Posts

4 Ways to Start a Chapter that Grab Your Reader’s Attention

How you start a chapter in your book is critical. It’s your opportunity to keep your reader, or lose them. If they are just browsing your book, it’s your chance to hook them in for the whole book.

One of our recent clients, to be unnamed, sent me the first draft of their book and 80 percent of the chapters started with the word I.

Chapter One. I experienced this.

Chapter Three. I was in a meeting.

Chapter Four. I saw the trend.

Do you see the trend?

Guess what? Your reader only cares about one person and it’s not you.

Of course, this book has your story in it and it has your perspective. But you can deliver it in a way that is fun and engaging to read and from the perspective of your reader. And, most importantly you want to start every single chapter off in a way that grabs your reader by their collar and compels them to read on!

Here are four ideas to start your chapter with words other than I and hook that reader, so they keep reading your book all the way through to the end.

Number one. Start in the middle of the action.

It was written on the wall of the bathroom. “Who in the school is fatter than Alex?

Looking around the room, I wondered if anybody else noticed that the speaker’s fly was undone.

She found it hard to breathe as she took a deep breath and started, “Mom, Dad …. I know this is not what you wanted for me.

Movies and TV throw you right into the middle of the action. They don’t start with a girl thinking about her date, they start in the middle of the date. There is tension, action, or drama in every opening scene that hooks you in and makes you need to know what comes next.

Number two. Start with an unusual point of view.

If you’re writing a book about fighting cancer, why not start from the perspective of the cancer cell and what it wants?

Maybe start from the perspective of the mutual fund company that decides to charge a front-end loaded fee and how they do it for their benefit to lock in the client and not help the client make a return? Can you tell I’m bitter?

Or, possibly you write from the perspective of a child explaining the adult concepts of divorce or financial freedom?

It’s a different point of view than what you or your reader might expect. It should make your reader curious.

Number three. Shock or surprise the reader with your idea.

93 percent of the people who do this one thing will make three times the money next year. And yet, you probably won’t do this one thing.

Stats are ok but if you’re opening up your chapter with a stat you better make it one that will make someone stop in their tracks. It’s better to present your idea and then support it with the surprising data you’ve uncovered.

Rather than statistics I like to find interesting facts you may not have thought about and give you the research to back it up later.

You should strive to be more like Bill Clinton in your business. No, I’m not talking about the scandal. I’m referring to the amount of emails he sent in his presidency.

Any guesses as to how many? He sent two emails in his presidency. Can you believe that?

But if you send less email you’ll get less email back.

Here’s another one.

The healthiest place on earth is an island in Japan. Okinawa has more than 450 people over 100 years old living there. They better have some good pension plans.

My favorite one is this:

Imagine if your wounds healed right before your eyes like they do for some superheroes. It’s not just in t.v and movies. There’s one animal with crazy fast healing powers. And it’s probably not one you’d ever guess. You want to keep reading that don’t you. And you’re wondering which one it is.

I challenge you to open up one or two chapters with something most people will not know. Surprise or shock them. Like the time I came home and my husband Dave had cleaned my bathroom. I was surprised.

Number four. Clearly tell them why this chapter’s important.

Hit them hard with this declaration or promise that this is the chapter that will make them rich. Happy. Faster. Fitter. Prettier. Smarter. More Popular, more loved, and more admired by their neighbors. Let them know that at the end of this chapter they will be better for it. And that should keep them reading or make them buy the book if they’re just browsing and that’s the paragraph they happen to glance at.

Change it up so each chapter has a different approach. Pay attention to what catches your attention in the books you read. How do you like chapters to start?

Which animal has super healing powers? It’s the. They have special bacteria that makes wounds heal right before their eyes. Surprising isn’t it?

You may also enjoy:

How to Start Writing a Non-Fiction Book

An Epic Guide to Find and Hire a Ghostwriter

Fair Use of Copy right Information

Fair Use of Copyright Material – What Can You Use in Your Book?

If you’re writing a non-fiction book, you’re probably quoting other people’s work in your material. Or you’ve used other people’s work as a reference. In many cases, you’re probably interviewing people. Maybe on podcasts or over the phone to create content from that. So, what is considered fair use of copyrighted material, and what requires permission? And what is just outright not okay?

Criticism, New Reporting, Teaching, and Research

Fair use is covered under US copyright law. It says that brief excerpts of copyright material may, under certain circumstances, be quoted verbatim for purposes such as criticism, new reporting, teaching, and research. In those cases, you do not need to secure permission from the creator or copyright holder.

Fair use protects negative and positive comments and discussion. As an author, we will often refer to other books or works by others because something they wrote or created inspired us, and we want to refer to it or build upon it. That is fair use. But, keep in mind the word brief.

