I love teaching in-person workshops–there’s a chemistry that happens when we get together in the flesh and connect as writers. And I so enjoy the opportunity to meet people from my blog and newsletter community in person.
write a book
I often recommend my clients attend the International Women’s Writing Guild’s Big Apple Conference, specifically for the “Meet the Agents” portion of the program. It offers a terrific opportunity to hear a variety of literary agents share the types of books they are interested in and then pitch your book in 3 minutes or less.
A client recently sent some great questions and I thought they’d be valuable to anyone who wants to learn how to get published by a traditional publisher and get a book deal. Here, then, are her questions and my answers:
When I saw that my coach and client, Teri Scheinzeit won Best Mentor/Coach of the Year 2011, I thought, here’s the answer to something I know I’m not the only one pondering:
“How do I help people see instantly that what I’m offering is the best program out there?” A national award–yes. This got me to thinking about awards in general and how powerful they can be. Not only for me, but for my clients.
* Sell More Books: Awards always contribute to book sales–through increased credibility, links from the awards site to your book and pr that mentions your award or even stems from it.
* Impact More People: When you reach more people, you have more opportunity to make a difference in their lives.
* Get Top PR: You can leverage your award in a press release (and call the press as well)–this can land you TV and radio interviews as well as coverage in local, regional and even national newspapers and magazines. In the press release, use the award as a jumping off point for offering 5 tips in your area of expertise.
* Improve Your Search-ability Online (SEO): An online press release as well as a link to your website from the awarding organization can help improve your ranking with search engines, helping people find you more easily when they google your subject.
* Be Viewed as a National Expert: Especially for a how-to or self-help book or other nonfiction, a well-written book says that you’re an expert in your field.
* Attract High End Clients: You can target a particular audience–your ideal clients–by writing a book specifically geared to that market and their particular needs. And you can target awards that speak to that audience–a business award if your ideal clients are business people, an award in self-help, new age or religion if your book has a spiritual bent, etc. Your award also speaks to quality and helps attract high end clients because this group often looks for such creds–and they’re willing to pay extra for the quality.
* Improve Your Speaking Venues and Fees: An award from a reputable third party adds to your cache as a speaker–and can help justify higher fees.
* Make More Money: People expect to pay more — and are comfortable paying more–for services of a top expert; Your award helps establish that.
* Help Define Your Brand: An award says that part of your brand is excellence. The specific type of award will also contribute to brand and image.
* Create More Impact with Your Social Media: An award icon (or more than one) on your blog and facebook page send a certain message. My assistant, Geri, recently suggested we change my profile photo on the business facebook page to show me holding up my awards. It added another level of credibility to my social media and I got lots of comments as well–Thanks, Geri.
* Convert More Buyers on Your Website: Visitors on your website may be looking for reasons to buy or not buy. Winning an award creates a certain confidence that can help them decide to “risk” their money and buy your book, course or services.
I decided to interview some of my award winning clients about their achievements and what benefits they’ve reaped. Amy Beth O’Brien author of Stuck With Mr. Wrong, Evana Maggiore author of Fashion Feng Shui, Deb Scott author of The Sky is Green and the Grass is Blue and Elizabeth Hamilton-Gaurino author of Pink Doodle Bug worked hard for the honors bestowed upon them. Being crowned in their respective fields soon reaped powerful results for their books and businesses:
Amy: Winning the awards has been validation. I came to writing later in life, so I wasn’t sure I had the talent for it. Completing a book, in and of itself, was a big achievement.
Lisa: Has it had an influence in your business?
Amy: Yes, in fact, the gold sticker on the book and the title “award-winning author” lends credibility to my business. I’ve also been invited on radio shows and to speak to a variety of women’s groups. The biggest thing winning these awards has done is given me credibility. From here on out, I am a “4-time award-winning author.”
Lisa: Evana won the Association of Image Consultants International IMMIE (Image Makers Merit of Industry Excellence) Award for Innovation. Evana, can you say a bit about this prestigious award?
Evana: It indicates that the recipient has made an important contribution to the image industry. My contribution was creating a groundbreaking transformational dressing technique called Fashion Feng Shui (R).
Lisa: And the effect?
