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Don’t Write a Book If you’re Doing It For These 3 Reasons

I was at a networking event a few weeks ago, after being asked what I did my conversation partner responded with, “You need a book like you need a business card these days.” At the time, I didn’t think much of their statement but it stuck with me. If this person thought it, then surely a lot of other people think that you need a book as a glorified “business card”.

This is a terrible strategy and, as I’ll demonstrate, a huge waste of resources. However, there are a number of fantastic reasons to write a book. We’ll start with three reasons why a book is a terrible business card, and end with three reasons you should write a book.

Con #1: Writing a book takes up a large number of resources

Writing a book is not an easy process. If you’re going to create something of value, that truly reflects your brand and provides the value that all books should, it’s going to take time, money, and effort to produce.

All of which will be wasted if people treat your book in the same way they treat a business card. Even if you use the StoryWand team, it’s still a large investment for something that you’re going to use simply as a prop to help people remember who you are.

Con #2: People value something that you value

If you’re handing out copies of your book to everyone at an event for free, how much value are they going to put on the content that’s inside the book? By the same stroke, unless there’s a good reason as to why you’re giving this book out (beyond getting them to remember you), people aren’t going to feel that the gift of the book is valuable to them in any way.

Now, if you’re a speaker at an event that’s a different story. You’ve already given the audience some value and mentioned that there’s a lot more value in the book, so the audience members are far more likely to read the thing. Similarly, you’ve probably gotten the event organisers to pay for all the copies of the book that they hand out, so they’ll treat your book with the value that it deserves.

Con #3: People hate unsolicited advice

Unless someone has explicated shown interest in your field or subject of your book, they don’t want a copy of it. Imagine receiving a book on diet or hygiene out of the blue as a Christmas or birthday gift, you’d think that the person who sent the gift is kind of a…[insert chosen swear word], right?

If you’re giving people a book out of the blue, chances are that you’re going to do more damage than good. It’s going to negatively impact your brand and be a waste of resources.

Now that we’ve got those three out of the way, here’s why you should write a book.

Strategy #1: You want to dramatically improve your SEO (become instantly Google-able)

 

If you own a business in 2018 people are going to Google you before they buy from you, so you better make damn sure that people can find you. With a book, your personal brand stops being your personal Facebook page and starts being high authority websites like Amazon or News outlets that have picked up your book.

One of StoryWand’s clients last year was a man named Ben Chai that had a message that he wanted to share about business networking. He wrote a book called “Social Magnetism: How to Have Fun Building Meaningful Business Relationships”. Here’s what happens when you Google “Ben Chai networking”:

 

Similarly, if we Google “ben chai social”:

Strategy #2: You want to build your personal brand

Today is the age of the personal brand, your customers want to get to know you and be involved in your journey. Writing a book is a fantastic way of increasing engagement people have with your brand and bringing them along on that journey.

One of the pieces of advice that we give to our clients is to a) do market research on what your customers want, and b) start doing the marketing for the book whilst it’s in the process of being written. Check out what a couple of StoryWand clients have done on their Facebook profiles for massive engagement:

Notice the ratio of comments to likes, this is a sign that the followers and fans of these two are actually spending the time to engage with the brand, rather than simply giving a “Like” for the sake of it.

Strategy #3: You want PR/Media exposure

As a journalist of 7 years, I can say this: Journalists are lazy. If there’s a story that’s already written itself, I’m going to jump on it like a hungry tiger jumps on a bowl of sugar-coated cornflakes. That’s where having a book comes in.

With a book out, you’re an authority on the matter. You suddenly have a lot more pull when it comes to gaining media exposure. Here’s Ben Chai again appearing on a news site simply due to releasing a press release about his book:

Takeaways

Here’s the major takeaways from this article, DON’T write a book if you’re just doing it to:

  • Give it out for free
  • Provide people with something that they don’t value
  • Give people unsolicited advice

However, you ABSOLUTELY should write a book if:

  • You want to dominate Google rankings
  • You’re building a personal brand
  • You want PR/Media exposure

If you’re looking to use one of these strategies and get people contacting you about your product or service, become the authority in an industry, or want to appear on TV and radio, book a call with me www.meetme.so/Natechai

How to Write Your First Non-fiction Book

One of the most challenging aspects for first-time authors is understanding what it takes to write their first book. Initially, it seems like a daunting task, you’ve got to summerise all your knowledge into 45,000 to 60,000 words and present it in a way that will give the reader most value. It’s no wonder that the majority of people that start writing a book, never complete it and it stays rotting on their computer.

Writing a book breaks down into three main stages: planning, writing, and editing. In this guide, we’re going to show you how to write your first non-fiction book. It’s strange, the huge number of people that know exactly what they want to say, but to transport the words from brain to page takes untold mental effort.

It doesn’t have to be this way!

