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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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How To Write a Nonfiction Book: Don’t Be Afraid To Tell Your Story

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“I really want to learn how to write a nonfiction book,” he told me over the phone, “but I think I have to write it as fiction because people will know who I’m talking about.”

“What do you mean?” I asked. “What’s the secret?”

Family secrets. Truths not told. Sensitive feelings. Things swept under the rug. These can be big barriers when deciding how to write a nonfiction 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. But you can overcome this fear-keep reading to learn how.

Keep the End in Mind

It might be best to stop obsessing over the people you might hurt and instead to 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.

This doesn’t happen to people like us. Nice people don’t have problems like this.

Don’t talk, don’t see, just pretend.

When 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.

You Don’t Need Permission

If you’ve ever been in a codependent relationship, it’s likely that you don’t want to step on any toes and that you’re overly concerned about others. Guess what? You can forget about other people right now and do what you know is right.

You don’t need anyone’s permission to learn how to write a nonfiction book.  You don’t need to worry about pleasing or displeasing anyone because your focus will be on your audience and offering them hope and help. You’ll be radar-locked on helping those who need you, and everyone else can fall by the wayside. What they think about what you’re doing isn’t your concern. What you know as truth is what matters.

The truth is, there’s a lot of pain in life for most of us, and it usually involves other people. You can be both courageous and discreet when you write your book. Sometimes all you need is the courage and a helping hand to take the first step and I’d be honored to help.

If you or someone you know is ready to learn how to write a nonfiction book and share your story,  please contact us today and we can help you take the next step!

 


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How To Write A Book Step By Step-Make the Time

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How many times a day do you say, “I don’t have time for that?” Maybe it seems impossible to make time to write or to even make time for anything outside of your normal schedule. The people I meet want to learn how to write a book step by step, but their lives are filled with so much: things they want to do, things they need to do. And a lot of things they don’t really want to do, but must. There’s always that race against the clock, which leaves them feeling scattered and torn, like a scarecrow with his stuffing pulled out. At the end of the day, there isn’t much left.

If that’s you, I understand.  But, I’m a firm believer that if something’s important to you, no matter how busy you are, you’ll make time to do it.

Learn How to Write A Book Step By Step

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely hate to waste time, and the biggest time waster for me is when I have to do something over. I hate doing things twice.

I like to follow a time-tested, straight path that gets me from where I am now to where I want to be while expending the least amount of energy possible to produce an excellent result.

The good news is that there’s a step-by-step process you can follow to become an author. You don’t have time for do-overs. And you certainly don’t have time for an inefficient methodology.

If the shortest path from one point to another is a straight line, you’d better be sure you know that the path you are on will take you where you want to go! The only thing you need to get started is an idea. That’s it. Just an idea. Then, week by week, step by step, you plan the contents of your book and adding to the writing until you have a rough draft, then a finished manuscript. Yes, it takes time, but it doesn’t take forever.

But you don’t want a manuscript, do you? Of course not. You want a book. You need to go beyond the writing and have a clear path to packaging, publishing, and promoting your book. Be sure that’s the path you’re on, a path that takes you all the way from your initial idea to the finished product.

When you write a book, you establish yourself as an expert in your field, increase your credibility, and can attract a followingwith one caveat. It better be a good book. Rushing through it can be catastrophic.

 


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Nonfiction Book Consultant Advice: It’s Not About You

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I recently came across an article in Forbes that discussed the rise of narcissism in our country—specifically social media narcissism. As a nonfiction book consultant who uses Facebook and Twitter, I had to read more. The author stated that people who are always taking selfies are the ones who want to gain the most admiration. They’re easy to spot on social media because they regularly change their profile pictures.

The same applies to posting regular photos. Narcissists are desperate for more admiration, and a new photo spikes the interest that gets them going (Source). I’ve seen this happen countless times on Facebook and have always wondered how people find the time to post multiple personal photos a day. Ha! I certainly don’t have that kind of time. In other words, these social media junkies are fixated on one thing—themselves.  