There’s no word limit. It comes down to the amount of material used must be reasonable given that purpose. In other words, it’s a judgment call.

US copyright law does not require attribution, but how would you feel if someone quoted your words or references your work, but didn’t give you credit? So give your fellow authors a shout out!

Fair Use of Copyright Material to Support Your Point

What about to support your point, which is how a lot of us authors will use copyrighted material? Fair use applies when copyrighted material is being used to illustrate, support, or prove an argument or point. But again, there are some limitations as to what this can cover.

You can’t use someone else’s work for decorative purposes. As it pertains to the body of your book work, you’ll need permission to use copyright material for anything but to support your argument, period. It can entertain while supporting your argument, but it’s not just to be for entertainment. It’s also subject to that reasonable amount of reproduction test.

What about charts and graphs?

One fun fact covered in the Fair Use Guide by the Author’s Alliance is about charts and graphs.

Charts, graphs, and tables may be protected by copyright, but the underlying facts are not copyrightable. My interpretation (I’m not a lawyer) is that you can’t copy someone else’s chart or graph and reprint it without permission. But, you can create your own with the facts given.

Creative choices in the way those facts are presented in a chart or graph might be original enough to warrant copyright protection of your own.

For more copyright protection for your book visit this article.

It’s important to note, copyright does not protect ideas, processes, facts, systems, principles, or discoveries. Copyright protects only the expression contained in work.

So I think the only question that remains here is what do you do if you want to use someone else’s work and it doesn’t fall under fair use? I think the answer is one of three choices:

  1. You can ask them for permission,
  2. Look for other works that can be used under certain licenses of use,
  3. Or find material that’s no longer covered by copyright or the copyright expired.

Or, something I often encourage Book Launchers clients to do is to just make up something awesome of your own. Why quote someone else’s research or brilliant ideas, when you can quote your work?

You May Also Like These Articles:

Copyright Protection for Your Book

Book Award Contests are (mostly) Scams

Traditional vs. Self-Publishing – what’s best for you?

How to Start Writing a Non-Fiction Book

You already know the tremendous benefits of writing, publishing, and selling a non-fiction book. It’s a fantastic way to boost your business, grow your income, and get booked on media and stages. But, you’re probably thinking, how do I start writing a non-fiction book? What is the first step?

If that’s you, this is for you.

Before you start writing a non-fiction book consider what your goal is.

If you’re thinking, I want to be a bestseller, then you have to dig deeper and figure out why?

This article on why you are probably wasting time chasing Amazon bestseller status is worth a read too.

Most importantly, figure out what you want your book to do for you. Do you want:

  • To find more clients?
  • Paid speaking gigs?
  • To solidify your position as the authority in the industry and get more media attention?
  • A way to connect with specific influencers and people in your community?

Once you figure that out, you can dive into what angle you need to take with the book to achieve that goal.

Next, you need to figure out who you are writing the book for.

Who is your ideal reader? What problem do they have that you can solve with your book. Bonus points if you know who your reader is so well that you can identify the books they are already reading, the conferences they attend, the podcasts they listen to and who they are influenced by right now.

Finally, what is the hook of your book?

The hook is the single thread of an idea that ties your entire book together. It’s what makes your book different and ‘hooks’ your reader in so they feel like they have to read your book right now.

When you talk about your book, the hook is what you’ll say to get someone excited about reading it. It’s kind of like an elevator pitch for your book.

Let’s look at some examples of great hooks for books.

The 4-Hour Workweek wasn’t really about working four hours a week. It was a comprehensive game plan to ditch the nine to five from a cubicle and create a business that supports you living an exciting adventure filled life.

T. Harv Eker’s, The Millionaire Mind showed how some folks seem to get rich easily while others are destined for a life of financial struggle.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*CK shows us how to stop trying to be positive all the time, so that we can truly become better, happier people.

So think about a sentence or two that people will use to tell their friends about your book. You can even test it out with your clients and colleagues. If you have something that has your ideal reader going, ooh, I have to read that book, then you’ve probably found your hook.

For help figuring it out and getting started writing a non-fiction book – contact us today! We’d love to help you. Grab our 7 Steps to Start Writing a Non-Fiction book or set up a call to speak with us.

 

 

Are You Successful Enough to Write a Book?

“I want to write a book, but I don’t think I’m successful enough.”

Have you thought that? I get it … when I wrote my first book to help real estate investors, I wondered the same thing.

My husband and I had been investing for ten years, but we were far from driving Lamborghini’s and vacationing on yachts. We knew several folks who had done more than 100 deals. Two of our friends in Florida had done more than 300 deals!

