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Nonfiction Book Coach Advice: Heal Yourself Through Sharing

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Have you ever been in so much emotional pain that you thought you’d die if something didn’t change? I know that feeling too well before I became a nonfiction book coach. I was married for twenty-two years to my first husband and was devastated when I discovered that he had a hidden life that was incompatible with marriage. Everything I thought I knew about the world and how life worked turned out to be a lie. I’d been duped and betrayed by a man I’d been married to for over half my life, and I literally thought I would die from the pain and grief.

Because the circumstances of our split were dark and not the topic of polite conversation, I had no one to turn to. There was no one to comfort me, no one to help me, no one who understood what I was going through. It wasn’t until I dared to share my story, my real story, that I began to heal.

Share Your Pain and Heal Your Life

I muddled through that pain. With the help of intense therapy and deep self-examination, I discovered some things that can help other women faced with a similar situation—women whose worlds have been flipped upside down by a deep, ugly secret and who, as they try to come to terms with their pain and heal, have no one to help them. They feel hopeless. They feel helpless. They are all alone. Just like I was. But it wasn’t until I met with a therapist and began to share all of the ugly details of my pain that I felt a dead weight lift off my heart. It was raw, unfiltered, and ugly but, oh, was it freeing! The sense of relief and peace I felt after sharing my story was indescribable. I had a long journey ahead, but I finally felt the mental fog begin to clear.

Years later, I discovered that there are physical benefits of sharing, especially with someone who is walking through the same type of pain you’ve experienced.  Doctor and author of  Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself, Lissa Rankin, writes in Psychology Today that: “Every time you tell your story, and someone else who cares bears witness to it, you turn off the body’s stress responses, flipping off toxic stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine and flipping on relaxation responses that release healing hormones like oxytocin, dopamine, nitric oxide, and endorphins. Not only does this turn on the body’s innate self-repair mechanisms and function as preventative medicine—or treatment if you’re sick. It also relaxes your nervous system and helps heal your mind of depression, anxiety, fear, anger, and feelings of disconnection.” She goes on to say that “In order to benefit fully from the healing medicine of telling your story, you must resist holding anything back. You must strip off your masks, be unapologetically you, ditch worrying about what “everybody” is going to think, and let your glorious freak flag fly.”(Source)

What about you? Are you ready to “let your glorious freak flag fly?” When I became a nonfiction book coach, I made a promise to be real, authentic, and in the words of Lissa Rankin, to let my freak flag fly!  Maybe your story is like mine, or maybe it’s totally different. There are so many stories that can be inspirational—even lifesaving—for others. What have you faced? What have you learned? What have you discovered or developed that can help others? You can be a messenger of hope and help. If you or someone you know wants to work with a nonfiction book coachplease contact us today!


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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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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!

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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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Writing a book online: Q&A with Lindsey Jacobs

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Future author Lindsey Jacobs on finally sharing her story

Future author Lindsey Jacobs on finally sharing her story

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

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Creating the best story structure for your non-fiction book

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

What is your story?

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

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

You see, even if people are not directly asking about your story, these types of questions are all indirect ways to try to learn more about you and the story you have to tell.  

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

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

Start with the foundation of your story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Create closure in your story

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

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

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

How have these areas of your life been affected?

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

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

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


 

nancy erickson book coach book coaches How to Become an Author: Module One 1About Nonfiction Book Writing & Publishing Expert Nancy Erickson

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

 


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5 Steps to Write & Publish Your Book

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how to write and publish a book self publishing writing a book nonfiction book memoir self help book productionAn overview of the book publishing process

On March 29th, I will host a FREE online class, “What to Expect When Writing & Publishing Your Book.” In today’s post, I am going to touch on some of what we will learn during the webinar. To register for this free webinar for aspiring authors, click here.

Writing a book is a multi-layered project, and it probably doesn’t surprise you that there’s more to it than just writing a book. As you already know, the writing is the first component. At the end of the writing, you have a manuscript – but that’s not really a book is it?

