Let's Talk Publishing

Let's Talk Publishing by Shanda Trofe.png

Let’s talk publishing, shall we? When it’s time to publish your book, you’ll have many options to choose from, and my goal is to educate you on those options so you can make the decision that’s best for you. I am not going to tell you my way is the best, because my publishing model isn’t a good fit for every author and I tell my clients that. My goal is to offer you an honest overview of your publishing options so you can make your own educated decision. I would encourage you to spend some time researching beyond what I teach, and put some thought into it before making your final decision.

Traditional Publishing

The publishing industry has changed over the years. There was a time when traditional publishing was the only respectable option, but that didn’t always mean success for the aspiring author. It used to be that in order to find representation by a publisher you would have to first find an agent to represent you and your book, and that was done through a querying process to determine if the agent was interested in reading the book proposal you’d spent months to develop. If after twenty or thirty query letters you actually got a few agents asking to see your proposal, at that point you would deliver it to the agent and then wait with bated breath to learn if they were interested in representing you. Let’s say for the sake of this example, an agent did decide to take you on as a client; they then would shop your manuscript around to traditional publishers in exchange for a cut of the royalties. Now, this might be a good place to mention that the industry standard royalty from a traditional publisher is 10-15%, sometimes even as low as 5-8%. Yes, you might have received an advance from your traditional publishing house, but you won’t see another cent from them until your advance is paid back through your royalty cut.

Do you know what happens once that publisher decides to represent you? They essentially buy the rights to your book, meaning they have complete creative control over your cover, title, structure of the book, overall design, which takes 12-18 months to produce on average, and they can even kill a project if they want. Some books never even make it to publication at all. That seems like a lot of time and work to invest in gambling with my book. Most authors spend years thinking about their book before they actually write it, and then put their heart and soul into the project once they do. What a shame to lose creative control over the publishing process and the rights to the book. I don’t know about you but everything about that process seems exhausting. I’m tired just thinking about it!

It may sound like I am completely against traditional publishing, but I’m not. There are times when I tell even my own clients that they should pursue a traditional publishing model. If a client comes to me and tells me it’s their life-long dream to be represented by one of the top publishing houses, I tell them to go for it. When it’s a goal to meet a personal accomplishment, and having a certain publisher’s name adorn the spine of the book, then who am I to stand in the way of an author’s dream? And being picked up by a top publishing house can bring exposure and opportunity, so there are perks. But if the goal of the author is to get a book out in a reasonable amount of time so they can use it as a product for their business, retain the rights to the work and maintain creative control over the entire process, that’s when I recommend they explore other options.

Here are some tips for pursuing a traditional publisher:

Consider whether you will need a literary agent. Some traditional publishing houses will not accept unsolicited queries. If you have a publisher in mind and through your research you’ve learned they do not accept unsolicited queries, you will find it helpful to engage a literary agent to represent you. This has its pros and cons. Yes, they can help you get your foot in the door with top publishing houses, but you are going to pay them a percentage to represent you. If you decide to seek out the help of a literary agent, find an agent that prefers to represent your genre. For example, you would not want to query a literary agent who has a strong interest in sci-fi for your personal memoir. Most agents will list their preferences on their website, and literary agents along with their contact information are listed in the latest copy of the Writer’s Market. Be sure to study your preferred agent’s query requirements and follow them. You might consider reading some related-subject books or taking a workshop on the art of querying before continuing.

Develop a strong book proposal. You can find many books and websites out there that will walk you through the layout of a book proposal. Be sure the information you are reading is up to date. You also want to be sure your proposal is free of grammatical errors, has proper punctuation, and is in the correct format. Keep in mind that each publisher may require different criteria. If you are not going to use an agent, it is best to seek out your desired publishers by thoroughly researching their specifications.

Be professional. Once you start sending out queries and proposals, make sure each communication with the contact person is conducted in a professional manner. Don’t get too comfortable with your point of contact. Watch for punctuation, grammar, and always start and end each email with the proper greeting and closure. If you make an appointment to speak on the phone, be available at that time and prepared to answer questions about your project. It is important to stay in contact, follow up and meet deadlines.

Be persistent. If you are going to work at getting published by a traditional publisher, you are again going to have to develop a thick skin. If you receive a rejection, don’t let it get you down or cause you to lose faith in your gift or lose sight of your goal. It could just mean you weren’t the right fit for that particular publisher and a better opportunity awaits you just around the corner. Be prepared to hear several NOs before you hear one YES. Set realistic expectations and recognize that it is tough to break into the traditional publishing world. Above all, be persistent.

There are times when traditional publishing may be the right way to go, especially if you receive an offer by a respectable publisher such as Hay House, Random, or Harper Collins. You might do it for the recognition, you may do it for their reach, you might do it to build your list, you could just do it for the experience of it all and to say you are published by such-and-such publishing house.

Self-Publishing

Self-published books were once looked down upon, and rightfully so, if you think about it. The traditionally published authors who spent months querying agents, crafting book proposals, and waiting on pins and needles only to receive rejection letter after rejection letter until they finally found a publisher who was willing to represent their work, had little respect for the self-published author. The eBook boom and print-on-demand publishing services haven’t helped much, since now any old Joe can upload a manuscript to Amazon and call himself an author. The number of amateur books that began to flood Amazon was a joke to the traditionally published author, and for good reason. Although self-publishing can be a lucrative and viable option when done right, some authors didn’t take the process seriously and didn’t realize there’s a steep investment that comes with self-publishing to do it properly. Even though you can upload a book to a print-on-demand service and have it live on Amazon within days, sometimes even hours, that doesn’t mean it’s always the right way to go. I respect the self-published author, especially when he or she has taken the time to scope out and hire professionals to ensure their book is published at the highest level of quality and doesn’t scream DIY.

Not all self-published authors take the fast and easy route, and now it’s more common to see professional-quality self-published books by indie authors on the rise. Self-published authors aren’t the outcasts they once were, and it’s a growing practice among writers. In fact, in 2014, Bowker released its Self-Publishing Publication Counts Report, revealing that the number of self-published titles increased to 458,564 in 2013, up 17% over 2012 and 437% over 2008! And they’ve continued to increase each year since.

Self-publishing may be a good option for you if you are willing to invest the time and money to do it right. This way, you retain the rights to your work and you have creative control over the entire project. And it can be done in a timely manner, instead of waiting 12-18 months as you would through a traditional publisher. Thus, this is an ideal option if you are creating a book for your business since you will retain more of the profits. 

The book you create for your business is the ultimate extension of you and your work. It represents everything you have to offer, so if you decide to self-publish, be sure to invest the proper time and energy into writing and publishing the best book possible. Do not skim on the investment of professional design services. When creating a book as the base of your empire, this isn’t the time to be lean; it’s a time to invest.

The average cost of self-publishing a high-quality book at the professional level:

  • ISBN and Bar Code $150
  • Professional Editing $450-1000 (The average cost for copy editing is $3 per double-spaced page. Even more if you work with a content editor.)
  • Cover Design $150-350+
  • Interior Design $600+
  • Format Digital Edition $199+
  • Marketing/PR $1000+
  • Proofreading $100-300+

As you can see you can easily spend nearly $2000-3000+ to self-publish your book, if you give it your best effort and do it properly so it has the high-quality of a traditionally published book. Some feel if they are going to spend the money to self-publish anyway, they might as well partner with an independent publisher who already has all the necessary quality connections and design professionals on staff, as defined in the next section.

Independent Publishers/Author-Funded Programs

These days the smaller independent publishing houses are growing in popularity, and author-funded publishing programs are becoming more and more common. What is an Independent Publisher or author-funded program, you might ask? Take my company, Transcendent Publishing, for example. Our hybrid model bridges the gap between self-publishing and traditional publishing, by partnering with our authors and offering professional coaching, editing, and design services to ensure the book is published properly, but the author still maintains creative control over the project and retains the rights to the book. Instead of an author looking everywhere for a cover designer, and then a quality editor, and a book formatter, a project manager, and marketing resources, now the author can partner with one company who has all the design professionals on staff to ensure the book is high-quality and the best it can be prior to publication. It’s a one-stop-shop for the indie author, and royalty splits with a smaller independent publisher are typically between 50-100%, much higher than the 10-15% industry standard you will receive from a traditional publisher.

You’re probably thinking, that sounds great! What’s the catch? To work with an independent publisher the author funds the project, meaning you will purchase a publishing package and pay for the services upfront (or on a payment plan, depending on the company), but in exchange for that you’ll have a team of experts, design professionals and a project manager working with you on the creation and production of your project throughout the entire process. This is money you would have spent on self-publishing anyway if you went that route, so many authors see the value in partnering with a smaller independent publishing house and funding the project to ensure the book is created to the highest of standards.

Below I’ve added a list of questions I recommend you ask if you decide to pursue an independent publisher or author-funded program. If it is an honest company that does business with integrity, they should be able to answer each of these questions, in detail, in a timely manner. These aspects of the agreement should be decided upfront and outlined in your contract before production begins. Be sure there are no hidden costs you might incur at a later date.

  • What is your average publishing turnaround time?
  • How much say do I have in cover design?
  • How many changes to my cover proof can I make?
  • Do you offer professional editing services?
  • Is there an extra fee for that service?
  • What is the cost of each publishing package?
  • What is included in each package?
  • What would be considered an add-on or upgrade?
  • Does that include illustrations or color interior, if requested?
  • What book styles and binding types are available?
  • Will I incur costs after production begins, in addition to the cost of my package?
  • What would cause any additional fees to be incurred after production begins?
  • Will I receive a PDF proof prior to publication?
  • If so, will I be allowed to make changes at that time?
  • Will I sign off on the proof prior to publication?
  • Upon publication, do you assist with marketing efforts?
  • What is my royalty percentage of print sales?
  • What is my royalty percentage of digital sales?
  • What will be my wholesale cost per book?
  • Do you have an order minimum for wholesale orders?
  • Do I receive a discount on bulk orders?
  • Will my publishing package include an eBook as well as print?
  • Will my book be softcover or hardcover, or both?
  • Does your company have a mission statement so I can be sure we are a good fit for one another?

According to Amazon.com, independent publishers are selling more books with an average of 39% of the revenue going back to the author, which means more profit for those authors.

What You Need to Know

A word of caution: There are some unethical predators in the publishing industry, and there are some who are only after the almighty buck and don’t conduct business with integrity. I know this firsthand, and it was my own experience with one of these publishers that led me to start my own publishing company.  Over the years I have heard horror stories from many authors. I’ve heard from the traditionally published author who was mortified after she received the final product only to find her cover and title were changed. She had to do the majority of marketing for the book, despite being traditionally published, and after the publisher takes their cut when each book sells, she only makes approximately $1 per book. You’d have to have a lot of sales to make any amount of money as an author at $1 per book! Traditional publishers seldom take you by the hand and fund book tours, signings, and speaking engagements. Although it still happens for the bigger, well-known authors, it’s practically unheard of for a first-time author.

I’ve also heard from the self-published author who spent time and money seeking the best cover designer, editor, and formatter, to self-publish his book through CreateSpace and have it available on Amazon. He was proud of his book and had spent hundreds, maybe even thousands on its production. He went to his local Barnes and Noble and was able to get a meeting with the book buyer for the store. He was stoked about the meeting, only to have the wind let out of his sails. It wasn’t due to the lack of a good product that his book got rejected by the bookstore; it was because it was published through a print-on-demand printer such as CreateSpace, and books that are published by CreateSpace are not likely to be picked up by bookstores because they are not in the book return-ability program. This is something most self-published authors don’t know. In order for a bookstore to carry your book, they want to know they can return it in the event it doesn’t sell. The problem? Bookstores can’t return books to CreateSpace, making it nearly impossible to get the book into stores. For this particular self-published author, his book was available on Amazon and he could buy copies as needed from the printer, but his chances of adorning the shelves of bookstores across America were shot.

If your goal is to get your book into the bookstores and attain global distribution for your book, you either want to traditionally publish, or partner with an independent publisher through an author-funded program that can ensure your book is published through global distribution channels, registered with books-in-print, and has a book buyback plan. If you self-publish, then you'll want to be sure your book is distributed by Ingram.

The decision to write and publish a book is one that should not be taken lightly. This is an extension of you, and possibly your business. You want to take the time necessary to do your research and find the publishing option that is right for you and your project. This is your baby, and it should be nurtured and birthed when the timing is right and you’ve thoroughly examined all of your options. This includes having overseen the production of the book to completion, developed a book launch strategy and plan of action, and being ready to put your book out into the world—a book you are proud of and around which you can build a business.

All three publishing options have their pros and cons. Here’s a table to help you decide which publishing option is right for you:

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Digital Book World recently reported that traditional publishing routes yield an average of $6,000 for the author. Self-publishing or indie-publishing a book can mean four times that—on average, self- or indie-published authors earn $24,000 in revenue.

