Archive for Writing & Editing

Another Fresh NEW Book from One of Our Valued Clients

Lynn Serafinn interviews Chris Scott on using imaging a colour book, working with a photographer, and how crossover authors can communicate their message.

Today, I have the great pleasure of being the host on Day 7 of Chris Scott’s Virtual Blog Tour. Chris’ book Face With a Heart: Mastering Authentic Beauty MakeUp is celebrating its big Amazon launch TODAY, June 2nd, 2015.

NEWS UPDATE June 2nd:
This afternoon, Chris’ book Face With a Heart hit #1 bestseller in “Cosmetics” on Amazon US.

CHRIS SCOTT, M.A. is the creator of San Francisco-based Makeup Gourmet®. Over his nearly 30-year career, in addition to doing makeup for top models from every corner of the planet, he has also had the honor of working for legends like Paul McCartney, US Vice President Al Gore, Shirley Temple Black, Maya Angelou and Olympic Gold medalists Oksana Baiul and Kristi Yamaguchi. He was the creator and host of the TV show Makeup Gourmet from 2008 to 2010, he was a leading Chanel Beauté national artist for over two decades, and is also the creator and guest teacher of Fashion Makeup at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. He created his unique Makeup Gourmet line to ensure his clients and the public have access to high-quality, ethically produced, ‘green’ makeup and skincare with a low-carbon footprint. Chris is also the author of the wonderfully visual ‘how to’ book Face with a Heart: Mastering Authentic Beauty Makeup (2014), as well as Cosmetic Counter Survival Guide: How to Buy the Right Skin Care and Makeup (2003).

Yesterday, Chris visited Mali Apple and Joe Dunn at http://bit.ly/1JJYsPI where they talked about tapping into our own beauty, and why authentic beauty is unrelated to our age.

Today, I’d like to share a recent interview I had with Chris when I got to ask him some questions on how to choose visual images for a full-colour book, working with a photographer, and how ‘crossover’ authors can communicate their message to their audience. I hope you enjoy it.

*** INTERVIEW ***

Lynn: As a makeup artist, your challenges as an author are different from many of us, as your work depends upon having excellent images/visuals in your book. What tips would you give other authors about planning and selecting the right images for their books, and about choosing and working with a photographer?

Chris Scott of Makeup Gourmet, author of 'Face with a Heart'

Author Chris Scott

CHRIS: For original images, commit as much time to the image production and selection process as to the writing process. Be annoyingly picky. Do not waste your time with a ‘bargain’ photographer. Get a pro. Shoot it right.

I also suggest tapping into the vast online stock image libraries. Pay the royalty fee and the image is yours to use without any copyright infringement. This is a real time/money saver if appropriate for your title.

Something I also did before I released the book to the public, I made some prototype copies and handed the books to selected individuals, observing how they responded to each image as they skimmed the book.

I spent an equal amount of time working with an illustrator for this book. There is no substitute for this. If you need to illustrate a point, illustrate it to your exact specifications. Specificity and meticulousness will pay off in rewarding dividends.

Lynn: I see your book as a ‘crossover’ in the market. It’s not just about ‘how to put on makeup’ but it’s also about self-image, confidence and inner beauty. How easy or difficult was it to communicate this combination message when you were writing your book?

CHRIS: The process is about embracing my authentic message and lending it a visual and textual voice. I love to deconstruct to clarify each element. It is the breaking down and then the rebuilding that helps me (and others) grasp the authentic beauty message. This is how I teach so this is how I write.

Lynn:  How easy or difficult has it been to bring this crossover message in your marketing or when you are telling other people about your book? How do you make sure people ‘get it’ and get what you are all about?

CHRIS: I do it through open-ended sound bites and questions that inspire conversation. As this is a layered philosophy, it is important to present the layers individually and then expand from where people first engage with the conversation. Here are two strong examples. For some it is all about the makeup, for others it is about wanting to stay true to themselves and not put out an air of falseness.

To be 100% corny, this is the easiest thing I have ever marketed because I have tested it so much and believe so devoutly in my message. I know it works and love finding ways to turn peoples head in my direction to see the new alternative to traditional beauty makeup.

Lynn:  What advice would you give other authors who want to bring a ‘mind body spirit’ slant to something not usually associated with it, like you have done with makeup?

CHRIS: First, believe it. Second, test it.

I employed the why/how technique with this book. I first tell people why I am doing something and then tell them how. The ‘why’ informs the ‘how’ and gives it context and meaning.

By the way, two of my favorite examples of authors ‘spiritualizing’ their passions are Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig and Jamming: The Art and Discipline of Business Creativity by John Kao.

My advice to mind-body-spirit authors is this: Be fearless and say exactly what you mean. People will hear you. We all find solace in something in which we excel. Deconstruct that solace and share it along with sharing your expertise. They are inseparable, so write from your heart as I did with Face with a Heart.

*** END OF INTERVIEW ***

 

BOOK: 'Face With a Heart' by Chris ScottI hope you enjoyed this interview with Chris Scott and that you’ll check out his book Face With a Heart: Mastering Authentic Beauty Make-Up during his big Amazon launch TODAY, June 2nd. When you buy the book during the launch, you’ll receive dozens of free gifts from Chris, and his friends and colleagues. You can CLICK HERE to find out more about the book and these free gifts.

One of the gifts when you buy the book is the MP3 downloads to Chris’ 3-Day Telesummit ‘The Keys to Feeling Authentically Beautiful’, with fabulous panel of 11 internationally renowned image experts.

To get the book and receive all the authentic beauty bonus gifts, go to
http://makeupgourmet.com/book-launch/pages/pre-launch.php

*** FOLLOW CHRIS ON HIS BLOG TOUR ***

If you’d like to catch more of Chris’ Virtual Blog tour, ‘visit’ him at these dates and places:

WEDNESDAY MAY 27th: Andrew Mondia’s Pear-Shaped View Blog at http://bit.ly/1Go22vZ where they will talk about how beauty is for everyone, inner beauty, and seeing yourself through the eyes of others.

THURSDAY MAY 28th: Tina Games’ Moonlight Musings blog at http://bit.ly/1nJGkuY where they will talk about authentic beauty, believing you are beautiful, and the difference between ‘classic’ and ‘authentic’ beauty makeup.

FRIDAY MAY 29th: Callie Carling’s Cancer Goddess blog at http://bit.ly/1Jv46Zf where they will talk about how light affects the way we look, and regaining confidence through authentic beauty.

SATURDAY MAY 30TH: Dana Taylor’s Supernal Living blog at http://wp.me/p1yTXR-AL where they will discuss authentic beauty for the older generation, and the keys to maintaining healthy skin as we age.

SUNDAY MAY 31ST: Michelle Galatoire’s Nourish and Bloom blog at http://bit.ly/1DBQWCI where they will talk about being seen authentically in public, and how to see ourselves the way other people see us.

MONDAY JUNE 1ST: Mali Apple’s and Joe Dunn’s The Soulmate Experience at http://bit.ly/1JJYsPI where they will talk about tapping into our own beauty, and why authentic beauty is unrelated to our age.

TUESDAY JUNE 2nd: Lynn Serafinn’s Spirit Authors blog at http://wp.me/p3cvXN-Tf where they’ll be talking about how to choose visual images for a full-colour book, working with a photographer, and how ‘crossover’ authors can communicate their message to their audience.

Thanks for reading! Please share your comments and thoughts below. I love reading your feedback.

Lynn Serafinn


Join us on the Spirit Authors Page on Facebook

Connect with us on Twitter.


LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.

Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors. Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project, created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.

Twitter:

@LynnSerafinn   @SpiritAuthors @7GracesMarketng @GardenOfTheSoul

Facebook:

LynnSerafinn SpiritAuthors 7GracesOfMarketing 7 Graces Global Garden (group)

 

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Another Fresh NEW Book from One of Our Valued ClientsLynn Serafinn interviews Joy & Roy Martina on the challenges of writing a book on wellness, working with a publisher and co-authoring a book with your spouse.

Today, I have the great pleasure of being the host on Day 3 of Dr Joy and Roy Martina’s Virtual Blog Tour. Their new book Sleep your Fat Away: Train Your Brain to Lose Weight Effortlessly is celebrating its official launch on Tuesday April 21st, 2015.

Drs. JOY AND ROY MARTINA are amongst the world’s leaders in helping people get back into their power. Between them, they have published over 70 books (translated into more than 10 languages) and have trained hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. Their passion for natural approaches to health, longevity and fitness has led them to write their book Sleep Your Fat Away.

Yesterday, Joy and Roy visited Callie Carlings’ blog at ‘Cancer Goddess’ at http://www.cancergoddess.co.uk/2015/04/sleeping-your-way-to-wellness-and.html where they discussed emotional eating disorders and the effects of yo-yo dieting.

Today, I’d like to share with you a recent interview I had with Joy and Roy on the challenges of writing a book on wellness, the experience of working with a publisher and what it’s like to write a book with your spouse!

***INTERVIEW***

 Joy and Roy MartinaLYNN: I know you use these weight loss strategies with your clients. What were some of the major challenges you faced when trying to translate practical work into written lessons? Many of our readers are authors writing their own ‘how to’ and ‘self-help’ books, and I’m sure they’d appreciate your advice.

The biggest challenge is to keep it simple and easy to understand. As experts we are so used to doing what we do that we sometimes forget to keep it simple and that a novice might have a hard time understanding our instructions if we get too much “in our heads”. I like using my friends or kids as guinea pigs and see if they are able to follow what I am saying. If they get it, I know I am on the right track.

LYNN: Like you, many of our readers are also in holistic health and wellness professions. Are there specific things you have to look out for when writing a book on wellness? I mean, how do we avoid promising our readers ‘too much’ while also encouraging them to be the best they can be?

By keeping to real life examples and telling stories about successful interventions and clients’ experiences.

LYNN: What are you most proud of about Sleep Your Fat Away? What do you think you really communicated perfectly? What do you like most about the way it was written, laid out, illustrated, etc.? 

We like to think that our book is easy to understand and an entertaining read; we like the down to earth and “real” life approach we took also by using many examples from our own lives – making it authentic and helpful at the same time.

What did we communicate well? That you don’t need willpower or diets to lose weight. That real change can only come from the inside – by understanding how we are wired in our brains and subconscious mind and so being able to become aware of limiting beliefs and destructive patterns – which can then lead to real life style changes.

LYNN: Many of our readers are self-published. Tell us about your experience working with a publisher. How easy was it to ‘land the deal’? How have they been supporting you throughout your publishing journey?

It was easy to land the deal as they approached us. We are grateful for the actual experience of working with the publisher was interesting but it is not one we want to necessarily repeat. We did not feel supported by our publisher at all.

We found that the extra team we hired (Lynn’s team and the Wasabi PR team) were far more helpful and supportive than the publisher themselves. In our eyes marketing is one of the most important keys to a successful launch and this you need to take care of yourself as the publisher will not do it for you.

LYNN: And finally, to close, I’d love to know what it was like writing a book with your SPOUSE! What made it easy/not easy? What tips can you give to others who are co-authoring a book (especially those who are co-authoring with someone close to them).

JOY AND ROY: We love writing together – we are used to working together anyway and are lucky to really complement each other in many ways. -So we thoroughly enjoyed the process and found that we got the writing done in an extremely efficient and speedy way as we kept each other accountable and were able to motivate and inspire each other along the way.

*** END OF INTERVIEW ***

I hope you enjoyed this brief interview with co-authors Drs Joy and Roy Martina. This week, I am delighted to be HOSTING a special FREE 3-Day Telesummit with Joy, Roy and their friends and colleagues:

“Busting the MYTHS about Weight Loss”

Busting the MYTHS about Weight Loss TelesummitRegister FREE at
http://sleepyourfataway.com/book-launch/pages/telesummit.php

Here is Joy and Roy’s line up of guest panellists for this event (in order of appearance):

  • JOY and ROY MARTINA – #1 Holistic Thought Leaders, authors of Sleep Your Fat Away
  • LYNN SERAFINN – Marketing strategist for authors & ethical entrepreneurs, bestselling author (and someone who has recently lost 70 pounds herself)
  • ELLEN W. CUTLER – chiropractor, author, natural healing expert, creator of BioSET
  • LORI SHEMEK, PhD – bestselling author, international leader in health and weight loss
  • DOREEN POLIZZI – Health, wellness and lifestyle coach
  • DONI WILSON, N.D. – Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, nutritionist, midwife, bestselling author
  • AMBER ROMANIUK – holistic nutritionist, speaker, healthy eating expert
  • MATTHEW B. JAMES, Ph.D, – Doctor of Psychology, NLP master trainer, author of The Foundation of Huna
  • ERAM SAEED – Producer of “From Heartache to Joy”; founder of Journey to Joy Foundation
  • MAL DUANE – life recovery coach; transformational guide for women, bestselling author of Alpha Chick
  • ADAM HILL – Triathlete; Ironman triathlon All World Athlete

Again, you can register FREE at
http://sleepyourfataway.com/book-launch/pages/telesummit.php

If you cannot make the live broadcast, register anyway so you can listen to audio replays.

THEN, when you buy Sleep your Fat Away: Train Your Brain to Lose Weight Effortlessly during its official Amazon launch on April 21st, you’ll receive dozens of free gifts from Joy and Roy, and their friends and colleagues. You can CLICK HERE to find out more about the book, and these free gifts.

If you’d like to catch more of Joy and Roy’s Virtual Blog tour, “visit” them at these dates and places:

MONDAY April 13th: Tina Games’ Moonlight Musings’ blog at http://moonligtmusepress.com/blog/, where they will discuss how emotions affect our eating patterns and how to maintain a healthy weight.

TUESDAY APRIL 14th: Callie Carlings’ “Cancer Goddess” blog at http://www.cancergoddess.co.uk/2015/04/sleeping-your-way-to-wellness-and.html where they will talk about emotional eating disorders and the effects of yo-yo dieting.

THURSDAY APRIL 16th: Krystalya Marie’s Empowered Spirit blog at http://EmpoweredSpirit.com, where they will discuss childhood obesity and how we can keep weight off permanently.

FRIDAY APRIL 17th: Naturopathic Doctor Donielle Wilson ND’s blog at http://doctordoni.com/ where they will be discussing how visualisation can help with weight loss and the connection with mind and weight.

Thanks for reading! Please share your comments and thoughts below. I love reading your feedback.

Lynn Serafinn


Join us on the Spirit Authors Page on Facebook

Connect with us on Twitter.


LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.

Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors. Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project, created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.

Twitter:

@LynnSerafinn   @SpiritAuthors @7GracesMarketng @GardenOfTheSoul

Facebook:

LynnSerafinn SpiritAuthors 7GracesOfMarketing 7 Graces Global Garden (group)

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Another Fresh NEW Book from One of Our Valued ClientsLynn Serafinn interviews Vrinda Pendred from Conditional Publications on the challenges of writing a personal life story that is accessible to a wider audience. 

Today, I have the great pleasure of being the host on DAY 7 of the Virtual Blog Tour for Richard David Price, author of the brand new book Beating the Adversary: A True Story of Schizoaffective Disorder, officially released on 1st December, 2014. On its debut, it became Amazon’s #1 best-selling new release in ‘schizophrenia’.

Yesterday, Richard visited Christine Miller’s Growing Edge Blog at http://christinemiller.co/category/christine-miller-growing-edge-blog/, where they discussed about hallucinations, therapies and other elements he encounters in dealing with his condition.

Today, I’d like to share with you a recent interview I had with the editor of the book, Vrinda Pendred, as I thought it would be of particular interest to authors who write transformational books, especially those that incorporate personal memoire.

VRINDA PENDRED is the Editor and Founder of independent publishing house Conditional Publications, which is devoted to giving a ‘voice’ to people diagnosed with neurological conditions such as Tourette’s Syndrome, ADHD, autism, bipolar disorder and much more. She is also a writer and a prolific novelist.

Beating the Adversary is the third book released by Conditional Publications. It is the autobiographical account of author Richard David Price, who was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder as a teenager, as a result of a childhood accident.

(And…not to be biased or anything…Vrinda is also my amazingly talented daughter).

Vrinda Pendred - Founder of Conditional Publications

Vrinda Pendred – Founder of Conditional Publications

 ***INTERVIEW***

LYNN: What were the challenges for you as an editor, in making a book of this kind accessible to a wider audience?

VRINDA: One of the features of schizoaffective disorder is disorganized thought. That in itself wasn’t a challenge, so much as trying to get the balance right between making the book ‘readable’ and maintaining the author’s voice. What’s the point of publishing a book with the intention of allowing your audience insight into what it’s like to suffer with such a condition, if you remove everything that demonstrates that condition?

This meant editing the book perhaps fifteen times (I lost count) before we felt it was not only accessible, but authentic. It was vital that the author still feel like it represented his struggle in an honest way, even if he understood we had to make changes to ensure the general audience would make the effort to hear his story.

The original draft also left out the whole missionary section of the book. I’m not Mormon myself, but I asked Richard to add that in. I was interested. He was concerned about coming across as ‘preachy’, but I assured him we would edit it so it didn’t feel that way. I think we managed this. The point of including it was to show how he had overcome his challenges. When I spoke to him about it over the phone, he told me his faith was what got him through it. When that wasn’t in the book, I felt we were cheating the audience.

Keats said, ‘Truth is beauty,’ and I wanted this book to be as truthful as possible. I didn’t care whether the audience was Mormon or not. I think the most fantastic thing about people is that we all come from different walks of life, yet something deeper connects us. I don’t think the reader needs to be Mormon to appreciate Richard’s transformative experience. As a non-Mormon, when Richard finally delivered to me his first complete draft, including every gritty and profound moment, I cried – because he’d finally expressed his truth, and Keats was right: it was beautiful.