Evana: Instant credibility! What had been a far out concept, was embraced by image consultants worldwide, many of whom have studied with me.
Lisa: So, it helped tremendously in growing your business. Can you say more?
Evana: I stepped out of the box by blending fashion and feng shui. At first I had been worried that my professional colleagues would think it was too “woo-woo” — but I did it anyway. If I hadn’t taken that risk, I would have missed the greatest opportunity of my life.
Lisa: How about on the personal level?
Evana: Winning AICI’s IMMIE for Innovation confirmed that success comes when you are authentic and do what you love.
Lisa: Deb Scott has won INDIE Next Generation for Motivation, Moms Choice Award for Self Improvement, USA Best Books: Best New Non-Fiction and Books & Authors Award for Self Help. That’s quite a few awards. How has this effected your life as an author?
Deb: I have been a featured as a guest on over 50 radio shows talking about my book The Sky is Green and the Grass is Blue, including CBS radio and stations in major networks such as Boston, LA and New Orleans.
Lisa: Any specific results from your success that has helped your business?
Deb: I created the Motivation Marathon, featuring major experts and celebrities. My radio show is also now top rated in 17 categories with over 200k listeners! Publications and speaking opportunities came much easier after I won my awards. I can check them off my bucket list now!
Lisa: Elizabeth Hamilton Guarino is another winner of the Gold Mom’s Choice Award. Elizabeth, have you seen any increase in sales because of your award?
Elizabeth: Yes, they grew handily and it also led to my book Pinky Doodle Bug being featured at the Maine Festival of the Book.
Lisa: That’s wonderful!
Elizabeth: We thank everyone at Mom’s Choice Awards. The book goes through very careful screening with industry professionals and so it is a tremendous honor to have won.
Another Gold Mom’s Choice Award winner is Anne Burnett for her book Alleviate Autism. The MCA recognizes authors and business people who contribute to family-friendly media available to families so they can make informed decisions on particular and everyday challenges.
Anne credits her book as being the number one reason for securing a high level job as Executive Director for a national nonprofit at a generous compensation package well above what she’d been earning. I’m sure the awards contributed to her standing in their eyes. Anne told me that when she contacted the organization, they read her book and re-opened the position, despite having picked a finalist. In interviews everyone shared how inspired they were by Step Ahead of Autism. The book spoke to her expertise in a powerful way that an interview just can’t match.
My client, Pat Hastings is another award winning author. Her award was from the Yuxon Spring 2009 Christian Choice Writing Contest for her book Simply a Woman of Faith and she was chosen for Inspirational Woman of the Year by the TV show Tea With Marie. As a speaker, international retreat leader and spiritual coach, her awards have added the credibility to attract speaking and teaching opportunities, clients and publicity. That includes speaking and teaching opportunities in Bermuda, Hawaii and on cruise ships!
So, now’s my turn to ask for your help in winning another award. If you have not already voted for my Bring Your Book to Life Program in the People’s Choice Awards of the American Business Awards, please do. Anyone can vote. We are now in second place and the voting is close. We can win the gold with your help! Please vote here (it takes 30 seconds!) and share with friends, too.
Thanks in advance for your vote and please share your questions about winning awards and your comments and ideas for benefiting from this practice. Have you won a book award? Tell us how it has helped you!
When Melissa Sones called to tell me I was a finalist in three categories for The American Business Awards, I was blown away.
The American Business Awards are the nation’s premier business awards program and I’d been hoping for maybe one award but it looks like two of those award categories have only 3 finalists, which means each of us will win something–gold, silver or bronze at the Awards Ceremony in NYC on June 18.
And there is a whole community of people to thank for this honor–so, thank you.
The three categories?
* Executive of the Year – Media
* Marketer of the Year
New Product or Service of the Year – Media & Entertainment – Service: The Service is my Bring Your Book to Life Program. And I think what makes this book writing program so amazing–enough to be a finalist in this prestigious national business competition, where companies far larger than my own, with far more resources compete–is the quality of the program–and the kind of powerful results participants have with it–books like the award winning Step Ahead of Autism.