Digital (eBook) Publishing

The days are long gone when an author would only publish a book in print. Nowadays, almost all new print editions are accompanied by a digital edition. I mention this so you can understand why your book also needs to be in a digital format, even if it’s not your preferred method of reading books.

The number of eBook sales were climbing each year until 2015 when eBook sales reportedly dropped and print sales rose. According to the Association of American Publishers (AAP), eBook sales remained down 12.7% through November 2015, compared to the same 11-month period in 2014. But according to AuthorEarnings.com, indie-published eBook sales saw a 10% increase from February 2014-2016. The point being, the market fluctuates, so for those who think print publishing is a dying industry, guess again. In fact, bookstore sales rose by 3.8% from January 2015 through January 2016, as reported by the American Booksellers Association.

But, having said that, if you don’t have your book available as a digital download, you are missing out on valuable web sales from popular distributors such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo, and more. Some may argue that digital publishing is the only way to go, that eBooks are going to kill print publishing so there’s no sense in publishing your book in print. As a publisher, I couldn’t disagree more. Sure, there are times when I see value in creating eBooks alone. I have some clients who only publish digitally and do quite well for themselves (mostly fiction authors). One of my most popular online courses is eBook Publishing Made Easy: Write & Publish Kindle eBooks for Profits, so believe me when I tell you, I love digital publishing, it was my first love in this publishing industry, after all. But I don’t agree that it’s the only way. You need your book in print as well if you are using it for business, in my opinion.

Don’t get me wrong, there are times when it’s acceptable to only have a digital book available. Case in point, I have an eBook that I wrote primarily to funnel readers from Amazon to one of my online courses. When Periscope grew in popularity, I devoured all the info on it I could find and became obsessed with how Periscope worked and what the top broadcasters were doing successfully. Next, I developed an online course, Periscope Your Business: Live Video Broadcasting for Profits, one of the very first online courses on Periscope, and to drive traffic to that course I created a companion eBook with the same title: Periscope Your Biz. I published the eBook on Amazon through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and set the price low to attract more readers. I wasn’t trying to get rich off my .99 cent Periscope eBook, what I was doing instead was driving traffic to my course, which I linked at the end of the book through a strong call-to-action page. The idea was if they found value in the book (and I gave just enough information to offer value without giving it all away) and they wanted to learn more, then my Periscope course was just what they needed. In situations like that I believe it’s fine to only publish in digital format. It was a 50-page book, after all, so why would I publish in print? But this was a funneling technique, not the core product for my business as your book will be, so in your case, you’ll want to ensure your book is published in both print and digital formats.

The moral of the story is there are times when it’s a lucrative option to create some shorter how-to eBooks on a sub-topic in your niche, or to create a series. But for your signature book, the one we are creating here as the foundation of your empire, you want it in print as well as eBook. Don’t do one without the other. For the book representing your business, you’ll want both.

Now that’s not to say that after your book is published you won’t have smaller spin-off eBooks on various sub-topics discussed in your book; you could create a whole series of how-to eBooks that never make it to print. This is where eBooks as companion products come in handy. I’ll give you an example: This very book you are reading is the foundation of my business. All the programs I developed after the publication of this book were based on the topic of the book and the subtopics discussed within. Take my flagship program, Publish Like a PRO, for example. It's designed to walk indie authors through the process of self-publishing a bestselling book. I could, if I wanted to, create a series of eBooks and break down the teachings in this book into small bites. Each eBook would not only link to the others in the back of the book, but it would also link to this book and my online programs and mentoring/coaching.

The first page sells this book. The last page sells your next book.
―Mickey Spillane

Do you see how eBooks can be a valuable tool in your empire? Not only will you want to be sure to publish your main book in a digital format as well as print, but you can also look at ways to break down your topic into subtopics and create smaller eBooks of 50-100 pages to create a series and funnel readers into your main book and high-end programs. Not to mention, if your eBook is priced between $2.99 and $9.99 Amazon will pay you a 70% royalty on the sale. Outside those brackets you’ll receive a 35% royalty. Not bad if you create a series of books that really takes off or you jump on a hot topic as I did when Periscope was launched. Although my goal for that eBook was more to direct readers to my online course, since it was a hot topic and there were very few books on the market about Periscope at the time of publication, I also made quite a bit of money off that little eBook, and still do. Score!

 Research Your Options

No matter which publishing option you choose, the choice is yours, so don’t let others dictate what you should or should not do with your project. Only you will know what’s best for you and your book, so take some time to research not only your publishing options, but also the publishers or publishing services/programs you are interested in. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, as many as you need, to be sure you are making the right decision. Publishing your book is not a decision you should take lightly. Dig in, learn the ins and outs, ask questions, and read, read, read. If you decide to go the traditional route, pick up the latest edition of Writer’s Digest’s Writer’s Market for a list of publishers and agents. Be sure to research each of their guidelines before querying them, as they all vary.

But, as I’ve mentioned before, there usually isn’t much money to be made from your book alone, unless of course you hit it big like J.K. Rowling or E.L. James, or the James Pattersons of the world who would beg to differ, but their experience will likely be different. Chances are you will make more from your books if you self-publish or publish through an independent publisher, because your royalty split will be higher, you won’t need a middleman (agent), and you are going to be marketing your book anyway. If you work hard at self-promotion, building your list, online marketing, and get out and do speaking engagements, workshops and live events, you can sell your book at each stop and keep the profits of any books sold by your own efforts. You can buy your books from your publisher or printer at the wholesale rate and resell them at the retail rate, and that can be lucrative, if you have a successful event or online presence, have a powerful message, and are in front of the right audience. All of those pieces will factor into your success as an author. It’s not enough just to write and publish a book and then sit back and wait for the money to roll in. I’m sorry, but it doesn’t work that way. Being an author is work. It’s an investment of not only money but time. And if you are willing to put in the work, you can find success, but to do so you’ll need to be actively marketing your book, and putting yourself out there both in person and online.

The Moral of the Story

When you start researching publishing options for your book, let’s say for argument’s sake you do get a traditional publisher to show interest in your proposal, do you know what they are going to want to know first and foremost? What’s your author platform, how big is your list, how many times have you been on television or radio, how many speaking engagements have you done? And let me tell you, it’s not easy to build your list and it certainly takes time. A good-size list in a publisher’s eyes is 100,000+ people. That’s a lot! How do you get that many people on your list?

First and foremost you start today. Do not wait until your book is published, do not wait until you start writing even, start the second you decide you are going to have a book, product, or service to market.

Secondly, put yourself out there. Establish yourself as the expert in your field, even before your book is published. You need to be everywhere. Every speaking engagement, every interview, every networking event, volunteer your time in exchange for your list building. Do free appearances, host free workshops. Later when you have a large list you might get lucky enough to be paid to speak, but not when you are building your list. When you are building, you are going to be doing things for free, and there are some people who even pay a lot of money to speak at certain events, and they do it because they know they will get a return on their investment. Their message will speak to a few people in the audience and they will walk away with a few more members of their tribe.

It takes time and it takes effort. I’m not telling you it will be easy, I’m telling you to start now and don’t waste another second.

When you think of becoming an author you might think of your publisher sending you all over the country doing book signings while you sit at the back of the room and sign autographs while you rake in the dough. I can see you now, smiling away, waiting for the next mega-fan to approach your booth. It’s a beautiful visual, right? Now, don’t lose sight of that, because that is where you want to be and I’m big on visualization techniques to help us materialize our goals. I’m saying here comes reality, swooping in, are you ready for it?

You may have book signings, as a matter of fact I would suggest it and do in the next chapter, but it won’t likely be at the efforts of your publisher. It will be at the efforts of your cold-calling, booking travel, renting booths, and speaking at conferences with the hopes that people will visit your booth in the back of the room after they’ve heard your amazing message. That’s the reality.

***This article is a chapter from my book, Authorpreneur: How to Build an Empire and Become the AUTHOR-ity in Your Business.

If you're interested in learning how to write, publish, launch and promote a best-selling book, I invite you to join my flagship program: Publish Like a PRO! Enrollment is NOW open!

Honoring the Call to Write

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Do you often feel you have an important message to share with the world? Is there a calling inside you to tell your story in an attempt to encourage others? Perhaps you’ve overcome hardships or adversity in your life and you feel, by writing on these personal experiences, you can help others do the same?

As an author coach, this is precisely the type of person I tend to attract into my circle. Notice I didn’t say writer, I said person. The reason for that is because in my experience, those who are called to share their message do not necessarily consider themselves writers. In fact, it’s this very belief that they are not trained writers that holds many back from sharing their message in the first place.

But don’t we all have something to contribute to the world? Chances are, if you’re alive, you’ve had experiences in your life that someone else can relate to and maybe even learn from. By expressing your story in words, you can reach others who are on the same journey as you, and in turn, help them through a similar experience. Sometimes just knowing we are not alone is half the battle.

So, what then holds us back from our inner calling to write our stories?  I’ve found there’s a common theme among aspiring authors, and it usually boils down to one of three things:

  1. Self-doubt. “Who am I to tell this story? It’s all been done before. There’s so much on the market already like this. What makes me so special?”
  2. Fear. “What will my family think? I can’t possibly share this; I don’t want to upset anyone.”
  3. Self-sabotage. “It’s too painful to revisit the past and re-open old wounds.”

 Let’s address these one by one, shall we?

 

Who Am I to Tell this Story?

It’s true, if you set out to write on just about any topic, chances are it’s already been done. There are thousands of books on every topic imaginable, but does that mean the topic is exhausted and can’t be further explored by you? Of course not! Because what you have that no other person on this planet has are your experiences and your voice. And nobody will write the story quite like you, from your point of view, because nobody else has walked in your shoes.

If you’ve struggled with hardship, overcome adversity, or traveled through a trying time in your life, then you have a story that could help someone else who faces the same circumstances.

 

I Don’t Want to Upset Anyone

I hear this one often. This issue can be tricky, and only you can decide just how much you want to share about those closest to you. On one hand, you may feel you owe it to them to be mindful of their privacy. On the other hand, it’s your life, and your experiences. You own those experiences, and nobody can take them from you.

 

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” —Anne Lamott

 

While I’m a firm believer in the idea that you don’t owe anyone an explanation or an apology for sharing your truth, there are also ways to protect yourself when giving details from your past. You’ll want to be careful not to label someone or defame their character. For example, you wouldn’t want to claim your brother was an addict, but you might mention he took drugs on occasion.  While sometimes these details are relevant to the story, it’s often a good idea to tread lightly when labeling others, and if you have any doubts, you might consider changing the names and locations to protect the innocent. There are ways around these minor details, so don’t let this stop you from sharing your message in the first place.

 

I’m Not Good Enough

In my line of work, I have the pleasure of reviewing manuscripts for a living, and each time I receive one, I never first ask if the person is a trained or experienced writer. That’s not what I’m looking for. There are editors and writing coaches who can help you polish your work prior to publication, so grammar and punctuation are not that important in a first draft. I’m looking for the underlying message.

What I find is that those who have an inner calling to share their truths with the world, don’t need to be trained writers in order to connect with their reader and tell a compelling story.  It’s when they can delve deep within to pull out those experiences and tell them with sheer abandon that their best writing emerges. In order to do this, you often have to allow yourself to be vulnerable and feel the emotion as you’re writing. And that may mean reliving those painful moments so they can resurface.

 

My Story Is Too Painful to Write

If this is your reason for not writing your story, then perhaps this is the exact reason why you might want to consider it! Let me explain…

I saw a meme on social media recently that said:

 

"When you can share your story and it doesn’t make you cry, you know you have healed." -Unknown

 

Whether or not this is true for you, only you can decide. But if it is, then wouldn’t you benefit from allowing your emotions to come to the surface and be processed? Well, writing is a great tool to do just that!

 

The Only Way Out Is Through

Think about it, how often are we told to journal about our emotions and see what comes up? The same is true when writing a book, a speech, a blog post or a magazine article. If we are going to openly tell our most authentic truth, we are going to have to walk through those emotions once again. The number of aspiring authors who never finish their books because of this is astounding. “It was just too painful to write; I just can’t go back to that place.”  I hear it all the time.

So, you put your writing aside—convinced that it’s just too painful—and go on with your life, but where do you think those emotions went?

Let me ask you this: if you are shutting down those emotions in an attempt to avoid dealing with them, don’t you think that at some point they will reappear? We can’t run from our past! And when we take the time to work on ourselves and process those emotions, that’s when healing occurs, and that’s precisely why I always say writing is a therapeutic practice. So whether you keep a journal solely for yourself, or you set out to pen your memoir, there’s something beneficial to sharing through the written word. It will not only help others, but will help you as well, and that alone may be all the reason you need to incorporate writing into your life.

