Writing is very often a solitary task. We think and write in solitude. We rethink and revise the confines of the booth at the local coffee shop or home office. Alone.
That aloneness allows for productivity, banging out words and clarifying thoughts as they turn into words on the screen. But working with others is a unique experience that may help you become an even better writer.
Books are judged by their covers. Authors know that. It’s why self-published authors spend weeks or even months—getting their covers just right. A traditionally published author doesn’t always have the freedom to choose and nitpick every detail of his or her cover, but the publishing house’s design and marketing teams likely spend even more time creating a cover that will sell. Colors, images, and font choices are all important, but a great cover begins with a great title. In fact, your book’s title may be even more important than the design you choose for your cover.
A Twitter follower asked me the above question the other day, and her inquiry sparked a blog post. What do you write about when you haven’t endured some sort of crisis? Is disaster a prerequisite for a good story?
I remember sitting in a conference and getting a little ticked off as I listened to a publishing house editor promote the idea that the best and only way to write is from one’s pain—not discomfort or struggle but tragic, devastating pain. Without that kind of pain, she suggested, it wasn’t possible to be an excellent writer.
Are you holding back because you think your ideas aren’t unique or good enough? Here’s the thing to remember: What is obvious to you, may be exactly what someone else needs to hear.
If you need help putting your ideas together, check out my 8 Weeks to Authorship course. It outlines the same process I used to ghostwrite a book for a major publishing house this summer. Don’t wait to write your book. The the world needs for you to tell your story and share your message.
“The brave are simply those with the clearest vision of what is before them—glory and danger alike—and, notwithstanding, go out to meet it.”
—Leopold (Hugh Jackman), Kate and Leopold
It takes a certain amount of bravery to be a professional writer or book author. It isn’t the act of writing itself that feels dangerous. You can write in your journal all day and end up feeling refreshed and lighter for having been so honest with yourself. The security of knowing no one will ever read those words liberates your fingers to fly.
Danger isn’t inherent with the penning, but the publishing.
“How do you get over the fear of putting yourself out there?” I’ve lost count of the times clients and fellow writers have asked me this question.
You want the world—or at least your niche—to know about your book, but how do you get the message out? Interviews, particularly radio shows and podcasts, can be an extremely effective medium for spreading the word.
I get that. I know that interviews are important, but they also make me a little nervous. As a writer, I’m generally on the other side of the conversation—the side asking the questions. I want to get better at being interviewed, and I know I’m not alone in that desire. That’s why I asked Tim Knox, host of Interviewing Authors, to share his advice on how to give a great interview.
“How Stories Help You Connect with Readers”
by Rory Vaden & Erin K. Casey
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The book was fantastic, but no one was going to read it. Not, at least, in its current state. The author had packed his* manuscript with helpful information and practical advice. The content and his message had real potential to help his audience. But only the most dedicated readers would push past the stale opening line.
Most chapters either dove right into the content with no introduction or started with a statement detailing what the chapter contained. “In this chapter we’re going to learn about….” A line like that makes a great note as you’re planning your writing. In fact, I encourage writers to identify what they’re going to include in each chapter when they outline their books. But when it comes to your hook—the words that will draw readers in and keep their noses in your book—“In this chapter,” isn’t effective; it’s boring.
Other common issues muddied what could have been a great reading experience but, since this is a blog post, let’s stick with one topic at a time. Here are three powerful ways you can get your readers’ attention.
I love hearing great speakers present a well-crafted message. I especially love presentations when the speaker is an author whose books I’ve read. Even if we’ve never met, it feels as if we have a connection. I’m eager to hear my favorite authors speak because their message has already intrigued, entertained, or inspired me.
So when I learned that Lysa TerKeurst was scheduled to speak at an event about an hour down the road, I knew I would be there. TerKeurst is the president of Proverbs 31 Ministries and the author of three New York Times bestsellers—and 16 others books. Of all 19 of her books, I’ve read one. And I only read that one last fall when Proverbs 31 did an online Bible study using The Best Yes as a study guide. She’d written 19 books in a genre that I enjoy reading and I had never even heard of her until last fall.