And what makes the quality of the Bring Your Book to Life Program? Every single person who participated. The CDs include edited recordings of people in real live classes who gave their permission for me to share their on-the-call participation. Participants shared their biggest challenges and were willing to be coached to a breakthrough.
These authors shared their insights and great ideas that worked for them–and that all became part of the classes I offer. It makes them so powerful that most participants end the 8-12 week program with a solid first draft or what I like to call “a first draft with holes.” Some have even self-published by week 8 and others end up publishing with a major house.
There is also an amazing team who helped make the course materials so fabulous–Geri Lafferty, Virtual Assistant Extraordinaire, Jamie Levitt who, with Anthony Centore, Jr., spent innumerable hours on weekends and late into the night editing the audios so that we had only the best material on each CD or audio download, Rachel Horwitz who designed the workbook materials, Dorothy Campbell, a tireless proofreader, who also offered ideas for clarification. And Stuart Horwitz who offered insights about writing memoir.
And Jen Senecal, who helped me create the very first set of course materials in its incarnation before Bring Your Book to Life, Karen Taverner who made the covers beautiful and coherent, Shelton Interactive and Boomtown Internet Group who created a beautiful and accessible website (and thank you Sue McCrossin and Clay Simmons at Boomtown for talking me into a WordPress CMS, without which I would not have been able to get my audio files and PDF’s online all by MYSELF for the American Business Awards judges at the 11th hour).
And my friends and affiliates who have spread the word so that the program attracts such a high caliber of people committed to writing a first draft of their book in a short period of time, getting that book published and making a difference in the world. Thank you Linda Joy (who taught me what a joint venture can be), Susun Weed, MaestroConference, Judy Ann Foster and Ken Foster, Ginger Moran, Stephanie Straight, Patricia Raskin, Jamie Levitt, Morgana Rae, Louise Crooks, Donna Mac and everyone who has sent these inspiring and committed authors my way. Thank you to all my friends on the 6-Figure Tel. Facebook Group–Eli Davidson, Kate Beeders, Louise Crooks, Kit Furey, Debra Zimmer, Dianne Crampton, Alison Grimston, Sasha Sabbeth, Laurie Cantus, Beth Grant, Amethyst Wyldfyre, Chellie Campbell, Adalia John, Michelle Nightengale, and any of you I inadvertently left off…love you all and our supportive community.
Thank you to Julie Silver, MD and all the fabulous agents and colleagues at Harvard Medical School’s CME publishing course who have provided a stimulating environment to grow in and share our love of book-writing, publishing and getting the word out–Jeanne Fredericks, Regina Brooks, Deirdre Mullane, Rebecca Gradinger, Albert LaFarge, Linda Konner, Don Fehr, Randy Kamen-Gredinger (Dr. RKG), Susan Aiello, Martha Murphy. To Rusty Shelton for first suggesting me as a workshop facilitator to Julie and has done so much to help my book writing clients build their platforms–before and after getting published.
And my mastermind group held a special call to help me with title and other questions as I developed the materials–thank you Tomas Nani, Sue Landis, Richard Banta and Bob Korman. Ken Foster‘s “hot seat” provided invaluable input. And the coaches in my life who helped me over the years in many different ways: Teri Scheinzeit, Wendy Keilin, Belinda Fuchs, Morgana Rae, Dennis Rebelo–you’re all amazing and I’ve learned so much from each of you. Julia Griffin, you are an amazing mentor. Melissa Sones–WOW, Thank you.
Finalists were chosen by more than 140 business professionals nationwide during preliminary judging in April and May. More than 150 members of 10 specialized judging committees will determine Stevie Award placements from among the Finalists during final judging, to take place May 14 – 25.
The list of Finalists in all categories are available at www.stevieawards.com/aba.
I’m holding a book writing open house and introductory program in Narragansett Friday and I got a very interesting e-mail from someone who had inquired early and wanted me to know that she couldn’t attend because she’d be 20 minutes late.
I pointed out we’d probably all be filling our plates at that time and she was welcome to join us late. She replied that the weather would have the final word on whether she could come.
So I asked her point blank, “Are you committed to this book? Your e-mails make me think something is holding you back.”
She told me she didn’t want “the bother that’s involved in getting it published.”
