Watch this interview with Suzanne Proska and Kathy Wheeler as Kathy discusses the power of a book and the most commonly asked questions about writing a book.
Book marketing is so important. In this quick video you will learn some of the key elements that you should have in your book's description on Amazon through an analysis of Jen Sincero's You Are a Badass books.
Here's an easy list:
- Establish your authority
- Use any significant social proof
- The big idea/hook of the book
- The benefits of the book
- What you walk away with
Is writer’s block ever a problem for you? It is for me, and I’m an author and book coach. Here are five methods I use for conquering my own writer's block that you can use too.
1. Stop Being Your Own Worst Critic
You know that you are your own worst critic. Sometimes it is good to be reminded of this. The last time you wrote a blog post or similar piece you probably had harsh thoughts of a sentence or paragraph only to find that it was the reader’s favorite point.
When you are writing, and you have these critical thoughts, it creates an immediate stop sign for your brain. Putting a criticism in place freezes your brain in a sense.
In fact, self-criticism creates behavior inhibition in the brain. In turn, this inhibition impacts working towards a goal. It also affects the language processors. In other words, self-criticism impairs your writing progress.
Simply think the writing process as a brainstorming session where every idea has equal merit - where every idea is written down. The ones that don’t will be removed later during the editing. During the writing, let all ideas flow.
Does this sound too hard? Start with writing the first five thoughts that come to your mind. Just write them without thinking or analyzing them.
Now your mind should have worked itself out of its jam.
2. Do Your Worst
Have you ever told your kids to do their worst on something they are trying? How about yourself? Probably not.
Although you probably do put a lot of pressure on yourself to do your best. You want to be at your peak performance. It’s not often that you try to do your worst. Doing your worst is an excellent method for stopping writer’s block.
Thinking of the worst will release your brain.
Start with the five worst sentences that you can think of about the section of the book (or blog or any piece) you are writing.
For example, if you were writing about writer’s block you could come up with sentences like:
Writer’s block is no fun.
Writer’s block is blah.
If while working on these five, your brain switches tracks and starts thinking of good ones write those down too. If so inclined, you can completely change back to writing good sentences.
While writing the above sentences, it was hard to stick to the bad track and would have been easier to switch to good sentences. You may find the same. Go ahead and write good ones when you are ready.
You have permission to write bad sentences when needed. Do it now.
3. Clear Your Brain
Are you still looking for more ways to conquer writer’s block?
Clearing your brain can stop writer’s block.
Your brain may just have too much happening. There are several ways to clear your brain by taking a quick break.
1. Take a break and get a drink of water or coffee. This activity will focus your mind on something else for a bit. Clearing your mind and putting the concentration on a simple task for these few moments can be the small difference that you need.
2. Do a few minutes of physical cross-lateral brain exercises. These are exercises that make the left and right side of your brain reconnect. This little spark can open up new possibilities in your brain. These exercises can be as simple as moving your arms back and forth to overlap one another.
If the exercises aren’t for you, there is another type. Simply try doing an everyday task such as writing or eating with your non-dominant hand. Using the non-dominant hand will make your mind think differently.
3. Use breathing techniques. For centuries as part of yoga, people have been using breathing techniques to clear their minds. While most people do breathing exercises for a sense of serenity, you can use it to your advantage for writing. Taking the few minutes to breathe right can make you write well.
4. Take a 30-minute aerobic exercise break. Exercising for this length will release endorphins or feel-good activators. The endorphins help with stress. Writer’s block is certainly stressful, and these endorphins can give you that extra boost you need to write those headlines.
What exercise best helps you clear your brain? Keep that in mind for the next time you face writer's block.
4. Make Your Masterpiece to Music
Books have the power to impact people. So does music. It is so powerful that it can be used to stop writer’s block.
Music also has a powerful effect on the brain. It can help connect the right and left sides of your brain and provide harmony also known as the Mozart effect.
The next time you are stuck in your writing play classical music. If you really can’t stand classical then try something more to your taste that matches the emotions you want in the piece you are writing. Some authors even create a soundtrack for their book that they listen to while putting the book together.
What would the soundtrack for the book you want to write have on it?
There are four powerful methods for you to try the next time you have writer's block. Do you have a more specific issue with writer's block? Email me at email@example.com, and we will conquer it.
What is a story bank? It’s a free treasure chest of gems for you.
A story bank is a list of stories that you keep to use in your future writing (or speeches). I keep my writing bank in my phone’s note section.
It doesn’t have many details, just enough so that I will remember when I need to pull one out.
Here is an example of the first item in my current story bank.
It says, “Watching the reconnection between a father and kids at the airport.” Simple right?
My heart beats faster just reading that on the phone screen. That could be used in a post about balance or a post about how the simple things in business and life can bring us joy.
Here’s another example.