I want to show you long view of publishing a book. You’re probably going to think “Oh my word–I had no idea what I was getting into.” And you’re right. If you aren’t a professional publisher, you wouldn’t know all the pieces involved, and that’s why I’m here to usher you through the process. If you stick with me, you’ll have all the tools you need to produce a professional product that will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with any other book on the market.

Book Writing and Publishing Process

STEP ONE: WRITING AND WRITING AND WRITING

  • Initial Book Writing – The first step is to plan your book project in a BookMAP and write all the components until you have a finished manuscript. This is where you invest your time, energy, and emotion, and when you are finished you will have accomplished something few others have done! You will have a complete manuscript.
  • Editing Your Book – Every top-notch author has a first-class editor who does several things to improve upon what you have already accomplished. In the first pass, you will want a developmental editor. A developmental editor takes a look at your overall work and gives feedback on the structure and organization of the manuscript, the development of your characters, the consistency in your story line, your vocabulary, the impact of your message, your use of language and how your unique voice can be amplified. A developmental editor will point out any missing elements in your manuscript and make suggestions about how to weave them in. A developmental editor is crucial for every author, particularly if you are not a professional writer
  • Book Focus Groups – I’m a big believer in focus groups, and the best way to understand if your manuscript achieves its goal is to gather a group of six to ten people who are part of your target market, give them a copy of your manuscript, and ask for their raw feedback. This will be invaluable to you. When you receive that feedback, you make the changes you think are appropriate, then pass the manuscript to your editor for final editing.
  • Final Editing Process – This time, you need what we call line-level editing. You editor will scrub your work and make corrections in punctuation, verb tense, spelling, and sentence structure. They will correct your grammar and make suggestions about how to rewrite your sentences for clarity.
  • Proofreading – If you want a flawless manuscript, you can’t skip the step of hiring a proofreader. Understand this: You are not a capable proofreader. You already know what your story is supposed to say, and your brain will fill in any gaps with what you intended.

Once these steps are complete, you are ready to turn your manuscript into a book.

STEP TWO: THE BOOK DESIGN

Before you design your book, you need to know what you want to produce, and you have a lot of choices to make. Do you want a hardcover book? Or a softcover? Both come in a myriad of sizes, and you need to decide which size best fits your format. Will you issue an eBook, and if so, you need to prepare separate digital files for Kindle, Nook, and iPad.  

One of the most important elements is your book cover design. Your title and your book cover art will work together to invite the reader to purchase the book. They also work together to communicate the essence of your book, while creating a key question in the potential reader’s mind: What is this book about?

Remember that books are often shelved with only the spine visible, and you will want yours to stand out. What will the spine of your book look like? Try adding a dash of color to draw attention.

When turning your attention to the interior design, consider these questions: What fonts are you going to use? What will your copyright page look like? Your table of contents? You must use industry standards for chapter starts and page numbering. And be sure you’ve calculate the appropriate thumb holds – that’s the margin space where a reader places their thumbs to hold the book. Readers should not have to shift their thumbs while reading the book because this causes a degree of stress that interferes with their reading experience and causes fatigue.

Just for fun, take a look at some book interiors, and notice how they differ in style to match the book content. You need a professional designer for both the book cover an interior.

STEP THREE: BOOK PRODUCTION

Of course, you’ll need to get your book produced, and you have several options. Do you want to use an on-demand printer that will print the books as they are ordered?  There’s a higher cost per book for this option, but you won’t have to put your money into the inventory up front. However, if you want to pay the lowest possible amount per book, you will opt to print a large quantity of books and warehouse them until they are sold. The warehouse can be your basement, and many authors like this option because they can maximize their profits with this approach.

STEP FOUR: BOOK DISTRIBUTION

So now you’ve got the book in hand. How are you going to distribute it?

There are numerous ways to distribute your book and, of course, your eBooks will be distributed online.