Okay, I get it. Most people are intimidated by something outside their comfort zone. That’s human nature.
Let me tell you about Pat Hastings. She felt an inner calling to write her book, Simply a Woman of Faith, even though she didn’t think she could write. She asked for guidance and support and found it. And then she wrote a beautiful book that has literally saved people’s lives, as they tell it!
But after she wrote it, she realized she had to publish it and she knew nothing about that. So she educated herself, chose self publishing and figured it out step by step, also with support and guidance from others who’d walked the path before.
And then she realized she had to market this book. She was a substance abuse counselor (for at least two decades) at the time. Marketing?
But she took that step, too, and the strangest thing happened. She fell in love with marketing her book. She loved meeting new people. She relished the connections she made in every encounter with readers, fellow-authors, speakers and radio and TV hosts she met along the way. She marveled at the synchronicities and the stories people told her of the difference her book made in their lives.
She didn’t do this all at once. Just step by step.
Some of my other clients and students choose the traditional publishing path. It’s intimidating. It’s completely out of their comfort zone. They do it anyway. They get the guidance and support they need and they get agents and publishing contracts because they’re willing to learn something new.
I really don’t think we come to the earth school to do it all alone. We’re here to learn from each other, to share our experiences and to help each other along the path.
So, stop resisting. If you truly feel called to write a book, embrace the new experiences you’ll need, step-by-step, and with loving, experienced guides and kindred-spirits by your side. You CAN do it.
In the spirit of community, I hope you’ll join me and Linda Joy tomorrow, Wednesday, February 2 for Birth Your Book: From Inspiration to Published Author. It’s a free teleseminar and you’ll not only receive guidance about writing your book and developing your following so you can publish and reach readers, but you’ll get a sense of that community when you join the 600 or so aspiring authors who’ve signed up for the call!
PS If you’re interested in the open house on Friday at noon in Narragansett, RI, please e-mail me at bookcoach at lisatener dot com for directions. We’re holding it right after my book writing class and you’ll have a chance to meet some of my current students and hear their stories–including Anne Burnett who recently signed a publishing contract!
1. Targeting: Wouldn’t you love to have a portfolio EXCLUSIVELY of ideal clients—those people you just LOVE to work with, who leave you energized and full of a sense of purpose? There’s no better way to attract your ideal clients than to write a book for them.
2. A Boost for High End Sales: One of my clients, Evana Maggiore, says that a $25 book sale off the internet often results in someone devouring her book, Fashion Feng Shui: The Power of Dressing with Intention, in one sitting and then registering for a $3,000 plus seminar. What could your book do for you?
3. Be the Expert You are and Get that PR: I’ve had many an expert tell me they couldn’t get on TV until they became a published author. TV and other PR provide great exposure for your business and your book makes it that much easier to get coverage (especially at the national level). If you want to be seen as one of the top experts in your field, just write a book! (Your competition probably is…).
4. New Experiences: Exciting opportunities will show up in your life as people read your book and want to connect or partner with you—things you may not have even dreamed of. One of my clients, Pat Hastings, author of Simply a Woman of Faith, has led retreats in Bermuda, Hawaii and a Caribbean cruise as a result of becoming a published author.
5. Hang Out with Interesting People: When I became a published author, I began to meet other authors, speakers, TV and radio hosts and others whom I found stimulating and inspiring. Becoming an author will expand your circle.
6. Increase Your Influence: If you want to impact more people with your wisdom, system or message, a book is one of your most potent tools.
7. Double or Triple Your Speaking Income (or Start a Speaking Career): No question that most speakers get paid more (and get higher profile speaking gigs) when they become published authors.
8. Retire from Your Day Job: Pat Hastings retired from her job as a substance abuse counselor 9 months after publishing her first book, Simply a Woman of Faith, and launched her career as a spiritual life coach. What’s your dream job?
9. Tax write-offs: You may be able to write off expenses that are related to your book (travel, research, classes that inform your book, etc.). Check with your accountant.
10. The Feel Good Factor: Writing a book provides a powerful sense of accomplishment. After all, according to a New York Times article, it’s on 81% of people’s bucket lists, yet most people never make it happen.
