How to get a great foreword for your book

His Holiness the Dalai Lama

His Holiness the Dalai Lama

A foreword is a section at the beginning of a book, usually written by a person who is well-known by the readers in that niche. Having a foreword is not required, but it can be a powerful way to reach readers who don’t know you yet and guide them to your message. If your goal is to make a difference, a foreword by a leader in your field can help you make a greater impact.

For example, I picked up a book called The Power of Kindness largely because it had a foreword written by the Dalai Lama. An endorsement by him was enough for me to lift it off the bookstore shelf and buy it immediately. The author had a long-time relationship with the Dalai Lama, so was able to make the request. 
That said, you do not need to ask the Dalai Lama to write a foreword for you book, but I’ll bet you know (or you know someone who knows) someone who is famous in your field who would be willing to review your book and write one for you. 

The foreword gives you credibility

The trick as a first-time (or not-so-famous-yet) author is to capture the attention of your ideal readers and let them know that your book is worth a look. So the celebrity or authority you ask should be someone your readers recognize, like and respect.

For example, David Marquet, the author of the excellent leadership book Turn the Ship Around was not a well-known name outside of the military. But his foreword is by Stephen Covey - there is hardly a more recognizable or credible name in the industry. It lent Marquet's book the star power that it needed to become one of the most popular books around. 

What does a book foreword include?

There are no rules about how to write a foreword, but the idea is that the foreword writer should explain how:

  • The book’s author is a rock star
  • The author and/or the book has affected the writer
  • Why readers should buy it immediately (and copies for everyone they know) and how it may positively transform their lives (or work, etc.)

Send your book or part of it with the list above (in your own words, of course) to the person you want to write your foreword. Also provide a couple of forewords from other books in your field as examples to start from. You should emphasize why it would be an honor for you to have his or her foreword as a vital part of your book. Pointing out that he or she is a recognized expert or guru doesn’t hurt your chances either. 

The best forewords are personal and heartfelt

If you want to provide your foreword writer more guidance, look through books in your genre on your shelf or on the Amazon “Look Inside” feature to see what kind of forewords you like. Some are long and some are short, but they should be sincere. The best forewords are written from the heart - readers know genuine recommendations when they see them.

Avoid the last-minute rush

People are busy. Make sure you make your request for a foreword at least a couple of months ahead of your publishing date. And follow up. Nicely. 
The person you are asking will likely be flattered to be asked, as a foreword in your book establishes their expertise. But it’s not something they do every day, so be patient - and persistent. 

Be grateful

Send a handwritten note along with (at least) a copy of your signed book to thank your foreword writer when it’s all said and done. Your gratitude will be remembered and appreciated.

Spelling of foreword

One last note: Foreword means “word at the beginning”, not forward, which means “moving ahead.” The spelling difference is IMPORTANT - make sure you spell it correctly!

Advice for Authors - Have you Found your Reader Soulmate?

All the marketing gurus talk about defining your “target market,” finding your “niche” and speaking directly to them. I have always fought the idea of narrowing my focus to a target market, because I don’t want to leave anyone out. I also have a problem with the whole “target” idea, since it seems like we’re looking down a gun sight at our potential customers! Until… I thought about it another way.

You know how a target is made of concentric circles? I had a vision of this:

 
Love your readers - they are your biggest fans!

Love your readers - they are your biggest fans!

 

Instead of thinking about a “target market,” see your ideal reader as the heart that is smack in the middle of this image. This person resonates so deeply with you and your book that he or she becomes your biggest fan. That person is your reader “soulmate,” the person who deeply “gets” you and your work and who will tell everyone they meet about your book. They’ll give your book to their friends and family. They are madly in love with you and your message, and are happy to shout it to the world.

Now, there are plenty of other people who will love your book, who will read it and be big fans. They are in the ring just outside of the center. Still others will like many parts of your book and will learn from it. These folks are in the next ring, and so on.

The point is: Your heart target leaves no one out, but focuses on your raving fans, your reader soulmates. Everything you write - your book content, your bio, blogs, newsletters - is designed to help, guide, support, and give ridiculous value to your reader soulmate.

Who is your reader soulmate?

(Excerpt from the Unleash Your Inner Author Workbook, distributed with the UYIA Course.)

In the course, we work through just how to find and understand your reader soulmate. For guidance with finding your reader soulmate, set up a time for your free Discover Session. Together we'll figure it out and you'll be on your way to writing the book your soulmate can't wait for!

