be a scary thing.” Indeed it can be terrifying for some, but I’m hoping to help make the process of marketing your book a bit easier for all of you.

This month, I’ve created a guide for all of my aspiring authors to help clarify where they’ll want to put their focus – to help them make sense of digital and social marketing.


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How to plan a successful book launch party

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Book Launch Party Book marketingWhen your book is finished, you need to celebrate! Many authors want to host a launch party, and that can be a lot of fun. I’m talking about a launch PARTY– a major event with over one hundred guest, the media, and a lot of hoopla.

Fun? Yes. But it’s a lot of work, and it’s not for everybody.

When Is A Live Book Launch Event Feasible?

Not every book warrants a live book launch event. Before you plan yours, be sure you meet these critical success factors:

  1. You have an excellent product

how to publish a book how to write a book book launch partyThere are NO SHORTCUTS to producing an excellent product, so be sure that you took the proper amount of time and devoted attention to your book as a product. Is your writing compelling? Did you have a professional book editor? Was your work proofread, and is it mistake-free? Did you invest in a professional book cover and interior cover designer?

Here’s a rule of thumb: If it was cheap to produce your book, you produced a CHEAP BOOK!

  1. You have received favorable book reviews

Book reviews are important, but you won’t get them overnight. You have to work for them. You must coordinate with reviewers and respect their time. Be sure to allow four to six months to request and receive reviews!

A great way to solicit book reviews is to produce and distribute ARCs – Advance Reader Copies. ARCs are not only useful because they allow others to critique your book before it’s on the market, but if there are any errors you didn’t catch, those readers certainly will. You can make corrections as needed.

  1. You have credible book endorsements

how to get book reviews favorable book reviewsYou’ve seen those back cover and inside-the-front-flap endorsements. Are they important? You bet your boots they are! Endorsements are like a trusted friend’s advice, and the bigger the name, the more powerful the recommendation.

Who might write an endorsement for your book? I suggest you go to your target market and solicit experts in the field of your writing, other authors, organization or associations that are affiliated with your subject matter, and those who will be impacted by your book.

  1. You are connected to your Target Market

Just like the three most important factors in real estate are location, location, location, the three most important things that authors can do to promote their book is to connect, connect, connect. Be connected with your Target Market through all the available social media channels.

When Should I Start Planning my Book Launch Event?

Planning a launch event takes time, and you should begin when you have identified your primary audience and you know your release date.

Allow Six Months to Plan Your Book Launch

A Book Launch Event is similar to any other major event, such as a wedding or a bar mitzvah, and it requires the same attention to detail. It’s wise to work with professionals to get the job done right!

A good event planner can take care of all the details for you, which allows you to focus on your guests and your presentation at the event. Here’s a look at what an event planner can do for you:

book launch party planning book event planning

What if I Don’t Have Any Money for My Book Launch Party?

If you don’t have a budget, you can still have a party! You just have to get creative. An event planner can help you to seek donors, barter for services, and create a community for mutual benefit.

Planning Your Book Launch on a Budget

Event sponsors may contribute funds that offset the costs of your party, such as venue rental, food and beverage costs, and audio equipment rental. Sponsors are your angels, and they come in a few flavors.

You’ll be quite fortunate if you can get one or two Corporate Sponsors to contribute cash ($500 to $1000) for your event. For their high dollar contribution, you’ll want to thank them by asking them to speak at the event, by featuring them on your invitations and signage, and by promoting them in press releases.

You’ll receive a big boost if you have ten to fifteen Table Sponsors (Vendors) who pay  $100 each to be part of your event. You will provide them a six-foot table to display their products or services and to promote their business to your event guests. For their lower dollar contribution, they’ll be able to have a table at the event, connect with your audience, and sell their products or services.

When hosting a major event, volunteers are invaluable! You’re the host/hostess of this party, so you need to be available to your guests. But there’s a lot of coordinating to do if the event is going to flow well!

Volunteers can help you check in your guests, sell books, and direct the flow for your book signing – all of which all YOU to be free to mingle and celebrate your great accomplishment.

sponsorships for book launch partySponsoring Organizations can give you a big publicity boost if they are well-known and are connected to the material in your book. What charity can you invite and designate as a beneficiary of book sales? For example, if you book is about surviving cancer, you might invite the local chapter of the American Cancer Society to attend and receive 10% of that evening’s book sales. For lending their name to the event, they will be able to have a table at the event, connect with your audience, promote their organization and services, and benefit from book sales.

