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Are You Asking the Right Questions (about your book)?

Should I write this book?

Do I have a solid book idea?

Will I make any money with my book?

I hear these questions often.

A colleague recently sent a prospective author to me for support with a book proposal. The author’s first questions were: “Is my story worth writing about?” and “Can I make money at this? What’s the potential ROI from book sales?”

They’re not exactly the wrong questions, but there’s nuance to asking the most compelling questions.

It Starts with Why

Micihael karlsen author
Micaela’s “whys” included being acknowledged as an authority in the field of plant-based nutrition and providing the aspects of a plant-based diet that she knew her audience struggled with, so that they could stick with a healthy diet and lifestyle.

I often begin these conversations by asking the author why they want to write the book.

This caller began with some interesting themes her story explored, a common starting place, but it didn’t help us know whether she “should” write the book.

So I had us dive deeper into the actual reasons she wanted to write the book, possible dreams the book might help her realize—helping others, helping her remember and process a life-changing and transformative time in her life, helping launch her business, the sense of accomplishment and fulfillment in writing a book…

And then she hit upon something especially powerful…

The Impact of Writing a Book

a book that inspired the author

She shared how a specific book, What Should I Do With My Life? by Po Bronson, set her on the life adventure and journey she wants to write about. She hoped to impact her readers the way Bronson helped change the course of her life.

That’s a powerful “Why?”

Now she had her answer. She was in touch with the potential of her book in a profound and personal way.

Can You Make Money Writing and Publishing a Book?

We circled back to her question about the ROI of writing and publishing a book. Could she make money at it?

author speaking with book
Carrie Rowan’s book Tell a New Story led to training and speaking gigs where she got to sing on stage!

This is where I like to ask more nuanced questions:

  • Can the book further your business goals?
  • Can the book generate income by attracting ideal business prospects (the people you are here to help) and transform them into beloved clients?
  • Does the book have the potential to open doors to other opportunities you haven’t even imagined yet?

Those are the questions you want to ask and answer, not how much money you might make in book sales (which is usually none, or losing money, on its own without a business plan or bigger picture vision).

Until she answered those more profound questions, neither of us was convinced she should write a book! When we discussed the first two questions, it became an easy yes for her.

A Tip for an Income Producing Book—One that Can Launch a Business, Build a Career and Open New Doors

I suggested she consider QR codes, much like the ones I use in The Joy of Writing Journal: Spark Your Creativity in 8 Minutes a Day, as a way to deeply inspire and connect with her readers—and a more personal touch that could engage readers to become part of her community and hire her. Clients of mine have also gotten speaking gigs, corporate training opportunities and other experiences that engage their greatest gifts and help them serve in the highest sense of the word, while also bringing in abundant income.

I also pointed out to her that, while she had initially contacted me with a book proposal in mind, she might be best off self-publishing for a variety of reasons—artistic control, speed to market, and her lack of the platform to attract publishers (and not getting caught up in years of growing her platform), affordability of Amazon ads to reach readers, etc.

So I suggested she consider a Book Concept Consultation and Publishing Plan with me.

Before You Write It: Your Next Step

Are you ready to get clearer on the deepest reasons for writing your book? Those reasons will help you write the right book—the book that’s authentic to you, exceptional and compelling for your readers.

Such clarity will also help you make time for your book, so that it actually happens, you complete it with ease and you publish!

book concept consulation
A book concept by phone, Zoom or in person.

A Book Concept Consultation with me can help you:

  • Identify your most significant, deepest WHYs.
  • Get into the minds and hearts of your readers so you can write a book that makes a difference (and sells!).
  • Clarify content, structure, features, tone and all kinds of decisions that will make your book resonate, sparkle and create transformation!
  • Save you much time by writing the “right book” from the get-go.
  • Help you come up with a plan for writing and publishing.

A Book Concept Consultation plus Publishing Path/Plan includes:

Guide How to Write a Book
  • Quick Start to Kick Start Your Book Self Study Program (to prepare for our call). (normally $97)
  • Preparation questionnaire
  • Two hour consultation includes:
  • Exploration of vision, goals, market/audience
  • Brainstorming/exploring structure, content, features, tone and more.

In the two hour consultation, I will help you evaluate:

  • Which book to write, if you have several ideas
  • Your book concept or series concept
  • Is your book marketable? What might make it more marketable?
  • What orientation, content, tone, features will help you meet your specific goals (such as attracting ideal clients, speaking engagements, getting on national TV, etc.)
  • The best market for your book, given your goals.

Our consultation may also include:

  • Title/subtitle brainstorming, although sometimes that gets clearer later in the process – we can go for it and see if it’s ready to reveal itself!
  • Optional “Meet Your Muse” guided visualization to access your inner wisdom/creative source for answers to questions.

While my experience, business background (bachelors and masters degrees from MIT Sloan School of Management; entrepreneur) and writing/publishing background can be instrumental in guiding you and helping you make informed decisions, your inner knowing is another crucial aspect of decision making. Many aspiring authors find that this “Meet Your Muse” exercise provides insights, new ideas and even helps them break through blocks, inner resistance (if there is any), fear or self-doubt.

My Special Offer for Book Concept Consultations in September

            Normally, a book concept consultation is $1500 and a book concept consultation with publishing path discussion and planning is $1800. Sign up for your consultation by September 30 and you’ll receive the publishing path discussion and planning free of charge. If desired, I will also provide a framework for what you need to include (and prove) in a successful book proposal and I will provide suggestions for how to build your platform in order to make your book attractive to publishers and agents.

Note: this offer applies to those who pay in September; so you can pay now and schedule the actual consultation in October and still receive the special offer.

Sign up here.

Or email me to explore whether it’s right for you.

Lisa Tener

Lisa Tener is an award-winning book writing coach who assists writers in all aspects of the writing process—from writing a book proposal and getting published to finding one’s creative voice. Her clients have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Early Show, The Montel Williams Show, CNN, Fox News, New Morning and much more. They blog on sites like The Huffington Post, Psychology Today and WebMD.

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