LYNN: What do you think is the value of people writing about and publishing their own transformational journey / personal challenges?

VRINDA: Writing is therapy; I would hope most people in this day and age know that. Writing about your journey is some of the best medicine you will ever find, and it’s free without side effects – because it’s important to remember (and I say this from experience) that even if you have an incurable disability, there is more to that than the physical. These things have an emotional effect, and can often be traumatic. Writing may not change your circumstances, but it helps you exorcise the frustration or pain. That alone can be enough to get you through each day.

In terms of taking the time to publish that journey, that’s more about the reader. To take myself, as an example, I have Tourette’s Syndrome and one of the most important moments in my life was when I started talking to others with the same condition – when I realised I wasn’t alone. I stopped regarding myself as a ‘freak’ and started to understand I am one of a very large population of people who face the same sorts of challenges. It helped me accept myself. That’s why I founded Conditional Publications; I want to give a voice to people suffering in silence and help others realise they are not alone. In this way, I think there is great value in publishing your memoirs, whether they go on to be best-sellers or not. Even if they make a difference in just one person’s life, your work has served a purpose.

LYNN: What were some of the challenges you faced in getting this book ready for publication?

VRINDA: I think the trickiest part was trying to get everyone on the same page at the same time. I work at a distance, via email and social networking, with some long-distance telephone calls. We’re all in different time zones, so you can’t always get the immediate response you’d like, which means you have to plan ahead with everything. Once you find people you can rely on, hold onto them!!! They’re more precious than gold dust, and they will help you build something unexpected.

LYNN: Can you give tips to other authors in this category, with regard to marketing?

VRINDA: Read Lynn Serafinn’s book Tweep-e-licious! I’m following it like the Bible.

(Lynn blushes).

LYNN: What words of encouragement would you give other authors writing about their personal journey / challenges? What’s the message to authors about beating their own adversary?

VRINDA: I’ve always wanted to write, ever since I was 3. When I was 20, I told someone about this dream. They were older and wiser and asked, ‘Is this really what you want to do? Is it what you feel in your heart you’re meant to do?’ I said yes, absolutely. They said, ‘Then you will do it. All you need is to want it enough. That’s all it takes to succeed.’

I’ve always born this in mind, and the older I get, the more I see it’s true. Everything comes down to motivation and energy. If you really want to get your story out – no matter what it is – just do it.

If you get writer’s block, don’t worry. Don’t push it. If the ideas aren’t flowing, whatever you write will ring false. Just relax, do something else, and wait until inspiration strikes again. And it will; it grips you when you least expect it, and suddenly you find you can’t do anything without words flying through your head. You have no choice but to write them down, so they don’t drive you nuts. That’s when it will sound sincere. Keep at it, and trust those moments will come; they always do.

***END OF INTERVIEW***

Beating the Adversary - a true story of schizoaffective disorder - by Richard D PriceI hope you enjoyed this brief interview with author Richard Price and that you’ll check out his new book Beating the Adversary: A True Story of Schizoaffective Disorder.

When you buy Beating the Adversary during its official Amazon launch, you’ll also receive a free novel entitled The Ladder by Vrinda Pendred, founder of Conditional Publications – an independent publisher dedicated to writers with neurological conditions.

To buy Beating the Adversary and get your free novel, go to:

http://www.conditionalpublications.com/pages/beating-the-adversary.html

Thanks for reading! Please do share your comments and thoughts below. I love reading your feedback.

Be sure to follow Richard tomorrow on the next stop of his Virtual Blog Tour, when he’ll be visiting Pippa Moye’s Silver Ray Healing Therapies blog at http://www.silver-ray.co.uk, where they’ll be talking about how spiritual beliefs can help counter depression and other topics.

Lynn Serafinn


Join us on the Spirit Authors Page on Facebook

Connect with us on Twitter.


LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.

Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors. Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project CIC, a not-for-profit social enterprise created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.

Twitter:

@LynnSerafinn   @SpiritAuthors @7GracesMarketng @GardenOfTheSoul

Facebook:

LynnSerafinn SpiritAuthors 7GracesOfMarketing 7 Graces Global Garden (group)

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Another Fresh NEW Book from One of Our Valued ClientsLynn Serafinn interviews naturopathic doctor Doni Wilson ND about how therapists (and patients) can benefit from their writing a book on alternative medicine.

Our team at Spirit Authors have been supporting authors since 2009. Over that time, the vast majority of our clients have been what I would call ‘holistic service’ professionals, i.e. coaches, consultants, therapists, alternative medical doctors, etc. Most of them are working on a book (or have already published one) in which they share a specific area of their professional expertise.

One example is our client Dr. Doni Wilson, ND – a naturopathic doctor. Known on Twitter as @GlutenFreeDoc, Doni has written extensively about the advantages of a gluten-free diet. But Dr. Doni’s primary passion is to educate the public about the damaging effects of STRESS in our modern world, and how it is responsible for a plethora of chronic health issues.

For that reason, in 2013 Doni published a definitive 340-page manual on the subject called The Stress Remedy: Master Your Body’s Synergy and Optimize Your Health. This month, Doni also released a short eBook called Stress Remedies: How to Reduce Stress and Boost Your Health in Just 15 Minutes a Day, which she says is a ‘practical companion’ to her larger book. She’s selling it on Amazon for only 99 cents.

As so many of our readers at Spirit Authors are what I would call ‘practitioner authors’ (or are aspiring to be one), I thought I would share part of a recent conversation I had with Doni on Skype, when I asked her about why she wrote her books, and her thoughts on the value of practitioners putting their expertise into words.

LYNN: Why do you think it’s important for alternative therapists to write books?

DONI: Alternative practitioners have a unique voice and knowledge. However, busy practitioners are often so caught up in serving their patients that they don’t have time to spend writing. But unless they make the time, there is no way to bring the collective voice and knowledge of alternative medicine to the rest of the world. I believe it’s important to bring their voice into the written form, so it can help more people than they can reach through their individual professional practice.

 

LYNN: Apart from the difficulty of finding time to write a book, what other challenges did you face when writing your books? What encouragement can you give other practitioners?

DONI: Well, when I started, I didn’t know anything about putting a book together – writing, publishing, promoting, etc. It was all a big, daunting mystery to me. I had to find people to help me, and TRAIN myself in how to make it happen.

It’s understandable that a practitioner might feel mind-boggled at the prospect of writing a book, and thus not entertain the idea seriously. But the more alternative practitioners who publish books, the more people can access naturopathic medicine. This will give more people the tools for preventative medicine instead of one that simply focuses on treating symptoms of disease.

 

Dr  Doni Wilson, ND.

Dr Doni Wilson, ND

LYNN: How has writing books helped you professionally?

DONI: First of all, I want to say that some practitioners mistakenly think writing a book will result in people not needing them anymore, and patients won’t bother to come to them because it’s all explained in their book. But actually, the opposite is true. I get more patients since being an author than before I wrote my books.

And it’s not just numbers. The quality of my patients has improved because they are more educated before they even pick up the phone to book an appointment with me. Potential patients know my philosophy and professional approach before they meet with me. They come to their appointment with much more clarity about what they need and what they want. This makes communication between us easier when we start to work together, as they already understand the language and the rationale behind what we will be working on together. That makes my job so much easier.

It also helps attract the ‘right’ kind of patient to me, as it establishes a link between us. Let’s say someone reads the book and they feel it validates their intuition about their health AND it backs it up with science and informed advice. Well, that person will already be pre-disposed towards my professional approach. They will be more likely to reap the benefits of treatment, as they will be more committed to it at a personal level.

Finally, having a book makes it easier for the practitioner to speak with patients without having to explain every little thing. If a patient reads my book, it means I won’t have to say the same thing over and over again!

 

LYNN: Why did you write this shorter eBook Stress Remedies? Didn’t you cover it all already in your larger book The Stress Remedy?

DONI: I see the two books as complementing each other. They are both about stress, but they approach the subject from different angles.

The Stress Remedy goes into great detail on topics such as diet, supplements, cortisol testing, etc. But what I didn’t cover in much depth were ‘daily stress remedies’, which are part of what I call my ‘Stress Remedy Master Plan’.

Rather than make The Stress Remedy longer than it already was, I thought it would be a great idea to write a short (and hopefully ‘stress-free’) practical, activity-based guide to balancing stress that didn’t involve changes in diet or supplements. So, in Stress Remedies, I help people understand the health benefits from specific activities, so they can choose the ones that work best for them and optimise the natural rhythms of their own healthy body and mind.

Some people might wonder what having a 99-cent eBook could possibly bring a practitioner from a business perspective. They might wonder why they should bother to put effort into something that has little promise of high profit. Well, I believe a small eBook is more likely to encourage those who do not know me or my work to read what I have to say on the topic. They will be more willing to take a chance on me, as spending 99 cents to read a short eBook is a much smaller commitment of time and money than buying (and reading) a 340-page book. Hopefully, if they like what they read, they might visit my website or check out my book The Stress Remedy. If they continue to follow my work, perhaps one day they will also contact me as a patient or make another purchase on our website.

Basically, the Stress Remedies eBook is another doorway to meeting and greeting new people, and sharing my passion for the naturopathic lifestyle. I strongly recommend other practitioners to build their own doorways by sharing their wisdom in a book.

eBook - 'Stress Remedies' by Dr. Doni Wilson

Dr. Doni’s eBook Stress Remedies
is available on Amazon Kindle for only 99 cents at
http://doctordoni.com/dr-donis-new-kindle-ebook-stress-remedies-just-99-cents

If you’re a practitioner who has a book (or you’re hoping to write or publish one in the near future), feel free to contact our team here on Spirit Authors to see how our platform building packages, business mentoring and other packages might suit your needs. Just drop us a line via the contact form on this site and request a free 30-minute consultation.

 9 Dec 2014
Lynn Serafinn


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Lynn Serafinn

Lynn Serafinn, MAED, CPCC

LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.

Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors. Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project CIC, a not-for-profit social enterprise created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.

Twitter:

@LynnSerafinn   @SpiritAuthors @7GracesMarketng @GardenOfTheSoul

Facebook:

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Write Your Book Now

Author and book marketer Lynn Serafinn tackles the most common excuses she hears from aspiring authors, with tips for how to move past them and write your book.

Over the years, I’ve worked with authors at many stages of their writing development. While most authors come to me for help with self-publishing and marketing, others come to me because they’ve found themselves stuck somewhere in the writing process. Maybe they have a wealth of ideas but are finding it hard to express them in words and develop them into a book. Maybe they have written hundreds of thousands of words, but they lack cohesion and focus. Maybe they’ve got into a pattern of starting and stopping, and now their project seems to be dragging on forever.

Whatever the scenario, all of these aspiring authors feel frustrated and powerless by the writing process, rather than empowered. The more powerless they feel, the more frustrated they become. The more frustrated they become, the less they feel like writing. And, of course, the less they feel like writing, the less they get done.

Writers are supposed to be great storytellers; but sometimes their greatest stories are the ones they tell themselves. Authors who get stuck in the vicious cycle of non-productivity often do not realise that the problems they are experiencing come from their own stories—their unconscious beliefs about themselves as writers and about the nature of the writing process in general.

The trouble is, once these stories take hold in their belief system, they become justifications and excuses for why their book isn’t getting written. And the more we feel justified in our reasons for not doing something, the more it will NOT get done.

So, for anyone out there who is struggling to start, make progress with, or complete a book project, I’d like to share the ‘Top 5 Excuses’ I’ve heard throughout my years of working with authors. As you read, ask yourself whether or not these same excuses might be getting in your way.

Excuse 1: ‘I can’t find the time to write.’

Truth: There’s no such thing as ‘finding time’. You have to create it.

I cannot count the number of times I’ve heard authors use this excuse. My response to it might sound brutal, but it’s the truth: there’s no such thing as finding time; you have to make the time.

Saying that you have to ‘find the time’ to write your book means you have not yet given your book top priority in your life. When I set the intention to write a book, I block out chunks of time to get it done. That could (and often does) mean taking a month off from ANY other work commitments, so I can write full-time. Or, it can mean setting aside specific days or specific hours of the day when I am 100% focused on the book project.

Of course, everyone’s life commitments are different. But even if you have a 9-5 job and a family, you can (and must) block out time that is sacrosanct for your writing and nothing else. Even if it’s only 2 hours every Tuesday night, you’ve got to create the space for your book project.

Unless you consciously schedule this time into your life, you will ALWAYS leave your book as your last priority. And when you do manage to write, your book will probably lack cohesiveness. Not creating time to write will also make your project drag on and on, which can dampen your motivation.

Excuse 2: ‘I’m not good enough.’  

Truth: NO writer is ‘good enough’ unless they spend time at their craft.

Good writers are the product of diligent practice. If you don’t write because you think you’re not good enough, you’ll never find out how good you can actually be. In his book Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell talks about something called the ‘10,000 hour rule’. This ‘rule’ states that for someone to excel in their craft—any craft—they need to have spent a minimum of 10,000 hours of practice at it.

How long is 10,000 hours? It could be 3 hours a day for roughly 10 years. It could be 6 hours a day for 5 years. Or, it could be 8 hours a day for about 3 ½ years. Gladwell cites several examples of people who spend virtually every waking hour on their craft (such as Bill Gates’ time spent working with computers), showing what it takes to become a leader in any given field.

There’s another ‘rule’ that one of my high school English teachers told me: If you want to learn how to be a great writer, you must first become a great reader. An integral part of honing your craft as a writer is reading. As writers, we read at a different level from those who read simply for pleasure or diversion. Reading improves our vocabulary. It reinforces grammar. It gives us creative and structural ideas. And it deepens our aesthetic appreciation for our craft.

So, if you want to be a good writer, start by writing every day for at least a couple of hours. And when you’re not writing, be sure to read a couple of hours a day. But the one thing that will never get you going is to avoid writing altogether because you don’t think you’re good enough.

Excuse 3: ‘I can only write when I feel inspired.’

Truth: Real writers know how to write ‘on demand’.

This is a HUGE excuse for writers, and it is possibly the one that creates the biggest obstacle. If we wait for the ‘muse’ to touch us with her wand before we sit down to write, we will never get our books written.

Inspiration doesn’t always strike BEFORE we write. Sometimes, you have to sit down and start writing and THEN inspiration will hit you. Back when I was a musician, I practiced every day, whether I wanted to or not. I didn’t feel particularly ‘inspired’ when I went to practice. But after I got started, and I felt my muscles wake up and my fingers move with more dexterity, I started to gain momentum. Sometimes I started out by telling myself that I’d practice only for an hour, but then  end up practicing for three, four or even five hours because I got into it.

Make it a daily practice to sit down to write regardless of how you feel. Believe it or not, inspiration will arrive even if you feel totally unmotivated before you start.

Excuse 4: ‘It’s all been done before.’

Truth: Every author has a different story to tell.

I’ve heard this excuse SO many times. An author wants to write a book on a particular subject, but they cite a dozen ‘famous’ authors who have all done it before. This kind of thinking zaps their confidence, and leads many an author to abandon their writing project.

The fact is, even if the ‘story’ has already been told, every author has a unique angle to bring to it. Think of all the best-selling vampire stories on the market right now! If Stephanie Myer had said, ‘Gosh, Bram Stoker’s already said it all,’ her career would never have taken off.

Writing non-fiction is no different. Ok, let’s say you’re writing a book on alternative health. Instead of thinking that authors like Louise Hay have ‘said it all before’, think of ways of citing your predecessors’ work in your own book, and expanding the topic. When I wrote The 7 Graces of Marketing, for example, I cited hundreds of other authors to show my unique angle on the topic of ethical marketing. If I had really wanted to sabotage my efforts, I could have told myself that there were already ‘enough’ marketing books on the market, and that there was no need for mine. That would have been a huge mistake, both for me and for my readers.

You also must remember that every reader has a different preference, and that different authors provide readers with different reading experiences. For example, in the field of personal development, I love Susan Jeffers for her simple, direct style, Martha Beck for her relaxed, humorous style, and Deepak Chopra for his philosophical, poetic style. All of these authors talk about authenticity and inner connection, but they all bring something different to my reading enjoyment.

For a reader, being able to have these varied reading experiences is just like having a rich and varied diet: it makes us healthier and happier. So never doubt that there is room for your perspective on the market.

Excuse 5:’No one will be interested.’

Truth: It’s up to you to create the interest.

The only way people will be interested in your book is if you are really clear about who might be interested in the subject AND you create a way to connect and communicate with them.

By identifying who might be interested, you are identifying your ‘target audience’ (I prefer to call this your ‘ideal’ audience). By creating ways to connect and communicate with your ideal audience, you are making your marketing strategy. Without putting care and attention into both of these things, it’s true: ‘No one will be interested’.

This is where my job as a marketing consultant comes in. I help authors create public interest in their books by identifying their ideal audience and creating marketing strategies. Regardless of whether or not you work with a marketing consultant to do this, it is something that MUST be done to ensure your book reaches the public.

Book marketing is not luck or rocket science; it’s a craft just like writing is. If you want to learn more about book marketing, I invite you to browse through the many free articles on the Spirit Authors website.

And, of course, if you are looking to build a marketing platform for your book, drop me a line via the contact form on this site to discuss the options our team at Spirit Authors have to offer you.

Lynn Serafinn
25th September 2013

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LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.

Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors. Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project CIC, a not-for-profit social enterprise created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.

Twitter:

@LynnSerafinn   @SpiritAuthors @7GracesMarketng @GardenOfTheSoul

Facebook:

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Lynn Serafinn shares a template for writing good marketing copy for your wholesalers, and discusses what to put on the back cover and back pages of your book. Part 4 of a 5-part series on self-publishing.