Are you writing your book the hard way?

Every entrepreneur I talk to wants to make an impact. To teach, to inspire, to encourage others to live a more fulfilled life. But writing a book to expand their impact can be a daunting task.

So what stops people from making their dream come true? What’s holding you back?

Everyone struggles with too many projects, people, and commitments. Writing is not our only job, it’s one of many, so it can be hard to find time to write. Jamming in another project can feel overwhelming.

So how do people actually get it done?

The hard way:

Some power through it alone, taking years to write their first book. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book famously took her over five years to write. I dabbled with writing my own book for at least that long before I actually did it. How long have you been thinking about or working on yours?

The easier way:

Get the knowledge, support, and experience from someone who has been there before and wants to help you make a powerful impact!

My favorite recent example is Stacie Ivey, who just published three books after taking the Unleash Your Inner Author course. Along with learning the UYIA system, Stacie had personal book coaching from me and the support of all the other authors in the course who were on the same adventure. Her first book, Awakening Your Feminine Spirit, leads her readers through self-discovery, deep healing, and helps them find balance, purpose and strength.

Stacie credits the course with helping her create her first book and then the accompanying workbook soon after that. She has even published a children’s book since then!

“Amy has such experience, knowledge and wisdom, combined with spot on intuition that is invaluable.  Also, what seems to happen is a gathering of the perfect group of other participants which create a truly amazing combination of life experience, wisdom and support that was so helpful as I went through this process.” ~ Stacie Ivey

Congratulations to Stacie on becoming an author three times over! All three of her books are beautiful works that reflect her passions. They have become the platform for growing her speaking and coaching career.

Your book can be out there making an impact, too. If writing a book is on the list of things to do to grow your business, you probably have a lot of questions. The first step is to schedule a free call with me to talk about your book ideas and answer those burning questions!

WIth love and appreciation,

 

Advice for Authors from Authors

I recently made a request for information about you authors and how you do what you do. Thank you to all of you who shared your struggles as well as what works for you!

Here are some of the responses I got from authors who are working on their books right now:

Effort Time Money Dice Representing The Ingredients For Business

What has been holding you back from completing your book?

“I was making it a big monster. I finally had to set a hard deadline and commit to my designer to finalize it.”

“Making the time!  I'm setting aside every Wednesday morning, 9am-noon to ONLY work on my book. No phone, no distractions.”

“My biggest issue with writing was finding the time when I felt I could close myself off from the world and do it. I’m spending a few days in a hotel between trade shows and writing. I wish I had chosen to lock myself off for a couple of days in a hotel sooner.” 

What questions do you have about writing and publishing?

“I need to know more about printing and publishing options.”
(Look for more on this topic in upcoming newsletters and articles…)

What do you want from being an author?
“Reaching the people who need my message the most, even if it only changes one life for the better.” Russell Dennis, Author of Conversations With the Master

“To reach more women with the messages of balance, strength, grace and surrender through the embodiment of the Divine Feminine.” Stacie Ivey, Author of Awakening Your Feminine Spirit: Finding Balance, Purpose and Strength

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Please join the conversation to add your opinions, ideas, and advice in the Positively Powered Facebook group!  

In the Unleash Your Inner Author Course, I address all these issues and many more. Every author faces different challenges, but there are common themes, as you can see. One of the biggest wins for authors working in a group course is that everyone has great ideas to share. We all benefit from everyone’s knowledge, mistakes, and lessons learned.

People Like You Are Changing the World

People like you are changing the world.

Every day I hear about the impact purpose-driven organizations are making. A recent Smithsonian Magazine article called American Ballad reports that social benefit companies are “one of the great untold stories of the past decade.”

Coaches, authors, and other change makers are featured on podcasts such as Positive Phil, The e20 podcast, Entrepreneur on Fire and Positively Powered. Listeners are turning to these sources rather than mainstream news for inspiration from people who are shaking up the status quo and transforming lives.

Getting the word out about what you do is not just important, it’s urgent. Leaving your story untold means that you’re missing out on helping more of the people you want to reach. And in turn, they are not making the impact on the world that they could make with your help.

Even if you’re unsure or even afraid to tell your story, telling it opens the door to greater credibility, visibility, and success for you and your business. It helps those who are seeking help to find you.

Don’t let your story remain untold. The impact I want to make is to help you share your unique story. Your book will build your business, grow your tribe, and powerfully increase your impact.

Ready to explore what that could mean for you and your business?