Imagine you’re ten years old and tell your best friend this great idea at recess. It’s a new combination of toppings that you want to try at the sundae store. Walking in from recess you hear your friend tell another girl with blond braids about this great idea claiming it’s her own. How do you feel?
That’s a story that most people can relate to in one way or another.
Why use a story? There are so many reasons including it makes you more relatable and engages your audience more.
When you have a funny experience or something catches your heart record it for future use. Especially if it is an experience your ideal client would have.
What are the things in your everyday life that you can tie back to your business?
For example, something about a trip to Target if your ideal client shops there. Some of the most engaging business posts I have seen have had Target stories in them.
Another example is how you handle the frustration of a long line. You could also consider stories about comparing yourself at the beach, your kid having a melt down at the store, or date night with your hubby.
Each of those stories above can be tied back to your business. Take a bit of time to brainstorm and you will see the ties that can be there.
You will engage your audience and make your post more valuable. It adds so much to a book as well.
Let’s talk about money. Finances can be a very uncomfortable subject. It’s also something that people care about. To satisfy your curiosity I am going to share with you some of the investment that goes into a self-published book.
First, you are spending time writing a book. You want it to be a high quality book that will represent your business well. You want the quality of the book to match the quality of your services. Trust me on this! Once I bypassed this essential step and it cost me in the review. It has since been rectified the best way possible, but I wish I had not made that mistake. Learn from my experience! You don’t want to cheap out on the editing.
There are three main components that will cost you money in self-publishing a book (and some in traditional publishing as well) along with one surprising cost you don’t have to incur.
The areas you will spend in are editing, cover design, and possibly interior formatting. The one area you don’t have to pay for anything upfront is the printing of the book.
The true cost is hard to calculate though because you have to consider the benefits you will gain from having a book. It will build your credibility, give you exposure, and if written properly, help you gain clients. Not to mention the amazing feeling you will have. That is priceless.
Editing can make or break a book. It is the most crucial component for the quality of a book. You want to have a good editor and you don’t want to skimp on this.
Have I told you the story of my first book? I knew a bunch of English teachers, people with PhD’s, etc. I knew that I didn’t need to spend money on an editor. I couldn’t have been more wrong. While there were little to no technical errors in the book, there was a lot of developmental editing that could have been done. The book would have been much stronger if certain elements were drawn out.
If you want your book to shine, I recommend having it more than just proofread. You want to hire a professional editor to review it and polish it for you. They know what to look for and how to make things so much better.
Even if you plan on traditionally publishing, I recommend having your book at least copy edited before sending it to agents for review.
When you start writing your book, do it with knowing that you will need to hire an editor.
Don’t judge a book by its cover. That’s a saying, because we all do judge a book by its cover. It’s also why cover design has changed throughout the years along with fashion.
When browsing through the thumbnails on Amazon potential buyers will definitely notice your covers.
Sure, you likely have the tools to design the cover yourself, but unless you are a beautiful designer I highly recommend that you hire someone.
What is the ugliest book cover you’ve seen? You probably don’t remember because you passed it up in Amazon.
Yes, a professional designer for a cover is something that you will need to spend money on!
They have the training and will know how to calculate the spine width, what should be included on the back cover, and how to source the bar code. These are things that you don’t want to deal with as an author and shouldn’t deal with if you want a high quality book.
Print on Demand Book Publishing
FREE. It’s one of the most powerful words in the English language. We all love free stuff. That’s probably why there isn’t one of you in here without a free giveaway on your website. If you don’t have a free giveaway to build your mailing list start thinking about one now!
The good news is that there is something that you don’t have to pay for upfront in self-publishing and that is the printing of the books. It used to be that a self-published author had to order 1,000 or so books up front paying for it out of their pocket. That’s not the case anymore.
Most self-published books are now done using print-on-demand services like CreateSpace (associated with Amazon.com). What that means is that your book can be listed for sale on Amazon without you having to pay anything. When a book is ordered, they deduct the minimal printing costs from your royalties.
As a book coach, it would be faulty of me to leave out this potential service. If you are writing a book and want to be guided through how to make the most impact possible, have someone to bounce your ideas off of, and someone to walk you through the process from idea to book in your hand, you will want to hire a book coach. If you want to know more about that please email me at Kathy@wheelerwriting.com.
Keep all of these expenses in mind as you go about writing your book. A book is a lifelong dream come to fruition and you don’t want to skimp on it.
It used to be that years ago, to be self-published was a blemish. It was not considered as prestigious as traditional publishing. That has changed, and now self-publishers can produce books of the same high quality as traditional publishers. It’s all about the know-how and the right advice.
I am not a dream crusher, so I have one example below of when it is a good idea to try to publish traditionally.
Here are some reasons that you should self-publish, especially if you are using your book to build your credibility and business.