11. A New Expanded YOU: Writing a book makes you expand and grow as a person in ways you may not even expect. You’ll develop new skills, step into your power and more deeply align with your purpose and Spirit. I see it in my clients and it’s exciting to watch that process unfold.
So, what’s your top reason for writing a book in 2011? What will you do about it? Share your comments and commitment here so we can support you.
When Linda Joy invited me to become an advisory board member of Aspire Magazine, I got goose bumps. Linda is all about delivering inspiration to women–a mission I could get behind.
Two plus years later, my community has grown significantly, partly through knowing Linda and being part of all that is Aspire magazine online and Inspired Living Publishing. Linda truly knows how to create a “village” and reach people with her inspired message.
You may know that recently Linda and I decided to team up and offer you our combined secrets on both sides of the book equation—book writing and book sales. To sell books, you need to work on your author platform before you write your book—and Linda is an expert on how to grow that author platform.
Working together on Birth Your Book: From Inspiration to Published Author, I’m learning so much just by watching Linda in motion. Here are 3 of the things I learned from Linda:
1. Ask for help—people love to be asked, but they can’t read your mind: When Linda began inviting my clients and former students to promote our free teleseminar, I realized how little I invite my clients and students to do such things. While a handful may spontaneously retweet or comment on a facebook post, how much more powerful to have your very-happy clients promoting a new program of yours through a personal phone call or an e-mail blast to their tribes?
2. Tend to your past clients and the people who know your work: These people already know the value and quality of your work. Introduce them to new business ventures—invite them to become affiliates and offer your programs to people to earn a commission when people sign up for your paid programs—it’s a win/win/win for everyone—from the new person who benefits from working with you to the past client earning a commission and getting to help a friend—and you grow your business and the list of people who want what you have to offer.
3. Give your community the tools they need to support you: Linda is so organized. She doesn’t just rely on the shopping cart’s affiliate center (which can be confusing). She e-mailed everyone several different sized banners they can use in newsletters, e-mails and on their website, as well as text they can use to promote the program.
Above all, Linda is a woman of integrity and love. She has tremendous passion for everything she does and she generates true enthusiasm for the purposeful work of colleagues, clients and friends, supporting and promoting their work. This powerful way of being in the world inspires me and all who know her to take our way of being to a whole new level.
Did this article spark any ideas for you in growing your community and author platform? Linda and I will be sharing more Author Platform Secrets on our joint teleseminar: Birth Your Book: From Inspiration to Published Author on Wed. Sept. 21, 2011 at 8:30 p.m. Eastern time. You can sign up here. And I’ll also share how you can finally get your book written.
And if you’d like to spread the word about our Birth Your Book Teleseminar and potentially earn a commission for those who sign up for paid programs, here’s your link to become an affiliate or read more about the program here. Joining our campaign, perhaps you’ll be inspired to start one of your own.
An aspiring author recently called me to explore writing coaching to help him write his book. He wondered about hiring a ghostwriter. Generally, I’m all about writing your book yourself. I’ve met too many people who’ve hired ghostwriters and been disappointed.
And most relatively smart people can develop an engaging (or even compelling) style and find their authentic voice as a writer by learning a few important skills with the help of a writing coach or editor. The only reasons to hire a ghostwriter is if you’ve gotten solid expert help and you still can’t write or you just don’t have the time.
This person didn’t have much time. His question was critical. Could he find the time to write his book?
It can take years to write a book and I know people who’ve written books in a manner of weeks. In my book writing classes, some students have a first draft within eight or ten weeks. Some never finish at all; others can take months to write their book.
Writing a book as quickly as eight weeks assumes that either you don’t need to do much research for the book, or you write your first draft without doing much research and then you do the research afterward (or have someone else do some of the research for you).
You’ll write faster (and you’ll write a better book) if you spend time before the writing to clarify your goals in writing a book, the audience or market for the book, the book concept, including features, tone, how the book fits in with what’s currently out there, and the outline of your book.
How fast you write a book also depends on how much time you commit per week. However, just because you devote yourself full time to writing doesn’t mean you’ll have your book any sooner than someone who has a full time job. Sometimes the people with demanding jobs are the best at making the most of the 30 or 90 minutes a day they devote to writing a book.