In the Unleash Your Inner Author programs, you’ll learn my complete system for writing and publishing your book. In a supportive environment we'll share your victories and challenges through the process of becoming an author. The result  is that you have a  book you can be proud of: a professional-quality, beautifully designed book that powerfully carries your message to your ideal audience. And you become an author, ready to confidently take your place as a thought leader.

If you're ready to find out more: Then let’s talk! I can’t wait to hear about your book!

 

 

Does (Book) Size Matter?

I couldn’t resist a naughty title to get your attention. Because one of the first things aspiring authors ask me is: “What size should my book be? Doesn’t it have to be at least (insert number here) many pages or (insert a huge number) thousand words?

What preconceived notions do you have about publishing a book? That it has to be a certain page count, word count, or size? I wonder where we get these ideas. Maybe from a famous book or the image of a big, impressive hardcopy book on a shelf somewhere.

But things are different now. As self-published authors, we have the option to produce the right book for our readers. A book that delivers exactly the value we want to provide. So it matters less what size it is. What matters is that it accomplishes what you desire for your audience and for your business.

The Advantages of a Short Book

Get creative! Sometimes a small book can have a greater impact than a heavy tome.

A couple of examples of small, effective books:

T.J. Sullivan’s book, Motivating the Middle: Fighting apathy in College Student Organizations  is only 80 pages, and measures 5 x 8 inches. It is super-targeted to his audience (college students who don’t want to read a long book). The book delves deep into one issue, rather than covering the breadth of knowledge that he teaches. T.J.’s book demonstrates that he has real insight into this issue and how to solve it. That makes the organizations that he speaks to interested in what else he has to offer. His book delivers great value to his readers, positions him as an expert, and makes him a desirable as a speaker.  Many organizations that hire him as a speaker buy his books to distribute to the audience. His book increases his speaking revenue tremendously.

 

Tom G Hobbs publishes tiny books that deliver targeted value in a fun way.  Tom’s books measure about  5 x 8 inches and are about 50 pages long. His titles include: The Speaker’s Toolbox for Professional Storytellers, The Speaker’s Toolbox for Entrepreneurs, The Speaker’s Toolbox for Financial Presenter, etc. You get the idea.

The information is the same, but the covers are each different, designed to appeal to a specific audience. He sells them two books for $20. This strategy assures that he always sells two books instead of one at a time.

When You Need A Longer Format

When I think of long books, I remember the accomplishment of reading James Michener’s huge books, such as Centennial and Hawaii. In the non-fiction realm, there’s The History of the World, clocking in at 1,280 pages.

There is probably no reason for your book to be anywhere near that size.

But some material calls for a larger or longer format, such as when you want to convey a complete story or system.

Nancy Rynes outstanding book, Awakenings From the Light: 12 Life Lessons from a Near-Death Experience, is over 250  pages in a 6x9 inch format. Nancy’s goal with the book was to fully explain her experiences and the lessons that she brought back. Nancy’s in-depth book is a guide to living a more fulfilling life by integrating the messages that she felt compelled to share. Her book was a best-seller within three weeks, and she is now a popular national speaker.

 

Maybe Your Book is Actually Several Books

If you have lots of content, your book could become a series, which can help you decide how long each book should be:

Vicki Draper is the author of a series called Healing You, Healing Your Animal. Her first book is Bridging True Love Connection & Healing Between You and Your Animals. This first volume teaches the basics of animal healing. The subsequent books in the series build on the foundation of the first one. Knowing this was her goal at the beginning helped Vicki to define and plan out the content for each book.

Now you have permission to write your book in whatever length and format works best for you and your readers. The important thing is that you do actually write your book. Your readers are out there waiting for your message, inspiration, and wisdom. 

Putting Your Bio Together: Step Three

When you are vulnerable, authentic, and generous, your readers trust you to guide them through the transformation that you teach. In your biography, you want to show that part of yourself to your readers.

So before you start putting the pieces of your biography together, think about how you feel about books and authors you recommend. When you’re talking about a book your friend just has to read, what do you say? “You’ll love this author - so funny/wise/smart/edgy.”

Decide what you’d like your readers to love about you. Is it that you have survived some ordeal? That you share amazing stories or insight? Became a nicer/better/smarter leader? That you prevailed against all odds? Created some amazing product or system? That you serve people in some unique way?

That’s what you want to focus on.

Gather the lists you made in the exercises in Part One and Part Two of this series. (If you didn’t do the homework or you’re just tuning in to this series, complete the exercises in the previous articles to dig deep into understanding your readers and yourself.)

