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How to Write a Book That Sells

Wondering how to write a book that sells and that you’ll be proud of for years and years? The first step is not sitting down to write!

The biggest mistake most would-be authors make is that they get hit by inspiration one day and they just sit down and start writing.

That inspiration can quickly be replaced by giant doubt.

You’ll start and stop writing your book following cycle of doubt and inspiration.

10 years later you’ll still be wondering how to write a book!

How to write a book – step one:

Get clear on your goal.

And, if you’re thinking ‘I want to write a bestseller’ watch this video so you know what you have to do:

 

 

Maybe your goal is to sell 100,000 books. Or, possibly it’s that you want to get on a major stage in front of thousands of people.

Those are all goals that are possible, but very lofty.

I’m not cautioning you against those goals because they are reaching high.

My concern is that when you set a goal like that you, the author, become the focal point instead of the reader.

When you set your first goal to focus your book project around, the best thing to do is set a goal for your reader.

Writing a bestseller puts your ego in charge.

When you focus on these kinds of goals and put your ego in charge, the author becomes the product, not the book. And you set yourself up to face a lot of the monsters you have in the closet.

When your book is the product and you focus intensely on a specific goal and a specific reader, you can focus on serving that audience.

You’ll share the most revealing examples and secrets that must be shared for them to get results. You will write a book that needs to be written – not the one that you think makes you look good.

Before you write your book, decide what is the impact you want your book to have on your reader.

What do you want them to know, do, be, have after they’ve read your book?

Step Two – Get Clear on Your Audience

Who is your reader? Not demographically but emotionally. Demographics have value.

When you consider how to write a book for impact, emotions are more important. You need to meet your reader where they are at right now.

Who are you helping and what are you helping them with?

My first book, “More Than Cashflow,” was focused on a new real estate investor who was getting all excited about buying a bunch of properties, and I wanted them to make smart decisions. Mainly to help them make money and minimize the problems.

Erika Cisneros book, Honest Immigration, isn’t for anyone looking to immigrate to the US.

Her book is for those folks who are in the US and want to stay and are eligible to receive a humanitarian visa due to mistreatment.

That’s a very specific audience.

Same with Alec Hanson’s book Bypassed.

It’s for mortgage professionals who are getting left behind by a digital customer. It’s not for every mortgage professional, it’s for the ones who have been in the industry for a while and haven’t updated their website or social media since they began.

Or, they aren’t tech-savvy and haven’t worried about what Google is saying about them when someone searches.

When brainstorming how to write a book, you must get clear on who you’re helping and how you’re going to help them.

If you’re writing a memoir, you still need to do this, and a writing coach will help with all of this.

Also, when you know who they follow, what they books they already are reading, what problems they want to solve, and even where they’re hiding out already, you have clarity of audience.

Step Three-Position Yourself to Be Unique

We have so many cool examples of how to do this, but I’ll use Amani Roberts because we also did an author spotlight video with him, which you can watch here (on his virtual book launch party).

He has the Amani Experience Podcast.

He talks to creatives who’ve left the corporate world to pursue their creativity.

As part of his company, the Amani Media Experience, he leads team building events for corporate organizations, teaching people how to be a DJ.

He’s bridging that gap between creative and corporate and drawing lessons from it.

In analyzing his content and his message with my team, they came up with the idea to write a book about a night as a DJ and the corporate lessons you learn from that night.

With that, his book, “DJ’s Mean Business: One Night Behind the Turntables Can Spin Your Company’s Success” was born.

Another example is from Scott Bradley, author of Screaming for Pleasure.

He has a podcast and goes to a lot of horror events. He’s a guy who knows everything there is to know about horror movies and books.

How do you define him? My team calls him the horror historian.

What makes you unique? Use that in your book positioning.

Step Four – Craft a Compelling HookScott Bradley

When you write a book, you need a hook that’s only about the reader. It also has to sell the book.

“My book is about marketing strategy” is not a hook.

Using Scott Bradley, who we touched on above, with his great podcast called Hellbent on Horror and his love for all things horror, how do you create a reader-driven hook?

