With the best will in the world, writing a book is hard. No, let me re-phrase that – writing a good book that’s worth publishing is hard. Writing is easy. Anyone can write and that is a problem with the industry at the moment. Millions of average books are appearing every week due to the ease of self-publishing. A good idea is to get help writing a book from people who have done it before.
There are loads of books to help with writing a book and these can be a boon, but the good coaching can make or break your authoring aspirations. Lisa Tener has helped many authors, coaching some of them to five and six figure publishing deals (check out the testimonials on her web site.)
We tend to shy away from seeking help in writing, but it is out there – and a lot of it for free! Of course, it has to be said that a lot of care should be taken by checking the credentials of the advice givers, but ,many luminaries, such as John Grisham, offer insights into their writing process.
One problem is that, while a basic process and structure is beneficial to new authors looking for help in writing a book, we are all individuals and don’t work in the same way. This is one reason why the best coaching and instructional writing courses focus on your personal strengths and weaknesses.
In the video below, Evan Carmichael outlines the process he uses for writing, publishing and marketing a book.
Need Help Writing A Book? It Happens All The Time
Hello, Believe Nation! My name is Evan Carmichael! My one word is believe, and I believe that entrepreneurs will solve all the of the world’s major problems. So, to help you on your journey, today, I’m going to talk about seven ways to write a book for beginners. (electronic music)
So, I launched my first book with Penguin Random House in December of last year. I’m in the process of writing my second book, and I have the first draft, just finished! I’m super excited about that. And I’ve been gettin’ a lot of questions, from you guys, asking me about the process. How do I write a book, what does it look like?
How do I make sure that my book is a success, comin’ out of the gate? And so, today, I wanted to share with you seven ways on how to do it, that I think you’ll enjoy. Tip number one, actually want to write a book. This might sound like a no-brainer, but I think a lot of people want to write a book for the wrong reasons.
A lot of people want to write a book, because it’s going to get them credibility. You think it’s going to open up doors. And it can, and it does. I think it was a lot more true, ten years ago, than it is now. I can open up almost any door I want, just usin’ my YouTube channel, and my social media, much more than the book helps me do that.
There weren’t as many avenues as there were before, and so, you needed to have a book. But now, it’s not as necessary. I wouldn’t say that it’s not important at all. I think a good book can definitely help you open up a lot of opportunities, but it’s not needed.
If that’s your goal, there’s a lot of other ways around to do it. Writin’ a book is really hard. For me, it was a two year process. The second book is coming along a little bit faster. So, you have to really want to do it. If it’s a bucket list thing that you have to do, and you’re deeply passionate about it. You have a message that you want to share. This needs to come out!
You need to give birth to this thing! It’s that important to you, then you should go out and do it. If it’s part of your marketing strategy, and nice to have, then I think there’s other, more effective ways that you can.
So, just want to make sure that that’s, or anything you’re doing, in life, in business, you’re startin’ a company for an important reason, not just trying to make money, or just prove something. So, you have to really, really, really, really want to write a book. If you are, then the next six steps are for you.
Tip number two, is create an outline and a schedule. What I found really helpful for me, was to create an outline at the start. So, my book, Your One Word, we’ve got seven chapters, it’s three sections. And so, I start from the top. What’s the big idea, that I want to get across?
And this works really well with nonfiction, but also with fiction. What is the main thing that I’m tryin’ to get across? And then, how does that break down? So, I have three main sections in the book. Okay, what are those three things look like?
And then, within three, then how do I divide those into different chapters? Great, okay, so I have these chapters here, these chapters here, great, all makes sense. Now, I can start to work on individual chapters, and in that chapter, what I want to talk about.
You can go page, by page, by page. And so, I find it really hard to think big, and think small at the same time. So, I think my big thinking first. That’s the outline, that’s the overview. It’s what we’re tryin’ to accomplish. That’s the general breakdown of the section.
And then, once it’s all planned out, even just a headline, or a title, then I can get the work, I’m actually building that page, and I trust that it fills in with everything else that I’m tryin’ to do. It fits the strategy, it fits the structure really well. Also, if your goal is to get it into a publisher’s hands, they want to see an outline.
They want to know what you’re doing. They want to see a sample chapter as well, you’ll submit to them, and get a sense of your writing style. And I think, for the scheduling part, creating the schedule, for yourself, to make time, right? It’s a lot of work, to write a book! And so, you need to dedicate time, in your schedule.