Now we’re getting to the fun part! Match your unique story with exactly what your ideal client needs to hear from you.

There are a lot of different ways you can write your bio.

If you have multiple degrees or lots of experience - decide whether you need to list it all, or if you can generalize. What is important for your reader? For example, if you are writing a book about psychology, all your education is relevant and lends to your credibility and expertise.

If you are writing a spiritual book and all your education is in engineering, it may be more relevant to your reader to know about your spiritual path and life experience.

As you develop your own biography, research the bios of people you admire and customize the techniques that you like for your own.

Example Biographies

Here are some examples of author bios that work for their audience:

The longer, get-to-know-me bio

This longer bio is appropriate for Vicki’s book, because she writes about animal health and wellness. Her readers need to know that she is an experienced, trained expert. She includes more personal information about her personal life and love of animals to further connect with her fans:

“Vicki Draper is a highly regarded modern-day animal healer and author who supports family animals with health, harmony and ease, addressing wellness during every stage of your animal’s life.
She is featured in multiple books and magazines, and is the creator of healing products sold around the country and around the world. A natural-born animal communicator, Vicki's qualifications as a healer for both people and animals include being a licensed massage practitioner, a certified acupressurist and Reiki Master/Teacher, and training in craniosacral therapy.
Vicki lives in the Greater Seattle Area with her daughter, Miranda, and two cats, Spirit and Sapphire. She loves to walk in nature daily, connecting with herons, eagles and wildlife, bringing nature’s wisdom into her life and healing practice.” ~Vicki Draper, Author of the Healing You, Healing Your Animal series

The short, engaging bio

This one is from a hairdresser who became a poet in mid-life. Her bio is quirky enough to make you want to check out her book:

“Carol is old enough to know better and young enough to still contemplate trying. She enjoys spending time with family and friends and has called the Pacific Northwest home for most of her life. Carol writes most of her poetry on her iPhone… actually, all of it. Carol plays Texas hold ‘em twice a week with the boys at the VFW and enjoys reading a lot. Since she lives in Seattle, drinking coffee is a hobby… lots and lots of coffee. And she enjoys traveling, but not too far.”    ~Carol Jacobson, Author of Dancing on the Edge (coming soon on amazon.com!)

The professional yet inspirational bio

Keith J Weber spent 20 years in the financial services industry. During that time he watched hundreds of clients struggle with the daily disillusionment of their jobs while in pursuit of the retirement dream. Now as a brain tumor survivor, speaker, author, coach and consultant, Keith helps financial advisors in assisting their clients to create more meaningful and fulfilling lives. ~Keith Weber, Author of Rethinking Retirement: How to Create the Life You Want Without Waiting to Retire

The too-short, catchy bio

This blogger’s bio is fun and written for short attention spans:

“Mihir Patkar is a freelance writer on technology and life hacks, who firmly believes chocolate is the answer to any question. You can usually find him saying other such silly things on Twitter.” ~Mihir Patkar, blogger for LifeHacker

I like this bio, but what would make it better is one line about why I should take his advice on technology. What makes him an expert? Make sure you include enough of your personality, along with what makes you special, or gives you expertise or authority.

The “keep-it-light” bio

In my book, I share my personal pain and transformation. In my bio, I decided to keep mine light, as my education (Russian Language and Literature) is less relevant than my personal and coaching experience:

“Amy is a best-selling author and award-winning speaker. She has always been a spiritual seeker and self-help junkie, finally settling on gratitude as her spiritual practice of choice. When she’s not writing, Amy likes to speak to groups, teach workshops, coach, and enjoy life with her husband, Tom.” ~Amy Collette, Author of The Gratitude Connection: Embrace the positive power of thanks

Reviews

When your bio is starting to sound good to you, share it with your family, friends, readers, your editor - people you respect who can give you constructive advice. They tend to see some awesomeness of yours that you have failed to include. And they can tell you (in a nice way) if you’ve gone on too long or veered off track.

Congratulations! After all that, you should now have a strong bio that introduces you to your ideal reader and motivates them to invest in you and your book!

Writing Your Author Bio - Step Two

Last time I talked about the difficulties of writing your bio - for your book, your website, or your workshops/speaking events. The first step in creating your bio is to brainstorm all the things you might want to say about your awesome self.

The second part is how to get into your audience’s head and figure out what they need.

