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Summer Reading Lists-Some Nonfiction Classics Never Die

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Summer Reading Lists-Some Nonfiction Classics Never Die

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

nonfiction books for an aspiring author

1. The Power of Less by Leo Babauta

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

2. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Every aspiring author needs to read!

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


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Learn From Other Successful Nonfiction Authors

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As a nonfiction book coach with over 25 years of experience, I admit that I didn’t get to where I am today on my own. I’ve learned from the best mentors early in my career and am fortunate to have wise teachers in my life still today. As an aspiring author, one of the best things you can do is to learn from other successful nonfiction authors. Their experience, style, successes, and failures are all worth studying as you work on your book.

Meet Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell is a nonfiction author who has written books to share his knowledge, experience, and expertise. Gladwell has written 5 books, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Outliers: The Story of Success, What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures, and David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants.

nonfiction author malcolm gladwell

Gladwell’s style proves that nonfiction authors can be just as entertaining and riveting as novelists. His well-researched books present information in an easy-to-digest manner so that readers can dive into a topic they may not have explored previously. When asked about his writing process, Gladwell said, “I have two parallel things I’m interested in. One is, I’m interested in collecting interesting stories, and the other is I’m interested in collecting interesting research. What I’m looking for is cases where they overlap” (Source)

Background

Gladwell was born to a Jamaican-born psychotherapist (Joyce Gladwell) and English-born mathematician (Graham Gladwell). He spent his childhood hanging around his father’s office at the University of Waterloo and considers his mother his role model as a writer. However, his early love of reading and books did not lead to a particularly successful college career; his undergraduate grades were not high enough to get him into graduate school. Gladwell has no problem admitting his flaws and failures and talks openly about how his failures have given him the insight and material he needs to write.

Learn from an incredibly successful nonfiction author

It’s always great to see authors helping authors. Gladwell is not shy about discussing his writing methods, how he deals with writer’s block, and how he uses public speaking to promote himself and his books. In this podcast episode he discusses everything from his morning routine to the advice he would give his 30-year-old self. Set aside some time to listen to a bestselling nonfiction author share his wisdom and advice for aspiring authors!

“For every hour I spend writing, I spend three hours thinking about writing.”

 This quote from Gladwell says so much about the writing process. Writing is not just about putting words on paper or a screen, it’s about putting serious thought into what it is you want to say and how you can communicate that message through the art of writing.

Learn from other authors and find the writing process that works for you! Contact us today and we can help you take the next step in writing your book!


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Book Writing Software Online tools for writing your book

Online Tools For Your Book

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We recently talked about the importance of marketing your book online. Today, I want to give you some online tools you can use for writing your book. During the process of writing your nonfiction book, you’ll find that there are many potential pitfalls—organization, inspiration, and focus can all be roadblocks to your writing success. As a book writing coach, I guide aspiring authors through the process of writing and publishing their nonfiction books, and it’s my hope to help them eliminate some of the frustrations that they face during the writing process. To do this, I’m always looking for great tools to help my writers. Today, I wanted to share three great online tools for writing your book! If you know of others that you love, comment below! We’re always looking for new tools to help our writers be more successful.

Scrivener-book-writing-softwareScrivener Book Writing Software

Scrivener for Mac – $45.00

Scrivener for PC – $45.00 

Scrivener is more than a word processing tool. It’s a project management tool for writers. The software is fairly low cost and allows writers to outline their nonfiction book, to organize their characters and timeline, to storyboard ideas, and to write. The software offers templates for fiction books, non-fiction books, scriptwriting, poetry, lyrics, and all other project formats. Your final draft can be exported for a publisher, or published in an online format for ebook readers.

GoodNotes Writing App

Available in the iTunes App store for $7.99.

If you’re more of a hand writer or a doodler, then the app GoodNotes may be a great tool to help you get your ideas out and organized in a visual fashion. The app allows you to create images, doodles, and even add text. It syncs between iPhones and iPads utilizing iCloud sync. (Click here to learn more.)goodnotes software for writers

 

Evernote

Evernote – FREE & Premium Available

Evernote is the best of both worlds – typewritten organization and handwritten creativity. Using browser tools, iPhone, iPad and Android apps, and the online/Mac version of the platform, you can constantly make and take notes, and organize research with total flexibility. While it’s not necessarily built for publishing or self-publishing, it can be utilized for writing and organization of thought – from scenes, to character sketches, to outlines and more. Click here to read a great blog on Lifehacker on how to use Evernote to write fiction. Many of the same tactics can be used in the writing of a nonfiction book.