Over the past month, I’ve been sharing my 10 ‘Must Do’s’ of self-publishing. So far we’ve covered:

The problem is, I keep thinking of more things to say! First it was going to be a single article. Then, 2 parts… 3 parts… 4 parts. Today I finally decided it needed to be a 5-part series. Today is Part 4. In this article, we’ll be looking at:

Must-Do #9: Blurbs, back cover and back pages

So here we go!

How Your Book is an INVITATION

Your book is not just a book. It is an invitation. First, you are inviting your reader into a new space, where you make them a promise to deliver something they want. Secondly, it is an invitation for them to become more deeply connected with you beyond the pages of your book.

To ensure your book is an effective invitation, you need three vital components:

  • A powerful book description (‘blurb’) for wholesalers
  • An equally powerful back cover blurb (if publishing a printed version)
  • Attractive ‘back pages’ that attract the reader to explore more

Let’s look at each of these, respectively.

Your Wholesalers’ Blurb – technical considerations

The wholesalers’ ‘blurb’ is the words that are fed automatically from your distributor (for example, Lightning Source) to wholesalers and online retailers about your book. In Lightning Source, they also refer to this as the ‘meta’.

Different distributors have different ‘rules’ and specifications for their blurbs:

  • Most have a character limit. For example, Lightning Source has a limit of 4000 characters (including spaces) for their ‘meta’.
  • Some (like Lightning Source) require you to input HTML code for the blurb to read properly. If you don’t, when it appears on Amazon or other websites all the paragraphs in your blurb will be run together into one long block of text. This looks unreadable (and unprofessional) on people’s computer screens, so it’s vital to prepare your HTML properly before submitting your blurb.
  • Note that any character limits INCLUDE your html coding. So if your limit is 4000 characters, try to stick to around 2500 characters of text/spaces when you’re writing the blurb. That way the extra characters from your HTML code won’t take it over the limit.
  • Some companies will accept Word docs and your formatting will (or should) carry over to the online version.

Before starting to write your blurb, be sure you address these details with your distributor or subsidiary publisher, so you don’t end up disappointed.

TRICK: I discovered that the HTML tags <h2></h2> will translate into a lovely header on Amazon that uses its ‘house style’ orange colour.

Your Wholesalers’ Blurb – writing your copy

It’s important that your blurb is constructed properly so that you will attract the attention of the right customers when they read it online. Think of your book as a journey. People will ‘embark’ on the journey when they start to read it. However, you have to remember that they’ve been on their own journey long before they found your book, and something has led them to find you.

Any copy for a non-fiction book must address and acknowledge where your readers have come from, where they are now, and where you are going to take them. Here’s a rough template of how your blurb should go. Be sure to make each section SHORT with 2-3 sentences maximum in each:

  1. HEADLINE/BIG IDEA: Start with a headline that addresses the ‘big idea’ of the book. Make it short and to the point. Some people recommend putting keywords in your headline. That can be a very useful idea to help get your book to appear in searches, but be sensible about this, and don’t just ‘stuff’ your headline with keywords if they don’t actually convey the ‘big idea’.
  2. THE DESIRE: In your first paragraph, talk to your reader. What’s the journey they’ve been on? What are they looking for? What are the challenges they have faced?
  3. THE PROMISE: In the next paragraph, give a broad view of how THIS book addresses what the reader is looking for.
  4. EVIDENCE: In the next paragraph, give specific examples of how the book delivers on the promise. You might say something like, ‘You’ll learn X, Y, Z, etc.’ This is a good place to use a bullet-pointed list to make it easier for people to absorb.
  5. CREDIBILITY:  Somewhere in your text (it could come in the ‘evidence’ part) bring in your credibility. For example: ‘Mary Smith draws upon more than 20 years in the holistic wellness field to give you…’
  6. USP: This stands for ‘unique selling point’. After you’ve given the ‘evidence’, people are going to start asking ‘Yeah…so what?’ There are countless other books on the market in your niche. Why is THIS BOOK different? What’s the angle? What does it do that no other book does?
  7. BONUS MATERIALS: If your book contains a link to any bonus materials, such as a downloadable MP3, worksheets, etc., here’s the place to mention them.
  8. END RESULT: Close your blurb with a simple, one-sentence rewording of ‘the promise’, reminding them of what they will gain from reading the book, and assure them that if they’re looking for X (‘the desire’) they’ll find it here.

ADVICE: Avoid schmoozy hype and over-blown descriptors in your copy. Don’t use words like ‘amazing’, ‘life-changing’, ‘incredible’ etc. Just tell people about the book. Remember: it’s an invitation, not a demand.

Making a good blurb for your wholesalers’ description requires skill and practice. It’s not something you should do flippantly or hurriedly. Get other people to read it and make sure it’s proofread. AND, if you’ve never done one before, you might have to do it a few times before it actually looks right on Amazon and has the right effect.

Your Back Cover Blurb

Your back cover copy is also an invitation. This time, it’s an invitation to readers who may be physically picking up your book in a book shop or at a book event.

Essentially, your back cover blurb should be a (significantly) reduced version of your wholesalers’ blurb. For it to fit, you’ll probably have to cut it down by as much as two-thirds, depending upon your layout. Make sure you have at least one line from each of the 8 parts of the template above, but strip it WAY back.

Leave room on your cover for other elements:

  • A short (50-75 word) author bio and headshot
  • 2-3 endorsements (see Part 3 of this series)
  • Your bar code and price

Your Back Pages

While the above ‘blurbs’ are invitations for your readers to step into your book, the back pages of your book must be an invitation for your readers to step into a deeper connection with you. These should not be big blasting sales pages but information that can help the reader do any (or all) of the following:

  • Read more about you (i.e. your ‘about the author’ page)
  • Find/buy more of your books
  • Sign up to receive a free offer of some kind
  • Join an online community you lead
  • Listen to a radio show you host
  • Get involved in a project you are doing
  • Find out more about courses you deliver
  • Contact you for a private consultation
  • Connect with you on social media

TIPS:

  • For long links, use a shortener like http://bit.ly and then customise the link (example: http://bit.ly/TweepKindleUS is a custom link to buy the Kindle version of my book Tweep-e-licious on Amazon US).
  • While providing your readers with links is important, for print books (not eBooks) you might consider using QR codes as well.
  • Don’t just use words; show pictures of your books or logos of your show, etc.

NEED HELP?

While many self-published authors feel confident with writing book blurbs, many others find it challenging to distil the thoughts and language of their book into marketing copy. Others don’t know how to use HTML or how to ‘chunk’ the information visually so it becomes easily digestible on a computer screen.

Writing blurbs is something I do all the time for my clients, and some even hire me solely for this purpose. I spend a long private session interviewing you so I can extract the real ‘promise’ of your book and your work, and to get a real feel for the ‘desire’ of your ideal audience. I’ve repeatedly been told my copy writing really captures the essence of my clients’ work in an authentic way. On the technical side, I’m also great with HTML. I’ve been using it every day in my work for years. My MA is in distance education, and about 10 years ago, and as part of my degree I had to create a pretty complex educational web directory using only HTML code).

So if you’re in need of a help in these areas, give me a shout and we can set up an appointment to chat about it. Just drop me a line via the contact form on this site: http://spiritauthors.com/contact

And, of course, if you’d like to discuss building a marketing platform for your book, an Amazon book launch or any other marketing help, give me a shout too.

I do hope you’ve found this article useful. Let me know what you thought about it (or ask me any questions you might have) in the comments below.

AND…subscribe to this blog if you want to be sure to get Part 5 (finally) of this series, where we’ll be looking at:

Must-Do #10: Formatting, Uploading and Ordering Your Proof

Lynn Serafinn
17th July 2013

Happy birthday to my mother, Margaret, who would have been 90 years old today if she were still alive. Thanks for teaching me all about grammar, Mom.

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Take a 14-day free trial at:

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Join us on the Spirit Authors Page on Facebook

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LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She was recently named one of the Top 100 marketing authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was selected as a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. Her eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Through her company Spirit Authors, her marketing campaigns have  produced a long list of bestselling self-help and mind-body-spirit authors. Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project, a budding social enterprise whose aim is to help grow a new generation of passionate entrepreneurs who want to serve both people and planet through innovative, ethical, independent enterprise.

 

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Author consultant Lynn Serafinn looks at the artistic rewards of self-publishing, how to work with an editor, and how to approach endorsers for your book.

I believe our digital era—digital printing, digital distribution and digital (online) marketing—has liberated independent authors from ‘needing’ to have publishers or subsidiary presses to publish their books. No longer must we feel at the mercy of big business to share our words, ideas and imagination.

I’m sure part of my passion for self-publishing comes from my many years as an indie musician, when I preferred to publish via my own record label than to be taken seriously by major record companies. Ironically, after years of thinking a record deal was my ‘goal’ in music, when our electro-trance band was offered a record deal in 1994 with one of the biggest labels on the planet (along with all the trappings like MTV videos and going on tour with big name acts), I suddenly realised I didn’t want it. The A&R guy (the person who signs the acts) was already trying to seize too much artistic control. I feared we would turn into something we were not and end up appealing to no one, only to be dumped by them a year later because we didn’t sell enough records. It happens all the time in the music industry.

I believe Madonna (whether you like her as an artist or not) took a sensible and fruitful approach to working with record labels. She started out as a pro-active, ambitious independent artist, highly focused on building her following. By the time record labels started to approach her, her identity (i.e., her ‘brand’) AND her fan base were so defined, record labels didn’t TRY to change her. Her clarity about who she was as an artist (even though it changed every year) and who her fans were meant that she gained a reputation as someone who was able to maintain artistic control even within a corporate environment. Later, she had enough clout (and money!) to break free from corporate influence altogether, and created her own record label. In a way, she went BACK to being an independent artist, the master of her own artistic destiny.

I believe Madonna’s career serves as a great lesson for authors in the digital era. Committing to being self-published, possibly for several years, while you put your attention into building your ‘brand’ and your fan base IS a highly sensible route. Then, you wait until you reach a ‘tipping point’ where a publisher might be able to take your sales to the next level AND you are a ready-made asset for a specific publisher (or niche of publishers). Only then is it the time to approach a major publisher. When you can show you have a clear market, a clear identity, a strong fan base and some marketing know-how, the ‘right’ publisher will sit up and take notice when you approach them (typically through a literary agent; but that’s another story).

Then again, maybe you don’t WANT a publisher after all. Maybe you’ll decide that self-publishing is actually better for you. Maybe you’ll develop a love for the entrepreneurial spirit and freedom of self-publishing. Maybe you’ll be so good at marketing and distribution (or you’ve outsourced great people to manage it for you) that you’ll start building a small empire with your books. Maybe you’ll even publish other authors.

Anyway…

That’s enough of the pep talk. I just wanted to take a moment to get you into the right state of mind before we get back to work.

Back to Our Checklist…

Over the past 2 weeks, I’ve been sharing my Top-10 ‘must do’ items for self-published authors. Here’s a quick review of what we’ve looked at so far. You can click the links below to read more about them.

In Part 1, we explored:

In Part 2, we took a detailed look at:

Today, in Part 3, we’ll be looking at the next two items on our ‘must do’ checklist:

So here we go!

Must-Do #7: Working Through Your Edits and Proofs

Many new authors think that once they finish their draft, their editor will ‘fix’ everything for them and that when they get their edit back from the editor, everything will be ready to publish.  This is a big misunderstanding of the role an editor plays in the publishing process.

While many new authors think editing is just a matter of correcting errors in grammar and spelling, it’s far more than that. A good editor will typically make suggestions for changes that will make your book tighter and more cohesive. They might recommend re-writing certain sections, changing the order of your ideas (or whole chapters). They might recommend that you elaborate on an idea, trim something down, or even delete parts that are redundant. They might point out inconsistencies in point-of-view, verb tense or continuity, and make suggestions for how to fix them.

An editor might notice certain idiosyncrasies in your writing that they ask you to address personally. For example, my editor told me to search through my ENTIRE manuscript to find every instance of certain adverbs I tended to overuse (like ‘really’, ‘quite’, ‘actually’ and similar fillers), and then delete as many of them as possible. This part of the process can be a real emotional journey for an author, especially if they have never worked with a good editor before. You might wonder why the editor didn’t do this herself. I’m glad she asked me to do it because a) it gave me the chance to decide which instances of these words should stay or go and b) it helped me improve as a writer. I notice that I am much more mindful of my ‘filler’ words since being challenged by my editor to address this issue.

Learn to relish the challenges your editor gives you as a valuable learning experience. Do not see his/her suggestions as criticisms but as tools to make you a better, more professional writer. This is why choosing the right editor is so important. A great editor is not only a master of words, but is also unafraid to ‘give it to you straight’.

Of course, you have to be prepared for this—emotionally AND in terms of time. BLOCK OUT a month of your time to go through your editors edits. Treat them with as much care and delight as you did when you wrote the first two drafts of your book.

After you make the changes your editor suggested, I strongly recommend sending the edited draft back to your editor (or to a proofreader, if you are using someone different) so they can go over it with a fine eye for typos, spelling and punctuation errors. Again, they will probably send the proofed draft to you using ‘track changes’ so you can approve the changes manually. That means you’ll need to block out another week of your time for this. Do NOT rush this process or do this when you’re tired. That’s when mistakes happen. Going through the corrections yourself manually (rather than trusting the proofreader to make the final call) is important in case they misinterpreted what a misspelled word was intended to be. Only you will be able to evaluate whether the corrections are actually ‘correct’.

Must-Do #8: Obtaining Endorsements for Your Book

Obtaining endorsements for your book before it comes out is an important part of your publishing process. The time to seek them actively is AFTER you’ve completed reworking the edits your editor gave you, but BEFORE the manuscript goes for final proofreading. Most endorsers are happy to read through an unproofed and semi-formatted PDF version of your book.

Your endorsers should be experts in the same or similar field as the subject of your book. Preferably, they should be other authors or other well-known personalities in the field. They could also be leaders within well-known and widely respected organisations related to your field. Some obvious candidates for endorsers would be people you cite or mention within your book. Others could be colleagues in your business networks (including your social networks).

Many new authors choke at the idea of asking for endorsements for their book. They worry about being rejected, or they worry they’ll look silly. But there really is no need to be shy about asking for an endorsement, as there is an incentive for people to give you one. After all, their name, book title and (possibly) website will go either inside your book or maybe even on the front or back cover. That’s free ‘advertising’ for them to their target audience.

Think of it this way: You want their endorsement because if their readers see them endorsing your book, they’ll think it might be of interest to them. But conversely, if your readers see your endorsers’ names mentioned in your book, they might think to check their books out too. You are happy, your endorsers are happy, and your readers are happy. It’s a win-win-win.

When you contact people asking for an endorsement, try to be mindful of the following details:

  • If you already know the person, all you really need to do is ask them if they’ll let you send them a copy of your new book, so they can write a short endorsement. At this point, just tell them the title of the book and the date you expect to be able to send it to them for review.
  • If you DON’T know the person, make the initial letter only slightly longer. Open by telling them who you are and why you are writing to them, specifically, i.e. you cited them in your book; you admire their work in their field and it is closely aligned with the topic of your book, etc. Then, ask permission to send the manuscript to them.
  • Give your potential endorsers a brief (one or two sentences) description of the book. Never, EVER use ‘sales language’ or hyped up words like ‘life-changing’, ‘amazing’, etc. Just tell them what the book is about.
  • Always assure your potential endorsers that they do NOT have to read the entire book.
  • Assure them that 1 or 2 lines of ‘blurb’ is perfectly fine. We are not asking them to write a review.
  • Assure them that their name, (one) book title and link to their website will be guaranteed to go into the front pages of your print book (I tend not to include them in eBooks)
  • Let them know that 3 of the most compelling endorsements will go on the back cover, and the most compelling will go on the front cover. Of course, you and your cover designer have to be ok with doing this before making that promise.
  • Assure them you will include these endorsements in promo materials you will be sending to radio shows, etc. (you never know; their book titles might catch someone’s attention).
  • Assure them you will post their endorsements WITH their web link on the book page of your website. This gives them a back link and more free promo.
  • Assure them you will give them a month to look at your book and get their blurb back to you.
  • Assure them that it’s ok to say no.

Below is some advice from author Erica Tucci, who has been very successful at getting many relevant and well-known endorsers for her books, including her upcoming book Radiant Survivor. I thought you might enjoy reading what she had to share. Erica suggests sending a sample chapter to people on first contact. That’s not normally something I recommend, but it seems to have worked for her:

To obtain endorsements for your book, find people who have a shared interest in its subject matter. For example, do you quote a potential endorser in your book? Or have they experienced a similar situation as your own? I quoted several passages from Dr. Nancy Qualls Corbett’s (a Jungian psychotherapist) book in my novel Anything is Possible, and thus she gave me a wonderful endorsement.

Most recently for my book Radiant Survivor: How to Shine and Thrive through Recovery from Stroke, Cancer, Abuse, Addiction and Other Life-Altering Experiences, I was able to obtain agreements to endorse my book from Kevin Sorbo (aka Hercules) and Dr. Bernie Siegel, an internationally renowned physician. Kevin had several strokes in his late 30s so he understood my story since he had “been there, done that.” Bernie, as Dr. Siegel prefers to be called, has authored many books on healing and is an expert in complementary and holistic medicine, so perhaps he felt that my book fell in the same category as his, at some level.

When you contact potential endorsers, send them the intro and a chapter or two of your book for their perusal. Then send the complete manuscript if they request it. Ask them politely to please return their endorsement within a certain time frame.  Also, it’s important to make them feel like they want to give you their endorsement. Tell them that you love the work that they do. Maybe you have quoted them. Appeal to their altruistic side. That you have had a similar experience as they have had, or that you have read their books, and that you would love to have their endorsement as a testament to the benefits of reading your book. If they too are authors, as Kevin and Bernie both are, they will understand how important endorsements are…Although I feel that it was more their graciousness that led them to agree to giving me endorsements. And I am very grateful for them being willing to do so!