Step Two:Understanding Your Tribe

This excerpt is from the workbook for my Unleash Your Inner Author Coaching System:

Your "reader soulmate" lives in center of your target market

Your "reader soulmate" lives in center of your target market

“Who is your ideal client, reader, or student? This is not a general description, but an actual person or persona. If you think your ideal client is “everyone,” please dig a bit deeper.

This is the person who resonates so deeply with your message that he or she becomes your biggest fan. I call this your reader  or client “soulmate.” The person who deeply “gets” you and your work and who tells everyone they know about you. This raving fan is madly in love with you and your message, and is happy to shout it to the world.”

List 1 - Who is Your Reader Soulmate?

Write down a detailed description of your reader soulmate: be specific about gender, age, background, interests, and mindset… Try giving your ideal reader a name so he or she becomes more real to you.

Now that you have a good feel for who your ideal person is, approach your bio from their point of view.

List 2 - What Does Your Reader Soulmate Need From You?

Now make a list of their needs:

What is important for your reader soulmates to know about you? What can they learn from you? What impact do you want to have on them? What will tell them that you are the perfect person to work with?


Congratulations! You have completed step two of the process. Keep these lists in a place you can find them again for step three of writing your bio. Next up: Step Three: Putting Your Bio Together

Three Steps To Writing Your Bio - Step One

Whether your bio is for your book or your “about” page or the flyer for your workshop, people swear it’s the hardest thing to write.

All you need to do is let your users inside your head and your heart. Allow them to connect with you and your message. Easy, right?

Why is it so hard? We’ve been taught not to brag or boast, and sometimes self-deprecation is easier than listing our strengths. I’ve also heard people say it feels too “salesy.”

But what it comes down to is fear of visibility. For being seen, and for being seen for who you really are. The fear says: Will people still like me? Will they run away? Will they think I’m crazy? What should I say or not say? How much is too much?

If it’s this much work, why do it at all? Why is it important?  Because it’s how your tribe, your readers, your listeners connect with you. It’s how they know you are the person they need to learn from, to work with, to lead them to the transformation they seek.

In this three-step process, the first two are brainstorming exercises. Don’t worry about getting it perfect right now. This is your opportunity to write down everything and get it out of your head. We’ll put it all together in step three.

Step One - Understanding You

The power in your story comes from your gifts, experience, knowledge, insight, and wisdom. In other words: YOU.

Since this is brainstorming, no answer is wrong. The point is to do a “brain dump” of everything rolling around in there, and then pick out what you need from this list later. So write quickly, without thinking about it too much (and try to have some fun):

  • Your values. What are the most important principles you live by?
    For example: positivity, gratitude, community, integrity, love, service, compassion, adventure, beauty, achievement, etc.

  • Your strengths. What are you naturally (or by training and experience) really good at?
    For example, list your results from tests such as StrengthsFinder, Myers-Briggs, etc. and your skills and training, such as:writing, engineering, building, research, dancing, painting, etc.

  • Your Magic. How do you serve?
    For example: teaching, coaching, writing, leading retreats, analyzing, consulting, etc.

  • Your passion and purpose. These are the driving forces in doing what you do, what gets you out of bed, what keeps you awake at night, why you serve people, what makes you tick.

Congratulations! You have completed step one. Keep this list in a place you can find it again for step three of writing your bio.

Next up: Step Two: Understanding Your Tribe

How to Create Buzz for your Book

When is it too early to start promoting your book? Never! 

Do you know that you began promoting your book the first time you mentioned it to someone? The marketing machine was started then - don't shy away from it now!

How do you sell your book before it’s written? By making connections with your readers and giving them something they value and can use right away:

  • Share your writing process as it’s happening. While this might feel very vulnerable, that’s exactly what helps you connect. Your followers get to know you while you’re writing the book for them - along with all the struggles and triumphs along the way.

  • Blog and Social media buzz. Start talking about your book now. Share your concepts and philosophy and give your readers real value. This gets people interested and supporting your book before it even comes out. You’re building a base of fans who will talk about your book before it’s published.

  • Give an occasional “sneak peek” of the book as it develops. Share snippets on your blog or newsletter, or share a photo on Instagram and twitter. The caveat is that the “teaser” information has to provide your readers with real value. Amazon allows you to provide a preview to share when you get closer to publishing.