 

Writing as A Tool to Process Emotions

So how can you introduce a writing ritual into your life? There are many ways. Sometimes we need to take baby steps on our way to reaching our goals, and that’s perfectly fine.

  1. Start a journal. You might begin by journaling each day. This is often a safe way to get into the habit of writing freely about your experiences, because it’s for your eyes only. There’s no fear of judgment while sharing in a journal, so this is often where I recommend you begin.
  2. Create a blog. Once you become a little braver, a blog is a great place to test the waters. You are starting to put yourself out there, but it’s your blog, so there is no right or wrong, and you can decide how much and how often you want to disclose.
  3. Contribute a chapter in a compilation book. Many novice writers start out by contributing chapters to compilation books. This is a great next step because you are in the company of other authors writing on the same or a similar topic, and your commitment of one chapter is often easier to tackle than an entire book. This is also a nice way to become familiar with the publishing process.

Once you feel you’re ready, then you’ll begin writing your book. If this is your goal, the best advice I can give you is to write the first draft for yourself. Write openly about all that comes up, as if you were expressing these thoughts in your journal. Don’t worry about the fears we tackled earlier, and check your ego at the door with the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign! You can always decide later what will stay and what to edit out. But I promise, when you can silence the ego and write from the heart, that’s when your best writing will emerge and you’ll find your voice. And you may just find some healing in the process as well.

Is it Memoir or Self-help?

 

As an author coach, it's not uncommon for me to begin working with an author who sets out to pen a memoir, but as the project starts to unfold we often discover the book may be best suited for self-help. The question is, what's the difference and how do you know which is right for you?

To help you decide, let’s explore the differences between various types of books:  

 

Memoirs

Usually, a memoir is based on a moment in history when the author overcame adversity or learned a valuable life-lesson that would make for a good story. Although based on true events, it reads more like fiction and relies heavily on the devices of fiction—setting, dialogue, plot, description, etc., —yet memoir and fiction are fundamentally different. While fiction is powered mainly by imagination, memoir is based more on memory and factual events. Both, however, share the same story elements and read like a story.

Some questions to ask yourself before beginning your memoir:

  • What part of your life are you reliving through your story?
  • What is the underlying reason to share your story?
  • What lessons might the reader learn by reading your story?
  • How did you overcome adversity at that time?
  • How has the experience changed you?
  • Are you prepared to open old wounds and delve deep into your past?
  • Will this make a good storyline?

 

Memoir vs. Autobiography

The difference between a memoir and an autobiography is the autobiography is a true story of the author’s entire life, whereas the memoir usually focuses on a specific time period in the author’s life when a powerful life lesson was learned. The memoir offers the reader a glimpse of the author's past as opposed to the full life story.

 

Memoir vs. Self-help

Oftentimes, the author will set out to write a memoir but will later shift the genre of the book to self-help. This is something to consider for aspiring authors who plan to write a memoir. Again, a memoir isn’t necessarily your entire life story—that would fall under an autobiography. A memoir is typically based on a certain period of time in your life when a valuable lesson was learned or adversity was overcome. This can often be a period of time spanning over several decades, or it could just be a few years. If you’d like to write it out as a story, then a memoir is your best bet.

On the other hand, you might decide you want to write about your personal experience with the intention to help others who may be on the same journey as you. You feel a calling to share your experiences in an attempt to help your reader by sharing your message. For example, this is often the case when an author is writing about his or her experience—either directly or indirectly—with suicide, grief, addiction, depression, abuse, etc. In this case, your book could easily be crafted into a self-help book where you take your reader on a journey in an attempt to help those who may be experiencing the same that you have already experienced. You do this by explaining your story, offering advice, sharing facts about the topic, helpful tips and techniques, and ultimately offering a process that your reader can apply to overcome his or her own situation.

The reason many authors are initially turned off by the self-help genre is because they don’t feel they can openly tell their story in a non-fiction book. The truth is, most self-help books are based on the author’s personal experiences, and you can easily incorporate your own life experiences into each chapter by weaving them throughout the book, instead of basing the book entirely on your experience. Most readers enjoy a good story and learn best by example. A good self-help book won’t just tell you about a topic and contain only facts. That would read more like a textbook. Yes, your book may contain that information, but it will also share how you worked through the experience.

For example:

Let’s say you set out to write a memoir about a time in your life when you were battling depression and suicide, but the process is proving to be too emotional to revisit entirely, yet you feel compelled to help others who may be battling depression, or their loved ones who might also be adversely affected.

In this case, you might decide to shift your focus to self-help and open the book with who you are and why you are writing the book, a taste of what you’ve experienced, and how the book will help the reader. As the chapters unfold, you might inform the reader about depression, add some suicide statistics, explain what the symptoms are, what others can and cannot do to help, and what the subject can do to move forward or get help. Throughout the book, you would support each chapter with your own experiences and true life examples, and there would still be much of you in the book, but the focus wouldn’t be so much on your story alone.

 

How do you know if memoir or self-help is best for you?

Keep in mind, people like to learn and they enjoy learning by example. Do you have something to teach that could help another who can relate to your journey? Can you write a manual to guide that person through the process and on to healing based on your own experiences? Do you want to share your experiences without going too deep and getting too personal? Perhaps you have a coaching practice where this book might also serve as a product for your business? Or maybe you have a desire to speak and share your story with the masses? If so, a self-help book might be right for you.

On the other hand, do you consider yourself a good storyteller? Do you prefer reading and writing fiction over non-fiction?  Although memoirs are not technically fiction, they still contain all the elements of fiction and read like a story. If you tend to gravitate toward fiction, a memoir might be your best bet.

Is the 8-Week Book Writing Intensive right for me?

For the past four years, I've been hosting my popular 8-Week Book Writing Intensive every January, and it's starting soon on Monday, the 16th! This has become my most sought-after program to date, and many participants have gone on, not only to finish their books but to publication as well!

Perhaps you have considered enrolling in the program and are wondering if it's right for you. Below I've added a list of FAQs to answer our most commonly asked questions, and below that you can read what others have had to say about the 8-Week Book Writing Intensive.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How does the program work?

A. The course officially begins on Monday, January 16, 2016. Each week you'll receive a new module of content to walk you step-by-step through the book writing process. The content is delivered to you inside the course platform. You'll gain lifetime access to the course materials so you may work through the action steps at your own pace or stay on track with the weekly lessons. 

You'll also gain access to the full-time support of our private Facebook community of peers and Intensive alumni where members can share their writing, collaborate, swap tips and ideas, offer support, and much more. Our popular Facebook community is a great resource to help motivate and keep you on track! Plus, I'm active in the group daily to answer your questions and lend support.

We'll have bi-weekly teleclasses to get your questions answered in real time and make sure that you are implementing successfully. These calls keep you on track and offer accountability throughout your book writing journey. The teleclasses will be recorded, and the replays will be available for those who cannot attend the live calls.

Throughout the course, bonus materials and resources will be added to the membership site to aid in your success. At any point during the Intensive, you may submit your opening chapter for review. I will review up to ten (10) pages of your manuscript (plus your outline) and offer constructive criticism and feedback to ensure you are on the right track.

At the end of the Intensive, those who finish the program will receive a certificate of completion and have the opportunity to submit a book proposal for a chance at publication. One lucky participant will walk away with a complete publishing package awarded by Transcendent Publishing!

 All alumni receive ongoing publishing opportunities and offers from Transcendent Publishing. Our alumni have attended our writer's retreats, been published in our compilation books, received publishing and coaching offers, and much more!

Q. What if I don’t plan to publish my book but just want to get started writing? Is this program for me?

A. Absolutely! I realize not every writer has the same publishing goals; in fact, I urge you to research as many publishing options as possible. The opportunity to pitch a book proposal for publication is an added bonus of the program. Participants are not required to submit their work or a book proposal at any time. Those options are available to participants but not mandatory for participation or certification.

Q. I have a vacation planned and might miss a week. Should I wait until the next class?

A. Not unless you want to wait another year for the next enrollment. The course is only offered once per year, and you are welcome to work through the program at your own pace, so even if you have other obligations, you will have lifetime access to the program and all the course materials. The first week is a light intro week so participants can get acclimated and prepared for the journey ahead. Additionally, I usually add a break week between weeks 4 and 5 so participants can get caught up or just take a break from the program.

Q. I’m shy and don’t feel comfortable working in groups. I’m trying to build my writing confidence, that’s why I’m considering this program. Is this program right for me?

A. Shanda understands that writers are often introverted by nature. Although she sees the Facebook group as a great asset for applying an accountability factor, participation is not mandatory, but strongly recommended. Although we all start the program on the same date, participants are welcome to work through the modules at their own pace.

Q. You mention the opportunity to submit a book proposal for a chance at an awarded publishing package. What does that entail?

A. The awarded publishing package will include professional cover design, interior layout and design, publishing of both print and digital edition, professional editing, and a partnership in marketing efforts—all clearly defined within the publishing agreement and awarded by Transcendent Publishing.  

Q. What if I fall behind, should I just remove myself from the group?

A. Absolutely not! I understand that each writer works at a different pace from others. That’s why I offer lifetime access to the Facebook forum as well as to all the modules and resources in the course platform. There will be a wealth of information for participants to refer back to at any time. Additionally, all participants have the option to join all future 8-Week Book Writing Intensives at no additional charge. If you lose your confidence or fall behind, you will always have access to the information when you are ready to jump back in.

Q. Are eight weeks enough time to complete a book?

A. Yes, it's plenty of time to complete a first draft of a book as long as you have the desire and commitment. In this program, I coach you on the importance of developing a daily writing habit, whether you are writing a 300-page work of fiction or a 100-page How-to eBook, I will show you how to develop a targeted daily word count and stay focused on the task at hand. And remember, you'll gain lifetime access to the modules and resources and have the option to work through all future Intensives if you'd like to take more time to craft your book. You do not have to finish your book in eight weeks, but by the end of the program, you will have the tools and resources to complete the book writing process.

Q. What all is covered in the course?

A. In this 8-Week program, we'll work together to develop your story idea, brainstorm and outline your manuscript, develop your writing skills, sharpen those writing skills, build an author platform, learn about the many publishing options available and how to choose the one that's right for you, and finally, how to launch and market your book upon publication.

You'll also learn how to tackle the polishing and revision process with ease so you may submit your opening chapter to me for feedback to ensure you are on the right track. And, as an added bonus, those who complete the program will also have the opportunity to pitch their book proposal for a chance at publication!

Q. Is there a payment plan option for enrollment?

A. YES! You may pay in full and save 10% off enrollment, or take advantage of the 3x or 5x monthly payment plan option.

Hear from a few of our course alumni...


"This was just the motivation I was looking for. I realized that I actually could become an author, and even better a published author. Writing a book has been a dream for many years, and because of this course, I know it is possible, and that I am not alone in the concerns, worries, or fears I had about writing a book. There was an abundance of tools and resources, Shanda over-delivered, giving me everything I needed from a technical standpoint, while also creating a wonderful space of connection, guidance, and support. I highly recommend this course!" ~Melissa Corter, author of Nudges From Your Spirit

"I have never written a book before so I really didn't know anything when I started. Shanda was incredibly patient and presented the information in a way that everyone can follow. She was very much interested not only in the story we were telling, but us as authors as well. I am very thankful that I met her." ~Misty Thompson, author of A Sister's Sacrifice scheduled for publication in Spring 2017

"I have been dreaming of writing my book for 3 years but continuously run into a brick wall! This course is exactly what I needed to get past that wall once and for all! I would recommend this course to anyone who wishes to write a book but seems stuck!" ~Christine Martin, winner of the 2013 awarded publishing package for her proposal for The Gratitude Project scheduled for publication in Spring of 2017

"Publishing my book with Shanda has been a process of empowerment as well as seeing my words in print and realizing a dream. Through her 8-Week Book Writing Course, I became involved with a community of writers that kept me motivated and on task. Shanda is tireless in her endeavor to be up-to-date with the latest publishing trends and delights in sharing her knowledge with us. She stresses the importance of author platform and shares the different options of publishing. This puts us in a good position to know what approach suits our needs best. I have learned so much from Shanda and would recommend her course to those that want to learn more about the writing and publishing process, and to realize their dream of being an author."  ~Tonia Browne, Amazon bestselling author of Spiritual Seas

Are you ready to join the 2017 8-Week Book Writing Intensive?

What are you waiting for? Secure your spot HERE today! Registration closes tomorrow, so this is your last chance to enroll in 2017. I look forward to connecting with you!

Four Steps to Developing Your Unique Author Brand

If you're an author or aspiring author, one thing you'll want to do is ensure you establish a brand for yourself, one that sets you apart from the competition. Your brand may evolve and change over time, and you should remain open to change as it comes, but for now, let’s be sure you have a solid foundation to begin building your brand. To do so, you’ll need to find your target audience and create your elevator pitch geared toward that specific audience.

