This is an excerpt from my book, “The Book Idea Workbook: 10 Can’t-Fail Steps to a Book Your Prospects Can’t Wait to Read (And You’re Excited to Write!)”
Imagine sitting down at your computer, putting fingers to keys, and being excited to share your passion with the world. Feel the feelings of knowing you’re making a difference in the world with your important message. Imagine how good it feels to share your story with someone who desperately needs to hear it.
Your book needs to be fun for you to write about. It really does need to be a topic you’re excited about. If you’re dreading spending days, weeks, maybe even months delving into your topic
IT’S THE WRONG TOPIC!
You may think, “But Kim, it’s the best topic to prove I’m an expert in my field!” And I’ll say: your lack of excitement will shine through every word and every page. The book will be a chore to write and a bore to read.
Trust me on this one! I’ve experienced it myself and I’ve seen it in my clients. It’s a 1,000% easier to write a book about a topic that excites you. And even if it’s a narrow area of your business, that excitement will help you get your butt in the chair, fingers on keyboard, and words on the page.
Your excitement about the topic and your excitement to get started writing will really help on the days when you just don’t feel like it. Sometimes you’re not going to enjoy the writing process. But if you try to write a book you feel you SHOULD because it proves you’re an expert or you think it will be easy to market and you’re not joyful about the topic, it’ll fall flat.
If you read my newsletter (you DO subscribe, right?) you know I regularly expand my comfort zone: so far in 2014 I’ve:
- Learned how to rappel
- Done a 5-day backpacking trip
- Flown a helicopter
- Went kayaking on Lake Powell during a holiday weekend
- Learned how to rock climb
- And these are just the highlights!
Fine me on Facebook for pictures!
Tomorrow I’m expanding my business comfort zone: I’m offering my first-ever free training call.
I LOVE speaking from stage. I can’t sing (or dance or act) but I love being handed a microphone! And this is just another “stage” – although I’ll be a voice on the phone instead of in person.
So why is this expanding my business comfort zone?
Because I’m slamming up hard against one of the misconceptions that keep people from writing their book:
Even if I publish it, nobody will read it. Nobody wants to read what I have to write.
I received some excellent questions last week about what types of ghostwriting I offer and how I work. This is a bit different from my normal article style but I wanted to highlight exactly how I work!
1. I write in YOUR voice and style
Of course it’s not going to be 100% perfect but you’d be surprised at how much like you the writing sounds. This is a skill that I’ve been developing for years.
The writing will sound like you BUT it will also be written using proper grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. For one of my ghost blogging clients, we are making the transition from a prior ghostwriter who wrote in a choppy, uncomfortable manner. The writing sounded formal, stilted, and a bit like a non-native English-speaker was writing. We are making the transition to convey the “author’s” ideas and thoughts but in a writing style that is professional and conversational.
For me to write in your voice and style, I need to examine your writing. Which means I spend serious hours reading and examining your blog, book, and newsletter – stuff you’ve written in the past. The only time this falls apart is if you DON’T already have samples of your own writing; in that case, I have a great Plan B!
Let me be really clear – there’s nothing wrong with deciding to hire a ghostwriter. You don’t do everything in your business, right? You are probably already outsourcing the tasks that you are either not good at, don’t like, or don’t have time for. Most people start out with outsourcing their bookkeeping, taxes, or sending out their newsletter.
A ghostwriter is just another person on your team who helps you get it all done!
Here are some great reasons to hire a ghostwriter:
- You don’t like writing or feel you’re not good at it. I’m a firm believer that everybody has a story to tell but I 100% get it that not everybody is in love with the written words.
- Tasks like your blog, book, newsletter, or articles keep getting added to your to do list and then stay there, day after day, week after week.
- There are other activities that only you can do. Instead of being a money-making activity, these writing activities are taking you away from other things that do make you money.
I want to say this clearly: it’s not a failure AT ALL to bring in a writer! You’re an expert at what you do and people pay you for your knowledge, skills, and passion. Writers are the same and we love to write!
Here’s what you need to do before hiring a ghostwriter:
1. Be realistic about your budget
You might be able to get a writer on the cheap but is the writing of any quality? This writing is representing your business – more than video, podcasts or interviews ever can. You don’t need to pay through the nose, but don’t expect a quality writer to be cheap either.
2. Look at their credentials
Your writer should be a native English speaker or have the writing skills of one. Ideally she should have a degree in writing (Creative Writing or Journalism) or English. If not, then years of experience will also do the trick!
3. Be clear about your expectations
Nobody is going to write EXACTLY like you do but a good ghostwriter should come close. However, understand that there will be a process while your writer gets to learn your voice so there might be more edits in the beginning. You’ve got to be okay with letting go and letting the writer do her job. That being said, if she isn’t matching your voice and style, you might need to look elsewhere.
Have you ever thought of joining a writing group?
Hang on – do you know what a writing group is? There are several different types:
- Writing groups – authors hanging out together and typing away
- Critique groups – examine each other’s writing for tone, style, clunky passages and moments of brilliance
- Commenting groups – for blogging, usually, where you read and comment on each other’s blogs
- Review groups – swap reviews on Amazon.com or other online reviewing sites
So, back to my original question: Have you ever thought of joining a writing group?
Here’s why you want to take a look at joining one or more groups:
Writing is a lonely business so it’s nice to get together with other people who are doing the same thing. It’s a lot like when I was in college and would head to a study room to work. I wasn’t studying the same subject in a group – like quizzing each other but rather working on my own stuff in a room of other people who were really focused. It always helped my concentration and focus.
These types of groups can quickly become a social event. Which is totally fine (and fun) UNLESS you’re really just there to work and everybody wants to chat. There’s also the challenge of hauling your materials to a location and hoping you have all your resources, research, and tools.
Writing groups usually accept any type of author. They might not be the best place to make connections for clients or referrals but you can also be inspired by sharing a table with a novelist, poet, or playwright! Remember that the purpose of the group is to write – not to network so be respectful of the rules of the group.
It’s always a great idea to have somebody read over your work! Critique groups might focus on the technical aspect of writing (spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc.) but they usually are more of big-picture view looking at flow, rhythm, tone, plot, etc.
When you’re picking a critique group, it’s easy to fall into a group of writers who aren’t experienced. While I believe that everyone has something to offer, if you’re years down your writing training road, you might not get a lot out of a group filled with college students. Try to find a group with a mix of wanna-bes, trying to break ins, established authors, and career writers. Also look for a mix of ages – you’ll get a better perspective on your work. Also be wary of groups who ONLY tell you everything is wonderful – that doesn’t help you grow as an author.
A headline is one of the most important pieces of writing – ever. And it’s also one of the most difficult to write!
A headline is designed to attract attention and create desire in a person to read the rest of the piece. Don’t fool yourself that headlines are only found on articles or sales pages. They’re not! For the purposes of this article, a ‘headline’ is anything that needs to attract a reader’s attention and get them to take a second action; usually to read the piece of writing.
Headlines can include:
- Article or blog post titles
- Book titles
- Email subject lines
- Headlines for sales copy
There are three main types of headlines:
These headlines focus on the pleasure words. They’re often benefit laden and overtly promise that the following copy will solve your pain.
These headlines don’t just unearth a reader’s pain, they POUNCE on it, sink in their claws and drag it kicking and screaming from under the bed. Negative Attraction headlines make you feel uncomfortable.