  • Reuse your content for multiple purposes. As part of my Unleash Your Inner Author Mastermind, I teach a method to write your book content and this create workshop or speaking material at the same time. As you move travel the path to become an author, you are simultaneously building your business by giving your clients, readers and fans value before they have the book in their hands. This helps drive raving fans to your door. It also helps you make the best use of your precious (and limited) time.

So there are some ideas to start with. What are you doing to promote your book?

Advice for Authors - Afraid of Rejection?

Advice for Authors from Book Coach Amy Collette - Writers, what if you could turn around your fear of rejection? Listen in to find out how...

Rejection: as writers, we're all afraid of it. Our vague fear that "they" won't like our work can paralyze our pens, keeping us from realizing our dreams of becoming authors. That fear can also keep us from raising the positive vibration of the planet; helping the people who need our message.

So what if you could see your fear of rejection from a fresh perspective? What if you could have a sense of humor or even learn to embrace it? Listen in to this short video for the "kick in the head" I got that made me feel grateful for rejection. (I know it sounds crazy, but check it out...) 

Writers!

Get the support you need on your adventure to becoming an author:

Here's to embracing your fear and unleashing your inner author!

Who has time to write a book?

Every entrepreneur struggles to find the time to write. It’s not our number one job, so how do we fit it in? I’ve heard (and used) so many good reasons:

  • I set time aside, but something always comes up
  • I had a client crisis to solve
  • I got an opportun ity to pitch a prospect I just couldn’t pass up

All these things are real reasons why your time to work on your book or blog or newsletter gets pushed aside. Maybe you’ve tried some ways to defeat the time demon: scheduling blocks of time into your day, getting up early or staying up late, recording your thoughts, fitting in snippets of writing during lunch or while you're waiting in line... And you’re still not making any progress.

But what if it isn’t really lack of time that’s the problem? Time is a very real reason - who doesn’t get that? But if this reason consistently comes up for you, it’s an opportunity to dig a little deeper.

Time could be masking the real problem: fear.

What was your reaction when you read that? Did you react in denial? Did you feel a bite of anger? Or a cringe of guilt?

An emotional reaction is a clue that there’s a grain of truth for you in that statement.

So looking into this could be just the thing you need to overcome whatever is blocking you from writing.  Fears that might be lurking under “time”:

  • Fear that your writing sucks - “Who’s gonna read this? They’re gonna hate it…”
  • Fear of being more visible - “Who made me the expert? Who am I to write a book?”
  • Fear of success - “If I can’t handle writing, how can I handle fame?”
  • Fear that it’s just too hard or uncomfortable - “I can’t do this!”
  • Fear of ______________ (fill in the blank)

Instead of ignoring your fear, try a humorous way to switch it up:

Good guard dog!

Good guard dog!

Talk to your fear. Ask it what the hell it wants you to do instead of write. Then listen. The answers will give you insight into the inner workings of your mind and ego.  

There’s a chapter in my book, The Gratitude Connection, about this. I asked, “Don’t you want me to be successful?” The answer was, “No. I want you to be safe.” When I understood that my fear-filled ego was trying to protect me, then I could see it as my loyal guard dog, my early warning system.

A puppy can’t distinguish a real threat from the postman at the door. But you can. So now when that dog barks, assess whether you really need to drop everything and work on that client problem right this minute or if it can wait until tomorrow. Smile and keep on writing.

Here comes the Judge: Your fear might be your own harsh inner judge, setting  you up for failure. Some call it the Inner Saboteur, but I like to see it as an old-fashioned barrister in a black robe and a white wig. When you notice those not-good-enough thoughts sneaking in, shine the light on them. Rather than turning them off, turn the spotlight on that silly looking wig and announce, “here comes the judge, here comes the judge!” Have a good chuckle and get back to work!

Pull on your favorite sweatshirt: Your new role as a writer can feel as stiff and uncomfortable as a starched shirt and tie. Because you haven’t broken it in yet, it’s tempting to go back to the soft comfort of projects that you know how to do. You can create proposals or programs or seminars in your sleep. But this book writing thing - uggh! It’s so much work and it doesn’t feel like “you” yet.

So use your old faded sweatshirt as a visual reminder that soon you’ll be as confident and comfy as a writer as you are at all those other things you’re good at. If you just keep doing it. Pull that old sweatshirt on and settle in.  