ENDORSEMENT TIP: Sometimes very ‘busy’ endorsers will ask YOU to write the endorsement for them. That might seem a bit disingenuous, but it happens all the time. If fact, it’s probably more common than uncommon when you are requesting endorsements from bigger names. If one of your endorsers asks you to do this, don’t panic or be offended. Think about who THEY are and what their message is. Then, in two sentences, try to think what they would say about your book from their perspective. Try to include the ‘money shot’ in it, where there are two or three words that can be extracted and used on their own.

Then, send this suggested ‘blurb’ to your endorser and ask them to tweak it to make it their own. If they’re truly the right endorsers for your book, you will get back something personalised and genuine that can also be promotional gold-dust for you.

That’s it for today…

We’ve covered a lot of ground today. Hopefully you gained some useful information from it. Next time in Part 4, we’ll be looking at:

  • Must-Do #9: Creating effective back cover, back pages and META copy for your book
  • Must-Do #10: Final stages: formatting, uploading and ordering your proof

Closing Thoughts

I hope these articles are helping you get more excited and more confident about self-publishing. I’d really like to know what you’ve most gained from the information I’ve shared, so PLEASE share your feedback (or questions) in the comments box below.

And be sure to subscribe to this blog to make sure you receive Part 4 of this series, plus all our Spirit Authors articles.

AND LASTLY, if you’re looking for personal help in your self-publishing and book marketing journey, have a look at our Hire Us page to read about our services. Then, if you’re interested in speaking about working together, drop me a line via the contact form on this site and we can set up a 30-minute consultation to discuss your needs.

Lynn Serafinn

10th July 2013

 

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LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She was recently named one of the Top 100 marketing authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was selected as a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. Her eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Through her company Spirit Authors, her marketing campaigns have  produced a long list of bestselling self-help and mind-body-spirit authors. Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project, a budding social enterprise whose aim is to help grow a new generation of passionate entrepreneurs who want to serve both people and planet through innovative, ethical, independent enterprise.

 

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Guest blogger Nancy Goodyear Virtual Assistant shares tips for writing articles that will make your audience sit up and take notice of what you have to say. 


As a Virtual Assistant, I help independent business owners build their social media presence. The biggest part of what I do is proofreading blog articles. I always approach proofreading as a reader, so I don’t just look for typos, but for readability. I read the article aloud to myself to see how the words flow, how they sound and, most importantly, so I can hear if the article makes sense.

In my work with clients, I have noticed that many new bloggers tend to make the same mistakes. For that reason, I’d like to share my top 7 tips for writing blog articles that are informative and easy to read.

TIP 1: Know WHO you are writing for

Although this may seem self-evident, you must always remember that you are writing for someone else—your reader! But this is often all too easy to forget when you are absorbed in getting your idea down on paper.

Before you start writing, ask yourself Who is my reader? They’re probably your customers or potential customers. They’re probably people who share similar beliefs and values to you. Or, they might be people who are simply curious and want to know more about you and what you stand for.

If you know who your reader is, it will be easier to imagine them as you write. If you find it difficult to think of them as a group, you might find it easier to imagine a single reader and write just for that person.

TIP 2: Know WHAT you are writing about

Be really clear what you want to tell your reader. What do you want them to learn from this article? If you don’t pin this down before you start writing, your article will be vague, and is likely to go off on tangents and be hard for your reader to follow.

Take the time to plan your article so you know it will do its job when it’s done. Once you know the message of the article – STICK TO THE POINT! If you find yourself straying off the point but you don’t feel you want to delete the tangent and move on, save the subject of your tangent for a future article.

Also, consider the impact you want your article to have on your reader. Do you want to make them think about something in a different way? Do you want to make them angry about some injustice in the world? Or do you want to warm their hearts and make them smile. Again, if you know the answer to these questions before you start, it will flavour your article as you write it and you will be able to assess whether you have achieved that when the article is finished.

TIP 3: Remember that your reader is NOT a mind reader

You might know your subject matter inside-out and back-to-front, but remember that your readers probably do NOT share your same insight. They don’t necessarily know you personally so they don’t know what you think or feel. They don’t share your experiences or knowledge or even your opinions about your subject. And yet, it’s really easy to make intellectual leaps without realising it, leaving your poor reader wondering whether they’ve missed something. In the worst cases, you’ll leave the reader not being able to understand the most crucial point of your article, because you assumed they ‘got’ what you meant without really explaining it.

This is when having someone else proofread your articles come in handy. An objective reader is in a much better position to see what needs further explanation and what doesn’t.

If you have an international audience, also consider the examples you give. I recently proofread an article that referred to American TV networks and TV programmes. As a Brit, I didn’t have a clue what they meant. The author of the post was American and hadn’t realised the names wouldn’t mean anything at all to a UK audience.

The same applies to acronyms and jargon that is specific to your field. Don’t assume your average reader will know what they mean. At the very least write acronyms out in full the first time you use them. And simply try to avoid using jargon. Jargon could be specific technical words or words that are in everyday use that are used in a different way in your field.

NB: if something needs explanation and the explanation doesn’t seem relevant to the article, then consider the possibility that the point is actually an unnecessary tangent and remove it.

TIP 4: Don’t make your reader WORK too hard

It is important to use sentences that flow nicely, which are neither too long nor too short.

Sentences that are too short are choppy and unsettling. There is no flow to the article and it can be hard to see how one sentence links to the next.

On the other hand, very long sentences can be incredibly confusing for your reader. If you use too many sub clauses (phrases between commas that explain what came before), or too many brackets, or too many lists (like I’m doing here) it can be really hard for your reader to follow the thread of the sentence. Sometimes when I’m proofreading, in order to understand the basic message of the sentence, I have to read it leaving out all the extra bits so I can see what the sentence is actually saying.

You might feel that all of these extra bits and pieces are necessary to make sure your reader has all the information they need in order to understand the article, but this information will be lost if it is presented in such a way that the poor reader has to concentrate hard just to piece it all together.

Making your readers work too hard will backfire on you, as they will probably give up before reaching the end of your article, and will be unlikely to return to your site another day.

TIP 5: Have the COURAGE of your convictions

As the author of a blog article, you are the teacher teaching the message of your article. As the teacher it’s up to you what you put in and what you leave out. You need to decide what is essential to this article for this audience at this time and what can be left out or saved for a follow up article.

Too often, people try to get everything into their articles and end up with long lists of examples, lots of explanatory sub-clauses, lots of tangents and too many either/or’s. You can over-explain for fear of leaving something out or offending someone or being challenged on what you’re saying. If you fall into this trap, you run the risk of seeming uncertain of your message and you will certainly dilute the power of your message by making it too hard for your reader to follow it.

The antidote to this is to practice the Grace of DIRECTNESS (from Lynn Serafinn’s book The 7 Graces of Marketing). A good exercise, if you have this tendency, is to decide what you want to say and say it by the most direct route, that is in the fewest possible words. It will probably look very bare and blunt but you can flesh it out later with adjectives and explanation where it’s needed in order to make it flow.

TIP 6: Be Mindful of the Impact of Your PRONOUNS

This is a subtle one. Perhaps you want to write an article that challenges the way your reader thinks or what they believe. There’s nothing wrong with this. But sometimes your choice of pronoun can create the impression you are accusing or attacking your readers, or making them ‘wrong ‘. For example, if you use the pronoun ‘you’ you are removing yourself from the sentence. In doing so, you can sound accusatory, i.e., ‘You are wrong, I am right ‘.

On the other hand, if you use the pronoun ‘we’ you are including yourself in the sentence. Sometimes, this can sound a bit too cosy or can even be inappropriate if you are not actually part of the group you are talking about. There’s nothing wrong with saying something like ‘We’re in this together’ if you are talking about ‘we, the human race’. But if you are, for example, a man talking specifically about women’s experiences, saying ‘we’ is inappropriate and perhaps even a bit patronising.

If you use the pronoun ‘I’ you are excluding your audience and it can sound too personal and confessional if you’re not careful. It’s useful if you are sharing a personal anecdote to illustrate a point but can be too much like a rant if you write a whole article about something like the destruction of the planet entirely from your own perspective.

TIP 7: Inspire with your PASSION

In TIP 2, I carefully avoided suggesting that you might want to inspire your reader with your article. The reason for this is that I believe if you set out to inspire you are likely to fall flat on your face. You will be tempted to use words like ‘amazing ‘, ‘life-changing ‘, ‘awesome ‘ and even  ‘inspirational ‘. You will be tempted to use loads of bold, shouty fonts, and loads of exclamation marks!!!!!!!!

The truth is, if you set out to inspire, it can sound really bossy and fake. Neither of which are particularly inspirational. When you write like this, your reader will think, Yeah, so what?! Stop telling me what to feel, stop telling me how I’m supposed to respond to this article, I’ll make my own mind up, thank you!

You can’t tell someone to be inspired any more than you can tell them to love you. But inspiration itself IS contagious. If you really want to inspire your reader, write about something that inspires you. Let your passion and inspiration shine through your words. Show your readers how YOU are inspired by whatever it is you are writing about. In this way, they are more likely to be ‘infected’ by your inspiration.

Closing Thoughts

The best advice I can give you is this: once you’ve finished writing your article, read it aloud to yourself (or even better get someone else to read it for you). This will tell you:

  • How the words will sound to your reader
  • Whether it is easy to understand
  • Whether there are any bits that need more (or less) explanation
  • Whether you’ve gone off on a tangent
  • Whether you’ve been too wishy-washy and timid in your message
  • Whether it sounds too aggressive or argumentative
  • Whether you have succeeded in saying what you set out to say
  • Whether you have managed to create the impact you intended

I help independent business owners and authors with their blog articles every day of the week. My aim is to get their message out to the right audience through regular blogging and social media, so their businesses and sales can flourish. For this to happen, their blog content must be relevant, understandable and well-received. These 7 tips are essential ingredients to achieve this.

If you would like to explore the many benefits of strategic blogging, I invite you to contact Lynn and me at Spirit Authors to discuss our Platform Builder packages. These are 13-week programmes where we work with you to create an effective blogging strategy for YOUR audience, and support you by doing a lot of the ‘legwork’ to get your articles edited, proofed, published and distributed to your network. To speak to us about our Platform Builder packages, drop us a line via the contact form on this site and we can set up a free 30-minute consultation.

If you have found this article useful, please SHARE it and leave a comment below.

Nancy V Goodyear
5th June 2013

Nancy V Goodyear is Virtual Assistant & Life Coach who loves to help social entrepreneurs and small business owners get organised. With a BA (Hons) in Learning Disability Nursing, she has extensive professional experience working in health & social care within the non-profit sector. She is fluent in French having lived in France for some time. She is a graduate of the Coaches Training Institute and the Co-Active Leadership programme. She is especially enthusiastic about creating and nurturing innovative business relationships and partnerships, both within and between companies and sectors. Her over-riding aim in all her work is to help you create space so you can focus on reconnecting to who you are and how this awareness relates to your business, what you and your business need, and your dreams, passions and desires.

 

 


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Delivered Directly to Your Kindle!

 

Now you can have access to the latest tips in writing, publishing and book marketing everywhere you go. Get our Spirit Authors articles delivered 1-2 times a week directly to your Kindle for only 99 cents a month (77pUK). Instead of reading someone else’s book on your way to work, get information on how to make your OWN book a success.

Take a 14-day free trial at:
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/ZlW7HT
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Join us on the Spirit Authors Page on Facebook
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LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She was recently named one of the Top 100 marketing authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was selected as a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. Her eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Through her company Spirit Authors, her marketing campaigns have  produced a long list of bestselling self-help and mind-body-spirit authors. Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project, a budding social enterprise whose aim is to help grow a new generation of passionate entrepreneurs who want to serve both people and planet through innovative, ethical, independent enterprise.

Twitter:
@LynnSerafinn @SpiritAuthors @7GracesMarketng @GardenOfTheSoul

Facebook:

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 Book coach and marketing consultant Lynn Serafinn shares her top tips for creating a book title that invites your ideal audience to check out what’s inside. 


We think of authors as masters of words. Yet dozens of authors have told me that they feel at a loss for words when it comes to nailing a great title and subtitle for their non-fiction book.

Coming up with a great title and subtitle for a non-fiction book is a real art. Personally, I love it and it’s one of my favourite activities during my clients’ sessions. It’s not uncommon to spend an entire 2-hour session helping to ‘tease’ the title and subtitle out into the open. The perfect words almost always come from something they say randomly and spontaneously. I listen very carefully, taking lots of notes, and then play around with the rhythm and sound of the words until something just ‘hits’. When I get it right, the response from the client is truly rewarding. Most say they ‘feel chills’ or say that their eyes are welling up. That’s when you know the title is a winner.

A great title is not only for your audience; it’s also for YOU, the author. I believe it’s important to get your title right as early as possible in the writing process because a great title isn’t just something for the cover of the book; it can often GIVE you the shape of the book and bring cohesion to the subject. I worked somewhat aimlessly for 6 months on what was later to become The 7 Graces of Marketing. As soon as the ‘hook’ of the ‘7 Graces’ came to me, the shape, structure and focus of the book became immediately apparent, and gave power and impact to my writing.

An effective non-fiction title has two equally important components: the title and the subtitle. Let’s look at each of them in turn.

The Title of Your Book Should be the ‘HOOK’

  • It should contain the ‘brand’, the gimmick, the USP (unique selling point) or the paradigm of the book.
  • It should be able to ‘hook’ the mind of the reader so they cannot confuse it with other book titles.
  • It should not contain words that are too vague or too common or whose meaning could just as easily refer to something completely different.

In pop music, the ‘hook’ refers to the part of the song that people can’t forget. It could be a single line, an instrumental riff or the chorus that they go away humming or hearing in their heads. Similarly, your book title has to have that ‘stickiness’ so it stays with the reader and identifies this book as unique amongst all other books.

I get frustrated when clients come to me and have already become ‘attached’ to what is actually a very weak title for their book. Weak titles are those that are so vague or common that they don’t really identify the book as a unique entity. Your title needs to be memorable to the potential reader. If they don’t remember it, they won’t be able to find it in order to buy it.

The Subtitle of Your Book Should be the ‘PROMISE’

  • It should tell the reader exactly WHAT your book is about.
  • If possible, it should tell the reader WHO the book is for.
  • It should contain KEYWORDS that will appear in searches if people are looking for a particular topic.

In choosing your subtitle, avoid clichés, over-used jargon, and fluffy language. The subtitle needs to be substantive and clear, and should contain all the information the reader needs in order to decide whether or not they want to look inside your book. Notice I said ‘look inside’ not ‘buy’. ‘Looking inside’ could include actually leafing through the book (remember, Amazon has its ‘look inside’ feature), downloading a sample chapter, reading reviews, product description or perhaps even your author biography. A great subtitle is an invitation for readers to step in and check out ‘the promise’ of what they will find inside.

Listening to the Sound and Rhythm of Your Title

Maybe it’s because I come from a musician’s background, but to me, choosing a title and subtitle is not only about getting the right words, but also getting the right sound and rhythm of the words.

The ‘sound’ of a title has to do with the words themselves. Sometimes words say exactly what you mean them to say, but they’re damnably difficult to pronounce when you put them next to each other. I wrote an article recently called ‘Left-Brain Blogging for Right-Brain Marketers’. It’s a great article (and I love the title), but I noticed when I mentioned it in an online broadcast recently, it was like a tongue-twister (try it for yourself). It’s a great title for a blog post, but it could prove awkward for a book title.

The ‘rhythm’ of a title has to do with rise and fall of the words, the number of syllables and the strong/weak accents within them. How does your subtitle ‘feel’ when you say it aloud? Does it feel too long? Too short? Is there a musical quality to it that makes it pleasant to say? Does it feel like it should have ended a few syllables earlier?

If you’re not sure why sound and rhythm are important, think about being on the radio or TV. It does no good at all if the title of your book is likely to get you or your host all tongue-tied or stumbling over extra syllables. Besides, even when we read words on a page without speaking them aloud, we tend to ‘say’ them in our heads. If a title is hard to say out loud, it will also be hard for people to remember.

Examples of Non-Fiction Titles That Work

Below are a few examples of non-fiction titles that I think work nicely. Of course, I’m partial to some of them because I thought them up! Have a look at them and examine them for the ‘hook’, the ‘promise’, the ‘sound’ and the ‘rhythm’ of each one. I’ve intentionally NOT included the covers of the books, so you don’t ‘judge the title by the cover’.

EXAMPLE 1

Here’s the title of the latest book from former director of Friends of the Earth, Tony Juniper. To me, it’s one of the best non-fiction titles of the year (and one of the best non-fiction books of the year too). Notice how both the title and subtitle are plays upon common expressions, but with a twist that would immediately invite anyone interested in ecology, environmentalism or sustainability to pick up the book for a closer look.

TITLE (HOOK):
What Has Nature Ever Done for Us?

SUBTITLE (PROMISE):
How Money Really Does Grow on Trees

If you’re enticed by this title, you can find it on Amazon.com here: http://amzn.to/ZJJdxh

EXAMPLE 2

Here’s the title of one of my own books. Note how the title gives the paradigm (which is now a brand), and how the subtitle shows the promise and explanation of what the book is about. Say it aloud; I think you’ll feel there’s a musical rhythm to the title.

TITLE (HOOK):
The 7 Graces of Marketing

SUBTITLE (PROMISE):
How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell

Find this book at http://the7gracesofmarketing.com/book

EXAMPLE 3

Here’s another one of my book titles. In this case, I’ve made up my own word for the title that is a play on the slang word ‘Tweep’ (meaning someone who uses Twitter) and the word ‘delicious’. It’s a playful, brandable word that enabled me to create a playful feel to the book cover and all the branding associated with the book. A more ‘functional’ title like ‘How to Use Twitter’ would have given it no life of its own, and would not have been a ‘hook’. The subtitle tells exactly what the book is about and who the book is for. While the subtitle is longer than I would normally recommend, part of its length was due to me wanting to get the title and subtitle to be exactly 140 characters, like a Tweet.