In this article, we'll explore your passions and your gifts, scope out your ideal audience and create an elevator pitch, and develop your unique brand that sets you apart from your competition.

Step One: Explore Your Passions/Gifts

You may already have an idea for your book or brand, or you might even already have a business started. If so, great, you’re ahead of the game, but don’t jump ahead just yet. Even if you already have an idea or think you have a clear vision, I urge you to keep reading. We want to ensure your image is aligned with your passions and your purpose, and not what you think will be profitable based on what has brought success to others.

Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.
 —Joseph Campbell

I say this from personal experience. It wasn’t until I stopped chasing what I thought would bring me happiness and success by following what was working for others, and instead looked at what my gifts and passions were and then built a business doing what I do best that everything started lining up for me. Once I stopped ignoring my gifts and started pursuing my passions, that’s when doors of opportunity started to open and the universe lined up all the resources I needed to achieve success. The right people began to show up in my life; each time I needed to take the next step or reach the next level, opportunities and resources appeared.

Now, I want you to take some time to really think about what your passions are. Set aside any ideas for your brand that you have or preconceived notions you’ve already decided on. I’m asking you to do a simple exercise to explore your passions and your gifts, I’m not saying you have to change your business model or throw away the dreams you’ve created, but I challenge you to try it. Humor me, if you will.

1. Get out a sheet of paper, and divide it down the middle. The left side is your passion side. I want you to make a list of everything you love. On this side, list all your interests, not just in business, but in life, and include your hobbies. What makes you come alive?  What nourishes your soul? Write those down. List as many as you can—get another sheet of paper, if necessary.

2. Once you’ve filled that side to completion, I want you to make a new list on the right-hand side. These are your gifts. Now write down everything you are good at. Where do you really excel? What comes easily to you? What are people often asking you for help with or advice on? Write down as many strengths as you can.

3. Now, compare both sides. Where do you see an overlap? Can you find a connection between each side? If you want to find success, I encourage you to find something that combines both your passions and your gifts. Even if it doesn’t seem lucrative to you at the moment, the money will come. The universe will provide. Once you surrender to your calling, find your purpose, and pursue that which sets your soul on fire, you will be unstoppable! You will find success because you will be in complete alignment with your purpose.

Step Two: Define Your Target Audience/Avatar

As you begin the journey of marketing your books and services, you must create communications that attract your prospective readers to you. To do so, we need to scope out who your ideal reader or avatar is, and then create an “Elevator Pitch,” which explains the benefits and results you can offer him or her in a simple statement.

Visualize an image of your ideal reader in your mind’s eye. We will call this person your avatar. What does he or she look like? How old? What income bracket?  Hobbies/interests? What age range are you targeting? Male, female, or both? Take some time to jot down as many points as you can about your ideal client. This will be the person you market to, so you’ll want a clear vision of your avatar before you proceed.

Be very specific here. For example, when it was time for me to narrow down my ideal reader for Authorpreneur, I didn’t just say, “Someone who wants to write a book.” That’s too vague, and let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to write a book? I specifically wanted to appeal to a market of aspiring authors and entrepreneurs with a desire to build a business based on their book. I envisioned a forward-thinking professional who doesn’t go small. Someone who doesn’t stop at publication and instead wants to go the extra mile. Someone who wants to begin with the book and then develop a business and a brand around the concepts within their book.

Once I established that Authorpreneur is for the motivated author who wants to build an empire, I needed to get very clear about who I would speak to as I wrote the book. I created a list of attributes and then spent some time visualizing what that person epitomized. I want you to do the same. If your ideal avatar is gender specific, you may even want to give him a name. It will help if you can keep this person in mind while you build your brand.

The most important thing to remember is you must know your audience.
—Lewis Howes

Set some time aside to give this some thought and do this exercise. Once you have a clear vision of who you are marketing to, it’s time to move toward crafting your elevator pitch.

 Step Three: Craft an Elevator Pitch

1. First, take your findings from the above exercise and create a statement that clearly defines your ideal reader/avatar. By this point, you should have a clear vision of who you are targeting, and should be able to define your avatar in just one or two sentences.

2. Next, describe the specific problem, interest or issue that your reader is having, in clear terms. What goal is your avatar trying to accomplish? What problems are they facing? What do they need to attain or excel at to get to the next level?

3. Now, think about how you can help your reader. What do you have to offer that will solve their problem and deliver a solution for their success? Describe the specific, measurable result that you will help your reader to achieve by reading your book or working with you through coaching, or other services you have to offer. Describe the specific convenience that you offer in helping your reader get past their challenges, and realize the results they want to achieve.

4. Finally, turn that information into an elevator pitch—a brief statement that defines what you have to offer, and who specifically your offer can help and targets. Your elevator pitch should be memorized until it rolls confidently and eloquently off your tongue, as you will be repeating it often. Each time someone asks, “What type of books do you write?” or “What is your book about?” this is your opportunity to wow them with your elevator pitch, and it’s your answer to this very question that will open doors of opportunities for speaking, teaching, and marketing your book. With this in mind, you can see why it’s important we start here and complete this step before we go any further.

I’ll now offer you an example of my ideal avatar and elevator pitch to get you started:

Ideal Avatar: A forward-thinking author with an entrepreneurial spirit and a desire to build a business by creating companion products and services based upon the core concepts of their book.

Simply stated, right? But clear and to the point. Not just an author, not just someone who wants to write a book, but an Authorpreneur!

Elevator Pitch: Helping authors and entrepreneurs build an empire based on the core concepts of their book, by creating companion products and services to support and grow their business.

See, that wasn’t so hard. Two simple statements and I can clearly define my ideal reader, and also the elevator pitch for my book and/or business. Now when someone asks, “What is your book about?” or “What is your business?” I can quickly and confidently answer without skipping a beat.

5. Your turn. Take some time to craft your ideal avatar and elevator pitch and practice reciting these statements until it becomes second nature. Imagine you are riding in an elevator with someone who asks what you do, or what your book is about. You’ll want it to be brief, but precise and to the point. The goal here is to be as specific as possible, but relay a clear message of what you have to offer in the short amount of time it takes to ride between floors. When the bell dings and the doors open, your chance is shot. So craft a statement and memorize it. Aim for confidence and clarity.

Step Four: Creating Your Unique Brand

Building your brand is like trying to find your identity; it can be tricky and is often the hardest piece of the puzzle to put in place. Your brand represents you and your business. It is an extension of your style and personality, yet it also portrays who and what you want to attract. Where I often see authors struggle is in trying to develop a brand that is professional yet doesn’t include them in it. It’s important to be professional, yes, but if your brand is lacking what makes you YOU, then you are missing an opportunity to connect with your target audience. Instead of worrying what you think others want to see from you, or what you believe your brand should look like, I would encourage you to take some time to find your own unique style, and then find a way to convey that style in the message for your business.

Once you have a clear vision of your brand, style, and elements, you’ll want to incorporate it in all areas of your life such as:

  • Author/Business Website
  • Social Media Headers and graphics
  • Logo
  • Email Signature
  • Business Cards
  • Photo Shoot
  • Future Offerings

Keeping your branding consistent across the board will help with brand recognition. Make sure your colors, fonts, headshots and photos stay consistent—from your website, to social media, to your logo, to your business cards; it should all tie together.

This should not only set you up for success as an author but also help begin building a solid author platform that's a nice representation of your own unique style and brand.  Remember to include what makes you YOU! That is what your audience will want to see, and that is what will attract them to you in the first place.

Finding Myself in Sedona

Photography by Melissa Corter at Red Rock Crossing in Sedona, AZ

Photography by Melissa Corter at Red Rock Crossing in Sedona, AZ

For as long as I can remember, Sedona has been calling me. I don’t recall how I first learned about Sedona or what drew me to the location, all I know is that it was a place I needed to visit—a deep longing within my soul beckoned me, and in 2012 I finally listened.

While scrolling online, I learned of a spiritual retreat to be held in none other than Sedona, and instantly I felt a strong desire to attend. You see, at the time I was on a journey of self-discovery, trying to find my path in the world, and searching for meaning and purpose and a way to tie it all together. Something inside me told me I needed to be at that retreat, and I’m so thankful for that inner guidance—those nudges that tell us we need to be somewhere or try something new. I was able to discern that it was my higher self guiding me, yet I had to turn that inspiration into action and step out in faith where it was leading me. Looking back today, I realize that moment was pivotal. That moment changed everything.

Thank God I listened.

Without hesitation I signed up for the retreat and booked my airfare. I would be traveling across country to attend the retreat; Florida to Arizona was quite a journey to take alone, after all, but I’ve always been adventurous, and something even deeper within me knew this was a trip I needed to experience on my own. 

After months of anticipation, April finally came and I was on a plane headed west. Arriving in Arizona was surreal; it was a whole other world than where I was from, and I loved it. In Florida, everything is tropical and green, and the humidity hangs thick in the air, something I have grown used to. But this new land was like nothing I had ever experienced.  I secured my rental car from the airport, and before long I was headed north on I-17, surrounded by desert terrain, not knowing what to expect once I would arrive at my destination.

I’ll never forget the first time I saw Sedona, Arizona. After about 1.5 hours on the interstate I finally saw that sign: Exit 298 Sedona. I exited the highway and followed the arrow left, and my anticipation started to build. I could feel I was on the brink of something magical, and a world of new possibilities lay ahead of me. The idea of exploring the unknown had my energy at its highest possible vibration, or so I thought. There are no words to describe the feeling I got when my car drove over the hill and I saw those majestic red rocks in the distance for the first time.

Photo Credit: Sunny Dawn Johnston

Photo Credit: Sunny Dawn Johnston

There was nothing that could prepare me for the beauty of Sedona. No amount of research online or visuals in books and magazines I had bought in anticipation of my trip did this place justice. I’ve heard the saying, “God made the Grand Canyon, but he lives in Sedona.”  In that moment, I believed that to be true.

The sun shimmering off the massive red rocks with the clear blue skies as a backdrop was breathtaking, then add the greenest of greens to the mix and you have an array of colors that complement each other so well, it’s sheer magnificence.

Sedona is known for its energy vortexes, and just traveling to Sedona can heighten intuition. The first time I experienced that energy mixed with the beauty of the land, the feeling was overwhelming. Tears welled up in my eyes and my heart was filled with an incomprehensible joy. I had to pull the car over, stop, and take it all in. Again, there are no words to describe the first time you see Sedona, Arizona. It’s something one has to experience to truly understand. Breathtaking is the only word that comes to mind, because in that moment it literally took my breath away.

Luckily I had arrived a couple days before my retreat was set to begin, to allow me time to explore … and explore I did!  Everything from that point on was the adventure of a lifetime. From hiking to visiting the vortex points such as Bell Rock and Boynton Canyon, to browsing through the new age shops uptown, and sifting through the most striking crystals I had ever seen--the whole trip seemed divinely guided. I ended up in the most magical locations, and people seemed to be placed upon my path who could guide me in the right direction at each juncture. Every moment in Sedona will be filled with synchronicity and serendipitous events if you let go, trust, and allow yourself to be guided.

By the time I arrived at my retreat a few days later, I was already a changed person, and little did I know the real change was about to begin. Our retreat was held a few miles north of uptown Sedona, deep in Oak Creek Canyon, at cabins set in the woods with a river running through the property. More beauty, but this was a different kind of splendor since I was now at the bottom of the canyon looking up at the red rocks. Something about that alone makes your problems feel small, and has a way of putting things in perspective. The air was fresh and pure, there was no wi-fi, no TVs, just the sound of the water flowing through the woods off in the distance, birds chirping, a light breeze—it was just what I needed. Sometimes we have to silence those daily distractions and immerse ourselves in nature and its simplicity to really get in touch with ourselves and nourish the soul.

By the time my retreat began, I still didn’t know why I was there, only that I felt a calling to attend and I trusted that inner voice enough to listen. After four days in Oak Creek Canyon with 23 strangers who were also on a journey to find spiritual awakening, I knew. As it turns out, I had some healing to do, and that retreat proved to be life changing for me. The people I met became my soul sisters, and many of us have maintained those friendships over the years. My retreat facilitator not only became my mentor, but I continue to work with her to this day and I went on to participate in many of her certification programs, further expanding my skills and my business. To this day she is my trusted mentor and teacher, and I never would have met her if I had not listened to that inner calling. The connections I made at that retreat proved to be valuable in themselves, but the gift of growth and expansion I received by making a commitment to better myself and do the inner work is priceless.

We are all a work-in-progress, and no matter where we are on our journey, we all have wounds to heal and blocks to remove. I pray to always be humble enough to remember that I am always evolving and expanding, and I will always need to take time to remove myself from the hustle and bustle of daily life and travel, attend retreats, see the world, meet new people and follow that inner guidance when it nudges me to attend an event and in the process, visit places far and wide.