When you start looking your fears in the eye, they can’t hide behind other reasons like time any more. And when you use some humor to confront them, you can have some fun doing the actual writing. See if your perspective about writing starts to shift from “work” to something lighter and more creative. Start noticing if those emergencies and projects and problems start showing up less frequently or if you handle them some other way…

Here’s to having all the time you need to create,

 

Advice for Authors - Your book is judged by its cover

The third deadly sin to avoid as a writer - not having your cover designed by a pro

Unless book cover design is a skill you've perfected over many years, leave this job to the pros. We have all seen those books that "look self-published." Your book should be indistinguishable from a traditionally published book. That's where avoiding all the "sins" we've talked about: not connecting with your readers, not hiring an editor, and now not using a professional cover designer, makes a big difference.

You want you book to appeal to your "reader soulmates." Your cover should immediately draw them in and let them know that this book is specifically for them. 

Examples: The Cover Tells The Story

You can see the difference between the first two examples, which are clearly less professional and polished than the third. 

 
 

The cover, the colors, the fonts, and the energy your book has - the "feel" of it - are what readers see first. Make it speak to them. Make them feel like they just have to take that book home (or have it delivered to their home <grin>).


Curious about what it takes to write a book? Think you might be ready to find out for yourself? Click here for more on how to Unleash Your Inner Author

Advice for Authors - How not hiring an editor is like cutting your own hair

The Second Deadly Shortcut to Avoid as a Writer

Not hiring an editor is like cutting your own hair.

Yes, you know your hair and you know how to use a pair of scissors. So why not cut it yourself? Well, unless you have waist-length hair, it’s hard to see what you’re missing. You can’t see every inch of your head, much less reach it and get the right angle to cut your hair.

Not working with an editor is a shortcut that's tempting. Your writing may be great, it may be solid. But you trust your stylist with making you look good and feel confident. You might as well trust your writing to an editor who will do the same thing. Your book is your introduction to the people you want to reach, so it needs to be as good as it can be. Working with a talented editor helps you feel confident that your best work is out there, spreading your message and your impact.  

A good editor is your partner, an advocate for both you and your readers. You know your material so well that it’s easy to leave a gap. Your mind leaps that gap with no problem, but your readers can’t do that. Your editor is there to find those gaps so you can guide them to the other side.

Your editor is also an expert in language, grammar, and organization.  That means that you can focus on your message, be creative, and get the content on the page. Leave it to your editor to help you take it to the next level.

See the Author Resources to get more info on how to work with an editor and the value they provide.

(Bonus points if your inner editor is at work and you find a way to make this message better. Reply with your corrections and suggestions!)

Upcoming Events

Happy writing!

 

Advice for Authors - How to authentically connect

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 Unleash Your Inner Author Mastermind 16-week workshop is starting again in June! I’m thinking of it as Summer School - a fun way to get your book done by the end of the year. Call me to find out the details… 

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First Deadly Shortcut

Last time I talked about the three deadly shortcuts that authors take on the journey to writing their books. I want you to avoid those mistakes, so I’m going to dive into the first shortcut today:

Not connecting on a personal level with your readers.

You’re writing a book so you can help people, right? You are teaching your system, philosophy or program aimed at making a difference in people’s lives and businesses. But you are also telling a compelling story from your unique perspective and experience, so it helps your readers to get to know you.

There are a few ways I’ve seen writers avoid having to connect in the way that gives readers what they need:

  • Preach: Some writers just tell you the way it is, without including the background on how they got there. This is the equivalent to going to a dull lecture by a person you’ve never heard of.
  • Fictionalize: I’ve seen this a lot in business and leadership books. An author will conglomerate their experiences and then make up a fictional business and fictional characters to act out the story. This approach gets the point across, but as a reader, it’s hard for me to see myself in the situation. When your content is hard to connect to, you leave your readers hanging - wanting and needing more.
  • Provide too little substance: I recently read a book by a well-respected business coach and media personality. The book was purely memoir, going into deep detail about her childhood, family, and personal relationships. Her book was an enjoyable read from a personal perspective, At the very end she included a  few pages about what it takes to begin your own transformation. But I was disappointed because I wanted to learn more about how her story affected how she grew her business success.

So - what’s a good balance? I have the good fortune to know (and coach) some authors who get this right. You can check out their books here.

Part of becoming an author is finding that balance. The best way to find it is to always keep your reader at the top of your mind. Let the needs of your readers will guide you. (As your coach, you’ll hear this from me a lot!)

Another great way to to find your balance and get some guidance is to work on your book together with others who are doing the same.