What about you? Ready to use these tools in writing your story? Contact us today and find out how to join our next online writing class!


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Market Your Book

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While working on your book this summer, take some time to learn a few techniques about online book marketing. Don’t worry, we can help you with the details through our sister company, Stonebrook Publishing, but as an aspiring writer, it’s always helpful to have an idea of things work. After all, your book probably will not reach many people if you don’t learn how to market a book online. Take a look at these ideas and helpful tips to get your book in front of more people!

Meet Amy Porterfield

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

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

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

Here are a few of my favorite online marketing Podcasts:

Let David Siteman Garland show you how to create online courses

If you feel like you have valuable information to share, but aren’t sure how to get it out into the world, David can help you. He offers a step-by-step proven system for creating, promoting, and then profiting from your own online course. His free video series: How to turn your ONLINE PLATFORM (blog, web show, Podcast, etc. (into REVENUE by creating your own ONLINE COURSE, can be found right here. Follow his advice and you’ll be turning a profit in no time.

Learn about mobile marketing from Greg Hickman

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

Figure out how to outsource your online marketing with help from Chris Ducker

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

Create a successful Podcast with John Lee Dumas

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

Get to know social media marketing with Michael Stelzner

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

What about you? Are you ready to take your book to the next level and get it in front of the right people? Contact us today and we can help you take the next step!


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Even a Business Leader Needs Help

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

Why Should a Business Leader Write a Book?business leader

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

Business leaders write a book for a number of reasons:

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

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

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

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

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


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Nonfiction Writing Technique: Show Me The Details

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sensory language IS the details.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 


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Authors Are Making Less Money? I’m Not Buying It

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This article originally appeared on bookbaby.com

A recent Authors Guild survey suggests that author income is down dramatically. There are plenty of signs that this is not true and plenty of ways to leverage your book to make additional income.

Every few years, authors have to endure news of impending doom — at least as it pertains to the publishing industry and their chances to profit in it. Case in point: The Authors Guild 2018 Salary Survey reported author income has fallen 42 percent since 2009. Reports like these contribute to a growing and troublesome identity crisis among writers — newer writers, especially.

I believe these reports are inherently flawed. For one thing, the data presented doesn’t show a complete picture — especially for self-published authors. The 2018 Authors Guild survey, for example, only represents a tiny slice of authors who are publishing today. It does not account for all self-published authors and is actively biased toward older, traditionally published folks.

If you accept the commonly-quoted number that over one million new books are published each year in the US, this survey — with the small sample size it offers — represents something close to one half of one percent of authors who are actually writing.

To get more into the specifics, the Guild’s conclusion in the 2018 survey was that the median writing-related income for all authors — including part-time, full-time, traditionally published, self-published, and hybrid-published authors — was just $6,080, which is down 42 percent since 2009.

Does this represent a “crisis of epic proportions,” as the survey proclaims? I’d argue it doesn’t.

First, it doesn’t speak to the success of working writers, the folks who earn money through writing in addition to other income streams. Among those folks, the numbers are actually very encouraging:

  • Median income for working published authors was $20,857, an increase of 13% since 2013.
  • Over 2,000 authors reported average publisher royalties from traditional publishing houses of almost $32,000.
  • Self-published authors registered stronger earnings, with over 1,600 of them listing average book sales of $31,000.
  • Overall, the top 30 percent of “full-time authors”  — authors who write regularly — had median incomes of over $50,000

No doubt, it is very, very difficult to make a comfortable living exclusively by publishing books. But does that mean all aspiring writers should quit? Of course not. The craft alone is inherently worthwhile. But, the reality this survey ignores is that the most successful writers today don’t rely exclusively on book sales for income. Rather, they use their books as springboards for other revenue opportunities. Their books create those opportunities, including additional writing gigs, speaking engagements, and brand/business building.

Additional writing gigs

A book is not the be-all and end-all for a writer. Whether or not publishing income is as lucrative as it was in the past, authors still find substantial revenue in magazine, newspaper, and web publishing.

In addition to new content that might ignite the next book idea, some authors create articles based on their book’s content or even excerpt parts of their books and sell them as magazine or blog articles. These published works provide the opportunity to mention the book title in the “about the author” blurbs, providing additional promotional benefit and potential book sales. This is something you can do even while your book is awaiting release, touting in your bio “new” or “upcoming” titles.

Of course, more generally, writing success begets more opportunity. Editors will be more likely to want to publish you, and you’ll have the chance to work on new projects you find interesting — and that can make you more money.

Speaking engagements

I attended the National Speakers Association Conference in 2018, and every single attendee had written — or planned to write — his or her own book. In many cases, their book was the ticket that provided them access to speak at the conference. And many speaking engagements, I might add, pay handsomely. Hundreds of BookBaby authors have leveraged their books into very lucrative speaking careers across a huge range of topics.

Simply put, writing and publishing a book helps authors to legitimize their careers and positions them as subject-matter experts.

Building your business and brand

Finally, I know several authors who have written valuable books that could generate serious royalties, but they choose to offer them for free on their websites. Why? Because people who download those free books became aware of the author’s consulting business, training programs, and other services.

Your book, in this sense, can serve as an introduction to the business and brand of you — a business and brand which, when it’s all said and done, could very well bring in 10 times the amount of money book sales alone would have.

Look, authors are motivated by a wide variety of things: prestige, status, professional validation, checking an item off the bucket list… It deserves noting that most writers are going to continue writing regardless of the monetary rewards.

Still, those rewards and motivations are important. That’s why I believe it’s almost irresponsible that traditional industry groups release surveys like the one which inspired this article. In some sense, they’re lobbing weapons against perceived publishing industry bad guys, like Amazon.

Bottom line: if you’re an author, don’t be dismayed by findings like the Authors Guild survey. Consider, instead, findings like those released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which noted the median income for “writers and authors” in the US in 2017 was $61,820 annually. It even estimates the field will expand 8% in the next decade. So keep writing!


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Father’s–We Can’t Do It Without You

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

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

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

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

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

Source

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

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

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

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

The Good Guys

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

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

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


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I Started My Book But Got All Tangled Up

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As a nonfiction book coach, we often work with people that have never written a book before. We also get calls from people who’ve already started writing a book but got tangled up along the way. Maybe that’s where you are right now. You were really excited about your project, and you jumped in with both feet and started to write. But it wasn’t long before your writing was all tangled up. You had lots and lots of ideas floating around in your head, but now you can’t make sense of them, and you know they won’t make sense to anyone else.

The first thing you need to do before you do anything else is: cut the cord. Cut yourself free from the jumbled writing and start anew—this time with a concrete plan. You’ll probably be able to salvage some of what you’ve written, but you can’t move forward unless you start afresh.

I’m not really a storyteller myself. I tend to get all tangled up when I try and tell stories.

—Daniel Day-Lewis

Start With A Plan

I remember a conversation I had with my friend George. George, a successful businessman, had been writing a book to help others jumpstart their careers.

“I started writing my book,” he said, “but now I just don’t know what I’m doing. It’s a mess.”

“Don’t be too hard on yourself, George. If you’ve never written a book, how would you even know how to get started?”

“That’s it. I didn’t know where to start, so I just started. Now I can’t make heads or tails of any of it.”

“I know exactly what you need to do. But I’m going to ask you to set everything that you’ve written aside and to start from the beginning. We need to build the foundation of your book.”

“What does that mean—build the foundation?”

“We start with some Foundational Questions and distill all your thoughts into a single Purpose Statement. Once we have that Purpose Statement and we’ve defined your audience, we create BookMAPs that are a visual representation of everything that will be in your book. When you have these BookMAPs, you can write in an organized manner with cohesive themes.”

“But what about what I’ve already written? It seems like a waste of the time I’ve already spent to put it aside and start over.”

“It’s not a loss at all. We’ll figure out where it fits on your BookMAP, and we’ll plug it in at the appropriate spots.”