In the next five minutes, I’m going to share with you my techniques that will allow you to write 1,000+ words of your book each day.

Technique #01: Don’t Think

Photo by Tachina Lee on Unsplash

 

If you spoke to my publisher when I was the editor of a tech magazine, he’d laugh and tell you that this technique was one I was obviously using. Jokes aside, not thinking about what you’re writing is an incredibly powerful technique that you can use to get rid of that dreaded “writer’s block”. Here’s how you learn to not think:

  1. Set a five-minute timer
  2. Put your phone on silent and turn off any notifications you have on your computer
  3. Write constantly for the next five minutes

Write whatever comes to mind, and don’t think about if it’s good or if you’re putting your point across well, just write. Even if you can’t think of anything to write, start writing about that “I’m sitting at my computer wishing I had a coffee to distract me from this empty blank page before me…

You wouldn’t try to run a marathon without stretching, right?

This technique works on the same principle, you’re doing a “writer’s stretch” if you will. Loosening up your writing muscles so that you can keep writing for a longer stretch. When you think too much about what you’re writing, you mentally edit your work which is destructive. I don’t mean that negatively, but imagine trying to build and destroy at the same time!

When you think too much about your writing whilst trying to write you’re attempting to both build and destroy simultaneously.

Technique #02: Set Goals and Chunk Down

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

 

To continue to use the marathon analogy, running a marathon seems tough right? Running half a marathon still seems pretty tough, but what about running a mile? What about running half a mile? A marathon is basically just running a half mile 54 times. Thankfully, you haven’t got to write a book in the same time that it takes to run a marathon. What you’ve got to do is chunk down your writing into smaller goals that you know you can hit.

Let’s say you want to write the first draft 50,000-word book and you’ve given yourself a year to do it. That number is daunting even for a writer like myself,  but then you break it down:

  • 50,000 words in one year means you need to write…
  • 25,000 words in six months, which means you need to write…
  • 4,200 words per month, which means you need to write…
  • 1,025 words per week, which means you need to write…
  • 205 words per working day!

Now writing 205 words per day is a goal that you’ll smash. Once you don’t think and start writing, you can easily write 600 to 800 words in 30 minutes (depending on your typing speed). If set aside a dedicated 30 minutes every two days of your working week to write, you’ll have that first draft completed in no time.

Once you’ve chunked down the writing and set yourself daily or weekly goals, you’ll have your first draft completed in no time at all.

Technique #03: Centre Your Mind

Photo by Rares Peicu on Unsplash

 

Writing is one of those things that you can’t be interrupted whilst doing it. You need to become like a Jedi with absolute focus for those 30 minutes that you’ve managed to stash away from your business, your family, and your dog/cat/Master Yoda. To achieve this, you need two things:

  1. No distractions
  2. No interruptions

For me, when I need to write I put my phone on silent, close the door of the room I’m writing in, turn off the WiFi on my laptop, and start listening to some jazz or Brian Eno ambient music. I also find it’s easiest to write early in the morning, or late at night when I’ve yet to compile the mental list of things to do, or have done all the things on my mental list.

Without getting too Zen on you guys, I’ve found that practicing meditation has really helped with my focus, as now I can catch myself when my mind drifts and bring myself back to the task at hand. However, the mental effort of repeatedly doing that can be exhausting so it’s best to remove as many distractions as you can before you start writing, this includes thing you procrastinate over:

  • Cleaning your workspace
  • Chores you said you’d do
  • Getting coffee
  • Answering WhatsApp messages
  • Doing laundry

These are all things that I’ve had to mentally forget about whilst writing this article. Either make sure they’ve all been done, or go somewhere where you won’t think about them. Which brings us to the next technique…

Technique #04: Develop a Ritual

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

 

If you’ve made the decision to write a book, you’ve got to be consistent with how much you write. Once you miss a couple of “writing sessions” you’re going to miss a lot more. It’s like going to the gym, come January 1st everyone’s pumping iron, hitting the treadmill, and sweating away… and then life gets in the way. Come February the gym is a ghost town (which is how I like it), in the same way, you need to stick to your writing schedule if you want to complete your first draft.

Writing has to become a habit.

Habits are best formed through the use of triggers. A trigger is a situation that you’ve essentially brainwashed yourself into feeling a certain way once that action is performed. We can create our own triggers through the use of rituals. These rituals make the process of writing easier, and also negatively reinforce our minds if we don’t write.

Your ritual can be anything, but here’s my morning writing ritual to get you inspired:

  1. The night before I leave the document I want to write open on my laptop so it’s the first thing I see when I life up the screen
  2. I get my favourite mug (it’s a map of all the shipping forecast areas of the UK) and make myself a coffee
  3. Whilst the kettle’s boiling I put my phone on silent
  4. I return to my desk, coffee in hand
  5. Open my laptop
  6. Begin writing

My ritual isn’t complex but it’s effective. You might want to include putting on an album or song, you might want to do some push-ups to get the juices flowing, whatever gets you in the writing mood.