Photography by Melissa Corter - Cathedral Rock, Sedona, AZ

Photography by Melissa Corter - Cathedral Rock, Sedona, AZ

Once you visit Sedona, you will be transformed. Ask anyone who has been there and you will likely hear the same. Since that first trip to Sedona, I now travel solo once per year to Sedona to do some soul searching, get lost in nature, explore, unplug and get away from it all in a place where I can silence my mind from the daily distractions of life. I take this trip for myself, with the full support of my husband, who has also traveled to Sedona alone, and fully understands the value of that experience. Each time I visit, it’s an adventure. I find a new trail, I meet new people, I experience clarity and growth. And each time I depart I leave a little piece of my heart there that longs to return.

Those who visit Sedona report feeling a deep longing within their soul to return known as Red Rock Fever, and I get it often. All it takes is for someone to mention the mere name of this majestic land that has become a part of me, and I feel the tingle inside my heart that says, It’s time for a visit.

This year, in November 2016, I am blessed enough to be co-facilitating a spiritual retreat of my own in Sedona with two other like-minded souls whom I met through this spiritual community I now belong to, all due to the trip back in 2012 that I was called to take.

In just four years I’ve grown by leaps and bounds, my business has taken off and now I am in a position to host my own retreats in the land I love. That never would have happened if I hadn’t followed my inner guidance and took inspired action back when Sedona first called me. If I hadn’t shown up for myself and been open and willing to do the work necessary to evolve and grow, I wouldn’t be where I am today—in my business or spiritually.

I urge you to listen to your own inner callings within your soul. Where do you long to travel? What programs get you excited?  Who are the people you are drawn to? Whom would you like to meet?

Sit with that, perhaps in meditation or in a journaling session, and see what comes up for you. More importantly, when you get those inner nudges, listen.

Perhaps Sedona herself is calling you? If so, I invite you to consider our Sedona Retreat 2016: Packaging Your Purpose, set in quaint cabins in the woods, deep in Oak Creek Canyon. Not only is this retreat taking place during the fall, my favorite time of year, but also during the energy of the full moon … oh, the possibilities! 

Are you searching for your life purpose? Do you desire work that is rewarding? To spread your message to the world? To help others? Perhaps you already have a spirit-based business and you need to remove the fears and blocks that are holding you back from your full potential. In any case, our Packaging Your Purpose Sedona Retreat may be right for you. Click here to learn more. Then listen. You’ll know if you are being called. If you are, trust in yourself enough to show up.

It may just change your life.

For more information visit: www.purposefulevents.net/sedonaretreat

For more information visit: www.purposefulevents.net/sedonaretreat

Let's Talk eBook Publishing!

Every Sunday evening at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific, I host a Q&A session on Facebook LIVE called "Let's Talk Writing & Publishing!" I choose a new topic each week, and this week's topic was eBook publishing. Watch the video below if you missed it!

To recap:

  • 35% of all books sold are eBooks.
  • The average eBook is only 50-100 pages.
  • Amazon accounts for 65% of all online book sales.
  • Amazon will pay you 70% royalties on your eBook sales when your book is priced between $2.99-$9.99. Outside those brackets = 35% royalty.
  • Add an opt-in to your eBook to capture your readers' information.
  • eBooks are a nice way to build your list, promote other products and services, and link to other books you have to offer.
  • Amazon will allow you five (5) free promo days per 90 days in exchange for offering them exclusive distribution rights to your eBook by enrolling in KDP Select. This will allow you to give your book away for free, which usually results in downloads and reviews, raising your ranking!
  • If you opt NOT to enroll in KDP Select, you might also consider publishing through Smashwords and/or Nook Press.
  • There is a difference between having your book formatted and having it converted. Stay away from the word conversion!

If you enjoyed this video and you want to learn more, I invite you to join me this Thursday, July 28th at 7pm Eastern/4pm Pacific for my free online master class:

eBook Publishing for Profits: 7 Ways to Make Profits Writing & Publishing eBooks

I'm going to show you…

  • Seven lucrative ways you can make profits writing and publishing eBooks
  • The three publishing platforms you should consider when it comes time to publish your eBook--and one most don't know about yet!
  • How many words your eBook should entail and how to write it in just 7 days!
  • How to build a business as an eBook publisher, both for yourself and for others!
  • The system I've used to publish over 70 eBooks in just four years--for myself and my clients!
  • PLUS! What to do after publication, to repurpose your eBook content and make even more $

And... if you are ready to get started as an eBook publisher, you may want to check out my online course: eBook Publishing Made Easy: How to Write and Publish Kindle eBooks for Profits. 

My Audiobook Production Process

Audiobooks are the fastest growing sector in the publishing industry, so you can bet that as soon as Authorpreneur was published in print and eBook, the next logical step was for me to have it available in audiobook. After all, I wrote about audiobooks in Authorpreneur as a way to generate additional income from your book!

An Excerpt from Authorpreneur:

Audiobooks

Audiobooks are a nice way you can make additional income off the publication of your book. If you have a publisher, they will likely handle the creation of your eBook and audiobook, but if you’ve self-published you can also publish your book as an audiobook and make additional income from your already created content. Always be repurposing that content, boys and girls!
Amazon owns a platform specific to audiobooks, ACX, Audiobook Creation Exchange, so you can almost seamlessly publish your print book in audio format and make additional income. Every audiobook you make on ACX will be available on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes, but if you grant Audible exclusive distribution rights, then you'll earn royalties of 40%. What’s convenient about the program is that it caters to the tech savvy or the technically challenged. Once you enroll in the program, in order to create your audiobook, you’ll need to either narrate it yourself or allow someone else to narrate it for a percentage of the royalties. If you have a decent voice, the recording equipment or access to a studio, and the time to record and upload your book in sections as required by ACX, then you may consider narrating your own audiobook so you keep the majority of the royalties.
On the other hand, if you’d like to opt to have a narrator voice the audio for your book, that is an available option directly through the ACX program. Your narrator and you will make a deal, and he or she will either get paid per finished hour or get a portion of the earned royalties, and for some that’s a small price to pay to get a book into an audiobook and make additional income from the content. If your shaking voice or lack of tech-spertise is stopping you from creating your audiobook, you are missing out on income. What do you have to lose by allowing a narrator to record the content in exchange for a portion of the royalties you would otherwise not receive if you opted not to add an audiobook? Not to mention, audiobooks are currently part of the fastest growing segment of the publishing industry. According to the American Association of Publishers, 43,000 new audiobooks were produced in 2015 alone, and sales grew by 37.8%. I don’t know about you, but that’s an audience I don’t want to miss out on!

 ***This has been an excerpt from Authorpreneur: How to Build an Empire and Become the AUTHOR-ity in Your Business. 

My Production Process

Now I’d like to share my production process with you, so you can see how easy it can be to get your book in audio format.

First, I logged into ACX and searched for my book. Once I found it, I claimed it as my own. Since I am the President of Transcendent Publishing, I did not have to verify that I own the audio rights for my book. If you are represented by a publisher, be sure to check with them first. Usually your publisher will oversee the audiobook production process, just as they would for your print book and eBook. However, if you are self-published, you are welcome to claim your books through ACX.

Once I found and claimed my book, I listed the gig for audition. I uploaded the Introduction of the book, and asked narrators to audition to narrate the book on my behalf. If I had the time and equipment to narrate my own audiobook, I could have.  It’s been said that readers prefer the actual author to do the narration, but in my case, it was the month of my book launch, I was busy traveling, and honestly, I don't feel I have the right voice for an audiobook, so I chose to hire a professional narrator.

When I listed my gig, I was able to specify if I wanted a male or female narrator, an age range, and type of voice. When hiring a narrator, you have two options:

1. Pay the narrator per recorded hours (a one-time fee).

2. Split the royalties earned with the narrator (no upfront fees).

It is typically $300-$500 per hour to hire a narrator, and my 170-page book was estimated by ACX to become a 5-hour audiobook, so that would have cost me up to $2500 out of my own pocket to pay upfront. I chose to split the royalties with a narrator instead, and I wrote that in the gig so narrators knew that before they auditioned. Not all narrators are keen to split the royalties, and some would rather be paid per hour, so be sure to specify that in your gig.

I received a few auditions, and then came Raina Marie, who sounded professional, upbeat, and had experience and high-quality equipment, which is important when it comes time for ACX to review and approve your audiobook for sale. They have guidelines that must be followed to ensure the audiobook is high-end and of studio quality.

I made my narrator an offer right through ACX, since they oversee the entire process. She accepted my offer within the system, and told me it would take her about three weeks. It ended up taking just over a month, but I was fine with the wait. I’d rather have something done right rather than have it rushed, and in the publishing industry, minor setbacks are common.

Once she recorded the first 15 minutes, she uploaded it to ACX for my review. I logged in, reviewed her voice, asked for any requested changes, and once it was to my liking, I approved her to move forward with the rest of the book.

Since each chapter had to be recorded in sections and uploaded to ACX separately, I was able to login along the way to listen and check on the progress. Once she was finished uploading the full book, I received a notification from ACX that my audiobook was finished and ready for review.

At that point, I listened, sent my narrator any requested changes, and once it was to my liking, I approved it for sale. Once I approved it on my end, it went into a review process with ACX that commonly takes 7-14 days. Once ACX gave the audiobook final approval, it was released for sale first on Audible, with Amazon and iTunes to follow.

To recap, when it comes time to have your audiobook created, you have three options:

1.  Get some high-quality equipment and narrate the book yourself.

2. Hire a narrator and pay him or her a one-time fee per recorded hours.

3. Hire a narrator and split the royalties.

If you decide to narrate your own audiobook, here is some equipment you may need:

  • High-quality professional microphone (Audio Technica ATR2100 or Blue Yeti are both good options)
  • Microphone stand
  • Pop-filter
  • Script stand
  • Audio editing software such as Audacity or Garage Band
  • Quiet room or home studio without echo or outside noise

Could I have made more money in the long run if I had narrated the audiobook myself? Of course. But the probability of me finding the time to set up a home studio, record each chapter in sections, and take hours upon hours to edit the audio was highly unlikely. And since the other option was simply not to have an audiobook, I figured why not split my royalties with a narrator and get the audiobook out in the world to generate passive income for many years to come?

The best part, I don't even have to worry about paying my narrator royalties. That is already done through ACX--she receives her half and I receive mine. It took less than two months from start to finish to have my audiobook produced and available for sale. It cost me $0 and virtually no effort to have my audiobook created (besides writing the actual book, of course!), so now can you see why you don't want to miss out on getting your book in audio format? 

To learn more about ACX's audiobook production process, click HERE.

How I Wrote My Book in 60 Days

As a publisher and author coach, one of the things I teach my clients and students is how to complete a book in a condensed time frame, and I suggest this method for two reasons:

1.  The obvious reason: so they can have their book published and out in the world to start building their empire!

2. More importantly: by setting a goal for a condensed time frame, they’ll create momentum and realize their goals much faster.

I’ll explain. Let’s say I set out to write my book over the course of a year. Chances are I would have worked on my book on the weekends, or when I felt “inspired,” and before long I probably would have become lackadaisical about writing my book, and one year would have turned into two, and so on….

Sound familiar?

But, I knew better than to allow myself that much time, because I know myself. When I start a project or create something, I have to dive in head-first, and the process must consume me until its completion. By selecting a dedicated completion date, I had a goal, and I worked diligently toward my goal each day until I reached it. And what was the result? I set out to write my book in 90 days, but I completed the first draft in just sixty! And I’m going to share with you how I did it and how you can do it, too.

I know what you’re probably thinking…

“I’m too busy to write a book that quickly…”

“If I write a book that quickly the quality of the book will suffer…”

“I have too many family and work obligations to write a book right now…”

I know, I know, I’ve heard it all before. In fact, each year when I launch my 8-Week Book Writing Intensive, about two weeks into the course, like clockwork, I start receiving messages and emails from my students telling me that something has come up, they are having a hard time getting their writing done, they just have so many obligations…

I understand, really, I do. Sometimes we set out to do something and life has other plans for us. Some things are just out of our control. Although sometimes these excuses are legitimate, I find that often they are rooted in fear or self-doubt.

The truth is, all writers suffer from self-doubt and fear, including me! But if you want it badly enough, you have to work through those blocks that arise, and that starts by having a solid plan of action before you begin, and then making a commitment to stick to it!

But I’m not asking you to complete your final draft that quickly. It takes time to revise, polish and craft the final draft. I’m talking about your first draft here.