You’re not just going to have pockets, that magically open up. And for me, at least, I needed to find dedicated time to do it. Everybody has their own process. Some people love writing two crappy pages a day, and they spend half an hour every morning, writing. For me, that didn’t work. I needed to have chunks of time.
If I sat down in the morning, and tried to have 15, to half an hour, 15 minutes, and half an hour, writing, it took me that long, just to get into the zone of writing, and then I would stop, to go do something else. I needed to block out my whole day. So, while I was writing Your One Word, that was my whole Tuesday.
I would spend the entire Tuesday writing my book. I would get out of my place. I would walk to a local coffee shop. I would answer your questions, and document the journey as I went along. And when I got to the coffee shop, I would shut out all distractions, and just write.
It took me about 30 minutes to get into the zone. I’d think, okay, now I’m flowing. Then, I tried to stay there as much as possible. So, if it’s really, really important to you that it gets done, put it in your calendar. Make time for it.
Then again, this is for everything, not just writing a book. You got to prioritize the things that are important to you, and put them in your calendar, or they won’t get done. If you’re just waitin’ for some time to magically appear, guarantee, it’s not going to happen. Schedule it in.
Tip number three, is decide whether you want to self-publish, or use a publisher. It really just depends on what your goals are. If your goal is primarily, financially, you want to be able to make money from it, and you want to be able to control a lot of the aspects of it, then self-publishing is the way to go.
You can make a little money, just a tiny commission, from whatever name is on the other resellers. And you get to decide everything. Book cover, all the words inside, every aspect about it, you get to have full control over. This was exactly your vision, and it gets out there. That’s self-publishing model.
If your goal is to have reach, if your goal is to use your publisher’s branding recognition, then you go to publisher. For me, my goal is to help building entrepreneurs. And so, I wanted, I always wanted, to work out projects that have the ability, to have a massive impact. That’s what I strive for, every single day.
And so, self-publishing wasn’t the route that I wanted to go. I wanted to go with a major publisher, because I value not just their ability to help with the editing and all that stuff, ’cause you can hire someone for that. But, distribution, promotion, having the brand name attached to it.
Not so much that adding Penguin on my name really means a lot, but Penguin on the book can mean a lot. And so, I wanted to give the book the best chance, to have big reach, to get to the bookstores, to get name recognition. And so, that’s why I went with the publisher.
If you’re going to go with a publisher, I highly recommend trying to get a literary agent first. Literary agents basically represent you. They’re like a real estate agent, but for your book, instead of for your house.
Their job is to know all the different people, all the different publishers, where they have money, what books they’re interested in, and create basic credibility more. When I was doing mine, we had five calls with publishers, on two days, back, to back, to back, to back, to back, to back, and it created some drama, right?
So, we talked to one, and talked to another, talk to another, and we ended up increasing the commitment, significantly, from where we started. And so, when you can create that kind of bidding war, it gets people more interested in you, and you need a well trained literary agent, because of connections, to make that happen for you.
So, if you’re going to go the publisher route, I’d recommend going with a literary agent. They usually take a percentage of your deal, but it much, much, much more pays for itself, as well as the advice, and the positioning, compared to if you try to do it by yourself. – So, tip number four, is to overcome rejection.
It’s our first series on Evan’s channel, called Unlocking Lily. And one of the challenges, I had to research famous speakers, and a lot of them wrote books. But, one of the authors that really, really resonated with me, is Jack Canfield.
So, Jack Canfield was rejected by 144 publishers, before he was able to publish his book, Chicken Soup for the Soul. Can you imagine, if he gave up, after the first publisher, or even the 50th one, or the 100 one? We wouldn’t have access to his books, and his message would’ve been completely lost.
So many millions of people actually benefit off his books. So, that’s the same thing for you. Anytime you’re rejected, keep going. And I know, I know rejection’s so hard, especially if you put your entire life’s work, and effort into this book, and it just gets shut down, and rejected.
So, that’s why you need to keep going, and going through all the rejections, and overcome them. Because, it’s important to you. Your message needs to be out there. And then, there’s a funny old saying, there’s a lid for every pot.
So, every time you bring a book to a publisher, and they say no, go to the next one, go to the next one, keep going, and you will find a lid to your pot. – Tip number five, is have a test audience. This was actually something surprising, that’s not really done in the publishing world.
When I was getting close to the draft of my first book, Your One Word, I was getting ready to get it out there, and let people know about it. I said, okay, so what do we do with test audiences?