What To Do Next

The most annoying thing about producing a book is that the actual writing of the book is the easy part. Editing can be both emotionally and physically (if you get the wrong editor) painful, but that’s for a different article. If the techniques seem simple, that’s because writing isn’t that hard, most of us have created mental blocks around it from school or nonsensical pressure that we put ourselves under.

Here are the techniques to implement to write your first non-fiction book:

  • Don’t Think: Spend the first five minutes of your writing time simply writing whatever’s in your head. Focus on syncronising the words you put on the page to the mental voice going through your head
    • Don’t Edit: Editing comes later. Right now, focus on writing
  • Set Goals: Divide the number of words you’ve planned to write by the timeframe you’d like to complete it in. 50,000 words in six months is a good average to aim for (400 to 500 words a day)
  • Centre Your Mind: No distractions, no interruptions. Do what you need to do to give yourself the space and time to focus on your writing
  • Develop a Ritual: Create a repeatable set of actions that tells your brain and body “Now is the time to write!”

Thank you for reading. Now, I have a solution for you that means you could be a published author within 6 months. If you’re looking for:

  • All the content created within 20-hours
  • Not thinking about your book because professionals are helping you
  • Goals set and completed by your own publishing team
  • Freedom to bathe in all the distractions and interruptions life throws at you
  • Creating a ritual of working on your business and not constantly thinking about your book

Click the button below to book a call with me and discover how you can share your message with the world.

 

 

 

Should You Hire a Ghost Writer?

For most aspiring authors, there comes a time when they think, “@#$%&! This taking up a lot more of my time than I thought it would”. After weeks and weeks of writing, sitting in front of your computer trying to force the words out, you start to hear a voice in the back of your head, “Hire a ghostwriter” it whispers seductively.

Hiring someone to do the work that doesn’t bring you the greatest return on investment is a fantastic idea. Countless business coaches, gurus, and people smarter than myself all recommend that we outsource what we’re not good at, and for a lot of you, that’s writing. Why should you slog away squeezing out words at a snail’s pace, when simply hiring a ghostwriter can do it all for you?

Whilst that seems like a great option, hiring a ghostwriter can lead to more headaches. You’ve essentially turned a single project (“Writing a book”) into two projects (“Writing a book” and “Finding a good ghostwriter”). On top of that, you’ve then got to manage the ghostwriter like you would any other contractor, adding more stress to your life.

In this guide, we’re going to look at the ins and outs of hiring a ghostwriter. By the end of these 1,000ish words, you’ll be able to definitively answer the question, “Should I hire a ghostwriter?”

You should hire a ghostwriter if…

#01 You already have an extremely detailed plan

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When you get down to it, the ghostwriter is simply a tool to build your book. You need to have created a detailed outline in order to give the ghostwriter sufficient direction for where you want the book to go, and the journey you’d like to take the reader on. When I say detailed, I mean detailed. Remember, the ghostwriter can only write what they think you want, the more vague you are the less likely it is that they’ll be able to accurately create your vision.

What most aspiring authors trip up on is the fact that they haven’t already spent the time building that plan for themselves. You need to break down your chapters into headings and sub-headings and under each sub-heading list a bullet point for each idea you want to be covered in that section. Without that, your going to waste a tonne of time directing and managing the ghostwriter and end up with a book you didn’t really want to write.

#02 You know exactly what you want

Photo by Baher Khairy on Unsplash

 

Writing a book yourself is a huge investment of money and time, but I personally know a number of entrepreneurs and speakers that have launched into writing a book without any sort of strategy. Considering how much effort goes into writing a book and hiring a ghostwriter, you need to know exactly what you want.

You need to know your:

  • Target audience
  • Intended outcome for the book
  • “Voice” that you’d like the reader to “hear” e.g. conversational, millennial, authoritarian
  • Rhythm of the book i.e. If you’re going to include guides, case studies or interviews, and what order they’ll go in each chapter
  • Tone of the book e.g.  humorous, serious, academic

If you don’t know what you want, the ghostwriter is going to have to guess. This tends to go poorly and leads to far more stress than is necessary.

#03 You’re happy to build the rest of the publishing team yourself

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A common misconception with people that want to write a “publisher quality” book is that all you need to do is write the book. This is the reason why “self-publishing” doesn’t have the same reputation of going with a traditional publisher. Assuming that you’ve got a detailed plan of the book, and assuming you know exactly what you want, the ghostwriter is going to take around six months to create… the first draft.