TITLE (HOOK):
Tweep-e-licious!

SUBTITLE (PROMISE):
158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically

Find this book at http://tweepelicious.com

EXAMPLE 4

Here’s a title I came up with for my client Erica Tucci, whose book is coming out in November 2013. Again, the title itself conveys the ‘USP’ and brand of the book, where ‘Radiant Survivors’ pertain not only to the storytellers within the book, but the readers. Notice how the subtitle not only contains the ‘promise’, but is loaded with appropriate keywords for this book.

TITLE (HOOK):
Radiant Survivor

SUBTITLE (PROMISE):
How to Shine and Thrive through Recovery from Stroke, Cancer, Abuse, Addiction and Other Life-Altering Experiences.

By the way, as she is still in recovery herself and still living on disability benefits, Erica is running a crowd-funding campaign to help her raise funds to publish this book. I encourage you to check it out and support her if you can at http://radiantsurvivor.com.

Closing Thoughts

The title of your non-fiction book contributes greatly to its success or failure. A great title can become the foundation of a long-term brand that underpins everything you do, speak about or represent.

Never rush through the process or ‘settle’ on a title just because you cannot come up with anything better. Just as you wouldn’t dream of giving your newborn child some throw-away name, don’t be nonchalant about choosing your title.

As I said at the beginning of this article, although gifted with words, many authors I meet find it difficult to tease out a great title on their own. Often they are too immersed in the subject matter to be able to take a ‘meta view’ of what they are creating. They also jump directly into their left-brain by ‘trying’ to think of a title, rather than allowing one to reveal itself from the cosmic soup of Creation. They also may not understand the impact their title or subtitle has upon their reading audience (or they may not know enough about who that audience is).

The bottom line about book titles is this:

Your title is the MOST important ‘marketing tool’ for your book.
Get it wrong, and everything else will suffer.
Get it right, and everything else will become easy.

Gaining clarity about your USP, your brand, your ‘promise’, your audience and your key message is absolutely essential before the ‘perfect’ title will emerge. This clarity already lies within you, whether you are aware of it or not. If you find it difficult to tap into that clarity on your own, working with a good book coach can often help.

I hope you found the information in this article helpful. Please let me know by leaving a comment below.

And, of course, if you’d like to speak with me about working together to fine-tune your title, brand, audience, marketing platform or book promotion strategy, drop me a line via the contact form on this site at http://spiritauthors.com/contact and we can set up a (free) 30 minute consultation to discuss your needs.

Lynn Serafinn
30th May 2013

 


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LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She was recently named one of the Top 100 marketing authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was selected as a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. Her eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Through her company Spirit Authors, her marketing campaigns have  produced a long list of bestselling self-help and mind-body-spirit authors. Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project, a budding social enterprise whose aim is to help grow a new generation of passionate entrepreneurs who want to serve both people and planet through innovative, ethical, independent enterprise.

Twitter:
@LynnSerafinn @SpiritAuthors @7GracesMarketng @GardenOfTheSoul

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Author and marketer Lynn Serafinn shares her 12-step template for turning your articles into great content for your readers and effective marketing tools for you. 

I work as a marketing consultant for non-fiction authors. Most of my clients come to me with the same problem—they want to build their online marketing platform so they can ‘get the word out’ to the world about their book. For this to happen, it’s vital that we create, define or refine their brand.

Your brand is not just about your book; nor is defining your brand just about getting the right name, logo and colours. Your brand is a profile of who you are. It’s about your values and your mission. It answers questions like:

  • What do you stand for?
  • What is the change you want bring to the world?
  • What value does your book or company bring to humanity and planet?

Armed with this level of self-awareness, an author can then begin the greater work of communicating their brand to the public. In a nutshell, that’s what marketing is.

One of the key methods I encourage my clients to use to communicate with their audience about their book is blogging. Blogging (especially for people who are naturally inclined to write) is one of the most expressive, creative and effective ways to reach your intended audience and allow them to get to know your brand intimately. But a surprising number of authors have no idea how to write an effective blog that a) reinforces their brand and b) ‘sells’ their book without turning into a schmoozy sales letter.

In this article, I’m gong to give you a 12-step template for writing an effective blog that can give genuine value to your readers, build greater connection between you and your audience, and serve as a marketing piece for your book without diminishing the integrity of your message.

STEP 1: Choose Your Topics Strategically

To make blogging work as a marketing strategy, you need to put yourself in your audience’s shoes. What are they looking for? What problems are they trying to solve? What do they love, hate, fear, desire? See the world through their eyes.

Then, ask yourself this: How does your book address their problems? What expertise do you have that can meet their needs? Make a list of topics and break them into sub-topics. Try to come up with at least 20 ideas. If you blog only once a week, that’s nearly 6 months’ worth of value-driven content ideas.

STEP 2: Put Your Message in the Title

I spoke about this in another article I wrote on my 7 Graces of Marketing blog called ‘Left-Brain Blogging for Right-Brain Marketers’. So many writers I meet do not understand the importance of landing the right title for your blog article (or book, for that matter). Being cute, colourful or poetic doesn’t necessarily work in blogging. If your title doesn’t say exactly what a reader will find in the article, they are unlikely to check it out. Remember, the viral nature of blogging is highly dependent upon people sharing your article on social media and bookmarking sites. Even if someone does share your post, if the title doesn’t speak to their followers and readers, they won’t be inclined to click their link to check it out.

For your blog post to be an effective marketing tool, make sure you SAY what the article is about in the title. Put keywords in the title that will show up in searches if people are trying to find specific information. Finally, try to make your title no longer than 60 characters long (including spaces). The reason for this is that many search engines will cut off after 60 characters. If you need to make the title longer than 60 characters, make sure the crux of the message and the most important keywords are before the 60 character point.

I give a lot of care and attention to creating titles for my blogs. Have a look at the title of this article as an example:

  • TITLE: How to Sell Your Book or Service by Writing Great Blog Posts
  • It is EXACTLY 60 characters
  • The overall topic/message is contained in the title
  • The title is keyword rich and the keywords are all relevant to the topic of the article
  • The title reflects a topic that is relevant to the needs and interests of my reading audience (authors and business owners looking for creative and ethical ways to marketing themselves online)

STEP 3: Choose a Good, Royalty-Free Image

Always include an image in your blog post that reflects the subject and feel of your article. I encourage authors to put this image at the top of the article on the left-hand side. Make sure it is listed as the ‘featured image’ if your blog has that function.

Search engines love rich media like images and videos, but images also make your article more attractive when shared on social media such as Facebook and LinkedIn, and encourages people to ‘pin’ your post on Pinterest.

Make sure your image is ‘royalty free’. Do NOT pinch images by doing a Google image search. This means you might have to pay for your images, but if you blog once or twice a week, the investment is no more than the cost of a cappuccino at your favourite coffee shop. Here are some good royalty free sites (some of these are my affiliate links):

123rf.comRoyalty free images. Pay as you go or subscribe. http://www.123rf.com/#teknochik.

iStockPhoto. Royalty free images. Pay as you go or subscribe. http://bit.ly/OM8rqW.

DreamsTime. Free and inexpensive royalty free images. http://bit.ly/12VLCu8

STEP 4: Start with a ‘Teaser’

I think it’s a good idea to start your article with a ‘teaser’ that summarises what you’re going to talk about in the article and WHY. This teaser should be only 1 or 2 sentences, preferably no longer than 160 characters in length (with spaces). Make sure the teaser is a complete, self-contained thought, and is not just the first line of your article.

The reason for the 160 character teaser again has to do with search engines and sharing. When an article is displayed on search engines like Google and on social media sites like Facebook, you will see the title of the article and a short description of it. Unless you have your SEO (search engine optimisation) defined in your blog post, that description will typically be the first 160 characters of your article. Rarely (if ever) will your first 160 characters say anything of meaning about the context of the rest of the article. Putting in a ‘teaser’ ensures that people will know precisely what your article is about.

Note how the 160 character ‘teaser’ in this article stands up on its own, enabling readers to know exactly what they will find if they click the link:

Author, marketer Lynn Serafinn shares her 12-step template for turning your articles into great content for your readers and effective marketing tools for you.

Put your teaser in bold italics at the beginning of your article. This will set it apart from the main body of your post, and allow your audience to get a quick idea of what the article is about before reading.

The teaser is also another chance for you to use relevant keywords, making your blog post more likely to be picked up in Google searches.

BONUS TIP: If you are a WordPress user, I recommend using a plug-in called ‘All in One SEO’. Then, in addition to entering your title and keywords, you can use this teaser for the meta ‘description’ of the post.

STEP 5: Present the PROBLEM

After your teaser, start your article by presenting the ‘problem’ you are going to address in the article. Say what the problem is and why people need a solution to it. This doesn’t have to be very long or complicated; a few sentences or a short paragraph is perfectly fine.

Then, after you’ve presented the problem, tell the audience how you intend to address this problem in the rest of the article. This is important because it helps ‘filter’ your audience: those who don’t care about the topic will click away and those who are really interested will keep reading. And here’s the secret: the more ‘filtered’ your audience becomes, the more defined they become. And the more defined your audience is, the more clearly defined your brand becomes in their eyes.

STEP 6: Present the SOLUTION or ANSWER to the Problem

This section is the main body of your article. It is the place where you demonstrate your wisdom or expertise by addressing the ‘problem’ you identified.

How long does this need to be? That really depends upon what you ‘promised’ in the previous step. For example, at the top of this article I said I would give you a 12-step template, so that automatically defined how long this article would be. But I tend to write long articles and certainly your blog posts don’t need to be as long as mine. For example, I asked one of my clients to write an article explaining the meaning of two symbols from her book. Notionally, she only had to write one paragraph for each of these symbols.

TIP: Don’t go off the topic in your blog post. If you presented a problem, stick to addressing it and don’t go off on a tangent. If you find yourself wanting to talk about things that aren’t really related to the problem you presented, save those ideas for a different article.

STEP 7: SUMMARISE the Importance of What You Discussed

After you’ve presented your ‘solution’ write a paragraph that summarises how you fulfilled the promise of the article, and highlights the importance or usefulness of the subject at a wider level. What can this bring us? How does it help us? How does it add to our lives? What’s the bigger vision?

For example, my summary at the end of this article will talk about how good blogging can bring authors and business owners to ‘sell without selling’.

STEP 8: SHORT Mention of Your Book

After all that is done, give a brief mention of your book, relating it to the topic you just discussed. This should NOT be a ‘sales pitch’ but an invitation to the reader to get to know more about you and what you offer by letting them know you have more to give. Try to keep this to a single sentence (two at most).

STEP 9: ‘Call to Action’ 1: SUBSCRIBE REQUEST

In a single sentence, tell your readers what they can expect from future articles, and invite them to subscribe to your blog.

TIP: Be SURE you have an email subscription box set up via Feedburner, JetPack or other subscription service).

STEP 10: ‘Call to Action’ 2:  ENGAGEMENT

Always encourage your readers to leave comments on your site. This helps build stronger connection with them, and it also gives you feedback about how they feel about your content. Start your request by saying something like ‘I’d love to hear about your own experience’, or ‘I’d love to know what you think about this topic’, etc. Then, simply ask them to leave a comment in the comments box.

STEP 11: Make it Easy for Your Readers to Share and Follow

Be sure to have links to your social media profiles like Twitter or Facebook, and invite people to connect with you. Be sure you also have a good sharing plug-in installed so people can share your article. If you want, you can encourage them to share the article by saying something like, ‘If you liked this article, please share it with your friends.’

STEP 12: Bio and Headshot

This is a step too many bloggers overlook. It is HIGHLY important for people to know something about the author of the article they’ve just read. Without this, they cannot form an opinion about the value of your content, your book or brand. It’s wrong to assume that people know who you are just because they came to your website. It’s your responsibility to give them this information.

I recommend ending EVERY blog post with a short bio and headshot. This is because your reader will be busy asking many ‘why’ questions:

  • ‘Why’ is this person talking about this particular subject?
  • ‘Why’ should I believe in what this person has to say?
  • ‘Why’ should I come back to this site in the future?
  • ‘Why’ should I check out what else this author does (their book, their business)?

Closing Thoughts

Short-term sales might come from sales pages, but long-term customers come through TRUST. Writing effective blog posts on a regular basis is one of the best (and easiest) ways I know to build that trust. The more your audience gets to know you, your ideas and what you stand for, the more they come to trust your advice and your integrity.

The beautiful thing about blogging is that it is a way to ‘sell without selling’. When you share your wisdom, insight, experience, information or expertise on your blog, you are not only giving value to your audience, but you are also building awareness about yourself as a non-fiction author, business owner or service provider. Thus sales become an organic—rather than an aggressive—by-product of this interaction between you and your readers.

In my book The 7 Graces of Marketing, I refer to ‘The Grace of Inspiration’ as being the antidote to the ‘Deadly Sin of Persuasion’. I believe content blogging is a prime example of ‘Inspiration’—where we share our wisdom, ideas and expertise freely. Inspiration breathes life into our readers and customers, rather than hitting them over the head, as so many ‘old school’ marketers do. This shift away from Persuasion to Inspiration is part of the new paradigm I explore in that book.

Of course, to get the word out about our blogs, we need a way of broadcasting them to the world. In my book Tweep-e-licious, I offer many practical strategies for how to use Twitter to promote your blog to your ideal audience.

AND…if you’re serious about building your business through blogging you might consider our Spirit Authors Platform Builder packages (Starter Package or Growth Package). That’s a 13-week programme where we work with you to create an effective blogging strategy for YOUR audience, and support you by doing a lot of the ‘legwork’ to get your articles edited, proofed, published and distributed to your network. To speak to us about our Platform Builder packages, drop us a line via the contact form on this site and we can set up a free 30-minute consultation.

The 12-step template I showed you today is exactly the same one I use and teach my clients. I hope you’ll give it a try and that it helps to strengthen your brand, and increase your following and your sales. Please share this information with your friends if you found it useful.

And as always, I welcome your comments, feedback and thoughts for future articles below.

Lynn Serafinn

22nd May 2013

 


 

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LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She was recently named one of the Top 100 marketing authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was selected as a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. Her eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Through her company Spirit Authors, her marketing campaigns have  produced a long list of bestselling self-help and mind-body-spirit authors. Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project, a budding social enterprise whose aim is to help grow a new generation of passionate entrepreneurs who want to serve both people and planet through innovative, ethical, independent enterprise.

Twitter:
@LynnSerafinn @SpiritAuthors @7GracesMarketng @GardenOfTheSoul

Facebook:

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Today, guest blogger Karen Rowe—author, editor and ghostwriter—shares 4 key differences between the top 1% of authors and those who struggle to complete their books or make a living at writing.


According to the book The Millionaire Next Door approximately 3 percent of households in the United States have a net worth in excess of $1,000,000. And that net worth is accompanied by a minimum annual income just over $135,000 per year, with an average income of $260,000. Their income alone would place them in the top 3 percent of all American households.

Similarly, authors like J.K. Rowling, Dean Koontz and Stephen King represent less than 1% of the author population, and have book sales in excess of $300 Million.

So what’s the difference between top authors and those who struggle to make a living at it…or even to get their book completed?

DIFFERENCE #1: They set clear, definable goals

The big difference is that the 3 percent group prepared written goals with specific plans for reaching those goals. Not very many people are willing to do that.  

The best way to become a successful author is to start by creating some goals for your book. Ideally you want to create a list, five or ten goals at the very least, that you wish to achieve by publishing your book.

You also want to create goals surrounding your marketing: How many bloggers do you want to reach? How many events do you want to do? Who are you going to connect with to help you promote your book, etc.

A gentle reminder: Setting a goal for the number of books you want to sell should be at the bottom of your list, right before ‘Get Rich and Famous.’ See my earlier article, ‘7 Biggest Lies Writers Tell Themselves About Their Books’ for more on this.)

You won’t get sales without exposure.  The standard in marketing is that people need seven impressions of your book, message, or product before they will consider buying. Your goals should be aligned with that focus: getting as many impressions or pieces of exposure as you can. It’s not a matter of ‘What one thing will I do to get 100 people to buy my book’, but ‘What 100 things can I do to get one person to buy my book?’ Get enough exposure and book sales will follow.

DIFFERENCE #2: They stay focused

Focus is what separates the successful author from the one who flounders and does not complete or ever publish a book.

Authors are creative and as such, we have no shortage of ideas, we love to start new projects … Squirrel! … jot down ideas on scraps of paper … and then what? Move on to another bright, shiny object. I have dozens – if not hundreds—of half-started blog posts or book ideas which I’m only just now starting to do something with. But many authors suck at systems, schedules, time management, discipline, and most of us are lousy at self-promotion.  So we get distracted, and have a hard time with follow-through and completion. If you have to work with someone to stay focused it could be the best money you spend, ever.

Which brings me to the following point…

DIFFERENCE #3: They know what they’re good at, and what they’re not 

Successful authors build a strong team to help them with what’s not working.

This has been a tough one for me. I am a starter, a big picture thinker. What I’m NOT is a detail-oriented person or a “finisher.” This is not good or bad; it’s simply what is so. This means I’m a really great at conceptualizing. I can carry the vision for my clients’ books, help them get clear about what they want and create a plan. I’m also a strong substantive, or content, editor – the part where I get to sink my teeth into the ideas, the flow, the overall message and tone for the book and offer critical feedback.