1. The chances of traditional publishing success are small.
Books that start with the author wanting to traditionally publish and actually end up being so make up a minuscule percentage. It varies for fiction and nonfiction. At national writing conferences, I have heard anywhere from 1% to 10% of the books that are intended to be traditionally published actually are. Even on the high end, the chances are small. With self-publishing, there is a 100% chance your book will be published as long as you follow the guidelines. That means that with self-publishing you will hold your book in your hands.
2. The time it takes to traditionally publish is considerably longer.
Chances are that if you want to write a book, you want to use it to build your credibility and help your speaking or coaching career. A traditional book takes years to go through the complete process. With self-publishing, you can go from a book idea to a finished book very quickly. In as little as 90 days, you can hold a quality book in your hand that will serve your purposes.
One such instance of this happened to Tami. She came to me over one Labor Day weekend (the start of Sept.) and wanted a finished book by Christmas to send to her family and friends as a Christmas card, of sorts. We met over coffee, and she told me about the amazing story she had to share. We came up with a timeline that worked for her, and she had her book ready to send out with her Christmas cards. In this case, she wanted her book within three months and was able to follow the plan and do it.
Other people want a book to build their credibility and help gain clients. Having a book in your hands that you can give to your clients within 90 days is ideal.
3. You have more control over the marketing and keep more of the profits for the same effort.
One of the reasons that so many people want to traditionally publish is they think the publisher will take care of all of the marketing. That’s just not the case. One of the things that traditional publishers look at when considering your book is the size of your platform, or how many current followers you have. They do that because there’s already a built-in market to sell your book.
Unless you’re John Grisham or Brené Brown, the publisher won’t do massive book marketing for you. The majority of the responsibility is yours. The lack of publisher-provided marketing is why so many authors who have published traditionally in the past are switching to a combination of traditional and self-publishing.
Recently, I received a message from a friend whose wife released a book with a big name traditional publisher. He wrote, “… [the] book sold in the neighborhood of 35,000 – 40,000 copies and we got zero support the publisher…”
Marketing a book requires work, no matter which way you publish. Just like you can’t build a website and expect people to come, you can’t publish a book and expect people to come without some marketing.
When you self-publish, you are not splitting royalties with your publisher. Depending on the platforms that you select, you can earn up to 70% royalties on major sites like Amazon.com. The royalties will not be that large with a traditional publisher.
4. You have complete creative and editorial control.
When you self-publish, you need to go through many of the same steps as traditional publishing. The best part is you have the option of saying “no” to suggested changes. That’s something that you can’t always have with the traditional process.
There are so many areas where you will want creative control. The most obvious is the cover. You want the perfect cover that conveys your message and that you’re proud to show off. You want it to attract your ideal client. In the traditional process, the editorial and design committee might give you some say, but you don’t have complete control.
So while you don’t want a pink cover with purple polka dots if you are writing a book targeted at men, you do want to have creative control and perspective on your cover. You will want it to be something that fits your market. With your creative control, you can use your brand’s colors, look and feel . Your brand is the best way for people to recognize your style and know it’s a good fit for them.
The other area where you will want complete control is the editorial process. The book is your message. You will need to have your book edited to make sure that it is clear, flows well, and has proper spelling and grammar. However, if the editor suggests a change, you don’t have to accept it if you know your way is better.
For example, on a fiction book that I wrote, my editor wanted me to change the career of one of my main characters. But I knew who my audience was. I knew that they would prefer my character with the career that I gave her. No battles were fought because what I wanted stayed in the book. Similarly, in my nonfiction pieces, I know better than my editor the terms and language that my audience is familiar with. Self-publishing means I don’t have to accept all of the changes suggested.
5. You can write and market your book toward your goal.
One thing to consider is the actual goal of your book. If your goal is to reach the most people, there are tools available to you as a self-publisher not available with a traditional publisher. One technique I used got thousands of copies of my book into the hands of readers in a matter of days. When marketing your book as a coach or entrepreneur, the best strategy is to gain clients from your book and not necessarily to bank the most money from the actual book sale. This is an in depth strategy that requires thought and consideration prior to writing your book.
One Good Reason to Traditionally Publish – You have had your heart set on it.
There is one good reason to traditionally publish that I want to share. Some people have their hearts set on traditionally publishing. If that’s you, I say to give it a shot. I don’t want to be a dream slayer, but I am a realist. Set a timeline to locate a traditional publisher or agent who will work with you. Watch the additional video on how I answered one of my student’s questions on this. (https://youtu.be/_XzgbOgQ8b8).
I am in a writing group with some nonfiction and fiction authors who really want to be traditionally published. While they are refining their work, they are self-publishing the pieces that they have. One woman, who has an excellent book, gave herself a period of 6 months to find an agent. She never did find the right one and ended up happily self-publishing.
The more books people have, the better chance you have of connecting with someone through the book and them becoming a client.
There are so many advantages to self-publishing, and if you have a book aching to get out of you, I suggest this route. Please, if you have any questions, email me at Kathy@wheelerwriting.com.
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