Who were we to write a real estate book? When I started writing, I think we’d done 30 deals, and many of them were problem properties, not profit centers. I didn’t have all the answers, but I did have a perspective that wasn’t being shared that openly in the industry. And, I had the desire to share that perspective to help others.

The success of my book (it hit #1 Overall on Amazon as a print book!), proves it’s not about being the best or having the biggest numbers.

In fact, you might be MUCH better suited to write a book than the person who is THE BEST or THE BIGGEST.

Here’s why … Who would be best to learn from, someone who is a few miles ahead on the road you’re on, or someone like Elon Musk, Mark Cuban, or Richard Branson?

It’s fun to read about their journey, but it’s almost impossible to picture yourself doing what they have done. Most people would rather learn from someone who has unique insights and a different approach to teaching them EXACTLY what they need to know to move forward from where they are today.

So, look at it this way instead:

Someone is going to become famous doing what you do … why not you?

Kick those doubts to the curb by taking action. Start writing your book now. Determine the goal of writing a book and set to work on creating an outline. And the most important thing you can do is BE the person who would write the book you want to write.

Who You Be Comes First not WHAT YOU DO!

If you think you have to do SOMETHING BIG before you write your book, let me share something that changed my approach when I quit my job to start my first business.

This idea originated from Zig Ziglar:

‘Be, Do, Have

It’s the reverse to how most of us approach life. Most of us approach our goals with the idea that if we have x, we will do y and be z. For example, I thought: when I have an MBA, I can do a job where I make six figures, and then I will be successful, have freedom and feel financially secure.

It doesn’t work that way. In fact, that line of thinking often takes you in the entirely wrong direction – or at least that is what happened to me.

So many people think they need to have the perfect story for a book.  Then they can write a book, and become the known expert.

You DO need to have material for your book, sure. But, if you’re waiting to have something before you do something so you can be someone, it’s never going to happen.

The solution?

Figure out who you want to ‘be’ first.

Keith Cunningham business mentor explained it this way: “who you be dictates what you do, and what you do dictates what you’ll have.”

I think it’s about connecting to who you are and letting yourself be that person. That will dictate what you do, and what you have.

Consider carefully who you are. That’s where you begin when you set out to write a book, explode your career and become famous for what you do.  

And of course, you don’t know all the answers. Very few authors will when they set out to write ANY book. That’s part of the amazing benefit of writing a book. You add to your expertise and your network.

So … If you don’t have all the answers, who can you interview to help you get the answers?

What research can you add to the book to support your experience?

What stories can you find to illustrate the message you want to share?

BE your fabulous self, DO the work to fill in any gaps you may have and showcase the expertise that will help your ideal reader. Then, you will HAVE massive book writing success.

And if you need help – that’s what we do! Let’s chat about your book idea and how we can help you write, publish, and launch your book this year!

 

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:

“But I don’t think I’m a good writer” – How to Write a Book When You’re Not a Writer

When I was a little girl I would race home from school to write stories at my bedroom desk. I loved writing. I wrote short stories, essays and even penned a ‘book’ about discovering Unicorns in the forest.

It was literally penned … home computers were rare when I was a young girl. My writing was all hand written in notebooks!

A few of my short stories were published. One of my essays won a contest for my age group.

Mostly though, my writing was not much better than your typical 8-10 year old’s work. But still, I started to dream about writing for a living.

Reality hit in Grade 10 English. I couldn’t get an A no matter how hard I tried. My work felt harshly criticized by my teacher. I was discouraged.

Grade 10 English Crushed My Dreams of Being a Writer

She was grading grammar and structure more than the actual writing, but to a teenage girl, it was enough to make me give up being a writer.

It took decades for me to come back to my dreams of writing a book. Even then, the writing wasn’t easy. And, I spent thousands of dollars to polish the books to the level of a professionally written book. But, the good news is, you don’t have to be a great writer to be a published author. You don’t even have to write the book yourself if you don’t want to.

There are so many options! All you really need is a great idea, a clear goal for writing the book, and the desire (and resources) to create a great product.

 

If you have dismissed the idea of writing a book because you don’t think you’re a good writer, here are seven tips to help you write the book anyway (And make it AWESOME!):

#1 – Start with a GREAT outline.

Whether you’re planning to dictate your book, hire someone to help write it, or pen the pages yourself, you need to be clear on what your book is about, and what you’re going to put in each chapter. This all starts with a great outline.

There are two main reasons why someone struggles to write a book after they’ve started. They either haven’t done enough research, or they are really clear on what they are writing about. A clear outline fixes the second part of the problem and will highlight the work that needs to be done in advance on the research.

I wrote both my books without a clear outline. I probably wasted three to six months of my time trying to figure out what to write about and writing sections that never went in the book.

Save yourself a lot of time and struggle and get clear on what your book is about, who it’s for, and what is going to be in each major section before you start writing.