How do we get feedback on this, and they said, “Well, we don’t do test audiences. “We don’t get feedback.” And it’s something that’s really common in lot of other industries. In software, before you start selling your product, you send it out to your beta testers, and they test it, and they tell you what’s wrong with it, and how it can be fixed.
In the movie business, they’ll make a movie, and have test screenings, and then they’ll see what the audience reaction is, and maybe change the ending, or change different scenes, because that thought that would make people laugh, but they didn’t laugh.
So, let’s switch it up. Or, they got too scary at the end, and walked out. So, let’s switch that up. In the book business, it’s not really done. They’re so concerned about people getting early access, and it being shared too much, and it’s just not part of how the industry works, and I find it so incredibly helpful to do!
So, I printed off 30 copies of my book. I actually printed it off at Alex’s little condo. That was a fun day, and had just binders. And I shipped ’em, and gave ’em to people who were in my local area. Some were entrepreneurs.
Half were entrepreneurs, half weren’t entrepreneurs. So, I wanted a general perspective. And the feedback was so helpful. I actually trimmed my book down to half. I wrote two books. So, they wanted 60, 65,000 words.
In the book, I wrote 120, 130,000 words, and half the book is gone. It was cut, based off the feedback that came from my test audience. And so, I highly recommend that you print off 20 to 30 copies of your book, before it goes to final print, and just get feedback from people who are inside your target market, and outside, just to get tips, suggestions.
And yeah, see about grammar errors, and all that kind of stuff, but more like how did it resonate with you? Did you like this part? And the thing I really paid attention to, especially parts in a nonfiction book, was where people underlined, and the notes that they wrote to themselves. I didn’t care what they wrote.
I wasn’t really payin’ attention to how it was impacting them, but this page got a lot of people underlining, and writing notes in the column, and these four pages, nobody cared about. It’s pretty easy to decide which pages to cut for the book. So, have a test audience. Tip number six, is get ready for pre-launch. It’s not just about writing a great book.
You have to have marketing. You need to promote it. You got to get exposure from it. It’s really important. And so, I think an easy way to do it, is actually to start documenting the process along the way. So, I was launching Your One Word, every week, I’d make a new video.
I would update you guys with how I was doing, where I was at, my concerns, my victories, and I would answer your questions about the whole process as well. And so, I think documenting your process, documenting your journey, whether it’s on YouTube, or Twitter, on Instagram, or Facebook, or wherever you live, start to buIld a little bit of a community up, and get people to join you on that path, so they are excited for the book coming out.
They’re ready to buy in advance. Have bonuses that relate to the book, and give an incentive to buy early, and to buy multiples. I think one of the biggest mistakes I made, in my bonus package, was that I didn’t have a two option. So, you could buy one book, I think it was then ten books, and then up, like 25 and up from there.
But, a lot of people ended up buying one book, and another book for a friend. I didn’t have a two book bonus option. And so, do it again, would have something for, if you buy two books. It’s an easy entry point. But, not just waiting for it to launch, and hope everything goes okay.
Carefully planning the pre-launch of it, counting down on your website, showcasing features of what’s going to be in there, documenting the process that people can join in on your journey, and they’re excited for it.
And you get a chance to talk about your book, over, and over, and over, and over again, without it being promotional, because you’re providing value in updating every step along the way. And tip number seven, is keep marketing.
Just because your book has come out, it doesn’t mean you should stop marketing. It’s not just about week one, when it just comes out, it’s constantly marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing, and hopefully your book ties into what you’re currently doing, whether you’re a thought leader, whether you’re an entrepreneur, whatever it is that you’re doing, your book hopefully fills a void, and is part of your ongoing process.
And ideally, you can involve it in the things that you’re doing. So, couple examples of how we do it, one, content. So, I make content. I’m a YouTuber. I have Twitter. I have other accounts, social media, and I always have consistent content on the book.
On my Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook, and Twitter, and it may just be reading a quote from the book. Almost every weeknight, I’ll read a quote from the book, and post that as a quick ten second video. I use the book in… I use the book in my videos. Let’s line that up, right? The book is always kind of seen, product placement in here.
I say what my one word is, at the top of the video. I thank people at the end of the videos, who bought the book, and give them shout outs. I ask people to remember what their one word is at the end of the video. So, I’m creating content that includes the book, where I’m relevant. I don’t try to force it in situation where it doesn’t work.
But sometimes, the book will be in the seven ways. Like, number five is find your one word. It’s applicable. It’s part of my process. And so, creating content that feels natural, that’s not just promotional content, but naturally fits, because its value in the book that you created.
