One of my private coaching clients called today as we’re wrapping up her book proposal and making our short list of agents. She had a number of next step questions on her list, but one stuck out for me.
A colleague had asked to interview her for a chapter in the colleague’s book. The colleague had written a successful first book and things looked good for book two. Seemed like an opportunity.
But something just didn’t feel right to her.
Fortunately, she listened to her intuition. I took her through an exercise to meet and communicate with her muse. We asked her muse what she wanted her to know in this situation.
Her muse was clear:
- Set boundaries: Don’t do a live interview.
- Control your communication: Ask for questions you can answer in writing.
- Keep the “hot” stuff: Don’t share the information you plan to put in your own book. Share tangential information.
Sometimes it feels uncomfortable to withhold information, but books are about timing and freshness–so, please don’t give it all away.
Another client is working on a groundbreaking book on relationships. We knew that once he put his ideas out there, it will be easy for others to apply his perspective, techniques and tools–a good thing. But this made it very important to wait until the book is published before sharing the gems.
He’s done radio interviews and several interviews for articles on top dating websites and magazines. Early on we brainstormed about what information was tangential to the book and okay to share with the media and what information he needed to keep under wraps until his book comes out.
Another reason to keep information about your book to yourself is to protect yourself emotionally. Only share with people you know will be supportive.
And a third reason for reticence is that you can dissipate your creative energy if you talk about it instead of writing it.
Are there times to be more open? Absolutely. You may be teaching workshops on the material and need to use the juiciest bits for your teaching. Do put a copyright sign on your training materials for one level of protection.
I don’t mean to make you paranoid. Most people will not steal your ideas, but once the ideas are out there, it’s just harder to have your stuff be seen as fresh. To paraphrase Ben Franklin, an ounce of protection keeps your writing pure!