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Book Writing Course Tip: Tell Your Story With Purpose

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

I know what it’s like to go through life doing jobs that were never suited for me in the first place. (Yes, I was once the owner of an asphalt paving company!) But I do believe that we were all put on Earth for a purpose. Before I developed my book writing course, I spent years pursuing things that I could do fairly well but left me feeling aimless, directionless, and without a purpose. My life felt like it didn’t have a point. Ultimately, my true gifts of writing pulled me back, and that’s when life got amazing and I knew my true purpose.

Give Your Nonfiction Book a Pointed Purpose Statement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s an example from one of my clients:

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

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

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

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

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


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Six Months Into 2018: What Have You Done With Your Time? Book Writing Classes For Everyone

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Book Writing Classes That Fit Into Any Schedule

Can you believe half of the year is already over? If you’re like most people busy with work, family, or school, it might be hard to believe that we’re already six months into 2018. My Operations Manager had her second baby last fall, and I’ve heard her say many times that  “it feels like these last several months have been a blur!” Well, if you’re not busy with work or adjusting to new babies, you might be wondering, What have I done with my time these last six months? 

Have you achieved any of those goals you wrote for the new year? What about work—did that promotion you worked hard for last year come to pass?

As a creator of several book writing classes, I know firsthand the importance of time. Many of the clients I work with are busy executives and career professionals. Not only are they juggling the demands of work, but many of them have families with several children. So how does a busy professional with a family have time to write a book in less than a year? The answer: prioritize.

“You actually have the time to do the things you want to do—if you make those things a priority.”                                                                             

      -Nancy Erickson

Prioritize Your Time

When I started graduate school at the age of 48, I had to change my attitude. Graduate school was for a season of my life, not its entirety. To achieve my goal and earn my degree, I knew I had to cut out everything I could to get the work done. After all, it was only two years. That time is going to pass anyway. I might as well have something to show for it.  

Writing your book is a lot like going to school. You have this major project that you work and work and work on, and you think you’ll never get finished, you’ll never get out of school. Then one day—voilà! It’s over! You have your book in hand, and you can start doing the other things you love again. The year it takes to write your book is going to pass anyway. You might as well have something to show for it.  

Choose a Book Writing Class That Fits Your Schedule

At The Book Professor, we offer book writing classes for every lifestyle and budget.

Are you ready to have something to show for the last six months of 2018?

If you or someone you know is ready to share your story with the world,  contact us today and we can help you with the next step! For more information on our class offerings, please visit us at www.thebookprofessor.com.


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A Good Walk May Be the Best Writing Exercise There Is

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 SCOTT MCCORMICK

This article originally appeared on Bookbaby.com

Writing is not the best occupation for your health. For most of us, writing involves a lot of sitting, which is why a good walk may be the best writing exercise there is.

I was struggling writing an article for a blog (not this one, but one for Disc Makers, BookBaby’s sister company) about Brian Wilson’s album Smile, when I decided to take my advice from this article and go for a walk. I was literally around the corner from my house when I became inspired, and all was right with the world. During that same walk, I also figured out how to best approach this article, and even had ideas for two future articles.

Not bad for a 30-minute stroll.

Writing is not the best occupation for your health. For most of us, writing involves a lot of sitting, and there is a growing amount of research on how sitting for long periods is unhealthy. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Too much sitting … seems to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.” “Too much” sitting, according to the Mayo, is sitting for four or more hours a day. That’s basically every day for me.

Not only is sitting for long periods bad for your health, it’s also bad for your writing. Your brain works best when it’s stimulated. Sitting for long periods of time can make your brain sluggish.

So, in a way, writing is actually kind of bad for your writing. How’s that for a catch-22?

Luckily there is a quick fix to both problems: Walking.

Hemingway, Dickens, Thoreau, Kierkegaard, and J. K. Rowling have all extolled the virtues of walking. Orson Scott Card said, “It’s worth the time to take an hour’s walk before writing. You may write a bit less for the time spent, but you may find that you write better.”