If this sounds hard to do on your own … that’s because it can be! Get help … there are writer’s forums, coaches for hire, and of course, Book Launchers!

#2 – Don’t write if you hate it.

The cost of hiring a ghost writer, if you get a good one, can be north of $20,000 for a typical sized non-fiction book. I discussed the costs in more detail in this article on writing a book on a budget.

That said, you’re not stuck at your keyboard for hundreds of hours if you don’t want to write the book yourself. You can speak into a recorder and have someone else transcribe it.

Once you have a clear outline, you can spend your time talking through the material instead of typing.

The key, of course, is making sure you’ve got an excellent content editor on your team to help turn your spoken words into something that reads well too.

#3 -Book Writing is a Team Sport

If you want to produce a book that you’re proud of then you need to have professionals on your side. If you only hire a couple of key people it should be a copy editor, an interior designer, and a cover designer. These three people will cost you at least $3,000 to hire, but it will be the difference between a book that looks self-published and a book that looks like it could be sitting on the shelves of your favourite book store. You can decide what works for you and your goals, but my guess is that most people want a book that is comparable to the best selling books in their industry, not something that looks like it was designed at home and printed at Staples.

That take a team. Who should you have on your team, exactly? It depends on your goals, but when you work with Book Launchers, you have the following people on your team:

  • Writing Coach
  • Client Care Specialist (your personal project manager and PR support person for book launch marketing)
  • Content Editor (for Platinum Level)
  • Copy Editor
  • Proof Reader (for Platinum Level)
  • Interior Design Layout Pro
  • Cover Designer
  • Copy Writer.

You don’t need hired professionals for every one of these positions, but someone has to do the work of each of them if you write, publish and sell a book. If you’re not hiring the work out, it means you have to do it yourself or recruit a friend or family member!

#4 – Bring on Some Cheerleaders

Writing a book is a long process. I know there’s some people who teach you how to write a book in 30 days or publish a book in nine weeks, but when you’re trying to create a high quality book that you’re proud of, it can take six to twelve months (maybe longer!).

That’s a long time to stay committed to a project without some support.

My husband is incredibly supportive. He helps clear my schedule when I need time to get things done. He cheers me up when I am down. Despite this massive level of support at home, I’ve still found that I always need additional support in the form of coaches, mentors and mastermind groups. Peers pushing me to be better elevate my performance. The input and commentary of people who have more experience than I do saves me time and money. And, knowing that other people are counting on me to come through on commitments always gets me working over time to meet my goals.

You know yourself best. If you want to succeed in writing a book, you need to surround yourself with the people who will help you get it done!

#5 – Remember, ‘sloppy success is better than perfect mediocrity’

It’s a big frickin’ deal to be a published author. Of course you want everyone to like your book. And, absolutely, you need to work hard to develop your concepts and present them in a manner that is engaging and educational. You should not publish a book that is unedited. Nor, should you settle for something that doesn’t represent you well.

But, at some point, you have to let it go.

It will never be perfect.

Publish it anyway.

#6 – Pursue a bigger goal than just ‘writing a book’.

A book requires a significant commitment of time, money and energy. It’s easy to start and not finish because it is so resource intensive.

Before you start, get clear on your bigger ‘Why’.

Do you have a greater mission that the book is tied to? For example, is your business helping people get in shape? Do you have a message around health and fitness that the world needs to hear? Perhaps you want to help families build more wealth so kids aren’t accumulating gigantic student loan debt before they are even 20 years old. Or, possibly, you want more people to know about your business and you know a book is a great way to spread the word about what you do.

Whatever the bigger reason … just be sure there is a bigger reason. That will get you out of bed on the mornings you have to write before your family is awake and it will keep you going when the editor suggests reworking three chapters when you thought you were done.

It’s also the secret behind marketing a book successfully … if you have a bigger why behind the book, you promote that why and not the book. The book is then sold as a by product of spreading your bigger, more important message.

#7 – Celebrate your successes.

More things in life should be celebrated. When you think you’re not a good writer, but you write a book anyway, you should be toasting yourself at many milestones.

It doesn’t mean you lose momentum … it just means you give yourself a pat on the back and re-engage for the next phase.

Some ideas of moments worth celebrating when you write a book:

  • Completion of the first draft,
  • Finalizing the manuscript,
  • The cover is designed,
  • You get the first proof copy in your hands,
  • The book is on the shelves at the store,
  • You sign your first book,
  • Your first copy is sold,
  • The media wants to talk with you,
  • 1,000 copies are sold.

The list could on and on … grab three that get you excited. Write them down. Write down how you’ll celebrate when they happen. Now … get to work on making it happen. If you need help, let us know.