In explorations with our writing coach, he said “horror makes me happy and healthy“.

And it turns out, that’s true. There’s research that backs that up.

Horror allows you to explore and feel emotions that you don’t normally feel. “Screaming For Pleasure, How Horror Makes You Happy And Healthy” was born.

Step Five – Plan Your Content!

Create a table of contents or an outline, making notes of the key points and stories you want to cover.

Judge each of them with the filter of does this support the hook?

If that story, section, or example supports the hook, great. If it doesn’t, save it for a future book.

Yes, it’s true! Once you figure out how to write a book, you won’t want to stop with just one.

Write a bookAnd based on this, you create a plan to start writing.

If you struggle with any of the above, it might be time to bring in a writing coach to help you write a book. For many authors, a writing coach is a secret weapon to writing a great book that sells.

How does a writing coach (or a book coach) help you write a book?

What is a writing coach, also called a book coach, and how does this person help you?

The role varies a little bit client by client because everybody has different needs, but at Book Launchers a writing coach always:

  • Offers emotional support through the book writing journey,
  • Provides a writing plan and accountability to that plan, and
  • Guides the author to write in a more engaging, interesting and (hopefully) concise way to connect to their ideal reader.

Generally speaking, if you haven’t already established the foundation for your book (audience, hook, and outline) that will be the first part of the work you do with a book coach.

Specifically, here’s what we expect of writing coaches (so, it’s a good place for you to start if you’re thinking of hiring a writing coach or book coach to create your book).

In addition to working on the above five items, a great book coach will help you write a book by:

Creating a writing plan:

Will you write a chapter a week?

That’s harder than it sounds for some people.

My recommended approach to our clients is to set a standing appointment each week with the writing coach.

And during that call, commit to what you’ll write in the upcoming week.

And use that call as one part accountability and one part review of what you’ve written.

Setting up a Chapter Template:

Writing a chapter can be a bit foreign, and while every chapter doesn’t need to be the same length, a book works best when there is some consistent structure for each chapter.

The writing coach will work closely with the author on chapter one so they can clearly see how to structure the chapter.

Bonus points for having a writing coach that will make sure you start every chapter in a way that engages your reader.

Writing Guidance:

Not all writing coaches will rewrite, but our authors are not professional writers so we’ve found it’s better for our coaches to provide examples.

Typically writing coaches and editors say things like ‘expand on this’ or ‘add some emotion’ but to a novice writer that can feel daunting and unclear.

So, occasionally our writing coaches will rewrite some sections so our clients can see what that means.

One thing we really encourage our writing coaches to do is help make your book interesting by including things like interesting chapter starts:

Most authors start off strong but then veer off.

You also might find that you’re one of those people who thinks of a bunch of details that are far more important than they really are.

(Yes, I’m looking at you Memoir author – more for you in a moment).

Or maybe you’re someone who delivers just the facts, but the emotional engagement is lacking.

A great writing coach is watching for this and is going to hit pause and dig into it a little.

Specifically to help you uncover stories that can bring the reader’s engagement back to a high level.

Emotional Support:

A book is a big project and it can be lonely.

A writing coach will provide some emotional support as you ride the inevitable wave of ‘my book sucks’ to ‘my book is amazing and will sell millions of copies’.

They also will keep you on your hook!

Because so many non-fiction authors lose track of the hook and start writing an entirely different book halfway through!

Butt-Kicking:  

Being a great writing coach means asking personal questions to get to the heart of what makes someone awesome.

You have to uncover why they believe what they believe.

Then you need to be able to provide the emotional support required while also pushing them to get it done.

A good writing coach can just push you to get the words on the page.

But if you want to know the real secret of how to write a book that hooks your reader and sells well, it’s this:

You have to have a bad first draft before you have a polished diamond of a book.

So your first goal is to progress over perfection.

Whew, I bet you had no idea how much work a writing coach does to make your book great.

Did you notice what a writing coach does not do, though?

A writing coach does not edit your book, and while they may write out some example sections for you so you understand how to craft certain things in your book, they are not writing your book either.