Some people will want to support your event by donating their services, such as printing, to your event. These are called In-Kind Donations and they are invaluable. For contributing their products or services, you will introduce them at the event and feature them on your invitations and signage.

Think and Plan Ahead

After all your hard work, a book launch party is warranted. Think big! If you want your book to change lives, save lives, or transform society, then make a big splash. Get people involved, get the word out, and get going!

You’re the only one who has your story. You’re the only one who can do it!

 


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5 powerful quotes for aspiring authors

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inspiration for writers aspiring authors quotes

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

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

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

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

 


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

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

 


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

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


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

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


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

 

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

An excerpt:

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

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

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

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

Are you ready to write your book?

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

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

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

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

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

Reach out to start writing your book.


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

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

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

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

Writing a book is a lot like building a house.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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how to write a book how to write a nonfiction book memoir biography

How to Write a Book, Step by Step

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how to write a book how to write a nonfiction book memoir biographyBy Nancy Erickson, The Book Professor

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.

You need a methodology that takes you all the way from the idea for your book, to a completed manuscript, to publication, to marketing, to repurposing your material for multiple venues.

METHODOLOGY: How you will write your book

1. Plan

If you’ve never written a book, you probably don’t know how to get started. Writing a book is much different from writing a blog, or an article, or even a short nonfiction piece. Before you start writing, we will develop two distinct BookMAPs, which are visual representations of everything that will be included in your book.

Book Map How to Become an Author: Module One 4

2. Produce

During this production period, you will pour out your entire first draft. You know why it’s not hard? It’s because you’ll follow the BookMAPs you just created in the planning phase. Whether you have fifteen minutes or several hours, you can always contribute something to your book. You build your book brick by brick until you have a first draft of your manuscript.

3. Polish

When your first draft is complete, you’ll need to scrub it thoroughly to get it in the best possible shape before you hand it over to a professional book editor, who can give it that final polish and shine.

4. Publish

Your manuscript is now complete, and you’re ready for the next step—publishing. For my Executive Group Coaching clients and Personal Coaching clients who start with me at the initial planning stage, your book can be published through my nonfiction press, Stonebrook Publishing. We will design your book cover and the interior layout, set your book up for global distribution, and register your copyrights with the Library of Congress. You own all rights to your book and receive all the proceeds from sales. It’s all yours!

5. Promote

Books don’t write themselves, and they don’t sell themselves either! Authors must be involved in the process. Your book will be set up and promoted through Bookarma.net, the international book marketing platform, where authors help other authors market their books globally through shared social networks.

6. Repurpose

You already know that everyone isn’t going to read a book, but does that mean they must miss your message? Your finished book can now become the launch pad through which you deliver your message in multiple venues. Because you followed the 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. That’s the extended value of this carefully constructed methodology.

The Book Professor Methodology Nonfiction Book Coach Book Coaching Learn how to write a book

THE TIMING:

Some writing coaches suggest that you can write your book in ninety days, or in one month, or even in a weekend. That is not my approach. It takes a lot of thought and effort to construct a quality product, and that takes time. It’s going to take you about a year to write your book.

The point is this: Don’t subscribe to the write-a-book-in-a-hurry method. It wastes your time, your energy, and your dollars, and it will ultimately deliver a substandard product.

Your legacy is about the lives you touch and the change you create. When you share what you know, what you’ve learned, what you’ve developed, or what you’ve overcome, you can make a lasting impact that extends far beyond yourself. You can change the world, one reader at a time, simply by telling your story.

You’re the only one who can do it!

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


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New Year’s Resolutions – Imagine Your Life as An Author

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When did you realize you had a story to tell?

Was it when you were a child, as you were watching events unfold around you? Did you know that you were seeing or experiencing something powerful before you even had the full vocabulary to express it to anyone?

Was it when you were an adolescent, as you bridged into your teenage years and your relationships started to take on new meaning and significance? Did you feel your more grown-up observations form as you tried to make sense of a world that changed fast — but less quickly than you did at that time?

What about as a young adult when you entered the workforce or college or marriage? How did it feel to take on those new responsibilities? Did you handle them well, or are there things from that time you still need to sort through?

Was there a turning point in your career? A significant change in relationships such as a birth, a sickness, or a death?

What about an opportunity missed? Was there a botched opportunity, or a mistake that turned out to give you greater clarity and forward motion?

How have you thought about your story since you decided you wanted to tell it?

It is now 2016, the start of a brand new year where we have the symbolic opportunity to make brand new decisions about how we want our lives to be from this point forward. What goals do you have for 2016?

I want to get my book out!

Or maybe you have already broken it down into pieces:

  • Gather my scattered thoughts about this book–what do I even want to say?
  • Set a regular schedule to sit down and write.
  • Finally finish chapter 1!

This year will pass, no matter what we do or don’t do. Why not set the course to do something that will allow you to finally have a completed manuscript at the end of it?

Here are 3 ways I can help you realize this goal:

Get My Book Out!™, an Online Course for Aspiring Authors

Get My Book Out!™ is your complete guide to get your nonfiction book out of your head and into the hands of your future readers in less than one year. My step-by-step online course includes 3 modules of lessons, a wealth of downloadable guides, and support from your fellow writers. Are you confident that with the right course you can write your book on your own time at your own pace? Click here to learn more!

Group Book Coaching for Executives

Through three 16-week modules in my exclusive online writing course, I work directly with busy executives and help them develop their nonfiction book concept, organize their material, and write a book that will change lives, save lives, or transform society. This course offers the advantages of a personally available writing coach and the structure of an academic course at a high-value price point. Would you like to write your book with the hands-on support of a coach and peers? Click here to learn more!

One-on-One Book Coaching

As your private book writing coach, I will work with you one-on-one every 2-3 weeks through six (6) 90-minute Skype sessions where we will plan your nonfiction book project, and work to build it piece-by-piece. You will have “homework” to complete between sessions so that you can make significant progress on the foundation of your book and write a piece that can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the best books on the market.  Do you want the most exclusive and customized book coaching experience to get your book out FAST? Click here to learn more!

You’ve imagined the story you would tell and you’ve imagined the kind of goals you would like to realize this year, but how you would like your life to feel this year and after?

Imagine your life as an author. How will it feel to know that you’ve:

  • Worked hard and been disciplined
  • Set a goal and achieved it
  • Completed something big that most people will never do
  • Created an opportunity for more income for yourself
  • Started down a path to write more books
  • Told your first story

And that is just the beginning, your first story. How much more is stored in your heart?

If that vision of Future Author You is still forming, here are some other opportunities for you to connect to that energy and know where to start when the time is right:

  • Sign up for my newsletter below to receive great writing tips and tricks each month right in your inbox!
  • Attend this special event on January 20th online or January 27th in person to learn 10 Mistakes New Authors Make (and How to Avoid Them!)

Here’s to you, Future Author! Let’s make 2016 a wonderful, meaningful year.

 

Book Coach Resources


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January Webinar and Lunch and Learn - The Book Professor new authors, new writers, writer, author, how to write a book, how to write, how to become an author, workshop, webinar, lunch and learn, st. louis,

Special Event: Ten Mistakes New Authors Make (and How to Avoid Them!)

 

In my years of coaching writers, I’ve seen many manuscripts from new authors. Because I work with people who want to write a nonfiction book that will save lives, change lives or transform society, these manuscripts are normally from everyday people, not professional writers, who have experienced or learned something they feel compelled to share.

But because they aren’t professional writers, their work is far from ready for publication.


In this special FREE event, I will share with you the ten mistakes new authors typically make – and how you can avoid them.

 

  • Discover how to begin writing your book, if you’ve been stumped until now.
  • Learn how deadlines can make or break your writing process.
  • Find out whose opinions to trust & consider as you write your manuscript.
  • Find out how to avoid unnecessary investments of time and money.

To attend, there are 2 options for you to choose from: An online webcast or a special in-person Lunch & Learn event!

Special Event: Ten Mistakes New Authors Make (and How to Avoid Them) Webinar new authors, new writers, writer, author, how to write a book, how to write, how to become an author, workshop, webinar, lunch and learn, st. louis,
 

Webinar – Online

Join us online on January 20th at 1pm CST for “10 Mistakes New Authors Make (and How to Avoid Them!).” Click below for more information or to register. Space is limited.

Register here!


Special Event: Ten Mistakes New Authors Make (and How to Avoid Them) Lunch and Learn St. Louis MO, new authors, new writers, writer, author, how to write a book, how to write, how to become an author, workshop, webinar, lunch and learn, st. louis,
 

Lunch & Learn – St. Louis, MO

On January 27th at 11am CST, please join us at Centerco Office Suites in Creve Coeur for our local workshop, “10 Mistakes New Authors Make (and How to Avoid Them!)”
Bring your notebook or laptop and a brown bag lunch – and all your questions! We’ll have a presentation, followed by Q&A.

Register here!


 

Do you have questions for me? No sweat! Simply contact me and let me know what is on your mind! And don’t forget to register–this is a special event. If you are in St. Louis, I can’t wait to see you in person on January 27th!
 
 


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