While I can’t tell you how long it will take you to write your book, I do know that those who consistently make writing appointments in their calendars and hold themselves to it (often with the support of a writing buddy, book coach or a book writing class) can often predict, after a few weeks, how soon they’ll have a first draft.
If you’re wondering how long it will take to write a book, I suggest you spend time to clarify the market and book concept, outline the book and then write for two to three weeks. Be consistent about your weekly commitment and see how much you accomplish in that time. At that point you should be able to project how long it will take you to complete writing your book.
If, in that time, you get little accomplished, you’ll also realize it’s a good idea to reach out for more help in whatever form works best for you–writing buddy, writing group at a local library, a book writing class, an editor or a writing coach.
Just get started and your answer will become clearer. And, at some point, you’ll know exactly how long it takes to write your book–you’ll be holding that book in your hands.
One of my clients recently spoke to a friend, the wife of a long-time New York Times bestselling author who brought up a new kink in the book writing business. This woman, an author in her own right, said that she knows of several authors with major publishers who lost their editor due to lay-offs at their publishing house.
Unfortunately, when your editor leaves the publishing house, your book may languish because the person who fell in love with the project and has the most passion for it is now gone. This is really bad news. In the publishing industry, we call the book an “orphan.”
You don’t want your book to become an orphan. So, how do you protect yourself? One way is to complete your book before you send out the book proposal. That way, your book can proceed to editing and printing much more quickly and decrease the odds of becoming an orphan.
My client, however, didn’t want to wait another several months to finish her book. She’d been working on the book proposal for more than a year and it’s finally ready to send off. Neither of us felt like waiting. We agreed that she would send off the book proposal to agents, but continue writing at a healthy pace, so that once her book found a publisher, she would be well on her way to completing the book.
There’s no right or wrong answer here. You just need to be aware of the changing dynamics of publishing right now and make the best choices you can. And then…trust the universe.
Many aspiring writers meet their first challenge when they face the writing of their introduction. If you think like your reader, you should find the job much easier.
In the introduction your reader is trying to find out:
1. Will this book help me solve my particular problem, challenge or goal?
2. What kind of results can I expect to get by reading this book (for a self-help or how-to book) or What kind of experience might I expect in reading this book?
3. Does the author have some kind of system to help me and is it something I can easily learn, use and incorporate into my life? (for a self-help or how-to book)
4. Will this book be fun to read? Will I enjoy the time I spend reading it? Is it entertaining? Moving?
Your reader also wants to know about you:
1. Has this author helped many people? or What are the author’s credentials?
2. What kinds of results have other people gotten with the author’s system or work?
3. Do I trust this author?
4. Do I like this author? Do I relate to him or her?
Your introduction should:
1. Motivate your readers to read the book
2. Inspire your readers to envision what they might get out of the book
3. Begin to develop a relationship between you and your readers
4. Help readers understand how the book will help them
5. Tell readers how to get the most out of the book (for a how-to book)
You want your book to come alive for readers starting on page 1: show your readers by providing details and actions that help readers draw conclusions. When you tell (“He was angry.” “I hate politicians.”), you’re not making your story real for your reader. The book is two dimensional. When you use the five senses to show your reader, the book pops off the page.
Fill your introduction with plenty of stories that make your points and your readers will become engaged.
Let’s hear from you:
- Have any questions on writing an engaging introduction?
- Any tips you’d offer others on writing an introduction?
- Want to share something you did with your book’s introduction?
- Or a writing challenge you’re experiencing right now?
Comment on the blog and let’s hear from you.
This writer cares about typos. If you find one, click here to be part of the EditMob – it’s anonymous.
I have a great free publicity tip for you today and it can work whether you’re working on creating more of a fan base and platform before your book is even published, or you’re looking to promote your just-published book.
A new client recently called me for help with his book–an MD with prestigious credentials but not much of a “platform” in terms of mass media or internet publicity. His first challenge was in deciding whether to self-publish or traditionally publish.
He took my web-based course designed to help you make your Publishing Decision. The class made his decision clear–traditionally publish–but the course also made it clear he needed to have a following and some national presence.
His book concept is catchy and has huge potential, but in this market, that’s not enough. He needs national exposure in the press and/or the internet.
