Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I become an Amazon Best Seller?

These days, it's really easy to become an Amazon number-one Best Seller, and tons of people offer this service. It's all about strategy; it's not about the quality of your book. We also offer this service ─ and every one of our authors that we've done this for has hit number one.

But you still want to have a great book that people are going to refer, keep reading and pass on to their friends. We're here to help you create a book that brings in clients, sales, readers, and connections over time.

Our Amazon number-one Best Seller service includes a lot of content. We're promoting you as an author, so that you have that Amazon Best Seller status over time. We can even go backward with a book that's already published and turn it into number one Amazon Best Seller. It's a matter of creating that content and positioning you and having that quality content that is on Amazon and elsewhere ─ social media, on your website and so on ─ so that your Best Seller status lasts for months and even years, with people finding you, referring you, coming to you and seeing you as an expert in your field.

How do I write for my audience?

Writing for yourself is very different from writing for your audience. For a lot of the authors that come to us with an existing manuscript, this is where they get stuck, because the first draft you are really brain dumping. You're writing for yourself. You're writing things that you know, that you remember, that are in your head, and you're just getting it down on paper.

When you're writing for your audience, you're speaking to their concerns. You're speaking to what they want, that their emotional pressures are and so on.

What'll happen is, we might look at a manuscript and it's like, "This is how I started my book. This is why I'm writing this book. This is how I got into this thing. This is how I did it, and this is how to do it." That's writing for yourself.

Writing for your audience starts with empathy. It sounds like this: "You may be feeling a lot of frustration and overwhelmed, because you have just been appointed as head of the sales department and you know that if you don't make those sales targets, you're entire team is going to suffer. You might lose your job. You might lose your family. You're not going to be able to save for the future and have a college fund for your kids. That's why this sales book, and everything that I'm going to teach you in this book, is going to make a huge impact on your life." The approach is different.

So that's the difference between writing for yourself versus writing for them and being in their world. You want to make sure you distinguish that and write for your audience and not for you.

Should I write a business book or a personal book?

Well, you know, people come to me all the time and say, "I don't know if I should write a memoir or a business book. I have so many personal stories to tell, and they really mean so much to me, and I really, really want to share that with the world. But at the same time, I want to be seen as an expert in, say, insurance or sales or something like that, and I really want it to help my business. So maybe I should do a memoir first and then a business book... or should I do the business book first?"

Well, what I say is: you want them both together in one book, because you want that business book that also has your personal stories so that you make that connection with people. This helps people relate to you as an individual and want to do business with you.

If you just have business, it's dry, boring. If you just have personal, it doesn't lead to anything. Id you put them together, you have a personal connection that also showcases your credibility and your expertise. You have a book you love, that has your heart in it and that you can give to the world and make a difference with it.

Is one draft all you need to write a book?

Another pitfall is that people think that one draft is all you need to write a book. Right? Just write it out, and it's fantastic. And if you're talented, you can just write it and it's done. They don't realize that writing is actually rewriting. That's what my journalism teacher taught me in my first day at journalism school. Writing is rewriting. You need to write and craft and craft.

So, with our amateur writers, we tell them, “Look if you're writing your book yourself, you should plan on at least three drafts.” We, as professional writers, plan on two to three drafts.

We have one stage in our process called “Tell My Story.” That’s where we're interviewing you and gathering the content. And then we start writing it. First draft, second draft, third draft.  First draft, we don't even get to everything. We get to maybe 80 percent, because there are holes in there. There's logic that's missing. There are stories that don't match. So, the first draft is maybe about 80 percent of your content.

Second draft, we get closer to 100 percent, because we've got all the answers from you. Third draft, we're really honing it for voice and theme, and looking at the book as a whole, so that the reader has an incredible journey from the beginning through the middle to the end.

A book is a journey. A book is actually a hero's journey, an emotional journey that you're taking people on. So, even if you're writing a business book, you want to take your reader on an emotional journey. And it may also be called the hero's journey. So, you know, one of the great stories that I love is [The] Lord of the Rings, right? So we have the little hobbit who's unsure in his world. And then he decides to go on a journey, and he's facing all these foes and battles, but he has guides all along the way. But in the end, he has a final battle, his final climax. He himself has to pull the courage and all the lessons that he's learned along the way and have the courage to finally face his demons and win the battle. In his case, it's throwing that ring into that fire, right?

So, your book wants and needs to take the reader on that journey. In the beginning, in your introduction and your first chapters, you're talking to a reader who's unsure, who's maybe frustrated, who's challenged and confused about whatever problem they're facing in the world. Then you take them on the journey. Every single chapter is a new challenge or a new thing that they have to deal with and learn in that journey to success. And you share with them along the way. Your reader is going to feel relieved, comforted, clear, confident, all along the way. At the end, they finally get that last piece that they need. And they are going to win and learn and earn that right to be successful. By then, they're going to be transformed, confident, clear, positive about what needs to happen and healed by what needs to happen because of all the lessons you've taught them along the way. At that point, you invite them to join your tribe and go to the next level of growth.

Even with a business book, you are taking them on that emotional journey, that hero's journey from problem to solution, solution, solution, to transformation and growth. So, make it a great business book.

What's the difference between a book and a blog?

So, in this digital era, we have websites, and everybody talks about blogging, and then there are books. So, what's the difference between a book and a blog?

Right, so a book and a blog may be similar, but they're two different mediums. It's like the difference between a watercolor and an oil painting, for example.

People will say, "Hey, I've got a bunch of blogs, can't we just put it together in a book?" Yes, you can put all your blogs together in a book, and it's called your collection of blogs that happens to be in a book.

However, if you want to create a cohesive book, you need to use the blog as your content ─ not as a mishmash of stuff. A book is its own art form that's a longer conversation, a longer set of topics that tie together, and then the blogs can be content to fill that conversation.

So with any story, there's a beginning, a middle and an end. With a book it's the same thing: there's a beginning, there's a middle and there's an end. With each blog, there's a beginning, a middle and an end. So with the blog, we can't use the beginning and we can't use the end, but we can use the middle. That content can help create a book from scratch as its own artistic form. You’re going to give the world this book that will set you apart for credibility, grow your business and inspire people.

What's the difference between a book and marketing copy?

A book can be a marketing piece and, of course, a marketing copy of course is marketing copy. They can both serve the same purpose, but it's how it's expressed. Marketing copy tends to be very short. “Are you going through a divorce now? I can get you saved. Call me.”It gets into hunger and desire. A lot of times there's ALL CAPS, and there's exclamation marks and there's question marks, and then there's here's what you need to know in yellow highlights and stuff.

But a book is a long piece. If you write like that in a book, it's annoying. An entire book of people shouting at you and constantly wanting your attention ─ it's too much. A book, it's about sharing content, information, knowledge. You're taking someone through a journey. Your reader wants to be immersed in a world. You can plant the seeds of a call to action, but don't have your story mixed up with your marketing; otherwise, you turn people off.

What's the difference between a book and a workbook?

Your book is your calling card out there. It's on Amazon. You're giving it to people. You really want to tell your personal story and have client stories and anecdotes in there, as well as having your method and your system and the overview. This creates the rapport so that people get an idea of what you're about, what you have to give; and they want to work with you. That's what your book is for.

Your workbook is where you have all the nitty-gritty stuff like, "Okay, make sure you do this and then fill in the blanks for this, and here's the question and here's the step."

To give you an idea: one of our authors had sent me a manuscript, and she's a holistic healer, and so she had her personal story. She explained how to do it, and then she had a meditation. I said, "You know, they can't read the book and sit and do a meditation at the same time. You can't read and meditate at the same time. Put your meditation on your online course or on your website or your workbooks, but have that book focus on you and your method, and why they need to do it and what the results are."

Keep them separate. You want to have a little bit of “how to” in your book ─ but an overview, not all the nitty-gritty stuff. The book is the why. The workbook is the how.

What are the top three mistakes people make when writing a business book?

The top three mistakes that we see from people who write their own books are: first, they confuse the brain-dumping step with the actual writing. Second, they’re not clear about their target audience. And third, they put [in] too much “how to” and not enough “heart.”

We actually divide it into two steps. One is the "Tell My Story" step, and one is the "Write My Book" step.

So what happens is that people start writing and writing and writing, and they go, "Oh good. I've finished. This is my book." What they don't realize is that, well, that was your rough draft. That was your brain dump for you. You need to now take that raw material and turn it into a manuscript that’s compelling for your ideal audience. So that's what we call the Write My Book step. What happens with amateur writers is they think that that brain dump ─ that rough draft ─ is their book. They don't realize they have to go and actually craft the book for their audience. So that's the first mistake.

The second mistake ─ or pitfall shall we say ─ that people make is that they're not clear about their target audience. Oftentimes, we ask people, "Well, whom are you writing for?" They say, "Well, everybody. Everybody can benefit from this book." Well, not everybody is interested in veterinarians. Not everyone is interested in what to do after you've been through a relationship breakup, or not everyone is interested in holistic healing or so on. You get the idea.

So you really want to narrow that, and also, too, writing for Baby Boomers versus writing for Gen Xers versus writing for digital natives or even teenagers is totally different. The language is different. The approach is different. The thinking is different. So, you need to be really, really clear about whom you're writing for so that you can be in their world and get their pain point and really narrow that down. We have something called the Plan My Book questionnaire, where we go through that and identify that. The more you can be clear about that, the stronger your manuscript is going to be.

The third pitfall that people have with their books is that they put [in] too much "how to." They're very focused on how to do it. They even put questions and exercises and checklists and stiff in it, which is great in a book. But what happens is that a lot of times it comes at the expense of actually explaining it and creating rapport with the reader through anecdotes and stories. So that's the third pitfall we see: too much how to and not enough connection with the reader.

What should I look for in a ghostwriter?

We are ghostwriters. And people will say to us, "Well, so and so, you know, they can get it done for this much. And I just talk to them, and they edit it, and they turn it into a book." Well that's the problem: you're talking to them, and they're editing it. They're editing your words and turning it into book. With us, we're taking your content, and we're ghostwriting it in a way that your reader actually wants to read it.

A good ghostwriter skillfully creates a compelling narrative that people want to read and that sounds like the best version of you. That's why we plan on two to three drafts, because we're doing that work. We’re not just taking your words and printing them, because it doesn't necessarily reach out and grab your reader. You want narrative that's going to grab your reader and get them hooked, and make them want to keep reading and then do business with you.

What's the difference between a book and a podcast?

A podcast and a book are different formats, reaching different audiences, using different platforms. A book is something that you own in tangible form. It's something that you, physically, can give to others. It has your name on it, and of course it can be on Amazon and so on. In contrast, there isn't a way to follow up in a physical, tangible way with a podcast. With a podcast, you are getting in the minds and hearts of people. The two can definitely merge. We have clients who are taking their podcasts and turning them into books.

If you have your ideas codified in a book, you can turn that into podcast topics, invite people and position yourself as an expert in those clusters of topics that match your book as well. 

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