This isn’t to discredit any ghostwriters out there, the writing will be solid. However, if you’re serious about making an impact in the world with your book, you’re going to need to go through several rounds of editing in order to make your book the best it can be… so you’re going to have to go through the hiring process again. Asking your friends if they know a good editor, sending out countless emails for quotes and reading through potential editors previous projects. Once you’ve found an editor, you’ve then got to find the cover designer, and a designer for the book’s interior, and then a proofreader, and then someone to format the book for digital publishing, and then and then and then.

But it doesn’t stop there.

If you’re looking for a major publisher to publish your work, you still need to build a social media team, a PR team, build a following. Major publishers hate risk, so they need to know that your book is going to at least make it’s money back.

You shouldn’t hire a ghostwriter if…

#01 You’re looking for a cost-effective option

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Ghostwriting takes a lot of time to do well. As someone that used to be a ghostwriter, here’s the process that I (and most other ghostwriters) used to ensure that the work we created was to a hire standard and kept the author’s voice:

  1. Research every communication that business has put out
  2. Interview the person extensively to figure out idioms and phrases that they consistently use
  3. Write what I thought they wanted
  4. Rewrite after they’ve read it through and asked for changes
  5. Rewrite it again after they’ve read it through and asked for changes
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5

As a result, it’s an incredibly time-consuming process and therefore is why it costs upwards of £10,000 to hire a good ghostwriter. If you’re looking for a premium ghostwriter, you can double, triple, or even quadruple that figure.

#02 Authenticity is paramount

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The fact of the matter is that when you hire a ghostwriter, it’s their words on the page and not yours. It’s your ideas and you’ve created the outline, but you haven’t actually written the book. Books are incredible as they allow you directly into the mind of the author, once you hire a ghostwriter, that idea is tainted. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but can you imagine that someone comes up to you and says, “I loved what you wrote about _____” and you have no idea of what they’re talking about?

When I was a ghostwriter, I worked hard to emulate the voice of the person I was writing for and no matter how many hours I put in or how much time I spent with that person, I could never capture their essence with my words. Premium ghostwriters can and that’s why they charge the big bucks. Now, when I help entrepreneurs, property investors, and speakers produce books, I’ve developed a system that literally and figuratively captures their voice. My clients know what’s in the book inside and out because all of the content came from them.

#03 You want the book published quickly

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As we previously spoke about, simply hiring a ghostwriter isn’t the end of the process. You’ve still got to get the editing done, get the cover designed, and sort out the minutia of publishing a book. When that’s all said and done, you’re looking at a timeline of a year to 18 months. Hiring a ghostwriter will save you the time it takes to write the book, but that time you’ll then need to use of sorting out the rest of tasks you need to do to become an author.

Your next steps

Whether or not you choose to hire a ghostwriter or not is up to you. Whilst hiring a ghostwriter will save you time on the actual writing of the book, you still need to bear in mind the rest of the publication process. Ghostwriters are a great resource, if you’ve got a clear a vision about what you’re looking to write, how you want it written, and who the book is being written for. If you’ve never written a book before, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is thinking “The ghostwriter will just do it for me”. They can’t. All they can do is help build your vision.

Think about it like someone trying to build a house, they attempt it for a few months before deciding to hire a builder. They tell the builder, “Build me a house,” so the builder builds what they think this person wants. Now, imagine the same scenario but this time the person tells the builder, “Build me a 4-bed house, with an en-suite bathroom in the master bedroom, fit a modern kitchen, and build it in the style similar to the rest of the houses on the street”. Naturally, the builder will create a home more in-line with the vision of the client.

Here’s a recap:

Hire a ghostwriter if:

  • You’ve got a detailed plan: This means being specific about what you want to include in each chapter, right down to the sub-subheadings
  • You know exactly what you want: You understand your audience, what you want them to do, how you want to tell them to do it, what the outcome you’re looking for, and why you need a book written in the first place
  • You want to build a publishing team: The ghostwriter is just one part of your publishing team, you still need to hire editors, designers, and people that will help you distribute your book

Don’t hire a ghostwriter if:

  • You want to be cost efficient: Good ghostwriters cost a lot. If you’re looking to create your book in a more cost-efficient way, look for other solutions (like StoryWand)
  • You want to be truly authentic: It’s your book, it’s going to have your name on it, you’re going to have to market it and tell the world “this has my heart and soul in it”
  • You want it produced quickly: To produce a high-quality book takes a whole team, getting a ghostwriter to produce the first draft and doing the necessary edits (remember you still have to go through the edits yourself) takes a huge amount of time

Thank you for reading. Now, I have a solution for you that means you could be a published author within 6 months. If you’re looking for:

  • An authentic book that’s a true representation of you
  • A complete publishing team
  • Help with building a precise marketing plan
  • Clarity with your book’s vision
  • A cost-effective option

Click the button below to book a call with me and discover how you can share your message with the world.