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Ready for Summer School? Unleash Your Inner Author Mastermind 16-week workshop is starting again in June!  
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Colorado folks - I’ll be teaching an hour-long workshop: “Discover The Power of Your Unique Story: how to lead, succeed, and stand out in a copycat world” at Women of Denver on Thursday, June 2nd at noon. I would absolutely love for you to come! It's free for first-time guests and it's a terrific group of people (women and men are welcome). Get the details here.

Happy writing!

Advice for Authors - The three shortcuts you should never make in your book

Coming back from a road trip, I was like a horse going back to the barn - couldn't wait to get home. So I felt pretty smart when I looked at the map and figured out a quicker way... Until I found out that "shorter" road - really wasn't. That "shortcut" gave me a whole lot of time to think about the shortcuts that we make on the road to becoming authors. 

I took a break from driving to make a short video for you about the three shortcuts every author should avoid

 
 

I hope that you are finding the flow in your writing and having some fun with it. 

The road to publishing your book can be a lonely one, but it doesn't have to be. The Unleash Your Inner Author Mastermind group will be starting in June, with local and dial-in options available. If you're tired of traveling the road alone, consider joining this small band of budding authors to learn my system and finally create and publish your book!  Apply now to save your spot! 

P.S. To get regular notifications of Advice for Authors, sign up here. And forward this message to your friends who are always talking about writing a book someday.

Advice for Authors - Embrace the Adventure!

As I was driving on my road trip, I thought of you authors and how this journey of writing and telling your story is really an adventure. It can be scary, exciting, serendipitous, even magical. It can also be a little tedious when the road gets long. But just when you're getting tired of it, some unexpected connection makes your day. 

I'm on a road trip to visit my dad in Oklahoma - and I stopped to make a little video for you:

 
 
May you embrace your own adventure and let it take you someplace you didn't plan on. 

Upcoming events: 

Several of the authors I'm working with are getting ready to launch - I can't wait to get these amazing books out to the world! Look for announcements soon...

I'm always happy to hear about your writing progress - please keep me posted. 

Enjoy your writing adventure!

Scared to finally write your book?

You know how it feels when you read a book that just blows your mind? You can’t think of the world in the same way, ever again. Even if you read it decades ago, a book can keep influencing your life every day. 

I was an avid reader from a young age - that kid who loved to escape into another world with a good book. Norse mythology showed me how another culture saw the universe, and novels showed me the world through other people's eyes. At fourteen I read “Creative Visualization” by Shakti Gawain. She explained what I had already been doing, and made me feel that other people had the same “crazy” beliefs and ideas that I did. I no longer felt alone. 

That is the incredible power of books. They teach, they entertain, they inform. But most of all, they help us understand that we belong. That we have meaning. That we make a difference. 

Your book, even if it’s not yet written, holds the same latent power. 

Yes, it can be scary to write a book, to “put yourself out there” in a way that you’ve never done before. You might be afraid you’ll be judged, that your book isn’t good enough, or even that it’s already been said. 

But your unique story has never been told. Your voice has not yet connected with the readers who need to hear it. 

Most of the authors I work with feel compelled to share their work, and so was I when I wrote The Gratitude Connection. But it's still a daunting idea to have strangers read your book, and even more scared to have your friends, family, and colleagues read it. We’re all thinking, “What if they don’t like it? What if it changes how they think about me?”

Writing a book is about so much more than telling your story. It’s also about you becoming an author, about presenting yourself in an honest, bold way to help other people learn from your experience, wisdom, and insight. And the reward for you as the author is the profound impact that you make.

A new connection on LinkedIn recently wrote to say, “I am about 1/2 way through your book and I LOVE IT! It is a real eye-opener. It is making my holiday more insightful.” And a man I never thought would read a self-help book told me, “I picked up The Gratitude Connection from my wife’s nightstand. I had been struggling with depression and your book has helped me so much. Thank you.”

Imagine what it feels like to hear that kind of feedback. You know the lessons your experience has taught you. What is still holding you back from sharing them?
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Amy Collette is the Author of The Gratitude Connection and teaches the Mastermind workshop Unleash Your Inner Author: how to finally write and publish your world-changing book. Classes start soon and space is limited to 12 budding authors.

Learn how other authors have used their books to grow their businesses. Register for Amy’s free webinar: 5 Ways Your Book Can Boost Your Business

 

Three Proven Ways Gratitude Leads to Greater Sales

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I got to talk with Connie Kadansky, The Sales Call Reluctance Coach, about how gratitude can help business and sales people build relationships and make them more successful.

Listen in to her BlogTalk radio show to hear the interview!