So why walking as opposed to, say, cross-fit? Frankly, any (safe) exercise is better than no exercise. So if you’re into a specific type of exercise, by all means, do it. It will make you healthy, happy, and better able to write. But there are three kinds of exercise that are especially suited to writing: walking, running, and biking. What these three have in common is that they are solitary and monotonous. In short: they are perfect for letting your mind wander.

I love racquetball. It’s fun and it offers an excellent workout, but it’s not great for helping me write. It’s not a solitary activity, and I have to think about the activity at hand. Yes, it’s good for stimulating the heart and the brain, but it doesn’t give my mind time to wander.

In my interview with Josh Funk, he said, “I find that my best ideas come in those moments where my mind is free to wander.” He’s not alone. Henry Miller wrote: “Most writing is done away from the typewriter, away from the desk. I’d say it occurs in the quiet, silent moments, while you’re walking or shaving or playing a game or whatever.”

Stepping away from your house or office to go for a walk (or run, etc.) gets you away from distractions, and lets your mind do its thing. Albert Einstein apparently came up with his Theory of Relativity while riding his bike. (That anecdote came from a rather great article on this very subject from Psychology Today. It’s worth reading if you’re interested in the science of how walking can stimulate the brain.)

How to walk for maximum effect

Your mileage may vary, but I find that to get the most out of walking, I need to walk without listening to music, and I need to bring my cell phone, with a dictation app launched and ready. I use Dragon Dictation, which is free, and which works pretty well. I prefer to walk at a brisk pace to get the maximum health benefit, but maybe your mind works better at a casual stroll so you can appreciate your surroundings.

I have a dog. When I first got her, I was hoping that walking her would give me the same benefit as walking solo, but I have not found that to be the case. So I have to walk her, and then go and walk myself.

Because I like to have my phone ready to record ideas, I prefer walking to biking. If you don’t need to record your every thought, that may not be a concern. But if you come home from your walk to find, like I did today, that your dog has chewed up three pencils and half of your kids’ homework, you run the risk of forgetting all the wonderful ideas you had while you clean up the mess. (Also, I find I have to pay too much attention to things like traffic and maintenance with biking — but again, your mileage may vary.)

Health-wise, you don’t have to walk every day. Doctors say three 40-minute sessions a week is enough. But for your writing, I recommend walking any chance you can get, partially for practical reasons. The weather may not cooperate. Life may get in the way. I’ve learned to grab my walking opportunities whenever I can. Every walk or run or bike ride won’t necessarily produce immediate results. But that’s OK. If you make it a routine to go as often as you can, you’ll find your ideas will come more easily and your writing will be stronger. And there’s also this, from Charles Dickens: “The sum of the whole is this: walk and be happy; walk and be healthy. The best way to lengthen out our days is to walk steadily and with a purpose.”

 

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Make a Decision and Plan to Write a Nonfiction Book

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Some people are lifelong learners and love the process of going from not knowing anything in a subject area to becoming proficient, like learning to write a nonfiction book. That makes sense. We all want to be the best we can be. But along the way, we have to learn a lot of little things that can either make us the best at what we do or, if we choose not to learn them, will keep us in the pack of average Joes.

But here’s the deal with me: I only want to know as much as I need to know to use a tool for my intended purpose. In fact, I detest the learning curve. I generally try to find every possible way around it, so I can get on to the using stage. Learning frustrates me; knowing satisfies me. But that’s, unfortunately, not the way the world works. So to know something, I must go through the pain of learning. And I have to follow a process, but I can’t even do that if I haven’t made the decision to do something new and follow through.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
—Lao-tzu

Make a Decision

You know what the hardest part about learning to write a nonfiction book is? It’s making the decision to do it. You’ve probably had the idea for your book for some time. I bet it’s been percolating in your head, begging to come out. At times, it probably drives you crazy. But books don’t write themselves, so the only way yours is going to get written is if you make the decision to do it. It’s your story. Only you can write it.