I planned to suggest that he do some work with my friend and colleague, Lisa Sussman. She could help him get articles published in national magazines. When I called Lisa, she pointed out an additional terrific avenue for free publicity.
The AMA, APA and other professional organizations all have PR offices. When a journalist is writing an article, particularly a young journalist with fewer connections, they often call the APA or AMA asking them to suggest a credible expert to interview. My client could call the publicity department of the APA, or whatever national organization he belongs to, and ask them to keep him in mind as an expert on his subject.
You don’t need to be an MD, PhD or psychologist to use this free publicity strategy. If you belong to any regional or national organizations, or even a local chamber of commerce, let the publicity folks know that you are available as an expert and resource to speak to the press on a number of issues (and give them a list of the possible areas and issues for reference).
Try out the strategy and let me know how it works for you!
I am writing in response to Mary O’Connor’s comment/ question for the writing coach:
“What advice would give to someone with a fully formed book about addicted mothers of young children? I don’t know how to frame the format and include my personal story, my professional story and the macro effects of current policy on our culture and future.
“Hint – I want to testify before congress, but am not sure of my audiance. Thank you for this resource. I love it. Floundering in upstate Michigan.”
Mary, you bring up a very important point. You can’t write for EVERYBODY. What you can do, though, is picture your audience like a dartboard. Who is the core audience you’re writing for? They’re your bulls eye. What other secondary audiences would be interested in your book? They would form outer rings on the board.
Before organizing your book, or writing a table of contents, I would clarify the core audience, then maybe have a chapter each to address the needs of any secondary markets or audiences (or you can use appendices). Another option is to use sidebars in each chapter.
Let’s say, for example, if you decide your core audience is family members of the addicted moms, for lawmakers/policy issues, have blue sidebars [sidebars are those boxes that contain relevant text that is either too technical for many readers or might appeal to a subset of readers or provides an example story to illustrate points in the text]; for addictions counselors and professionals, yellow sidebars, etc.
Once you’re clear who the core audience is, ask yourself what they are most looking for and what format would be most useful to them. If the core audience is families of addicts, you might write more of a how-to book with memoir elements. The last chapter or two could include more societal/global issues. Or you can include sidebars with those issues in each chapter.
Make sure your first chapter or introduction captures the reader’s interest. Let the reader know what they’ll get out of your book and provide inspiring and motivating examples of people you’ve helped. Good stories always captivate-use anecdotes.
Now, if you’re asking, how do you decide who the core audience is, let me know and please provide a little more information on all your goals, and I’ll write up another blog post!
Does that help?
People often come to me with more than one great book idea. One thing I do as a writing coach is help them evaluate which book to write. Here are a few ways to evaluate for starters:
1. Goal based:
- Identify Your Goals.
- Evaluate each book project on how well it meets your goals.
- If there’s a tie, of the two or three that meet your goals best, which do you feel most excited about?
2. Passion based: On a scale of 1-10, ten being most inspiring, rate each potential book project. Which ones are a ten? If none is a ten, ask yourself, what’s missing? What could make this a ten?
3. Market based: Answer these questions:
- Who’s your natural audience?
- Who do you tend to work with or whom do you want to work with in the future?
- What are their biggest challenges or problems (in their eyes and their own words)?
- Which of your book ideas would help them solve these problems or address their challenges and offer the results or benefits they’re looking for?
I’ll often help them understand what factors might make the book more sell-able in the current market, but, ultimately, I also want them to look within. I often take them through a visualized journey where they connect with their muse. If their muse contradicts my advice? I say, go with your muse.
Someone told me yesterday that he lost millions in the stock market. Guess what? The stock market peak is not actually money in your pocket–it’s the concept of money he lost. Money invested anywhere holds a risk and everyone seemed to have forgotten that until a few weeks ago.
Now, I’m no financial analyst, but this past year, I’ve been happily investing in my business: in courses, conferences and other professional development–learning more about web 2.0, social networking, seo and other not-so-esoteric information. I’ve been investing in a consultant to help me with my business, people to help me with my website and course development and even a writing coach / editor for a book outside my genre.
How are you investing in yourself?