If you’ve already started writing your book, you may not want to go back to the beginning. I understand that. There’s nothing I despise more than doing something over. When you have a step-by-step process to follow, you have clear direction about how to write a book. It’s like having a recipe to follow when you’re cooking—essentially a set of instructions—to follow when writing a book.

That’s the kind of process I offered George. He enrolled in an Executive Group Coaching class and followed the instructions step after step after step until he’d completed his manuscript.

“I can’t believe how different this is from what I started with,” he said. “There’s no way I could have done this by myself. It was such a mess before, and now it all flows together and makes sense.”

“It’s really a great book,” I assured him, “and you did it all yourself. All you needed was a foundation to build from. After that, you followed the steps.”

It was all about cleaning up what George already had, putting it in the right order, and adding what was necessary to fill the gaps.

 

What about you? If you’ve gotten all tangled up in your writing, don’t fret and don’t put it aside. You can straighten it out and continue in an organized manner. Contact us today and we can show you how!

 


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Process Of Writing a Book—What Are The Steps?

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As a coach, public speaker or business leader, you have the opportunity to influence millions. You have the expertise and solutions that can help others. You know how to tell a story, and you have testimonials. You’re talented and what you have to say matters. But do other people know how credible you are? Do they know you’re an expert in your field? If not, you can increase your credibility and attract a following by writing your book with The Book Professor.

But, you might be thinking: how do I write a book? I don’t know the first step. Don’t worry, you don’t have to have one word written. I’ll walk with you on this journey and show you the steps to take.

 

Building with multiple staircases

Work With The Book Professor And Write a Top Quality Book

Writing a top quality book requires you to follow all the writing, design, and publishing conventions—which is a lot to learn.

The good news is, you don’t have to learn all these conventions. You can work with professionals like me who are deep in the publishing industry. Here, in a nutshell, is the process we’ll follow:

  • Editing and Testing

Once you’ve written your draft manuscript, it’s time to turn it over for editing by one or more professionals and testing by a focus group of readers.

  • Developmental Editing

Every top-notch author—and that’s what you aspire to be—has a first-class developmental editor. That professional takes a look at your manuscript and instructs you on critical elements, such as its structure and flow. A developmental editor is crucial for every author, particularly if you are not a professional writer.

  • Testing Your Message

The best way to learn if your manuscript achieves its goal is to gather a group of six to ten people who are part of your target market—a kind of focus group that works independently.

  • Final Editing

For this round of editing, you need a line-level editor. Your editor will scrub your work and make corrections in grammar, punctuation, spelling, and sentence structure.

  • Book Title and Design

Did you know there’s an entire psychology that applies to the design of book covers? Your book cover and your title work together to invite potential readers to purchase your book. Together, they communicate the essence of your book, while starting to answer a question in the potential reader’s mind: “What’s this book about?”

  • Proofreading

If you want a flawless manuscript, you must hire a professional proofreader after your designer has laid out your book. The fresh eyes of a professional proofreader are needed to catch errors that will undermine your credibility. You skip this critical step at your—and your book’s—peril!

  • Book Production

When it’s time to produce your book, you have some options. You can use an on-demand printer, such as Amazon or BookBaby, who only print the books after they are sold. Some authors, however, want to maximize their profits by investing in some inventory. If that’s the case, you can work with a local or regional printer, order a large quantity of books, and warehouse them until they’re sold. Either way, we will guide you on the best option for your book.

You can spend a lot of time and money to write your book and still end up with a substandard product—like all too many self-published authors. If you want your book to establish you as an expert in your field, increase your credibility, and attract a following you must work with professionals. There’s no wiggle room here. Contact The Book Professor today and we can help you take the next step!


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Nonfiction Writing Technique: Pacing

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

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

story pacing1. Length controls speed.

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

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

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

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

2. Vary Story Pacing

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

3. Pay Attention to Details to Build Momentum

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

4. Control Your Tell vs. Show Ratio

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

5. Manipulate Sentence Structure

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

Long=slow

Short=fast

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

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

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

 


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Define Your Purpose

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

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

Brand Yourself to Show People What You Are All About

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

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

brand yourself

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

Be unique

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

Show The World You Are Available

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

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

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

Find Your Purpose And Be the Best You

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

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

 


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