“I'm writing a first draft and reminding myself that I'm simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.” 
― Shannon Hale

The first draft is just you telling yourself the story. Transferring the information and ideas from your head to paper or computer screen so you can later craft it into a book. It doesn’t have to be perfect; in fact, nobody ever has to see the first draft besides you (unless, of course, you want them to). So then, why all the pressure? Often we are our own worst critics, and we put pressure on ourselves. That darn ego barges in and tries to sabotage our goals and dreams.

We must learn to silence the ego, push through those blocks, and finish the projects we set out to create. No. Matter. What.

I have a system that works for me and has worked for the countless students I’ve worked with, and it can work for you, too.

How I did it:

I knew what type of book I wanted to write: a non-fiction book for my business. A book that would encompass what I do and teach, and would ultimately be the base of my empire. I estimated my book would have 40,000 words upon completion, a good starting goal for a non-fiction book.

Once I had my goal word count, I decided how many days of writing I would allow. I decided on 90 days, because really, three months is plenty of time to complete a first draft on a non-fiction book, in my opinion. If I had set out to write a memoir or a 350-page work of fiction, I may have given myself more time. Maybe not; after all, thousands of authors complete the NaNoWriMo challenge each November when they set out to complete the first draft of a novel in just 30 days during National Novel Writing month.

Why, I then asked, can’t I complete my book in just 90 days? I was only setting out for 150-200 pages, after all. (Note: Authorpreneur is 170 published pages and 46,000 words)

So now I had my goal word count, 40,000 words, and I knew I wanted to complete my book in 90 days, so it was easy for me to find a target daily word count, or the number of words I needed to write each day to meet my goal.

 Target Daily Word Count Formula:

Goal Word Count divided by # of days = ___________Target Daily Word Count

I’ll use myself as an example:

40,0000 divided by 90 days444 Target Daily Word Count

There you have it! In total, 444 words was my target daily word count.

Are you ready for this???

That’s about two pages per day.

Do you think you can commit to writing two pages per day? If so, then you can complete a first draft in just 90 days!

How, then, did I complete my first draft in only 60 days?

I’ll explain…

First things first: I decided on a completion date and put my goal in writing. There’s something magical about putting our goals in writing that makes them materialize, so I not only wrote it on my calendar, but I also wrote it on a post-it and stuck it to the side of my computer monitor, I wrote it on my bathroom mirror—anyplace where I would see it daily as a constant reminder of my goal and deadline.

Now, I’m extremely busy, just like you. I often work 12-hour days, many weeks without a day off, so when I looked at my schedule, I didn’t have extra time in my day to write a book. I had to create time. Which meant I had to get up an hour earlier each day. Instead of getting up at 7am, I got up at 5:45 each morning. I figured getting up that early for three months of my life would not kill me. Looking back, I’m so glad that I did, even though I had some groggy, unmotivated mornings along the way.

Regardless, I committed to one hour of dedicated writing each morning while the house was still quiet, before I checked my email or scrolled through social media. I got up and went straight to my computer and completed my one hour of dedicated writing time, whether I felt “inspired” or not.

"You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can't edit a blank page."
―Jodi Picoult

Were there days when I couldn’t fit in my daily writing? Of course, I’m human, things happen. Life happens. But when those days arose I took note of how far behind I was in my daily word count and I either made up for that lost word count on the following day, or over the next weekend.

There were many Saturdays when I had to lock myself in my office for the day to catch up. I missed out on time with family and friends and special events. I had to make sacrifices and get creative with my time, but you know what? I did it. Because it was important to me, and I had a deadline to meet.

"If you really want to do something, you'll find a way. If you don't, you'll find an excuse."
—Jim Rohn

Tips for success:

Resist the urge to edit as you write. There is a time for self-editing and revision, but it’s not during your dedicated writing time. Why? Because each time you stop to second-guess yourself, you stop the flow of creativity and it takes approximately 20 minutes to get back into that creative flow. If you only have one hour of writing time set aside each day, you can’t afford to break that flow, because that’s when your best writing emerges.

Record your word count each day. I set out to write one hour each day, and I kept a notepad next to my computer and recorded my word count. Even on days when I surpassed my hour of writing, I would break at the hour mark and record my word count.

Each day I tried to surpass the prior day’s word count. That’s how I was able to silence the ego. I didn’t have time to listen to that voice that told me I should change the last word I wrote or edit that last sentence. I had a goal to meet, and by God, I was going to meet it.

Do you know what happened? Over time, I not only became a much faster writer, but I found that my writing had improved, because I wasn’t inside my head and instead I was allowing that creativity to flow through me.

Have you ever been in the “zone” while writing, only to go back later and read what you wrote, and thought to yourself, “Wow! Did I really write that?”

That’s because you got into that creative flow, and that’s when we do our best writing.

By recording my daily word count and trying to surpass it each day, I found that I was writing 1000-1500 words per hour, more than doubling my target daily word count, which is how I was able to meet my goal in 60 days instead of ninety.

So you see, you too can complete a first draft in only 90 days, but it take a strong commitment to your goal, and a willingness to get creative with your schedule and make your book and your writing a priority.

I can’t tell you how glad I am that I finished my book and put it out into the world. Within its first week of publication, Authorpreneur became the #1 bestseller in its category on Amazon and received over twenty 5-star reviews.

Since then I have been booked for radio and podcast interviews, book signings, and speaking engagements. I’m living the life of my dreams. And that makes all my hard work worthwhile.

I hope this serves as proof that you too can write a high-quality book in just 90 days. Of course, you’ll need additional time for self-editing and revision, and then professional editing and crafting your final draft, but first you need to complete the first draft so you have content to work with, and truthfully, getting started is the hardest part. But once you begin and you start to see progress, you'll gain excitement and momentum, and your before you know it you'll meet your goal.

If this sounds like something you’re ready to commit to, if you have a book inside you that you’ve been meaning to write, if your dream is to become a published author…

I invite you to enroll in the 2017 8-Week Book Writing Intensive, my flagship course which only launches once or twice per year. Early bird registration is now open for the Fall 2016 Intensive!

In this 8-week course, I’ll help you develop your book ideas, brainstorm and outline your book with ease, break down the writing process, offer valuable tips for writing and self-editing, and give you all the tools and resources you’ll need to complete your goals.

Want more? I’ll show you how to build a solid author platform while you’re writing, so you have a devoted and receptive audience to market your book to upon publication. You’ll learn about all the publishing options available to you and how to choose the one that’s right for you and your book. I’ll also show you how to build a buzz around your book launch, and then launch and market your book like a pro.

Whether you are writing fiction or non-fiction, this course can help you finally realize your book writing and publishing goals.  

You’ll gain lifetime access to the course materials and the private Facebook group that accompanies the course, so you are free to work through the course at your own pace, on your own terms, but still reap the benefits of the community support and all the bonuses and resources I offer my students.

Plus, one lucky participant will be awarded a complete publishing package!

Will it be YOU???

Due to the individualized attention offered to each participant, I'm only able to permit 25 students into the Intensive at a time. Registration will close once all 25 spots are filled, so if you think you may be interested, don't delay! This is my most sought-after program to date and it WILL fill up quickly! Reserve your spot TODAY!

7 Self-editing Tips to Polish Your Writing

“Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.”~Stephen King

Last week I published a blog post about Increasing Writing Speed and Unlocking Creativity. In that article I encouraged you to write freely for a minimum of one hour each day without stopping to second guess word choices, grammar or punctuation; however, these things are extremely important during the revision and self-editing phase, which is the next step once you've completed the first draft of your work.

7 Self-editing Tips to Polish Your Writing:

1. Always edit with fresh eyes. Once you’ve finished your first draft, it’s a good idea to put it away for a day or two before you begin the self-editing process. Take some time to relax and recharge your battery. You will come back to your project rejuvenated and ready to tackle the self-editing process with fresh eyes and renewed motivation.

2. Read it aloud. Chances are you will hear things your eyes did not see as you say the words out loud. Take note of where you stumble while reading your first draft. These are the areas you may want to consider rewriting. Any sentence you have to read twice is most likely an area that needs attention. If you stumble, chances are your readers will, too. Be mindful of longer run-on sentences that may be exhausting to readers.

3. Eliminate. Make your writing more concise and easier to read by eliminating unnecessary words and unneeded prepositions. See which words you can omit without losing the clarity of the sentence. Extraneous words to watch for are: that, just, very, really and some.

Watch for weak, passive language such as: the 'ly' words, 'to be' verbs, especially when used with 'ing' words. Use strong, active verbs to show rather than tell.

4. Perform a line-edit. Carefully edit each line separately and individually, then each paragraph, as well as each section. One trick is to edit each out of order and then go back and look at the piece as a whole.

5. Watch for Redundancy. Use a thesaurus to replace repetitive words with synonyms. A thesaurus can be a writer’s best friend and often it is built into most writing programs. If you are using Microsoft Word, click the Review tab from the Toolbar to find it. There are many online thesaurus sites you can use as well.

6. Perform a spelling and grammar check. Use your discretion when using the grammar check tool in Microsoft Word. Be mindful of suggested grammar corrections that can cause you to lose your unique writing voice. For example, sentence fragments are sometimes used to gain an effect. Your grammar checker will likely advise against all sentence fragments, but sometimes they are necessary. Use discretion. Did you catch what I did there?

The most accurate grammar checker I've found is Grammarly.com. This is by far my favorite writing tool. They offer a limited free option, but I prefer the paid subscription that will check all my writing as I type, whether that be in an email, in a blog post, or even a post on social media. With their paid membership, you can check up to 20 pages of writing at a time, perfect for copying and pasting chapters of your book as you self-edit. Over time, their suggestions may even help to improve your writing.

7. Avoid Clichés. Clichés exist on all levels of writing, from ideas as a whole to phrases, and even individual words when used under certain conditions. Question what sounds familiar, because it probably is. Ask yourself if you’ve heard or seen that idea/series of words before.

I hope you've enjoyed this article on self-editing. These tips are intended to help polish your prose before you seek feedback from a professional editor. When working on a writing project such as a book, professionally editing is mandatory.

***If you enjoyed this article, check out my 8-Week Book Writing Intensive. This course will walk you through each step of the book writing process, from idea to publication.

Time Management Tips for Writers

While coaching writers and aspiring authors, a common challenge I hear is that of time management. It’s necessary to develop a daily writing habit in order to write a book or complete a writing project, but life often has a way of presenting obstacles. Before long, we resolve that we just don’t have enough time to write, so we put off the project until later...when the timing is right, but when will that be? Truth be known, the timing may never be just right to write your book. If your goal is to write and publish a book, you'll have to get creative with your schedule and create the time to write. Period.

Here are a few time management skills for writers:

1. Set goals. First and foremost, develop a plan of action and put your goals in writing. What are your long-term goals? Can you break those down into shorter goals, so they feel more attainable? Now, can you put a timeline on them? Putting a time limit on your goals will hold you accountable and may help you realize them more quickly. After you break your list into shorter goals, put them into chronological order and save them in a place where you will view them daily. Cross off each goal as you complete the task. Before long, you will find you enjoy the habit of ticking away at your to-do list!

Example:

Long-term Goals

Write a book

Publish my book by next year

Become a best-selling author

Short-term Goals

Research my topic

Research publishers

Develop my platform

Immediate Goals

Construct an outline

Write my book's intro

Work on my bio

2. Get creative with your time. First, you might want to start by tracking your time for a week so you can reflect on where your time is being spent. Once you’ve tracked your time, you will more easily see where you can cut certain things out of your life to make room for writing. For example, do you find you watch TV for 1-2 hours each evening? By cutting out your television time, you free up space for writing. Don’t worry, your favorite shows will still be there once your book is written, and you might even DVR your must-see shows to watch at a later date to reward yourself for completing your writing tasks!

3. Beware of time wasters. No matter how productive you decide to be, there are certain things that will eat up your time, such as: television, Facebook and other social media platforms, busy work (you know, that work you do that makes you fell busy yet you aren’t accomplishing the task at hand!)

NOTE: Beware of busy work and be sure each task you take on is helping you reach your final goal.

Being busy does NOT equal being productive.

I'm not saying answering emails and staying active on social media is not important, but there is a time and a place for it. I’m saying be mindful of how you are spending your writing time. When you finally do carve time out of your day to work on your book or writing project, it’s a good idea to log off of social media and resist the urge to check emails during that dedicated time. There is a time and place for those tasks too, but not during your scheduled writing time. Limit your distractions.

4. Stay inspired and organized. It’s a good idea to keep a pen and paper with you at all times for when inspiration strikes, and if you don’t have one with you, there are ways to take notes, such as using a notepad on your smartphone or sending yourself an email to open at a later date. Nowadays, with the accessibility of email at our fingertips when we are on the go, it’s easy to lose track of emails we already opened throughout the course of the day. File important emails into folders, save helpful articles you find online into dedicated folders, and bookmark websites you wish to visit at a later date when you are in research mode. Yes, there is a time and place for research as well, and it should be scheduled into your to-do list.