Whenever I travel, it seems I’m seated next to a chatty type, and it’s always fun to get acquainted. On one flight, I sat next to Don, and he and I discussed the usual getting-to-know-you topics. When he asked me what I do for work, I explained that I help people who aren’t writers become authors of high-impact nonfiction books.

“Really?” Don replied. “I’ve always wanted to write a book.”

“Then why don’t you?” I asked.

“I’ve never really looked into it,” he said.

Don’s answer spoke volumes. He’d flirted with the idea of writing a book but had never taken it further than just thatthe idea of writing a book. People tend to glamorize the writer’s life; they don’t realize that it’s a lot of hard work, and it takes a lot of time. Don never made the decision to write his book, so it’s unlikely that he ever will.

Create a Plan

If you don’t know how to write a nonfiction book, how could you know how to get started?

Some people just sit down and start writing. But they soon discover that all the ideas that have been rattling around in their head have no form, no shape. What comes out is like a spaghetti messa bunch of unconnected threads. They have a message, but they don’t know how to get it down on paper. The problem with the “write-first” approach is that it’s like trying to build a house without any plans. You have no blueprint to follow, no foundation poured; and you don’t know what the house will look like when it’s finished. 

I don’t know a lot about building, but I do know that you don’t put up the walls first. The walls have to be attached to something solid. So before you build anything, you pour the foundation. But even before that, you need a comprehensive plan—a blueprint that shows where each room will be and what features it will have. Before you pull out your hammer, you have to have a plan.

The same is true for your book. If you want to save time, energy, money, and frustration, you begin with the end in mind. You take the concept for your book and turn it into a concrete plan.

To do that, we start with the foundation. You may know the topic of your book, but do you know what you want your book to accomplish? If the book doesn’t have a purpose, why write it?

If you don’t know how to write a book, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. After making a decision—a commitment to share your story—you just need a plan and a process.


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The Power of Writing a Nonfiction Book

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A few years after I began helping people to start writing a nonfiction book, I completely stopped watching the news on television. When I watched the news, it was always negative—filled with terrorist acts, racial violence, bullying politicians, natural disasters, global warming, AIDS, Ebola, Zika virus, mass shootings, heroin overdoses, abused animals, and mistreated children, elders, and women. I had to stop taking it in.

But my aversion to television news doesn’t mean I’m uninformed. I catch the news on the radio or find it online, where it doesn’t affect me as deeply as when I viewed it. Yet I often feel completely overwhelmed by the complex problems in our world. We have so many problems that we don’t even know how to name them anymore. But we do know what doesn’t work. Top-down solutions don’t work. Government can’t fix anything; organized religion hasn’t solved our problems; and heaven knows, we’ve tried to medicate our problems away. In many cases, these attempts have not only complicated the original problem but have spawned entirely new problems.

But there is a solution. I believe that our problems—all of them—can be solved and that the answers are trapped inside people like you. When you share what you know and what you’ve learned—when you start writing a nonfiction book—you become the solution. Someone needs to hear your message.

Woman staring into field

Hope and Help

There are two things I believe people can’t live without—apart from food, water, and air. Those two things are hope and help.

People need hope that things can and will get better; and they need help to get from where they are to where they want to be.

Nancy Erickson

When you start writing a nonfiction book, when you share what you’ve been through, what you’ve learned, what you’ve overcome, what you’ve developed, or the path you took, you become the voice of hope and help.

You see, there are people like you who have the answers, who have certain solutions. And then there are other people who, in some cases, are literally dying as they wait for those answers. You have the answers they need, and you can offer the hope and help they crave simply by telling your story. You are the solution.

Think about what you’ve learned and how you can be a force that changes lives, saves lives, or transforms society. Don’t waste your pain and struggles. Share them with the world, put them to work, and let the mess become the messengerthe messenger of hope and help because someone needs to hear it.

Need help writing a nonfiction book?


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You Don’t Need Anyone’s Permission to Tell Your Story

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Family secrets. Truths not told. Sensitive feelings. Things swept under the rug. These can be big barriers to writing a book. Big risks.

Some of us have stories that we’ve had to bury out of respect—or fear—of others. All our lives, we’ve pretended that things are okay, and we’ve hidden truths that have hurt us in order to protect someone else. We’ve lived under the shadow of other people’s choices, and we want to finally be set free. Except we’re afraid. Really afraid.

Perhaps you’ve been a victim of sexual abuse, or you grew up in a violent family, or you suffered under the lash of a parent’s alcoholism or other addiction. Maybe your husband is a closet homosexual or your child is struggling desperately with his or her gender identity. You know your story can literally save or change someone else’s life, but you’re afraid to tell the truth because it could hurt other people. Some of our stories are built from shame. I understand because my story comes from that same place too. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tell it. I promise, someone else is going through the same thing and your story could be the hope and help they desperately need to walk through the darkness.

Keep the End in Mind

It might be best to stop obsessing over the people you might hurt and focus on the people you can help. The problem with dirty little secrets is that they get stashed away, and when you find yourself in the middle of one of them, you’re convinced that you’re completely alone because people don’t talk about this stuff.

Woman staring at treesWhen you were smack in the middle of your pain, chances are you felt totally alone. There was no one to talk to and no one who understood. This type of isolation is deadly. You have to bury the pain, and you eventually have to split off from yourself to survive. You maintain a public façade that you protect with all your energy, and in doing so, you lose touch with yourself because you’re living a lie.

What if you’d had a book to be your friend? What if you’d connected with a fellow sufferer—the book’s author—and felt the compassion of someone who’d been through the same thing but was now on the other side of it? Would you want to know how things got better for that individual, to see a path out of darkness for yourself?

What if you could be that author?

Human beings are resilient, but there are two things we can’t live without: hope and help. When you tell your story—what you’ve been through, what you’ve endured, and what you’ve overcome—you can be the lifeline for someone who is sinking. You can be that voice of hope and help.

If you or someone you know is ready to tell their real story, reach out to us and we can help you take the next step!

 


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Book Coach Advice: Drop the Mic

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Have you ever heard the term “drop the mic” or “mic drop?” If you’re a professional coach or speaker or keep up with pop culture, chances are you have. If you haven’t, then maybe you remember seeing former President Barack Obama’s infamous “mic drop” at the end of his final correspondents dinner address. It caused quite the stir and cemented his place in history as the only President to purposely drop his mic after a speech.

Webster defines mic drop as the act of intentionally dropping one’s microphone at the end of a speech or performance; displaying a bold confidence that has been very impressive or cannot be topped. I love that definition and can relate. Remember the last time you gave a speech or presentation that took untold hours to write and prepare, and then after you presented, immediately knew you nailed it?  You owned the stage, felt prepared, and exuded confidence because you knew you were an expert on your subject? Most importantly, your audience knew you were an expert. I love that feeling.

As a book coach, I’ve given countless presentations in my life, but it’s the ones where I could have dropped the mic at the end that give me the most satisfaction. But you can only drop the mic if you’re prepared, have established credibility so your audience will believe you, and are an expert in your field. If you’re not the perceived expert in your field and don’t have credibility,  keep reading.

Write a Book and Finally Drop the Mic!

As a coach or public speaker, you’re a different kind of entrepreneur. 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, but without a book, you’re just another self-proclaimed expert.

Man giving presentationIf you want to know how to become an author, you’ll want to work with an Executive Book Coach. When you have a book, it establishes you as an expert, increases your credibility, and helps you attract a following. As a speaker or coach, you’ve already developed a lot of material that will be rich content for your book. The challenge is to organize that material to deliver it in book format, and wrap it in a sustainable story format that will keep your readers engaged.

You can learn how to become an author. The first step is to prioritize your material. You must also know your audience and your market. Identifying your audience will help shape your book throughout the writing process and ensure better sales when it comes time to market and promote your nonfiction book. If you think your book is for everyone, you are setting yourself up for failure. No matter how great your message, it simply cannot appeal to every person! It’s no different when you’re giving a speech. What you have to say matters-but everyone is not your audience.

Are you tired of giving lackluster presentations that seem to fall on deaf ears because your audience doesn’t believe you? If you’re ready to establish yourself as an expert, increase your credibility, attract a following, and finally deliver that mic dropping performance that your audience can believe, reach out to us and we can help you take the next step!

 

 


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Nonfiction Book Coach Advice: Live Your Life on Purpose

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Have you ever asked yourself why you were created? I don’t mean how you were created but have you discovered your life’s true purpose? Sometimes people get their life’s purpose confused with their career choice. Even if you’re successful in a profession that reflects your talents, would you say you’re genuinely fulfilled and have a sense of direction? If you’ve lived long enough, you’ll know that money doesn’t buy happiness, fulfillment, or give us a sense of peace.  Just turn on the news, and you’ll hear another sad story in which a wealthy person self-destructs. But it’s not just the wealthy. Millions of people from all socioeconomic backgrounds are spiraling into full-blown depression because they feel their life has no value and is meaningless. How sad. I can relate because before I became a nonfiction book coach, I felt the same way. That’s before I learned my true purpose.

 Your Purpose is Bigger Than You

As a professional writer and a nonfiction book coach, it’s no secret that I love writing. But I also like to read books from other inspiring authors. One of my favorites is The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. While the book is from a Christian perspective, I believe that everyone, regardless of their beliefs, can learn a valuable lesson or two from it. In it, he writes: “Service starts in your mind. To be a servant requires a mental shift, a change in your attitudes. Servants think more about others than about themselves.” Warren goes on to say that, “When we stop focusing on our own needs, we become aware of the needs around us.”

We all have problems. But what would happen if you viewed your life as a vessel to give hope and help to someone else? Your purpose is bigger than you. You were created for so much more than you think.

Why Am I Telling You This?

I misspent too many years and brought untold grief on myself because I refused to be me, to pursue my true “calling.” And I’m amazed at how many other people have done the same thing. And once they’ve figured their lives out, are doing what they were meant to do and rejoicing in doing it, they don’t step back to consider how powerful their story is and how it could help others. I guess it’s easy to undervalue what’s inside us because it’s all that we know. So it doesn’t seem special. It doesn’t seem significant. And it doesn’t seem to offer a path that others can learn from and grow from. Don’t fall for that way of thinking.

Think about what you’ve learned, what you’ve developed, and what you’ve overcome—and be willing to give it to others. Your life’s purpose is bigger than you. You were created to serve.

Many of our clients find that they discover more about their life purpose as they’re working on their book. We take them through a step-by-step process to uncover the purpose of their book, and they often find that leads them to the purpose for their life. If that sounds like an experience you’d like to have, check out our Self-Directed Book Writing Course.

 


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Our Experiences Shape Who We Are

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How often have you heard the saying, “Experience is the best teacher.” I used to hear that a lot, especially while growing up, and while I didn’t always appreciate it then, I now agree with it 100%. Although there are some experiences I wish I could’ve avoided due to the pain they caused, they’re still a part of my story.

The innate beliefs we have about ourselves can be the driving force behind the decisions we make. Our experiences—good or bad shape who we are. They become a part of us, a part of our story.

I’m often asked, especially when I meet new people, “What’s your story?”  That makes me chuckle inside because it’s the same question I ask aspiring authors. My story has many facets that started within childhood.  As a child, my family moved around a lot because of my father’s corporate job. I was always the new girl, and it wasn’t easy.  Every place we moved was so different. What were the rules here? Who could I trust? Who should I be?

It was important that I figure things out before I shared myself in any way. I needed to learn the rules and customs and behaviors in a new place, so I could mimic them and fit in. I became a completely different person every time we moved, and I adopted new personas to match what I saw in others. That’s when I developed my three most crippling self-defeating beliefs:

  1. If people know who I really am, they won’t like me.
  2. No one cares about me.
  3. I don’t matter.

It’s been a long time since I was twelve years old, and I wish I could say that those internal messages disappeared with my youth, but they did not. To the contrary, these became my core beliefs about myself, and they kept me in chameleon mode for far too much of my life. These negative beliefs caused me to neglect myself and my own needs, to marry an abusive husband, to work in a career that I hated, to be underdeveloped as a human being, and to live a life of crippling anxiety—always trying to figure out what to do, who to be, how to act.

With the help of some good therapy, journaling, and a daily practice of meditation, I’ve worked through these issues, and they no longer cripple me. But I admit that, on certain days, I have to work really, really hard just to justify my existence. On those days I feel like I don’t matter, that no one cares about me, and if people knew who I really was, they wouldn’t like me.

But, my story doesn’t end there, and it was through those tough experiences that I’ve become the person I am today. If I hadn’t gone through some of the trauma in my life, I’m not sure if I would’ve been led to my true calling of helping others get their story out to change the world. I know I wouldn’t have this level of self-awareness, nor would I have the strength and courage to share my story with others.  It was through those tough times when I learned what courage and humility really meant that enables me to share my experiences with others today.

What about you? I know you’ve experienced something that has forever altered your life. Guess what? I bet you’re not the only one, even though it might feel that way. Your experiences may not have been easy but they’re a part of your story and have helped shape who you are. Who can you help by sharing your experience with someone else?

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

 


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Discoveries Along The Way

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When you look at your clock, have you ever wondered where it came?  I don’t mean where you bought it, but rather how did our world learn to quantify time and who discovered it? If you’re like me, you probably don’t give it much thought.  Or what about that glass of milk, wine, or beer that most of us consume on a regular basis without an afterthought.  You may have heard the term pasteurization, but have you ever thought about who created that process to make these beverages safe for us to drink in the first place?

Like you, I take these modern day conveniences for granted and expect them to be available when I need them. I am forever grateful that French scientist Louis Pasteur not only discovered his heat-treatment process that destroys pathogenic microorganisms in certain foods, but that he took the time to share it with the rest of us!  And we can’t forget Chinese monk and mathematician, I-Hsing, for creating our first clock so we can quantify time (Source). What if these scientists and countless others decided to keep their discoveries to themselves? Yikes! Talk about being selfish.

What about you? What discoveries have you made along the way that you’ve yet to share with the world? Is that fair? Would you consider yourself selfish for not sharing your discovery?

Your Discovery is the Solution Someone Else Needs

As a professional book coach and writer, I encourage people to share their passion and solutions with the world. We have so many problems in our world and the top-down approaches don’t seem to work. I believe the answers are trapped inside of people like you. My role is to connect the people who have solutions with the ones who need those answers, and I do it by coaching busy professionals to write a high-impact nonfiction book. I don’t care if your discovery is about a new business process that can save time and dollars, a memoir about overcoming pain and suffering, or if it’s about how to connect on a soul-level with your dog: if you have a passionate solution, someone else needs it. People don’t buy books, they buy solutions. Someone is looking for what’s trapped inside you.

  • Do you have an idea for a book, but don’t know how to get started?
  • Is your idea a passion that continues to grow? Could your discovery change the way we do things?
  • Is it something that’s been percolating for some time, and it’s time to release it?

If you’re not a writer, don’t worry. You don’t have to have one sentence written, and you do not have to be a professional writer to publish a powerful nonfiction book. You need to simply have an idea—and the commitment to see the process through. Someone needs your discovery. Think about that the next time you pour milk on your cereal or check the clock before heading out.  


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writing a book

How to Write Your Book, Step by Step

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As a coach or a public speaker, you’ve got a strong message, and if you’ve been thinking about writing a 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.

writing a book

 

THE METHODOLOGY:

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, it is critical to develop two distinct BookMAPs, which are visual representations of everything that will be included in your book.

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2. Produce

During this production period, you will pour out your entire first draft. You know why writing a book draft is 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 clients who work with me from 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! After writing a book, authors must also be involved in the promotion 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.

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THE TIMING:

Some writing coaches suggest that you can start and finish writing a 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 — and I’m here to help!


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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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