If you print a quantity of books, you can elect to ship them out yourself as they are purchased, but bear in mind that this option requires you to have shipping supplies and a fair amount of time to send things out. Some people make arrangements with warehouse distributors or sheltered workshops to send out their books, and others elect to work through book distributors who receive orders and ship them out to bookstores, online retailers, and libraries. All your distributions methods require payment, so find out what the distributor requires before signing any contracts.

STEP FIVE: BOOK MARKETING

Books don’t sell themselves, so you need to plan your marketing strategy. Will you engage the services of a publicist? Or will you do what many authors do and use the social media tools that are so readily available? Will you hold events, like book readings? Use email marketing to get the word out? Or go the traditional advertising route?

Be specific when defining your primary market. Picture the person who buys your book. Is it a woman between the ages of 30 and 50 who is unhappy with the signs of aging? It isn’t every woman between 30 and 50, it’s a subset of that group. Who are they?

What are your secondary markets? Secondary markets are those people/organizations/institutions who will also purchase your book, like educators (if you’re writing about children) or mental health practitioners if you are writing about coming out of a depression. You’re going to use this information when you start reaching out to customers, so think it through.  

Click the image above to register for my free webinar on March 29th!

Click the image above to register for my free webinar on March 29th!

THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF WRITING & PUBLISHING YOUR BOOK

So what’s the most important part of this process? The most important part is always what you are working on right now. Focus on today. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Just do the best possible job on what’s in front of you. There will be plenty of time to focus on what’s ahead.

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


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

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


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"You should write a book."

“You should write a book.”

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Has anyone ever told you that you should write a book?
How did that make you feel?

Maybe you’ve been told many times that you should write a book. How does that make you feel? Flattered? Annoyed? Scared? When I teach writing, I talk a lot about audience and how to connect with them, but the first step is to connect with yourself and be honest about the emotions you have about the prospect of writing a book. What are you feeling?

Do you want to write that book but don’t know how to get started?
How does that make you feel?

Have you ever had “write my book” on your mental to-do list? If so, that goal is probably jammed in there like this:

  1. Finish project at work
  2. Go to the kids’ ball game
  3. Make appointment with financial advisor
  4. Write my book!

Oh yes, let me just WRITE MY BOOK in between juggling my work schedule and a busy family life!

How do you feel when there’s such a huge item on your list that you know you won’t accomplish in one night or even one month — along with the smaller items that you will? Don’t set yourself up for failure! There’s a better way.

Did you start to write your book and get tangled up?

How did that make you feel?

Maybe you put pen to paper and started to write, but you got lost along the way. Perhaps you started with one idea, then drifted to another, and now nothing is organized or seems intelligent. Are you Frustrated? Aggravated? Defeated?

Now…

How do you WANT to feel?

The great news is that you CAN write your book in less than one year, and when you do that, you will feel emotions like accomplishment, completion, and triumph.And this is only the beginning!

Listen to my friend and client Helen G. and what she said about writing her first book: 

“I knew I wanted to write a book and had already begun. … In 2007 I met Lundy Bancroft at his St. Louis workshop, told him my childhood experience and he strongly encouraged me to write a book about it.

[Since I wrote my book] my life is still very busy …[but] the best part of what I have experienced is the positive effect it is having on my family who are very supportive~~and the many friends and colleagues who seem eager to read my book.

I have dreams of a long vacation, time for some R & R. After that, get started on my next book, to be followed by a third! … At 74 I hope to be able to keep up with my dreams.

Nancy has been wonderful to work with. She is a person of integrity and compassion. She is supportive, knowledgeable, and available.

The most difficult thing for me has been the fact that all of this is so new to me and I don’t always know the questions to ask. However, I’ve always felt that my questions were addressed with respect and understanding.

I now consider Nancy a dear friend whom I hope to continue working with. She deserves the very best. I could not have done this without her and the resources to which she directed me.”

Are you ready to start down the path that I have painstakingly and specifically built for you to follow to write your nonfiction book?


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Break It Down: Writing Your Book Bit by Bit

Break It Down: Writing Your Book Bit by Bit

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

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

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

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

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

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


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