Getting organized will free up time later when you could be writing. Writing is the goal, after all! Overall, be mindful of how you are using your time, as time is your most valuable resource as a writer.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Want more productivity tips? Check out my free report:

Do You Have a Goal to Write a Book This Year? Enjoy My 2016 Book Writing Planner! [FREE DOWNLOAD]

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It's a new year and time to set our goals for 2016! Each year it seems more and more aspiring authors set out to write a book yet many don't know where or how to get started.

Does this ring true for you?

Well, I have good news! If you have a goal to write a book in 2016, you'll want to check out my FREE 2016 Book Writing Planner.

I created this planner to help you develop a plan of action for your book writing journey. If this is the year you've set out to finally write and publish your book, there are enough tools and templates within this planner to get you started and set you up for success.

Take your time with each task and work through the planner in order, as each step progressively builds upon the last. If you get stuck or feel as though you need some extra guidance, please contact me. I’d love to hear from you!

This planner is just a taste of what we’ll cover in the 8-Week Book Writing Intensive. If you enjoy my learning style and would like to explore these concepts further, I invite you to join us! This is my most sought-after program to date, so if you think you may be interested, don’t delay! Register here TODAY!

How to Write a Book in 90 Days

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Whether you’ve already started writing your book, or you have a book you’ve been planning to write but don’t know where or how to begin, this exercise will help you find your target daily word count and set you up for success to meet your book writing goals much faster.

Step 1: Find the Estimated Word Count of Your Proposed Book

Book lengths vary in great detail from fiction to non-fiction. First, you’ll need to decide what type of book you plan to write so you can find the estimated word count of that particular genre or style. Use the information below to calculate your estimated target daily word count:

AVERAGE WORD COUNT FOR VARIOUS TYPES OF BOOKS:

Short Stories: 7,500 words or less

Novelette: 7,500—17,500 words

Novella: 17,500—40,000 words

Novel: 40,000—90,000 words (between 50,000—70,000 are average)

Children’s Book: 350—600 words

eBooks: 7,500—50,000 words

Non-fiction: 25,000—70,000 words

What type of book do you plan to write? Based on the information above, how many words do you estimate your book to have upon completion? If you know the answer to those two questions, you can easily map out a plan to finish your book within a designated time frame.

Step 2: Find Your Target Daily Word Count

You can apply this formula to any time frame that feels right for you and your project, but, for now, let’s say you have a goal to complete your book within 90 days. Use the formula below to find your target daily word count. This way you will know exactly how many words you’ll need to write each day to reach your goal.

Estimated word count ______ divided by 90 days = _______Target Daily Word Count

Example: I’m planning a how-to book on Kindle Publishing. I estimate my non-fiction book will be 200 pages. Since I know I average approximately 200-250 words per page, my goal is a minimum of 50,000 words. Now let’s apply it to the formula:

50,000 words divided by 90 days = 555 words per day

There you have it! My target daily word count is 555 words per day. That’s not bad considering that I write an average of 1000 words per hour. I found this average during my 7-Day Writing Challenge to Increase Writing Speed and Unlock Creativity. At this rate, I will only have to write 30 minutes per day to complete the first draft of my book in 90 days! Of course, I will need to set aside time for research, revision, and all the other components that go into crafting a quality book. Therefore, I will set aside a minimum of an hour each day to work on my book.

Step 3: Put Your Goal into Action!

To complete a book in 90 days, you will need to be self-disciplined and committed to the project. Your book isn’t going to write itself, after all. Be sure to schedule your daily writing time on your calendar for 90 days, or whatever projected time frame you decide. If you miss a day, you’ll know exactly how much time you’ll need to make up the following day to stay on track.

If you’re ready to write your book and would like the accountability of a writing coach and a like-minded group of peers who are also working toward the same goal, I invite you to check out my upcoming 8-Week Book Writing Intensive.

For more tips like this, check out my free download:

7-Day Challenge to Increase Writing Speed and Unlock Creativity

shandatrofeslincetheegoquote
shandatrofeslincetheegoquote

When we allow ourselves to write freely without stopping to second guess word choices, punctuation or grammar, in turn, we unlock our creative mind and allow the words to flow authentically; thus, our writing is more genuine and heart-centered rather than ego-based. Have you ever experienced a time when you've been in the flow of creativity only to go back later to read your writing and find that the words on the paper (or computer screen) are almost unrecognizable to you? Have you found yourself saying, "Did I really write that? That's pretty darn good if I do say so myself!" Surely you've had an experience like that, right? If not, then you're in for a treat!

Read on...

Now, I'm not saying that we don't need to be conscious of word choices, punctuation, and grammar. We certainly do, but there is a time and a place for editing and it's not during our dedicated writing time. That's what the revision process is for, and that comes later.

Here's Your 7-Day Challenge:

I challenge you to write freely for a minimum of one hour each day for seven days. Every day, try to surpass the prior day's word count. Why? When we resist the urge to stop and second guess ourselves, go back and make changes, and edit as we write, we unlock our greatest potential, allowing our creative mind to freely express itself.

Are you up for it? I challenge you to try this for one week. If you will commit to this exercise for an hour each day for 7 days, I am willing to bet you will not only increase your writing speed, but you will find your writing is far more creative and heartfelt than ever before.

Ready to give it a try? Here's how to do it:

1. Grab a notepad to keep near your computer or dedicated writing space. You may also elect to use an app on your phone or computer. There are many websites and apps that you can use to record your daily word count, but for the sake of keeping things simple, I suggest starting with a notepad for this 7-Day Challenge.

2. You will need to time yourself for one hour each day. Be sure to schedule your writing time when you will be free of distractions. You may choose to leave your house and find a nice cafe our park to do your writing. I tend to do my daily writing early in the morning when I'm the only one awake in my home. Schedule your daily writing time into your calendar for one week and commit to one hour of writing during each session. Now, you may choose to continue to write beyond the hour, and if so, by all means...write on! But I want you to break at the one hour point to record your word count. For this you will need a timer.

3. Grab a stop watch, hour glass, kitchen timer--whatever works. Something to alert you of the one hour mark. I use the stopwatch on my iPhone. You may even use an alarm clock. You will likely be deeply engrossed in your writing so be sure that whatever gadget you choose will send an alert when your hour is up.

4. Record your daily word count on your notepad. The goal is to not only meet your current word count, but surpass it by a few words each day. Slowly you will begin to write or type faster; you will get out of your head and write from your heart. And when you write from the heart, that's when the magic happens!

Tips for success:

  • Choose one project to work on for the duration of the 7-Day Challenge such as a book, short story, or article. Resist the urge to jump from project to project during this challenge.
  • Each day stop writing mid-sentence so when you pick back up the following day you will not stall to get started. By stopping mid-sentence today, you are setting yourself up for success tomorrow.
  • Turn off your spell/grammar check during your hour of uninterrupted writing. Don't worry, you can turn it back on when it's time to revise and edit. Oftentimes those red lines under our words can be a distraction and many find it hard to resist the urge to correct as they go.

 

BONUS: Once you've completed the 7-Day Challenge email me and share your experience with me. Tell me what you've learned, if the challenge was effective, and what you thought of the exercise. If you complete my 7-Day Challenge and send me your results, I will personally send you a FREE gift. No questions asked. And who doesn't love freebies? I know I do!

 

 

 

 

Building Your Brand with Periscope

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What is Periscope? Periscope is a relatively new social media platform (yes, another platform!) debuted in March of 2015 at the SouthbySouthwest Conference in Austin, TX. It’s owned by Twitter, who reportedly bought the app for $100 million, seeing promise in its potential.

So what exactly is Periscope? Periscope is a live video broadcasting app for IOS and Android. Unlike video blogging, which is edited before it’s uploaded and shared, Periscope allows you to air live video broadcasts from anywhere and share with watchers from all around the world.

I have to admit, I’ve been borderline obsessed with Periscope since I recently discovered this hot new app--watching all the big hitters, 'Most Loved' Broadcasters, and searching for my favorite business mentors and celebrities. One thing I can’t help but notice is the rapid growth and rise in popularity; I can easily see a huge potential to utilize this platform to build your brand and promote yourself and/or your business.

How to Use the App

You can sign up for Periscope with your Twitter account information, and I would recommend it, since one of the options you have when you broadcast is to also share it to your Twitter feed, but we will get to that in just a bit. First, I want to show you around Periscope so you'll be set up for success when you are ready to record your first broadcast.

mail.google.com
mail.google.com

When you login, you will see this screen (see diagram to the right). The first thing you will see listed is anyone you are following who is live, and a list of other live broadcasters below that. You will notice that there are four icons along the bottom of the screen (I use IOS so the layout is slightly different on an Android) and while in this screen the icon that looks like a television will be highlighted.

Next to the TV Icon you will find an icon that looks like the world. This is where you will see people who are live. In IOS you can search by map or list. I believe in Android you can only search by list at the current time, although Periscope is constantly adding app updates as they work out bugs and realize what the users want and need, so be sure to check for updates often.

The next icon is the Broadcast icon. It's in the shape of a square with a circle and red dot inside. This is where you'll go when you are ready to record a live broadcast. In this screen you will want to be sure the Twitter icon is highlighted so that your broadcast will also be shared to your Twitter followers. NOTE: It’s a good idea to keep your location set to OFF unless you are in a public place and don’t mind if strangers know your exact location. I would highly recommend leaving the location setting off when broadcasting from home.

The last icon looks similar to the Three Amigos, or otherwise known as the Leaderboard. Through this screen you will find Featured Broadcasters, Broadcasters you are following on Twitter who are also on Periscope, and then 'Most Loved' Scopers below that.

You’ll also notice a profile icon in the upper right-hand corner of this screen. This is where you can change your photo, name, and add a brief description to let people know who you are. This is also a good place to add your website URL. In this screen you can see how many followers you have, how many people you are following, how many you’ve blocked, and how many broadcasts you’ve had to date. Keep in mind, viewers will only be able to watch your broadcasts for 24 hours, so it’s a good idea to save them to your camera roll as well. In IOS you can adjust your settings to have your broadcasts automatically saved to your camera roll. You might be able to with Android as well. Check your settings.

In the upper left-hand corner of the Leaderboard you will see an icon that looks like a magnifying glass. Click on it to search Periscope for people, topics, or things related to your business or interests. You can use hashtags there as well. It operates the same as the search bar option in Twitter.

Now that you’ve learned your way around the app, here are some broadcasting tips to get you started:

  • Craft a catchy title. You'll want a catchy title that will hook potential followers who may or may not be looking for what you are broadcasting about. You may also put hashtags into your title, so those searching for your topic by keyword can easily find your broadcast (especially important if you are also sharing your broadcast to Twitter). I’ve seen some of the more popular Broadcasters use emojis to draw attention to their broadcast title as well. Although this can often seem unprofessional on some platforms, it seems to be widely accepted on Periscope.
  • Set your thumbnail photo. Wherever your camera is pointing when you hit the red 'Start Broadcast' button, is the screenshot that will be set as your thumbnail. A catchy thumbnail photo can potentially drive more viewers to your broadcast, so be sure you are not pointing the camera at your feet or a random wall. Since you cannot begin the broadcast with the backwards facing camera (pointed directly at you) you’ll need to find something compelling to zone in on when you begin. To turn the camera around to record you, simply double tap the screen.
  • Once you begin broadcasting start talking right away. Don’t wait until you see if anyone has joined your broadcast before you begin to speak. Many viewers will watch the replays of your broadcasts and you don’t want any dead airtime. Start speaking even if you are the only one currently on the live broadcast.
  • Interact with your viewers. Say hello when they join and choose a question to answer here or there. Thank them for joining you and ask them where they are from. Viewers love to be acknowledged and have their comments read live.
  • Have a few notes jotted down to keep you on track. Because you are constantly breaking to answer questions and interact with your viewers, it’s a good idea to keep some notes in front of you to get you back on track when you get side-tracked.
  • Give away value first, then ask for hearts and shares. In the Periscope world, hearts are equivalent to likes, and the more hearts you have, the higher you rank. Many Periscopers ask for hearts constantly and always ask their viewers to share the broadcast with their followers right from the start. This can prove to be annoying, especially if they are new followers and don’t yet know what you have to offer. Instead of asking for hearts and shares up front, consider asking after you’ve delivered some quality content. For example, if I were doing a broadcast about these periscope tips, I would wait until I’ve given one or two away first, and then take a break to tell my viewers that if they like the broadcast and find my content of value, to please show me some love by tapping the screen to give some hearts. Viewers can give up to 500 hearts per session. Next, you might mention to your viewers that if they think others would benefit from the info, to please share the broadcast with their followers. You can share a broadcast with your Twitter followers, Periscope followers, or specific followers by swiping right during the broadcast (or swiping up for Droid) where you will be prompted to the share menu.
  • Take breaks periodically to introduce yourself and review your content so any new followers may stay informed.
  • End with a call to action. If you’re using periscope for business, you may want to send viewers to your website where they can find more information about your topic, book, products, services, etc.