Time and experience have taught me that I need a team of people around me who are detail-oriented finishers for the rest. You know these people: they are the organizers, it comes naturally to them, and they love it. These are my proofreaders and copyeditors, my executive assistants and my director of operations.  I surrounded myself with these people because I know the success of my project creative projects depends upon having them on my team.

You need people around you who are good at what they do and who know what they’re doing because they have value and expertise that you don’t. Respect their work and respect their time. Work to their strengths—and to yours.

DIFFERENCE #4: They welcome and encourage feedback

Authors who are willing to listen and learn and get valuable input to make their work better are often more successful than authors who refuse to listen to the advice of professionals who have been in the industry forever.

Authors can frequently become emotionally attached to their work, their cover art or an idea that may be standing in the way of their own success. Surround yourself with people who aren’t afraid to tell you the truth. They might tell you something you don’t want to hear, but this will help you more than any ego-stroking in the world. The market will tell you in no uncertain terms whether or not your work is good. You might as well hear it while there is still time to improve it.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Can these tips guarantee you’ll be the next Stephen King?

Of course not! But applying these tips will get you further ahead. Set goals, stay focused, work to your strengths, work with people who can do what you’re NOT good at and ditch the ego trip so you can get good, solid feedback about your work. These are BASIC principles of working within the book business.

And remember—writing and publishing books IS a business. Creating and using a solid business model for your writing profession will put you light years ahead of 99% of the authors of the estimated 300,000 books published every year. But that’s a subject for another article.

I hope you found these tips to be useful. I welcome your feedback below.

Note from Lynn Serafinn: Karen Rowe and I will be co-presenting a webinar called ‘9 Months to Birth Your Book’ on Thursday August 8th 2013. Be sure to subscribe to the Spirit Authors blog to hear more about it in the coming weeks.

ABOUT KAREN ROWE
A two-time published author, Karen is the owner of Front Rowe Seat, a training company for writers and business owners. She is an expert in non-fiction and can help you position yourself as a Leading Authority in your niche. Karen develops professionally written and designed books, done-for-you in 90 days. She has ghostwritten books for some of the most fascinating people in the world but, as a ghostwriter, she can’t tell you who any of them are! The key to a successful ghostwriter is absolute discretion. What she CAN tell you is that her clients include an actor, and a gold-medal Olympian and some of the top self-help leaders in the industry. Read more of Karen’s content-rich blog posts at http://www.KarenRowe.com/category/blog

 


NOW You Can Get The Spirit Authors Blog
Delivered Directly to Your Kindle!

 

Now you can have access to the latest tips in writing, publishing and book marketing everywhere you go. Get our Spirit Authors articles delivered 1-2 times a week directly to your Kindle for only 99 cents a month (77pUK). Instead of reading someone else’s book on your way to work, get information on how to make your OWN book a success.

Take a 14-day free trial at:
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/ZlW7HT
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/131495j

Join us on the Spirit Authors Page on Facebook
Connect with us on Twitter.


LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She was recently named one of the Top 100 marketing authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was selected as a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. Her eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Through her company Spirit Authors, her marketing campaigns have  produced a long list of bestselling self-help and mind-body-spirit authors. Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project, a budding social enterprise whose aim is to help grow a new generation of passionate entrepreneurs who want to serve both people and planet through innovative, ethical, independent enterprise.

Twitter:
@LynnSerafinn @SpiritAuthors @7GracesMarketng @GardenOfTheSoul

Facebook:

LynnSerafinn SpiritAuthors 7GracesOfMarketing 7 Graces Global Garden (group)

 

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Today we’re delighted to invite guest blogger Karen Rowe to Spirit Authors. Karen is a ghostwriter and editor who works with non-fiction authors. Today she “tells it like it is” about the many ways authors deceive themselves. 


It takes an average of about 400 hours to write a book. That’s a lot of time and effort. I’ve had many authors approach me who have poured blood, sweat and tears into a manuscript without the first clue how to get their book edited and published properly and out to the masses. Others have published their book without one ounce of marketing. And it has flopped. When I asked them about this, I find that they’ve been making assumptions based on myths they believe about the publishing industry.

Here are a few of the biggest mistakes writers make before they publish, and the lies they tell themselves:

LIE #1: “I can write about whatever I want.”
I’m always interested to hear what people are writing about. I’m often surprised to discover, though, that a lot of authors haven’t done any research or taken the time to familiarize themselves with what’s selling in their industry. You need to know who else is writing about your topic. Have you bought or read their books? What’s hot in your market, what’s selling and what isn’t? Reading other people’s work is important because you really want to know what’s being said about your topic, and how it’s being addressed. Not only that, these people will become an important part of your network.

LIE #2: “If I write a great book, it will sell itself.”
I’ve had many clients who are unknowingly under the impression that if they write a really fabulous book, people will somehow intuitively and magically just “know” and their book will become a bestseller. Hey, you wrote the book and that should be enough, right? Quality isn’t a guarantee of success. Two things make a successful book: strong, solid content and a great platform. You need to be your own biggest advocate, and you are going to be the greatest asset to getting the word out about your work. And if you’re terrible at it, then hire a professional to do it for you. 

LIE #3: “I’m going to get famous.”
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but chances are you’re not going to get famous. What a lot of people don’t realize with best-selling authors such as Charmaine Hammond  — whose book is getting turned into a movie — and others, who have started with nothing and become success stories, is that fame is always preceded by hard work, and a lot of it.  It’s wonderful to have a goal of ‘making it big’, but it’s not always realistic. Most authors who have attained great success didn’t just show up at the fame-party ready to sign autographs. They spent months working tirelessly to get the word out about their book and building a strong and solid platform, both before the book was released and for many months after. Could fame happen? Anything is possible. But first focus on the work.

LIE #4: “I’m going to get rich.”
I’m always saying to keep the end in mind when writing, but trust me when I tell you that money is not the end game. You can’t guarantee book sales. Ever. You can build a strong campaign, and enroll many launch partners. What you can’t do is predict how many copies of a book will sell. Create other goals or other milestones. Yes, we all want to sell books and with a strong platform, you can, and as my previous point, this is always preceded by a lot of hard work.

LIE #5: “I can market my book after I’m done writing it.”
I often have clients approach me when they have completed their book and ask, ‘now what?’ They’re in trouble. Why? Because there were 300,000 books published in 2012, and the time to start marketing your book was about 3 months ago. If you want to break through you’ll need a minimum of 6 months to get a solid campaign up and running. And the time when traditional publishers did that for you is gone. Publishers are now looking to sign authors who make it easy for them. They want great reads from authors who already have a following and are willing to promote their own work.

LIE #6: “I don’t need a marketing plan.”
Since publishers are looking for authors who understand the game, you should have an idea of what you’re going to do to market your book. It doesn’t have to be formal, but some kind of guideline that gives a structure to your plans, your goals, and your marketing efforts is essential.

LIE #7: “My mom can edit my book.”
Oh, please don’t do this. Writing a book is the fun part; editing is where the real work takes place. You need to hire a professional. Authors often overlook this extremely important step. It’s easy to find someone to edit a book, right? My mom/sister/cousin’s dog is good at English. Wrong. Editing is a pretty specialized skill set; someone who can find “typos” isn’t a good editor. You want someone to help you raise the bar on your work and create a final product that is something you can really be proud of. An editor will give you critical feedback (especially if you’ve hired a content editor, which I highly recommend), and often improve your work beyond what you might have been able to do on your own.

It’s good to remember that publishing isn’t just about finding the right place to print and publish your book. It’s about a lot more than that: publishing is a business; if you treat it as a business model you will always succeed.

 

ABOUT KAREN ROWE
A two-time published author, Karen is the owner of Front Rowe Seat, a training company for writers and business owners. She is an expert in non-fiction and can help you position yourself as a Leading Authority in your niche. Karen develops professionally written and designed books, done-for-you in 90 days. She has ghostwritten books for some of the most fascinating people in the world but, as a ghostwriter, she can’t tell you who any of them are! The key to a successful ghostwriter is absolute discretion. What she CAN tell you is that her clients include an actor, and a gold-medal Olympian and some of the top self-help leaders in the industry. Read more of Karen’s content-rich blog posts at http://www.KarenRowe.com/category/blog

 

Later this week, we’ll return with Part 2 of our Tutorial on “How to Make a Video Book Trailer for $77 or Less”

AND FINALLY, DON’T FORGET to subscribe to the Spirit Authors blog via the form at the top of this page for more tips on writing, publishing, book promotion and new mind-body-spirit book releases.

NOW You Can Get The Spirit Authors Blog
Delivered Directly to Your Kindle!

 

Now you can have access to the latest tips in writing, publishing and book marketing everywhere you go. Get our Spirit Authors articles delivered 1-2 times a week directly to your Kindle for only 99 cents a month (77pUK). Instead of reading someone else’s book on your way to work, get information on how to make your OWN book a success.

Take a 14-day free trial at:
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/ZlW7HT
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/131495j

Join us on the Spirit Authors Page on Facebook
Connect with us on Twitter.


LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She was recently named one of the Top 100 marketing authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was selected as a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. Her eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Through her company Spirit Authors, her marketing campaigns have  produced a long list of bestselling self-help and mind-body-spirit authors. Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project, a budding social enterprise whose aim is to help grow a new generation of passionate entrepreneurs who want to serve both people and planet through innovative, ethical, independent enterprise.

Twitter:
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Authors may be gifted when it comes to writing books, but lacking when it comes to knowing how to write copy for their website or other promotional materials. Guest author Debra Jason shares her K-I-S-S ideas for writing effective marketing copy.


Want to know how to write compelling copy that’s easy for your prospects and customers to read? KISS them!

While some people equate this acronym with “Keep it simple stupid,” I prefer to use “KEEP IT SIMPLE SWEETHEART!”

Clarity is extremely important in writing marketing content – be it a brochure, blog, direct mail piece or Web site. You want to create a conversation between you and your audience, but how to you do that when you’re not face-to-face?

The difference between conversation and writing is that during a conversation we give the other person time to understand what we’ve said. We pause between sentences, repeat ourselves and space our ideas apart.

The secret of writing is to leave space – create these pauses. In The Art of Plain Talk by Rudolf Flesch, he outlined these 7 helpful steps:

1. Start out with short, simple sentences.
Start your copy with a sentence of 8 words or less. This is the average sentence length in the English language, and it is considered very easy to understand. Here’s a breakdown of how longer sentences are interpreted by your readers:

  • 11 words – easy
  • 14 words – fairly easy
  • 17 words – standard (AVERAGE READER)
  • 21 words – fairly difficult
  • 25 words – difficult
  • 29+ words – very difficult

As Herschell Gordon Lewis said in The Art of Writing Copy, “Clarity has to come first, no matter what you’re writing or to whom.”

2. Two short sentences are easier to read than one long one.
Always try to break long sentences into shorter ones. Sometimes you might even use one-word sentences.

3. The rules of grammar do not always apply in marketing copy.
Lewis also advises, “Copywriters are communicators, not grammarians. What matters isn’t your knowledge of which tense is which; it’s your knowledge of how to transform the lead of drab fact into the gold of lustrous attraction.”

4. Use bullet points.
I often advise my clients to use bullet points. Rather than make your audience plough through a lengthy paragraph, break it up into easy-to-read bullet points. Make the content inviting to the readers eyes!

5. Be personal. Use “you.”
Your reader is a current customer or prospect. So talk to that reader. Avoid mentioning “the client” or “the customer.” Let your prospect know you’re talking directly to him or her, one-on-one. Use the word “you.”

Your readers come first. Write to people not at them. Incorporate a friendly, conversational tone as if your reader were sitting right across the table from you.

In his book, Direct Mail Copy That Sells!, Herschell Gordon Lewis explained, “When you write a letter that says, ‘Only you. . .’, you’ve told the recipient that to you he isn’t a unit, an anonymous number in a computer, a faceless organism with a zip code. . . You also project an attitude of friendliness.”

6. Whenever possible, talk about people, not ideas.
Tests show that we enjoy, and are better readers when, reading about other people more than about anything else. Sentences can be written so that the logical subject is a person. Use personal pronouns (theirs, yours, you) or human interest words (woman, man, child, boy).

7. Use active verb forms that have life in them.
Words like dance, sing, add, run, etc. make your sentences ‘move.’ To see the difference in impact, here are some examples from author Patricia Williams’ Creating and Producing the Perfect Newsletter:

Passive: The lobby was the site of a rally led by Tiger boosters Tuesday.
Active: Tiger boosters led a rally in the lobby Tuesday.
Passive: The basement was flooded with water.
Active: Water flooded the basement.

8. Punctuation makes reading easier.
Punctuation puts in visual pauses and stresses important points. Use commas, hyphens, dashes and ellipses to achieve this effect.

9. Give your readers something useful.
Ad man David Ogilvy said, “Give the reader helpful advice, or service. It hooks about 75% more readers than copy which deals entirely with the product.”

So, are you KISS-ing your readers?

If you liked this article, please SHARE it!
AND please share your thoughts and comments below.

~ Debra Jason

http://www.writedirection.com

http://facebook.com/writedirection

 DEBRA JASON is the former President of the Rocky Mountain Direct Marketing Association (RMDMA), and a seasoned copywriter with more than 25 years of experience. Owner of The Write Direction, she offers copywriting services for Web and direct marketing communications, delivering captivating content that converts your prospects into loyal customers. Debra is also a recipient of the RMDMA’s Creative Person of the Year Award.

Note from Lynn Serafinn: Many thanks to Debra for sharing these useful tips. I especially like tip #9. I hate receiving newsletter and email shots that are just sales letters. I believe the best “marketing” is when we don’t market, but provide our readers with great content…like this.J

 


If you’re an author needing help with marketing your book, give Lynn Serafinn at Spirit Authors a shout via the CONTACT FORM on this site and we can set up a FREE 30 minutes Skype chat to see if I can help in any way.

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LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She was recently named one of the Top 100 marketing authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was selected as a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. Her eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. In her work as a promotional manager she has produced a long list of bestselling mind-body-spirit authors. Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project, a budding social enterprise whose aim is to help grow a new generation of passionate entrepreneurs who want to serve both people and planet through innovative, ethical, independent enterprise.

Twitter:
@LynnSerafinn @SpiritAuthors @7GracesMarketng @GardenOfTheSoul

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What holds so many creative individuals back from going public? Author, coach and book marketer Lynn Serafinn reveals the top 5 fears every writer faces when leaping out of the safety zone of anonymity and into the public eye.


I’ve worked professionally with creatives for more than four decades, as a teacher, mentor, coach and consultant. I started as a music teacher when I was only 15 years old and by the time I left the teaching profession in 2007, I was overseeing over 700 music and performing arts students, as well as working as an examiner at several colleges throughout the UK for one of the largest educational awarding bodies in Britain. When I made the switch to working almost exclusively with authors, I found there were many similarities between them and performing artists, especially in the way they worked. No matter what craft they practice, creative individuals love to be unfettered; they thrive upon the adrenaline rush of new ideas. However, this can often be an addiction that can stop them short of bringing a project to completion. Many of them say this is because they “get bored” if a project takes too long. But I think this so-called “boredom” is often (if not usually) based upon various fears they commonly face.

Taking on the prospect of publishing one’s work can sometimes feel like we’re leaping out of the safety of the “small pond” into the unknown, and can be just as fearful as it may seem exciting. Because so many creative individuals suffer a continual (and often unconscious) battle against their fears, I thought it would be a good idea to name the top 5 most common fears I’ve encountered when working with them:

  1. Fear of Commitment
  2. Fear of Quitting
  3. Fear of Incompetence
  4. Fear of Judgement
  5. Fear of Marketing

Fear of Commitment
Many creatives have a million brilliant ideas, but refuse to commit to a specific project and bring it to completion. Creatives are “global thinkers”, and thus many worry that if they commit to one project, it will dampen their spontaneity and stop the flow of creative ideas. This is typical of the creative mind, and unless you know this about yourself, you are likely to give into commit-o-phobia. Succumbing to it can be a recipe for lifelong feelings of failure. I have seen it happen again and again. If you have a fear of commitment, please understand that you will NEVER free up space in your creative mind for MORE projects until you finish a project and get it out of the way. Have a little more faith in your ability to create. You will ALWAYS have more ideas. Trust your creative spirit.

“You will NEVER free up space in your creative mind for MORE projects until you finish a project and get it out of the way.”

Fear of Quitting
Many creatives already have a long track record of not seeing their projects to completion. Being aware of this can cause them to lose faith in themselves, and their greatest fear is that they will spend a lot of time and money on a project only to let themselves down by quitting before it’s done. They may also fear their quitting will cause them to lose the trust of other people permanently. It may seem blatantly obvious, but the only way to overcome this fear is to finish even one small project. Even a small victory will change your beliefs about yourself. Sometimes, hiring a writing coach can be helpful provided you commit yourself to being held accountable by your coach. Get it into your head that your ability to complete your project is entirely in YOUR hands (and mind).

Fear of Incompetence
Let’s say you’ve moved through the other two fears, and now it’s obvious your book WILL be published (including self-published). You’re not necessarily out of the woods because other fears inevitably start to kick in. If the book is a non-fiction book and you have taken a stance on a particular subject, you might be afraid you won’t be able to answer difficult questions in media interviews. You might even be unsure as to whether or not you can stand by your topic fully. If these kinds of fears are controlling you, then it’s time for two things. First, sit down and restate all the reasons why this book “wants” to be written. Why does the world need this book now? What is its purpose beyond your own desire to write it? Get a really strong connection to the “life purpose” of the book. Write this purpose down and pin it over your desk. After you’ve done that, it’s time to sit down and read your book through the eyes of someone who doesn’t know you, and see how well you are communicating your ideas. You might want someone else (not your mother or best friend!) to give you objective feedback. If something is “missing” in what you are saying, ask yourself questions like, “Where am I holding back? What am I leaving out? What am I avoiding in the book?” Then, ask yourself if you could benefit from some 3rd party research resources to back up your ideas. Rework your text until you know it is expressing exactly what you mean. The best way to build competence is to get it clear in YOUR mind first, and then learn how to express it clearly to others. And remember, “competence” doesn’t have to mean “complex”. Think of SIMPLE ways to express your (complex) ideas, and people will more readily understand you.