The second thing that I do, that is really helpful, is work that, well, like a hack, that I haven’t seen a lot of other people do, is every week, my assistant will go to Amazon, pull up my book page, and then see what related books are recommended down below.
So, it might be a Grant Cardone book, or it might be Gary Vaynerchuk’s book, or it might be Tim Ferriss’s book. Whatever the most relevant book is, for my book that week, and then, my assistant will go to YouTube, where I’m most known, I have the biggest following, and start connecting to other YouTubers, who have done book reviews on those other books.
And she’ll reach out, and say, hey, I see you did a review of Gary Vaynerchuk’s Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, or his new book that just came out. I have a book opportunity for you. Here’s Evan. He’s got a book called Your One Word. It’s really related to what Gary’s doing, and I think you’ll enjoy it.
And if you want Evan to be a part of your video, let me know. And so, I’m often either being interviewed for the book, or providing a voiceover for the book, depending on how they do their videos. And so, that’s been a highly effective way.
So, I’ve lined up around 40 or 50 YouTubers who profiled my book, just by having a simple outreach on related books. And the third thing to do, around marketing, is really following up with the readers. You know, a lot of readers don’t even read the book, any book. Like, most people who will buy your book, it’ll just sit there on the shelf, and they’ll never read it.
It just collects dust. And I would much rather sell ten books, and everybody read, those ten people read the books, and sell 100, and nobody reads ’em. And so, having a way to follow up, with readers, and making sure that they’re consuming the content, they need any help. And we do a lot of work. So, one of the things that we try to do, in the pre-campaigns, is collect emails. I wish I did something stronger in the book.
One of my regrets is, I wish, like on the first page, it said, email your receipt to this email address, and we’ll send you bonuses, because that way, you can collect a lot more email addresses. And most of the people, who bought my book, went through Amazon, and I don’t know who they are.
So, I have no way of following up with them. It’s frustrating. But, we did collect a lot of email addresses from our readers, and they get put into a sequence, where every month, I’m sending them an email, that’s related to the book, that’s asking them how they’re doing, that’s checking in. Did you find your one word, can I help?
Can I be your resource, do you have any questions? Do you have any problems? I also send them a video of the month, that’s answering somebody’s question, so it’s an unlisted video, that you don’t have access to, unless you bought the book, and you get that once a month.
And it’ll also make a customized video for everybody, and just a quick, ten second video. Hey, John. Thank you so much for picking up my book. I see you’re from California. I really appreciate the support, man. I was just in California last month.
If I come back again, it’ll be great to be able to connect and do something together. What’s up, Jonathan? Alexandra, happy Tuesday. What’s up, man? Greetings from Toronto, all the way out to Jamaica. You know, just a quick personal video, and people really appreciate it. So, my goal is to follow up, because some people never pick up a book, and read it.
Or, some people, after the third message, they read it, they’re right back, ’cause they feel guilty, like oh, I haven’t read the book yet. You want the people, who’ve read your book, to spread it. Like, word of mouth is so important, for an author trying to get their book out, ’cause you’re not spending money on Super Bowl commercials, right?
You don’t have a million dollar ad campaign. And so, you want the people to spread it for you. And if they haven’t read the book, then they can’t spread the message! And so, thinkin’ about ways to collect people’s email addresses, put it in a book, give them bonuses.
I also write in the book, if you’re havin’ any problems finding your one word, email me. I put the email address in there, so people connect through that method as well. And if you can get them, finding value in the book, they’re much more likely to tell their friends.
And so, those are three of the ideas that I’m using for my book, Your One Word, and I encourage you to find ways, continue to market it, so it’s not just a one-off thing, launch date, and then you forget about it.
So, those are my seven tips on how to write a book for beginners. I made this video, because nazem abdrabo asked me to. So, if you want me to cover a topic in a future Seven Ways video, there’s a link in the description. You can go check it out there, and vote for your next favorite topic. I’d also love to know, what did you think of this video?
What was your favorite tip? What was most applicable to your process? Is there an eight, nine, ten, that I missed, that you want to add to the list? Please share down in the comments below. I’m really excited to see what you have to say.
I also wanted to give a quick shout out to the legendary Brian Tracy. Brian, thank you so much for picking up a copy of my book, Your One Word, and sharing your review, and posting to Twitter. It really means a lot to me, and I’m so glad that you enjoyed the book.
So, thank you guys so much for watching. I believe in you. I hope you continue to believe in yourself, and whatever your one word is. Much love. I’ll see you soon.