Building your Business Brand with Periscope

As you can see, the sky is the limit for the number of people you can potentially reach in your business or field of expertise. You can use Periscope to build your business brand, drive traffic to your website, sell products, etc. Here are a few broadcast ideas on how to use Periscope for your business and branding:

  • Live Q&A Session
  • Tip of the Day
  • Pop Quiz
  • Contests
  • Interviews
  • Behind the Scene at Live Events
  • Live Group Support
  • Special Announcements

There are unlimited possibilities, and for authors and writers this is a great way to build a platform leading up to your book launch as well.

So, how will you use Periscope? If you've download the app, be sure to follow me at @shandatrofe.  Tweet me and let me know what you would like to see me do on Periscope and also let me know when you join. I’ll be watching!

If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out my Periscope course:

Overcome Writer's Block in 5 Simple Steps

overcoming writers block by shanda trofe
overcoming writers block by shanda trofe

At one point or another, most writers will experience a form of “writer’s block.” Sometimes this is caused by fear, not knowing where to start, how to end, or the inability to stay focused due to outside circumstances.

Here are a few tips for overcoming any blocks that may arise:

1. De-clutter your workspace. When your workspace is cluttered, your may find it hard to concentrate. Often our physical surroundings will affect us mentally. When our workspace is cluttered, our thoughts tend to follow. Keeping your space tidy and organized will allow your energy to flow more freely.

2. Do some additional research. Often we get stuck because we haven’t fully developed our ideas. This is a great time to hit the books and do some further research on your subject. Then, when inspiration strikes, go back and incorporate your new ideas into your work. Your project may even take a turn for the better. However, be careful not to use this as a form of procrastination to put off the task at hand.

3. Relax. Staring a blank screen or sheet of paper will put you into a frenzy, especially when you have a deadline looming. It’s OK to walk away and return to your project later when you are motivated and refreshed. You might try meditating to clear your mind. Often our ideas come to us when we take time to silence the mind. If meditation isn’t your thing, try something else that brings inspiration such as getting out into nature by taking a walk or working in a garden.

4. Try a writing exercise. Just like anything else, writing is something that gets better with practice and needs to be exercised often. You could try a writing prompt, writing in your journal, or writing a blog post. These smaller exercises build confidence and get the creativity flowing so you can tackle the larger project with ease.

5.  I’m a firm believer in the idea that the only cure for writer’s block is to write through it. When you are stuck or blocked, or not having the best writing day, try to write anyway. Not every day is a good writing day, but one thing authors do above all else is to write even when they don’t feel like it, and that means writing daily. You can edit a bad page, but you can’t edit a blank page.

Inspiration exists but it has to find you working. ~ Pablo Picasso

Create a Journal Jar

create a journal prompt jar
create a journal prompt jar

Developing a daily journaling habit is beneficial in many ways and will open up your creativity as a writer. One way to get into the habit of daily journaling is to create a Journal Jar!

What's a Journal Jar?

A beautiful jar filled with daily writing prompts...created by you! This will help on those days when you feel stuck and just don't know what to journal about. Simply pull out a prompt and see what you get! Before long, you'll look forward to your daily journal prompt and it will become an exciting part of your daily writing routine.

How to Make a Journal Jar:

1. Find a jar that you can decorate and will be appealing to the eye. This can be anything from a mason jar to a flower vase. Decorate it with twine, ribbon, bows, paint, stickers--whatever your heart desires!

2. Cut up a minimum of thirty pieces of paper (leave enough room to write out a prompt), but if you are feeling inspired, by all means create more!

3. Write one prompt or inspiration per piece of paper. This could be anything from your favorite inspirational quotes to writing prompts you come up with on your own. I've added a list below to get you started:

  • If life were a journey, mine would be about....
  • When I reflect on my life story, these are the patterns I recognize...
  • 50 things I'm grateful for and why...
  • Here's something nobody knows about me...
  • If I met me, would I like me?
  • The one thing I regret the most...
  • The person I'm missing the most today...
  • Dear _________, I wish that I had told you...
  • It was a dream that first foretold this...
  • What would you do if you weren't afraid?
  • My bucket list...
  • A day in the life of my dreams...
  • The most influential book I've ever read...
  • Dear Past Me...
  • Dear Future Me...
  • Dear Body...
  • Dear Fear...
  • If a genie were to grant me three wishes...
  • My book writing goals...
  • Ten years from now...
  • Who am I when no one is looking?

4. Fold your prompts and place them inside your jar. Give it a good shake to mix them up!

5. Each day, vow to spend a minimum of twenty minutes writing in your journal. You might even set a goal to journal for 30 minutes each day and set a timer when you begin. This is your special journaling time so make it fun!

6. Ready??? Pick a prompt and begin!

Creating an Outline for Your Book

In yesterday's blog post I discussed Brainstorming a Book Idea. Now that you’ve completed your brainstorming session, you can take the ideas you’ve collected to create an outline for your book. Outlines are a matter of personal choice for each writer. Some writers are organized and follow their outline rigorously, while others don’t like to be as structured and want to see where the journey takes them. I like to start with a loose outline before I begin a book, yet remain open to inspiration when the book decides to take off in a completely different direction. Still, it’s nice to have an outline to aid in incorporating the ideas that came from your brainstorming and journaling sessions. Think of your outline as a treasure map, a written route for your trip.

The outline can often be intimidating to aspiring authors and this is where many become overwhelmed and abandon the project. For that reason, I am going to try to keep this task as simple as possible. Try not to over-think this; remember, you don’t need to have everything figured out before you start writing. The outline is to give you a roadmap while writing and is a great tool to reference, but again, choosing to use an outline is a writer’s personal choice. It’s a guidance tool to help you along the way.

You’re probably thinking, the dreaded outline!

Please try not to look at it in that light. The outline shouldn’t intimidate you; it is instead intended to assist you in the book-writing process. Again, it’s a personal preference and some writers choose not to use one at all. Either way, I urge you to fill out the outline as much as you can so you have a generic vision of where your book will be going before the process begins. You may change your mind and go off-track during the writing process and that is OK! It’s your book! The outline will at least give you something to reference should you get blocked, and it will also help you organize your thoughts.

In the 8-Week Book Writing Intensive, I go into both the non-fiction and fiction outlines in great detail. For this article, I am going to speak primarily about a non-fiction outline, although the concepts could easily be applied to fiction as well.

Let's begin...

Consider first the type of book you will be writing and then list the components that make up that style of book. For example, you wouldn’t outline a cookbook in the same way as a self-help book. Start by listing all the key sections you know up front that your book will need, and any chapters you want to add. Start listing them in a logical order, but don’t stress too much over this task, since chapters and sections can easily be moved throughout the book-writing process, and often are. I like to aim for ten, including the introduction and conclusion, and then making 2-4 bullet points that I want to touch on for each topic.

You can refer to my example as listed below. This is the outline I created before writing my book, Write from the Heart: A Step-by-step Writing Guide to Get Your Message from Idea to Publication. I included all the main points I wanted to cover, put them in a logical order, and then for each one I jotted down two or three sentences on the subjects that I would cover in each section. See below:

Write from the Heart Book Outline by Shanda Trofe
Write from the Heart Book Outline by Shanda Trofe

As you can see I started with the main sections I wanted to include in this book, and then added 2-4 bullet points for each section. While writing, I didn’t follow this outline rigorously, but it kept my thoughts organized and allowed me to record all the points I wanted to incorporate into the book. I moved some bullet points to different sections while writing the book, and I added more ideas as I wrote. I didn’t always progress in order, so if I wanted to work on Chapter Six one day, and Chapter Four the next, I could. I knew eventually all the points would need details, present challenges and require examples. After all sections were complete, I added the final table of contents last, because I moved sections around during the writing process.

When it comes time to write your book, you might not follow this outline exactly, but you can always refer back to it to ensure you didn’t forget anything. Having a template to refer to might even make the task at hand more manageable once you see your book idea structured on paper.

Do you have a book inside you? Download your FREE 2016 Book Writing Planner today!

Brainstorming a book idea

So you want to write a book but you don't know where to start?

A brainstorming session may be just the thing you need to shift your ideas from your head onto paper.

Brainstorming is a great tool to further develop a book idea. By writing freely whatever thoughts and words come to mind, you will be encouraged to come up with thoughts and ideas that at first might not make much sense. Some of these thoughts can help define your book or story, while others can spark even more ideas. Therefore, during brainstorming sessions, be mindful not to question what comes up. You're opening up potential channels and possibilities. Stopping to second-guess yourself at this stage stunts idea generation and limits creativity.

Let's begin...

Grab a notebook or journal and start by writing down your main idea or premise. Next, start recording any words or phrases that come to mind. Include everything that comes to mind without stopping to re-think your ideas. Either make a list of your thoughts running down the page or start with your main concept in the center of the page in a bubble. As each new thought strikes, create another line and add each additional idea in a new bubble. Each branch that shoots off from your main idea may become a section or chapter in your book. Refer to the diagram below as an example. This is a copy of the brainstorming piece I created before composing my book, Write from the Heart: A Step-by-step Writing Guide to Get Your Message from Idea to Publication.

brainstorm
brainstorm

Now it's your turn. Grab a notebook or journal and start brainstorming your book idea. Some prefer a listing technique while others like the “bubbles and branches” technique; there is no right or wrong way. Do what feels right for you. The important thing is to get your ideas down onto paper so you can begin outlining your book.

Check back tomorrow as we will use our findings from today's brainstorming session to start outlining your book. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter on the right-hand side of this page so you don't miss any important announcements!

If you liked this article, you'll love my FREE 2016 Book Writing Planner:

Thinking of Joining my next 8-Week Book Writing Intensive?

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Read These Rave Reviews from Intensive Alumni: 

“At a time in my life when I really wanted to take my writing to the next level, I found this 8-week intensive online through The Spiritual Writers Facebook Page. It felt a little meant to be! I was excited and fearful all at the same time. It’s a leap of faith to go from writing in a private journal to declaring the dream out loud to become an author. I actually prayed ahead of time that I would find a professional setting that could take a novice like myself to the next level. I really needed someone to walk me through all the steps necessary to launch a book. From the very beginning and all the way through module 8, I was very impressed with the professionalism. They pay very close attention to detail, and most importantly, they nourish the souls of the writers. The private Face Book Group was fantastic tool for everyone. It gave everyone a safe place to forward questions, share inspirations and express all the feelings that come up with trying something new……excitement, joy, fear, and gratitude. I can’t say enough about this experience. It was awesome! Even when I felt overwhelmed and my pages weren’t coming fast enough, I was able to go at my own pace. I super appreciated the break in the middle. The phone conference also seemed quite timely. Finding this intensive has helped me find my wings. I feel fortunate and grateful. I also appreciate that the information from modules are available to refer back to. I would definitely recommend friends to this program. Whether it’s recreational writing or someone is looking for a path to publish a book, this intensive is a well worth the time and investment. The best part of this intensive is the heart of this program. I immediately felt like it was a safe place to land and learn! Cheers to providing a program that has depth and soul! I loved it! With Gratitude…”

~ Krista G., 8-Week Book Writing Intensive alumni

***

“This class is Intensive and it’s emotional as one discovers hidden truths that they may have buried. This class helped me release a lot of fear based idea’s that I had allowed to take over. This was deep and it was personal. This class helps one grow both emotionally and physically as you release negative energy as well. Only love, positivity and encouragement. There is no pressure with this class. I am one I have to do things at my pace for what’s comfortable for me and what I feel I can do at that time.  This class was a Blessing. I highly recommend this class to anyone looking to learn new idea’s on writing and looking to just “let go” and grow.  Amazing!”

~ Annie K., 8-Week Book Writing Intensive alumni.

***

“I had a great idea for a book, but no knowledge of what my next steps should be. Then I took this 8 week book writing intensive, and in 8 weeks I gained knowledge, tools, and the courage to step by step begin to write and market my book. As a result, my words began to form into my story, And now I am using this knowledge attained from the intensive to fuel my vision and hopefully get my book published in the near future” 

~ Debbie V., 8-Week Book Writing Intensive alumni

***

“I had never participated in any writing endeavor such as this one, so I didn’t know what to expect when I signed up. Priceless! That’s how I’d describe the experience. In a short period of time, I learned so much and have seen my writing evolved to new levels. I went from “wanting to write a book,” to having an almost complete manuscript. And beyond the writing benefits, the connections made with an incredible group of women writers that are not part of my writing family.”

~ Pat R., 8-Week Book Writing Intensive alumni