Your coach is there to make sure your first draft is the best possible first draft.

And the value in that is enormous. BUT …

What if you don’t like to write?

Or, what if you’re not a good writer?

Or, you just can’t find the time?

How to Write a Book without Writing:

There are a lot of good reasons to write your book yourself.

Writing your book ensures that it’s your voice coming through the pages.

Readers (future potential clients and business partners) get to know you, trust you, and want to work with you when it’s your voice.

And it helps you solidify your concepts, collect important business stories, and improve how you explain what you do.

This is all useful in business. It also makes you a more interesting guest for media, podcasts and conferences.

However, you don’t have to write your book to become a published author.

You can dictate your book and then work closely with editors to refine the work.

Or you can hire someone to write your book for you (a ghostwriter).

How to Dictate Your Book:

Once you have an outline of what will be in your book, it should be fairly easy for you to then record yourself talking about each chapter.

Imagine you’re explaining each section to your friend or a client.

Record your voice using Voice Note, Garage Band on your Mac or anything that gets you an MP3.

You can then send those files to a low cost but high quality transcription service like Rev.com or Temi.com.

Once transcribed, read through it, fill in some gaps, and then hire a content editor.

A great content editor will ensure that the material is coherent, complete, and communicates your message in an engaging manner. You’ll spend more on editing this way, but you could save a lot of time and pain if you’re really not into writing.

The cost of transcription will vary depending on the minutes of content created. Editing costs depend on how much work is required to refine the material. But, this is an option many time-crunched authors are turning to.

It’s often easier to talk for 30 minutes than it is to write for the same time.

Hire a Ghostwriter

Alternatively, you may wish to hire a ghostwriter to do all the heavy lifting for you.

A great ghostwriter will write your book for you.

To do that, they will conduct research, interview experts, and spend a lot of time interviewing you. If you want to learn about hiring ghostwriters, this is an epic guide.

This costs money!

A good ghostwriter is expensive (typically more than $15,000 for a standard-sized non-fiction book).

You’re not likely to hire a high quality one on Fiverr. You’ll need to get referrals and check references to make sure you’ve got one you’ll be happy with.

And, for many non-fiction authors, it’s a great option to get a book done.

Writing your book will cost you time and money no matter how you choose to approach it.

Writing it yourself will cost a lot more time and much less money. Hiring someone to help you will cost a lot more money and still take some time.

Now that you know how to write a book, it’s your choice.

If you’re investing time and money in writing a book, make it something you’re proud of.

Know your strengths and your weaknesses.

Make sure you have the right support to keep you moving forward. Most people need accountability and guidance. Many people start a book and never finish.

It can be a long journey if you do it alone.

Sell More Books with a Better Back Cover

The front cover needs to be the beacon that attracts attention to your book. It has to stand out in a sea of thumbnails or a shelf of books. When the front cover does gets the eyeball, the back cover has to sell the heart and mind.

The back cover of your book is essential to selling your book and building your credibility.

Think about it for a second. When the front cover of a book is interesting enough to get you to pick it up, what’s the second thing you do?

You flip the book over and look at the back cover, right?

If the back cover creates enough curiosity, you open it up and check the table of contents and maybe flip through a few pages. That’s a topic for another day … but something I’ve talked about a lot in media interviews.

If you’re shopping online, the back cover is often uploaded as an image (And should be … hint hint), and you’ll check it out as well take a look inside the book.

Then, when someone buys it, and displays it on their desk or book shelf, other people will pick it up and check out the back cover! It could be great marketing for your book and you if it’s done right.

Think of your book’s back cover as a sales page. Every word needs to be carefully selected to create curiosity and make someone want to read it right now.

So, what do you put on it? What’s most important? I cover that in this video.

The five most important elements for your book’s back cover:

1. It’s singular goal is to sell your book. Make sure every word and image supports that single goal.

A person who looks at the back cover needs to get so damn excited to read your book that they buy it, on the spot. You’ll need to craft two or three really fantastic sentences that reveal why your book is urgent and necessary. What does the reader need in their life right now, and why? And, what are you going to share with them that they haven’t heard before?