Fear of Judgement
Fear of Judgement—whether from family and friends or from the general public—is probably the biggest fear every author faces as they get ready to publish. I don’t want to minimise this fear (as it can be crippling if it’s “got” you in its grips) but I do want to make it simple: 1) all fear is in the mind and; 2) fear is a mind-killer (as Frank Herbert said in Dune). Please note: when you write a book, people WILL judge you. It’s going to happen no matter what you do. Some will judge your favourably and others not so favourably. If you don’t allow yourself to enter the arena and be “judged”, not only will your book never get published, but YOU will never grow as an author, or as a human being. And here’s the secret I’ve learned: with every book you write you will encounter new fears of judgement that you may not have known you had. Every time you jump into those fears and allow yourself to be judged, you grow and become more resilient. The only way to deal with fear of judgement is to “feel the fear and do it anyway” (as the late Susan Jeffers said). Move through your fear of judgment by stepping into your own “graciousness” and by learning to love what makes you radically different from everyone else. Once you are willing to be this radically different person, rather than someone who “fits” a particular mould, being judged becomes a fun, amusing and even necessary part of life rather than a terrifying ordeal.

“Fear of Judgement—whether from family and friends or from the general public—is probably the biggest fear every author faces as they get ready to publish.

Fear of Marketing
Now let’s say you’ve moved through all the other fears and your book is going to come out sometime in the near future. You have grappled with the other fears to some degree or another, and have finally accepted that if you want to get their book “out there” you will need to work on a marketing plan for it. But, in my experience, the mere thought of marketing can be the source of some major fears amongst creative individuals. The two most common fears they have about marketing are: 1) That they don’t have a clue where to start and 2) That they’ll look like a sleazy salesperson if they try to market their book.

Not knowing where to start is a common fear, but reading articles on blogs like Spirit Authors is a good way to get started. And please don’t wait until your book is written to start building your marketing platform. If you have no online platform established (social network, mailing list, etc), you should get started building it at least 6 months (hopefully a full year) before your book comes out.

To get you started on your platform building (or to help you grow a platform you’ve already started), I suggest you check out my most recent book Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically. While the book focuses on Twitter, it goes beyond it, and is a handbook of online marketing strategies that employ a systematic integration between social media, blogging, videos, etc. When you buy the book or Kindle, you can also download a 90-minute Twitter marketing audio class and a 14-page resource pack with links to over 100 Twitter resources. You can find out more about the book and the additional resources at http://tweepelicious.com

If you are one of these creatives or holistic business owners who believes that marketing will make you look “sleazy”, please know that there IS a way to market yourself creatively, in a way that does not betray your values. If anyone is telling you differently, they are probably following what I would call the “old paradigm” of marketing that depends upon fear, scarcity and other persuasive strategies. And as we have been discussing throughout this article, fear can shut down the pathways to creativity and connection. Trust your gut and know that you can create your own paradigm for marketing. To that end, I recommend you check out my book The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sell¸ as it was originally inspired by people just like you.

Final Thought
The consummate author is not someone who has managed to get rid of fear altogether, but rather someone who has learned how to enjoy the fear, knowing that the ability to face bigger and bigger fears is the true measuring stick for our artistic craft and professional success.

I hope this article has struck a chord in some of you who may have been spinning your wheels in a writing project without being able to pinpoint the reasons. I believe that when we recognise which fears may be holding us back from success—and we know that millions of other creatives battle with exactly the same fears every time they approach a new project—we can begin to shift the stuckness and move into productivity. And the more productive we become, the more confident we become to face the inevitable fears that will pop up as we approach the next project, and the next after that.

~ Lynn Serafinn
5 February 2013

If you liked this article, please SHARE it!
AND please share your thoughts and comments below.

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If you’re getting ready to publish and are ready to feel the fear of jumping out of the fishbowl,  give me a shout via the CONTACT FORM on this site and we can set up a FREE 30 minutes Skype chat to see if I can help in any way.

AND FINALLY, DON’T FORGET to subscribe to the Spirit Authors blog for more tips on writing, publishing, book promotion and new mind-body-spirit book releases.


LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She was recently named one of the Top 100 marketing authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was selected as a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. Her eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. In her work as a promotional manager she has produced a long list of bestselling mind-body-spirit authors. Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project, a budding social enterprise whose aim is to help grow a new generation of passionate entrepreneurs who want to serve both people and planet through innovative, ethical, independent enterprise.

Twitter:
@LynnSerafinn @SpiritAuthors @7GracesMarketng @GardenOfTheSoul

Facebook:

LynnSerafinn SpiritAuthors 7GracesOfMarketing 7 Graces Global Garden (group)

 

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What was the real force behind Newton's creative ideas?

What was the real force behind Newton’s creative ideas?
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What is the Creative Process?  Are some people naturally gifted or is creativity accessible to all? Author, coach and marketing consultant Lynn Serafinn of Spirit Authors shares her own understanding, from a metaphysical, scientific and practical perspective.


The great physicist and alchemist Sir Isaac Newton coined what he called the “First Law of Motion”, also known as the “Law of Inertia”. This law states that an object at rest tends to stay at rest, and an object in uniform motion tends to stay in uniform motion unless acted upon by an external force. This “law” is not merely some scientific “rule” but a dynamic principal we can see at play both in the macro- and micro- levels of Reality.

The external “force” of which Newton speaks doesn’t have anything to do with being “forceful” or aggressive. “Force” simply refers to something that has the ability to change or transform something else. Think of it as what they mean in Star Wars when they say “May the Force be with you.” The “Force” is your inner alchemical power that transforms a conscious thought into a tangible manifestation.

On the grand scale, by whatever name you wish to call it, “Force” sets Divine Creation in motion to create the universes, life and all manifestations of the physical and non-physical worlds. On a more personal level, our “Force” is what drives movement, change and creativity throughout our own lives. But the “Force” is not the same as “Will”, but rather something much more intricate and beautiful. In the specific case of writers, all the creative imagination in the world cannot manifest without the “Force”. The key difference between Newton’s law and our situation as creative individuals is that we are not “objects”, but conscious entities. And because we are conscious, if we imagine the energy needed to break our inertia will come from an external force, we might find ourselves waiting a very long time for the “magic bullet” to send us inspiration. We don’t need a magic bullet. We need the “Force”.

In short…

The Force = the Creative Process

 

The Creative Process doesn’t “belong” to us, but rather is the fundamental energy of the Divine Creation. If you ever said, “I’m not creative,” you were wrong. You are part of Creation; therefore the very food of life for you is creativity. It is impossible for you not to contain the seeds of creativity within you. However, if you do not activate that potential creativity through the 3-fold force of the creative process, you may not ever convert that potential energy into something tangible.

What is the Creative Process? My own personal definition of the Creative Process is “the act of bringing into manifestation that which already lies in the Collective Creation”. In other words, all that we seem to create already existed in the great “Cosmic Soup”, and we simply tapped into it and somehow — through words, pictures, music or other media — and made it understandable to others. This is how I have experienced it. I’ve heard other creative artists say much the same.

The Creative Process is comprised of three components:

1. Consciousness (mind)
2. Will (heart or soul)
3. Energy (body)

Body, mind and soul. ALL three are needed to activate the Creative Process. If you don’t tap into all three, you will find it very challenging to sustain movement in your writing project. This is equally so for any creative project, from starting a family to starting a new business.

Let’s look at each of these components in turn and consider how they contribute to your Creative Process. In this article, we’ll look at the first component: consciousness or mind.

Consciousness (Mind)
Consciousness or mind is the place where your ideas are conceived. It is the place where you receive the inspiration from the Universal Creative Principle that exists in all places and at every moment. Think of it like the receiver of a big satellite dish getting signals from outer space. The dish is connected to a data processor where the signals can be organised, and then stored into a hard-drive for future use.

Consciousness or mind is NOT the place where creativity manifests; it is the place where information is received from the Cosmic Soup. As such, we need to be an open channel, ready to receive that information.  Whenever you get an idea “in a flash” or you “see” or “hear” a story, vision, teaching or whatever, that is the moment you are connected to, and receiving from, the Creative Consciousness. People who say they “channel” their work are familiar with this connection. You don’t have to describe your work as being “channelled” if you don’t like this word, but the truth is ALL true creativity comes from finding that connection to the Greater Creative Consciousness and allowing it to fill your mind with ideas, teaching, stories, visions, words, pictures, shapes or whatever it happens to send you.

Some creative artists describe the phenomenon of “writer’s block” as the inability to come up with any ideas. In my opinion, “writer’s block” is simply what we experience when we impose our ego, insecurities, self-judgments and other obstacles, and allow them to get in the way of our natural connection to Greater Creative Consciousness, thus restricting the transmission of ideas from It. When we start to second-guess ourselves and tell ourselves that we are not capable, or that we are in some way inferior to the calling, what we are actually doing is refusing to trust the Greater Creative Consciousness. We refuse to believe it will sustain us, inform us and enlighten us. We refuse to believe it will love us enough to fill in the gaps we might see within ourselves.

Always remember this: The Greater Creative Consciousness does NOT judge you the way you judge yourself. It is 100% impartial to any of your self-perceived flaws or drawbacks. It is sending you creative messages at every moment; if you are not receiving them, it is because you are filtering them out. The reasons why you are filtering them are complex, but in my opinion this filtering is at the core of why human beings suffer. I believe, we can end our own suffering and your karmic cycle in an instant simply by opening our consciousness to receive—without judgement or filters—all that the Greater Creative Consciousness has to give us at any given moment. In fact, once you turn this channel on, you might even need to develop strategies for switching it OFF when you need to focus on the practical side of creation.

“The Greater Creative Consciousness does NOT judge you the way you judge yourself… It is sending you creative messages at every moment; if you are not receiving them, it is because you are filtering them out.”

I hope you found this look at the role of consciousness in the Creative Process to be useful. In Part 2 of this article series, we’ll be looking at the next component of the Creative Process: “Will” (heart or soul).

I’d love to hear your own thoughts, beliefs and experiences with the Creative Process.
Please do share in the comments box below.

Please also join us on the Spirit Authors Page on Facebook and connect with us on Twitter.


If you’d love to have some help to get your creative process flowing again so you can move forward in your writing or marketing journey, give me a shout via the CONTACT FORM on this site and we can set up a FREE 30 minutes Skype chat to see if I can help in any way.

AND DON’T FORGET to subscribe to the Spirit Authors blog for more tips on writing, publishing, book promotion and new mind-body-spirit book releases.


Lynn Serafinn, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing: How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell. Her eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. In her work as a promotional manager she has produced a long list of bestselling mind-body-spirit authors. She is the founder of Spirit Authors, a site dedicated to providing information on publishing and book promotioin for and about mind-body-spirit authors, both established and aspiring. Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project, a budding social enterprise whose aim is to help grow a new generation of passionate entrepreneurs who want to serve both people and planet through innovative, ethical, independent enterprise.

Twitter:
@LynnSerafinn @SpiritAuthors @7GracesMarketng @GardenOfTheSoul

Facebook:

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Lets' Go! If you want to write a book but just can’t seem to get going, maybe you still need the most important ingredient. Author, coach Lynn Serafinn of Spirit Authors explains (updated version from article orginally published Dec 31, 2009).


Many people dream of writing a book, but far fewer  actually take the steps needed to get started. In my experience, this is largely due to many self-imposed reasons we make up that get in the way.

If you have had a life-long dream of writing a book, and for some reason you never seem to get started, perhaps you have been telling yourself you needed something “more” before you could even think of beginning such a project. You might have told yourself you needed…

  • More training or better language skills
  • More technical understanding of the publishing process
  • More time
  • More self discipline.
  • More connections in the publishing industry
  • More talent
  • More ideas
  • More originality
  • More confidence
  • More… well, you fill in the blanks.

After years of professional experience as a musician, writer, teacher and a coach who works with creative people, there is one thing I have learned: as soon as we humans start to impose such “I-can’t-do-this-until-I-have-more-of-something-or-other” conditions upon our dreams, we completely shut down our natural, creative process. While this is true for all people, it is especially true for the soft, sensitive and highly reflective types of people who write in the mind-body-spirit genre.

Forget for a minute about all the things you might have told yourself in the past. There is really only ONE thing you need in order to write a book, especially a mind-body-spirit book: You need to be able to identify why your book must be written. Only when you have truly identified the greater purpose for your book will you be able to get behind it 100%. A clear purpose will serve you far greater than any other “practical” element you have might imagined you needed. During the publication process of my first book, I myself encountered several roadblocks where I worried I might lose hope, but, time after time, the greater purpose of my book brought me back into balance, got me reconnected, and kept me going to bring it to the level of success I wanted.

“Only when you have truly identified the greater purpose
for your book will you be able to get behind it 100%.”

This is why the very first thing I suggest to aspiring authors who want to write a book is to “identify why your book MUST be written”.

Notice I use the word “must”. I believe, in the greater scheme of the Universe, your book “must” be written. It’s essential you also believe this, and that you know the reason why this is so. I don’t take an intellectual approach to guide you through this discovery, but a true coaching process to help you uncover all the hidden layers of resistance that may be blocking you from fully connecting to the heart and soul of your book project. Even if you are already writing a book, or have written books in the past, this lesson gives you practical tools to explore and discover the essence of the “life purpose” of your book, so you can not only get started, but stick with it even when the going gets rough.

If you’re already writing a book but seem to lose focus, or you really want to write a book but can’t seem to get going, take some time out to reflect upon the greater purpose of your book. To me, this is the most essential ingredient for bringing a book from concept to publication.

If you could use some fresh ideas to help you gain the focus you need, and you’d love to have someone making the journey with you and you progress (as well as help you start early promotion for your book), give me a shout via the CONTACT FORM on this site and we can set up a FREE 30 minutes Skype chat to see if I can help in any way.

Please DO leave your comments below. I LOVE hearing from you!

AND DON’T FORGET to subscribe to the Spirit Authors blog for more tips on writing, publishing, book promotion and new mind-body-spirit book releases.


Lynn Serafinn, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing: How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell. Her eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. In her work as a promotional manager she has produced a long list of bestselling mind-body-spirit authors. She is the founder of Spirit Authors, a site dedicated to providing information on publishing and book promotioin for and about mind-body-spirit authors, both established and aspiring. Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project, a budding social enterprise whose aim is to help grow a new generation of passionate entrepreneurs who want to serve both people and planet through innovative, ethical, independent enterprise.

Twitter:
@LynnSerafinn @SpiritAuthors @7GracesMarketng @GardenOfTheSoul

Facebook:

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7 KeysCampaign manager Lynn Serafinn shares a simple formula to give power to your words (this is an updated version of an aritlce orginally published on April 5, 2010).

If you are planning an Amazon campaign for your book launch, you will need the help of a great network of personal and professional friends to help you. But something you might not have thought about is the fact that you will need to provide some “ezine copy” for them to use to help promote your book. That’s right: YOU will have to provide the article or articles your “joint venture partners” (JVPs) will send out to their lists.

The reason for this is two-fold. First of all, your JVPs are probably pretty busy, and if you ask them to write an article for you, it is less likely they will have it ready in time to meet your timetable. Secondly, YOU are the person who knows best what you want to say about your book. Those are the two most important reasons why you should write the “copy” (article) for your JVPs’ newsletters when they offer to promote you. And you’ll need to write several over the course of the campaign, in order to speak to the different audiences your partners represent.

I know this might sound a little daunting to some of you, especially those of you who don’t like the idea of “selling” (which covers just about 99.9% of the mind-body-spirit authors I know), so I thought I would give you a little formula to get you started, so you could see it is not so much about selling at all, as it is about connecting and inspiring the reader.

When you write your copy, make sure it meets the following criteria:
  1. It is between 400-700 words.
  2. It is written casually in the 3rd person as if the JVP is writing about you.
  3. It arouses curiosity in the title and opening line.
  4. It inspires the reader by sharing something meaningful about you and your book.
  5. It has a specific place where the JVP can (and should) personalise it.
  6. It’s NOT a sales letter but…
  7. It has a short, clear call to action at the end (i.e., it tells people when, where and why to get your book).
Ways to Keep it Real
  1. Remember  that the primary purpose of your copy is to arouse curiosity, and not to “sell” your book (yes, I thought you’d be happy to know that!).
  2. The other thing to remember is to write it in the third person about you, as if your JVPs were writing the article. There is tremendous power in your partners’ saying, “I found this book to be inspiring.”
  3. Make sure you have places in the article where partners can personalise it to make it more their own. And if “keeping it real” means that you need to send a copy of your book to your partners (at least a pdf version of it), BE GENEROUS and do so. It will help them say (nice) things about you in a much more authentic way.
  4. Don’t make your ezine copy just about the book. Make it also about YOU. Audiences like to know the person behind the book. Talk about how the book came to be. Bring the reader on a personal journey. Let them into your world. If you only talk about the book, a vital human connection will be missing.
  5. Your ‘call to action’ should be consistent with the character of the article. In other words, do NOT make it schmoozy and salesy. Make your call to action short and INVITING rather than hitting people over the head with ‘you’ve gotta get this book because it will change your life’ kind of attitude. Let it emerge naturally from the body of the article instead of jumping out like an attack!
See an example of this in action

If you want to see an example of this in action, have a look at the article I wrote called “How to Have a Life Well Lived”. I was the campaign manager for Patrick Ryan’s book campaign, so I made this copy (and several others) for the JVPs on his Amazon campaign. If you analyse it carefully, you will see 7 key elements I mention above. It must have worked, because his book went to #1 in spirituality in Canada and #2 in the US on the day of his launch in April 2010. :-)

Are YOU Planning a Book Launch?

If you are seeking a manager for your mind-body-spirit campaign, give me a shout via the CONTACT FORM on this site and we can set up a FREE 30 minutes Skype chat to see if I can help in any way. Please note I only accept a limited amount of clients per year and require a 6-month lead in time for a full-service launch.

Please DO leave your comments below. I LOVE hearing from you!

AND DON’T FORGET to subscribe to the Spirit Authors blog for more tips on writing, publishing, book promotion and new mind-body-spirit book releases.


Lynn Serafinn, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing: How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell. Her eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. In her work as a promotional manager she has produced a long list of bestselling mind-body-spirit authors. She is the of Spirit Authors, a site dedicated to providing information on publishing and book promotioin for and about mind-body-spirit authors, both established and aspiring. Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project, a budding social enterprise whose aim is to help grow a new generation of passionate entrepreneurs who want to serve both people and planet through innovative, ethical, independent enterprise.

Twitter:
@LynnSerafinn @SpiritAuthors @7GracesMarketng @GardenOfTheSoul

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Your book is magic! Bestselling author and book marketing consultant Lynn Serafinn shares her top reasons why an outline can help you get your book written.

If you are in the middle of a book project and you keep getting stuck, or it seems to take on a life of its own and go ‘all over the place’, it’s probably because you have no outline OR you did at one time and you have since abandoned it. Because I have seen that so many new authors writing their first book do not make an outline before beginning their project, I thought I’d share with you the TOP 10 reasons (plus 1) why defining a structure and creating an outline for your book is so important:

  1. It makes writing easier. When you go to sit down to work, you know exactly what parts of your book need to get done. And remember, just because you have an ordered outline, you are NOT committed to writing it in order. You can start anywhere.
  2. It makes reading easier. Books that have a structure are easier for readers to comprehend.
  3. It makes your message memorable. Readers can remember your message when there is a structure attached to it. It makes abstract concepts more memorable, and enables readers to feel they have gained something they can take away from the book, after they have finished it.
  4. It helps ensure you are thorough. If you have an outline, you won’t accidentally omit something vital to your message or storyline.
  5. It helps limit continuity errors. While thoroughness refers to ensuring that all important thoughts and details are included in your text, continuity refers to ensuring your thoughts and events following a logical sequence. An outline can help you see the continuity of your book before writing it.
  6. It helps ensure your book has symmetry. Symmetry means that all the assembled parts of your book have a “shape” when pieced all together.
  7. It helps ensure your book has balance. A good outline can help you see if some parts of your book are less substantial than others. A well-balanced book is organised in such a way that the ideas are balanced both in quantity and in quality against each other.
  8. It helps keep you focussed. When you have an outline (and stick to it) you won’t be as tempted to go off on a tangent. This doesn’t mean you will NEVER deviate or come up with great new ideas. But if the outline is there, you can see how these new ideas fit into your original intention.
  9. It helps to motivate you. When you have an outline, you see yourself making progress and ticking off the “boxes”, so to speak. This helps keep you motivated as you move closer and closer to your goal of finishing your book.
  10. It helps you develop a regular writing practice. If you have an outline to depend upon, you are far more likely to sit down at your desk (or wherever you happen to write) and START WRITING rather than waiting for the “muse” to shoot arrows at you.

And here’s the +1 bonus reason…

It keeps your READERS engaged. When you are writing a book, you are like a tour guide taking your readers on a journey from point A to point B. If you don’t know where your readers are starting from, you won’t be able to ‘meet them’ and get them on board at the beginning of the book. And if you don’t know where you’re taking them, a lot of them will hop of the bus (i.e., put down your book) before they get to the destination…if you manage to take them there at all.

Case in point: did you notice how I used structure to create cohesion in this article? FIRST decided I would find 10 top reasons, and then wrote down the reasons. Then, I started writing. Because I organised my ideas through a structure, the article seemed to write itself. And for you as a reader, isn’t it a lot easier to remember them than if I simply talked about the topic without a structure?

‘When you are writing a book, you are like a tour guide taking your readers on a journey from point A to point B.’

When I first started writing my book The 7 Graces of Marketing in 2010, I didn’t have a structure. I wrote a lot, but I ‘waffled’ a heck of a lot too. I kept moving things around and couldn’t see where I was going. I found myself saying the same thing over and over without realising it, and there was no real over-arching point or direction for what I was writing. Then, one day, about an hour before I was going to deliver a talk on ‘spiritual marketing’ to a group of business owners at the One World Festival here in the UK, I felt really stuck in knowing how to communicate the ideas I felt intuitive, but couldn’t quite put my fingers on.  I ‘called out to the heavens’ in sheer frustration asking (out loud), ‘What IS it? What IS it?’ I needed to know the ‘hook’, the outline, the structure of what I was trying to say because without this ‘map’ even I was lost! Amazingly, the 7 Graces (and 7 Deadly Sins) of marketing almost magically appeared in an instant. After that, the book took me another year to write, but I knew my direction every step of the way.

Don’t ‘fear’ the parameters of your outline or turn it into ‘gospel’. Just because you decide upon a structure doesn’t mean it can’t (or shouldn’t) bend flexibly as you go along. In fact, if you don’t allow your book to flow where it wants to go within the essence of your structure, you will not be honouring your creative spontaneity, and you might limit the impact of your book. You might first come up with a single outline structure, and they you find more structures within that structure as you write.

For example, when I sat down to write my new Twitter book Tweep-e-Licious (coming out Oct 2012) I challenged myself to write 100 Twitter ‘tips’, which I did. Then, when I looked at them, I saw they could be broken into 14 categories, which helped me organise them even more. Then, as I started writing, I found I needed to merge some tips, split some tips into two or three separate tips, and add others I hadn’t thought of when I first started. Eventually, I ended up with 160 tips. Then, I also found the book ‘wanted’ to draw upon the 7 Graces to bring more relevance to the book. Then, the book ‘wanted’ to go beyond practical tips and get into strategies and issues around ethics. The end result was something that was VERY different from my original concept of a ‘quick little eBook on Twitter’. But what I got from it was a substantial, meaningful book with which I’m much happier and I think will bring more value to readers. And the amazing thing is that I wrote this book in less than two months, compared to the two years I took to write my previous books. It all started by creating a structure early in the process, and then allowing the structure to bend and flow. It kept me extremely motivated, and I wrote just about every day because I was genuinely excited about how I felt when writing.

And THAT is probably the best reason of all to have
an outline, structure or ‘hook’ to your book.
It makes you love writing.

If you’ve got a book, or a project in you, or a BRAND in you, having a structure to ‘hang it on’ can really clarify your direction and purpose. But many times creative individuals find it difficult to define the ‘hook’ needed to take a book, business or speaking platform forward. While most people know me as a marketing consulting, helping to clarify structures and brands is another way I help authors, speakers, business owners and social entrepreneurs. If you’ve been struggling to find your structure or your unique ‘hook’, please drop me a line via the CONTACT FORM on this site, and we can set up a free 30 minute consultation.

So what do YOU think? Are outlines necessary? Are they liberating, doorways to creativity or just plain restrictive strangle-holds? Please share your own book and outline writing journeys with our Spirit Authors readers by leaving a comment below.

AND DON’T FORGET to subscribe to the Spirit Authors blog for more tips on writing, publishing, book promotion and new mind-body-spirit book releases.


Lynn Serafinn, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing: How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell. Her eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. In her work as a promotional manager she has produced a long list of bestselling mind-body-spirit authors. She is the founder of Spirit Authors, a site dedicated to providing information on publishing and book promotioin for and about mind-body-spirit authors, both established and aspiring.

Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project, a budding social enterprise whose aim is to help grow a new generation of passionate entrepreneurs who want to serve both people and planet through innovative, ethical, independent enterprise. Join their community on Facebook at http://facebook.com/groups/7GracesGlobalGarden.

Watch for Lynn’s new book Tweep-e-Licious: 160 Twitter Tips and Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs and Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Businesses Ethically (coming October 2012).

Categories : News, Writing & Editing
Comments (4)

Image from 123RF

Today I received this from one of our Spirit Authors members. It had me in stitches, and I simply had to share it with you. Apparently, it’s all over the web, so I haven’t managed to find who the original author is (the comments below are theirs, not mine), but whoever you are, thank you for the fun today.

AND… if any of you reading this happen to be professional proofreaders, you are most welcome to put your business info in the comments below. I am sure my readers, members and clients will appreciate your help when they get ready to publish their books… I know I will!

Thank you Spirit Authors member Joan Gillman for sharing this.

These are from actual headlines that appeared in the press…

—————————————————————————-

Man Kills Self Before Shooting Wife and Daughter
This one appeared in the SGV Tribune. After a reader called in, it took the editor two or three readings before the he realized that what he was reading was impossible. They put in a correction the next day.

—————————————————————————-

Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says
No crap, really? Ya think?
—————————————————————————-

Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers
Now that’s taking things a bit far!
———————————————————–

Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over
What a guy!
—————————————————————

Miners Refuse to Work after Death
No-good-for-nothing’ lazy so-and-so’s!
——————————————————

Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
See if that works any better than a fair trial!
———————————————————-

War Dims Hope for Peace
I can see where it might have that effect!
—————————————————————-

If Strike Isn’t Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile
Ya think?!
———————————————————————–

Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures
Who would have thought!
—————————————————————-

Enfield ( London ) Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide
They may be on to something!

————————————————————————

Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges
You mean there’s something stronger than duct tape?
———————————————————-

Man Struck By Lightning: Faces Battery Charge
He probably IS the battery charge!
———————————————-

New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group
Weren’t they fat enough?!
———————————————–

Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft
That’s what he gets for eating those beans!
————————————————-

Kids Make Nutritious Snacks
Do they taste like chicken?
****************************************

Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half
Chainsaw Massacre all over again!
That’ll teach’m to be dropouts!

**************************************************

Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors
Boy, are they tall!
*******************************************
And the winner is….

Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead
Did I read that right?
**************************************************


I just couldn’t help but send this along. Too funny.
Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says
No crap, really? Ya think?
—————————————————————————-

Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers
Now that’s taking things a bit far!

———————————————————–
Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over
What a guy!
—————————————————————

Miners Refuse to Work after Death
No-good-for-nothing’ lazy so-and-so’s!
——————————————————

Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
See if that works any better than a fair trial!
———————————————————-

War Dims Hope for Peace
I can see where it might have that effect!
—————————————————————-

If Strike Isn’t Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile
Ya think?!
———————————————————————–

Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures
Who would have thought!
—————————————————————-

Enfield ( London ) Couple Slain;PoliceSuspect Homicide
They may be on to something!
————————————————————————

Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges
You mean there’s something stronger than duct tape?
———————————————————-

Man Struck By Lightning:Faces Battery Charge
He probably IS the battery charge!
———————————————-

New Study of Obesity Looks for LargerTest Group
Weren’t they fat enough?!
———————————————–

Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft
That’s what he gets for eating those beans!
—————- ———————————

Kids Make Nutritious Snacks
Do they taste like chicken?
****************************************

Local High SchoolDropoutsCut in Half
Chainsaw Massacre all over again!

That’ll teach’m to be dropouts!
************************************************** *

Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors
Boy, are they tall!
*******************************************

And the winner is….
Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead

Did I read that right?
************************************************** *


About Lynn Serafinn, Creator of Spirit Authors

Lynn Serafinn

Lynn Serafinn is a transformation coach, book promotion coach, radio host and bestselling author of the book The Garden of the Soul: lessons from four flowers that unearth the Self.

Her upcoming book, The 7 Graces of Marketing, is coming in June 2011.

She also works as a campaign manager for mind-body-spirit authors and has produced several top-10 book campaigns, including FOUR #1-sellers, in 2010 alone. She created Spirit Authors to offer training, coaching, business-building and inspiration for mind-body-spirit authors, whether established or aspiring. Contact Lynn about YOUR book project at at http://spiritauthors.com/contact.

Be sure to subscribe to this blog for regular book writing and promotion tips (just fill in form at right of your screen).

Sign up for Lynn’s bi-monthly newsletter Creative Spirit (fill in form below) packed with inspirational articles, self-promotion tips, broadcast guide to her radio show, and news about upcoming spiritual author book releases.

Throughout the year, Lynn also hosts large-scale telesummits with world-class speakers on a range of mind-body-spirit topics. Your subscription to Creative Spirit will ensure you’ll be the first to know how to attend these free events.


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Categories : News, Writing & Editing
Comments (10)

A great writing tip from Virtual Faculty member Laurel Marshfield of Blue Horizon Communications

The most difficult problem you face in writing your book can be summarized in just two words.

Getting started.

You have a brilliant idea, of course, and an outline or some notes. Maybe even a chapter draft, or two. But now what?

If you are like most will-be authors, you begin casting about for other things that demand your attention — first.

The birdfeeder needs cleaning. The gardening stuff at the back of the garage needs weeding. Heck, the entire garage needs to be emptied and put back in pristine order. It’s good feng shui, you tell yourself.

In other words, after the brilliant idea, the outline, the notes, and the drafts, you’ve earned the right to your resistance.

Why? Because you don’t know — that is, know specifically — what to do next with your book. Writing it feels so frustratingly vague, so frighteningly VAST.

So, you tackle the things that you do know how to do: birdfeeder, gardening stuff, garage. And then you feel guilty and pained. Uncomfortable.

But wait. You needn’t be stuck in discomfort. There is a solution to resistance. A simple solution. It is a . . . Box.

Yes, a box. Not a literal box, but the imagined form of a box, which you can use as a magical tool to get to work on your book — without suffering from let’s-just-do-other-things-first-itis.

Here is what it takes to create a Box:

::: First, you set a “start” time for your writing period. This is the top of your imagined box. (10:00 AM, say)

::: Second, you set a “stop” time. This is the bottom of your imagined box. (11:00 AM, say)

::: Third, you write a list of small and very specific tasks that you will complete during your allotted sixty minutes of writing time. This is one side of your imagined box. (For example: Write notes for Intro, list contents for Chapter Three, check Amazon for books about _____)

::: Fourth, you check off each task as you complete it (surprisingly reinforcing), during your pre-set writing time. This is the other side of your imagined box. (Notes: check; Contents: check; Amazon: check)

Why does this oh-so-simple Box strategy work?

Because, when you know precisely what you need to do, your mind will help you walk down precisely that road . . . writing the notes, listing the contents, doing the research.

But when you don’t know, how is your mind going to help you do that? It isn’t possible.

And so, your mind presents you with all sorts of other tasks, tasks it does know how to do — a brilliant solution for an unsolvable problem!

But the take-away is this:  It really is up to you to tell your mind what to do. And you can do that best by creating a Box: Start Time, Stop Time, List of Tasks, Checklist (aka: Top, Bottom, One Side, Other Side).

One word of caution: Begin using the Box by assigning yourself a short, thirty-minute work period with a few quickly accomplished tasks. Practice a little, before you Box a full-out session of, say, two hours or more.

While you’re planning your starter session, I’ll tell you how I happened to invent this resistance-dissolving tool.

Several years ago, after my parents passed away, I was faced with the overwhelming job of organizing and selling the accumulated (and I do mean accumulated) contents of their home. I spent days wandering from room to room and floor to floor, wondering where to begin.

Finally, I started writing down what needed to be done in each room. And what needed to be done overall. And what might come first, second, third, fourth . . .

By writing lists, I made sense of the seeming chaos that had no discernible starting point for establishing order.

After that, I made a task list for my first day of real work, drawing courage from the preliminary order that my Big Picture lists had given me.

But in reading my task list, I felt myself slipping into avoidance. Should get light bulbs before stores close. Only seven hours left.

Thirty-five things shouted up at me from my task list on that first day. Important Task! Very Essential Task! Get This Done, or Else!

But, I reasoned, I had all day, so. Why not take a break, for right now? Go buy those light bulbs.

Ironically, a light bulb went off in my mind, just then. The avoidance-busting Box solution had arrived.

I made a new list, one with just three things on it. Then I looked at my watch, gave myself an hour, told myself that if I got all three things done in under sixty minutes, I could have a small reward. Thus primed and motivated, I set to work. And it worked.

After my reward (not buying light bulbs), I Boxed another hour’s worth of tasks and churned through my second set.

On good days, I was able to get through seven or eight work periods this way, leaving my parents’ house after nine or ten in the evening, driving an hour and a half to get home and feed my cat, before falling into bed, exhausted.

In the end, I got it all done by using the Box. There were estate sales, the house sold, and the rest is a strategy that can be used for anything.

But it is especially helpful for authors struggling to leap over their resistance to writing . . .The Book.

So, whenever you feel stuck, just remember this little resistance-dissolving mantra:

Start Time, Stop Time, Task List, Checklist.
Box Your Book Time, You . . . Won’t . . . Resist, BigTime.


Laurel Marshfield is a developmental editor, ghostwriter, and co-author who helps new and experienced authors prepare their books for publication. For daily book tips, advice, and book news, follow Laurel @BookEditorLM on Twitter. To learn more about her editorial services for authors, please visit her website: BlueHorizonCommunications.com She is a member of the Virtual Faculty here at Spirit Authors.

Click HERE to download 5 free podcasts from Spirit Authors, where you can hear Laurel speaking on “Preparing for Publication.”

Note from Lynn: The topic of resistance Laurel discusses in this article is also addressed in Week 5 of Spirit Authors Module 1, where we explore “Knowing What Blocks Your Progress.” Get a preview of that lesson HERE.

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Categories : News, Writing & Editing
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