It’s interesting. All this talk about narcissism and self-absorption reminds me of what I’ve been saying for years to my writers and any prospective writers I meet.  As a nonfiction book consultant and someone who’s had enough life experience, please listen: It’s not about you! Your story and solutions are about providing hope and help to someone else.

Why Keep Your Story to Yourself?

Lots of things can deter us from telling our story, and as a nonfiction book consultant, I’ve found that fear is the main thing that holds people back. What will people think? What if they don’t like it? What if they don’t like me? What if I’m criticized? What if I’m ridiculed?

You don’t have to try to think of the “what ifs”; they attack you without effort. It’s scary to put yourself out there for all the world to see.

Maybe you can turn these fearful “what ifs” into something positive: What if you change someone’s life? What if you save someone’s life? What if you help someone who is without hope? What if your pain is the path to another person’s healing? What if writing your book and laying it all out there actually helps to heal yourself?

Here’s the thing I’ve learned as a nonfiction book consultant: most people who write nonfiction aren’t writers. They’re what I call “livers.” You’ve lived through something, been through something, learned something, discovered something, or developed something, and you’re busy living your life. You’re not a writer because you’re a doer. You’re out accomplishing things. You don’t need to learn the publishing industry. You simply need to get your message out of your head and out to the world.

You’re the only one who has your story. You’re the only one who can write it.  If you or someone you know is ready to make the decision and write, contact us today and we can help you with the next step!

 


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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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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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You’re the Only One Who Can Tell Your Story

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Many of my clients started by telling me that they “just weren’t ready at this time.” Just about all of their concerns were centered around that emotion that plagues so many of us: FEAR. To put it frankly, fear stinks. It robs us of everything if we allow it to control us. It robs us of opportunities because we’re too afraid to fail, relationships because we don’t want to get hurt, and it robs us of our destiny because we’re afraid of change. Yes, it’s an emotion and at times is a natural response to a circumstance, but we have to choose whether or not to allow it to dictate and limit our life. Fear of rejection (my book won’t be a success and people won’t read it), fear of failure (I don’t want to mess up), and fear of the unknown (how the heck am I going to do this) are all real fears that my writers had in the beginning.

But what if we looked at fear using this acronym:

FALSE

EVIDENCE

APPEARING

REAL

Years ago someone shared that acronym with me and it changed my perspective. How would your life change if you approached fear this way instead of allowing it to be the driving force in your life?

Who Are You to Keep Your Story to Yourself?

Lots of things can deter us from telling our story, but like I said earlier I believe the main one is fear. What will people think? What if they don’t like it? What if they don’t like me? What if I’m criticized? What if I’m ridiculed?

You don’t have to try to think of the “what ifs”; they attack you without effort. It’s scary to put yourself out there for all the world to see. Maybe you can turn these fearful “what ifs” into something positive: What if you change someone’s life? What if you save someone’s life? What if you help someone who is without hope? What if your pain is the path to another person’s healing? What if writing your book and laying it all out there actually helps to heal you?

You’re the only one who has your story. You’re the only one who can write it. And you can start now!  

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

 


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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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publishing-writing-book-length

How long should your book be?

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This article courtesy of BookBaby.

There’s nothing quite like escaping to your favorite book. In just a matter of pages you’re transported to a new world, sympathizing with some characters, despising others. Yet sometimes, even when you have the best intentions, a book will sit on your table untouched because it’s long, difficult, or otherwise intimidating.

To motivate you to pick up that classic you’ve never read – or reread your favorite book – Personal Creations put together this infographic detailing how long it takes to read popular books, based on an average reading time of 300 words per minute. Though you may like to read at a more leisurely pace, reread difficult sections, or indulge in passages you adore, it’s still a useful comparison of how long various books and series – from To Kill A Mockingbirdto The Odyssey to the Harry Potter series – might take to read.

Take a couple of minutes to read it, then shut down your device and go read a book!

publishing-writing-book-length

About BookBaby

Based in the Philadelphia-area, BookBaby is a team of authors, poets, bloggers, and artists — so they know the thrills and challenges of bringing a book into this world.

Since 2011, BookBaby has helped thousands realize their publishing goals by offering the largest eBook distribution network, including Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and many other popular retailers in over 170 countries around the globe.

Learn more at www.BookBaby.com.


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How to write a nonfiction book in small steps

How to Write a Nonfiction Book in Small Steps

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By Nancy Erickson, Book Coach

Have you been thinking about how to write a book, how to get published, or how to write an autobiography? Whether you’re a writer or not, is it your dream to start writing a book and becoming an author? Your dreams on how to write a book, how to make a book, or even how to write an ebook aren’t out of your reach!

When you’re learning how to write a book, you have to understand that it’s a large project, and it’s not something you’re going to accomplish overnight. So what’s the key to large projects? You break them down into tiny little steps. You’ve heard people say how do you eat an elephant. The answer is one bite at a time.

Well it’s true; what you do is you break down the task of how to start writing a book into bite-size chunks. When we do that, we develop a Book Map, which is a visual representation of your entire book. I can contend that if you only have 15 minutes, you can actually develop your strategy on how to write a book in 15 minute increments because it’s broken down in such small pieces that you can take those pieces you can write and assemble them into a comprehensive manuscript.

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


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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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5 Reasons to Consider Self-Publishing

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If you want to write or have already written a book and are worried about landing a book deal, you should really consider self-publishing. Times have changed, and signing on with a big publisher is no longer the only way to get your book into the hands (or onto the screens) of readers. Here’s why you should give self-publishing a chance.

1. One in three E-books sold on Amazon is self-published.

If you think readers will shy away from self-published books, think again. Sales show that readers are more and more interested in purchasing books from independent authors. If you can get a good fan base and work on a solid marketing campaign, your self-published book can absolutely compete with books published in the traditional manner.

2. Independent authors make up 25% of Amazon’s best E-book sellers list.

Not only are independent authors selling books, they are topping the charts. The books published by the “Big Five” publishers only represent 16% of the bestsellers. Self-publishing has allowed readers to discover new authors, and it’s clear that they are enjoying what they are reading. It just goes to show that if you can write a quality book and market it properly, you have a good chance of not only selling books, but also becoming a well-known author.

3. You are in control of your timeline.

If you go the traditional route, you will have to first spend several months searching for an agent, who will then spend even more time hunting down a publisher. Even if your book is accepted, the timeline for your book hitting the press could be 1-3 years, and remember, that’s if and only if you actually land a book deal. Not to mention the 15% you have to pay your agent for landing the deal.

If you self-publish, you can get your book out as soon as you are confident in your final draft. Obviously, it’s best to go through several edits and not begin the publishing process at 2am while you’re wired on your 4th cup of coffee. The point is that once your book is finished, you can publish it in a matter of months instead of years.

4. You set the price.

If you go the traditional route, your publisher will set the price for hardcover, paperback, and E-books, and you have no say in whatever price they choose. If you self-publish, you can set a price point that works for you. Smashword’s 2014 survey showed that E-books priced between $2.99 and $3.99 tend to sell best. If you think that seems low, keep in mind that you won’t have to turn over 85% of your profit to your publisher, like you would if you went the traditional route.

It’s free to publish through Amazon’s CreateSpace print on demand service, which allows you to print physical books only when they are needed. Print-on-Demand services also help you avoid excess inventory. Traditional publishing involves ordering press runs of books that could end up leaving you with a stack of books you have paid for but haven’t sold. Self-publishing through a POD service saves you money on inventory, as well as on the cost of shipping and storing the books.

5. You are in charge of marketing & sales.

Many authors believe that traditional publishers will go above and beyond to market their book, but that’s not true. The reality is, even if you go through a traditional publisher, you will most likely have to come to them with some sort of marketing plan, which they will then decide whether or not they want to implement. Not only will you be at the mercy of the publisher’s marketing tactics, you’ll also be tied to whatever budget they allot to you.

Self-publishing means you are completely in charge of your marketing. Even if you decide to hire a marketing consultant, you will have the final say on any marketing decision. No one believes in your book more than you do, so why not put your passion into your marketing strategy?

These days, readers are less concerned with who published a book and a lot more concerned about the quality of the writing. Self-publishing is an excellent option for any author that is ready to tell their story.


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