It is a sales page so treat it like that and carefully curate that copy. Many traditional publishers actually pay a professional copywriter to craft this copy it’s so important. And, they’ll spend about 250 to $500 just to write the back copy. That’s on top of design costs. It’s that important. [When you work with Book Launchers we have professional writers who will craft your copy … all included with your Platinum Membership]

2. Your picture may be best on the inside, not the back cover.

There’s some cases where you might want your picture on the back cover. You’re famous, you’re a celebrity, or as my husband says, “You’re really freakin’ hot”.

In all those cases putting your picture on the cover of your book might sell your book. However, most of us are not models, celebrities or famous CEO’s so our picture really doesn’t do anything to sell our book.

Instead, get a great professional headshot and put it on the inside with extended details about you, the author.

3. Curate really brilliant testimonials and endorsements.

Now, I shot another YouTube video on how to get great book blurbs for your book. That’s right here:

Ideally you get three different blurbs for your book.

  • First, you need an endorsement that says why you are the person to write this book. What makes you unique? What have you done? What’s a piece of your story that makes it clear that you are the person that should have written this book? That’s the first testimonial or endorsement you need to get. Ideally you want somebody with authority and credibility in your industry to be saying this about you.
  • Second, you need one that covers the benefit to the reader in reading this book. This is a testimonial that says, ‘I read this book and the tips helped me make $10,000, they helped me lose 50 pounds, they helped run the fastest race I’ve ever run’. Obviously, someone may not have had time to apply the tips in the book to get the result, so you can use a former client. Someone who has used what you’re teaching in working with you. That way they can say, ‘the tips in this book did x’. That’s accurate.It doesn’t matter how they have had the result as much as the fact that this testimonial or an endorsement showcases a key benefit a reader will get as a result of investing their time and a tiny bit of money into buying your book.
  • Third, you need an endorsement that creates curiosity. This is best from a big name celebrity or well known best selling author. Sometimes these are funny. Other times they say ’20 years and didn’t know this one secret that Julie covered in her book’. The big thing is that it should create curiosity.

4. Put your website in the bottom left hand spot of your back cover.

This is a smart idea that I didn’t do on either of my first two books. It’s going on book #3 though!

Why is this smart? Well, first of all, this is brilliant marketing for you because people who don’t buy your book might still go to your website and maybe get your free download. More importantly, this website allows people to learn more about you. If you have a solid website showcasing some of your expertise and success, this will establish more credibility cement that they need to read what you’ve written.

5. Get a logo and a bar code.

If you think you’ll sell your book in book stores you’ll need to include a price in that bar code as well. But, here’s why these two things matter. Every traditionally published book has a publishing logo as well as that barcode. By not putting it on there, you clearly highlight the fact that this is an amateur product. We are helping you look like the rock star expert that you. That means every detail like this matters in showcasing you as the expert you are.

Spend a few bucks, get a publishing house logo. We’ll talk about business names and what you should do around that in the future. Just know that it’s all fairly simple and you don’t need to stress about it. Pick a publishing company name, get a logo designed and trust me when I say, it’s simple from there (unless you prefer it to be complicated in which case I can tell you how to make a mess of it too!).

You’ll put the logo on the spine as well as on the back cover of your book. The barcode is created from your ISBN number (see the videos below on the ISBN numbers) and put the barcode on the bottom right. When you do this your book is going to look fantastic and nobody will even know it was self published unless you tell them.

Most importantly, remember, the back cover has one job and that is to sell your book.

If there is anything on the back cover that doesn’t make somebody rush to the counter or click the buy button, then you need to make some adjustments. Now, what goes in the book description on your Amazon page is a topic for another discussion. You could use the back cover copy, but that’s not actually the best idea. Make sure you’re subscribed to the Book Launchers Launch Letter[ Click here to subscribe] so you can find out what the best idea is!

What is an ISBN number?

How to Get a Free ISBN Number in Canada:

And … if you want your book in book stores where the back cover will really matter, you need to know this: