Sunday, December 22, 2013

We've Moved!

The Write Your Life blog can now be found on our website. Please click here to read the latest posts about writing, publishing, and leveraging your book. And be sure to connect with us on these social networks:

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Elements of a Good Story

Recently, a client asked me, "What makes a good book?" Of course, this client is writing a book and she was wondering what elements to include to make sure her book will be a really good read; a page turner. Don't we all want that! My one suggestion was simply to tell a good story.

Click to hear the 6 Elements to include in your story.

Telling a good story is the basis for a good book, no matter what genre you're writing in, whether nonfiction -- where you're teaching how to do something -- self-help, memoir, autobiography, and of course fiction. You can always tell a great story to help readers connect with the content in your book. A good story helps you capture the attention of your readers, engage them, and give them something they can connect with.

Here are six elements you should include when crafting your great story. Think about these elements as a reporter considers a good news story. After all, with a journalism background, I often approach storytelling from this perspective.  

Who = Characters: Even in nonfiction books, there are characters. Perhaps your main character is the narrator, which is most likely you. There might be other characters, such as experts or clients you include in your case studies or examples.

 What = Situation: What actually happens in your book? Set up a situation that your characters are connected to and that has a beginning, a middle, and an end. 

When = Timeframe: When does the action happen? What time of year or what time in history does your story take place? How long does the situation take to unfold?  

Where = Setting: Does the situation happen in a hospital? Does the action happen in the board room? Does it happen in someone's kitchen? The setting should be very well defined and it should draw readers in so they feel that they are right there in the midst of the action.

 Why = Motivation: There should always be motivation in your story, either for a main character, for the narrator, or even for your experts. Motivation is the reason characters do what they do, so make it interesting and realistic.  

How = Outcome: This is the result or the final "goody," the takeaway, or result of your story. How did everything turn out? What should your readers know now that they've read your book? How should they think or feel, and what should they do with this new knowledge? Those are six elements to include when telling a great story, which helps make your book a page turner. Happy writing!

Anita Paul, known as The Author's Midwife, coaches aspiring authors to write a phenomenal book and helps current authors use their existing books to leverage their business. She is the author of the-book Write Your Life: Create Your Ideal Life and The Book You've Been Wanting to Write, and is the creator of the Write Your Life program, through which she has created a dynamic system to Write Your Book in 90 Days or Less. She has owned The Write Image for 15 years, and has had her freelance articles featured in over 25 publications in the U.S. and Canada. Anita is also the host of "Book Your Success".
Facebook: Write Your Life Coaching Program
Twitter: @AnitaRPaul

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Top 6 Reasons to Publish a Collaborative Book

Have you ever moved? It can be a massive amount of work—packing, moving, and getting settled after the fact. You can do it on your own (mostly), but the process is faster and easier when you share the necessary tasks with family and friends.

Publishing a book can be even more daunting—especially if you’re researching, writing, publishing, and marketing it primarily by yourself.

A collaborative book may be the perfect introduction to becoming a published author or as an avenue to rapidly add another title to your publishing credentials.

Consider these 6 reasons for creating a collaborative book:

  • Get Published Faster. Each of my collaborative books has taken three to six months to complete—from concept to published book. In contrast, I have clients who have been working on their manuscripts five to seven YEARS before they contract with me for their book cover design and interior formatting. It’s simple math that thirty authors writing 1,000 words each will create a 30,000 word manuscript faster than one author can alone.
  • Provide a Broader Viewpoint. We each have a unique combination of experience, knowledge and expertise. The written perspective of six to thirty authors provides a wider view on a topic than a single person can contribute alone.
  • Share Ideas. A quote often credited to George Bernard Shaw says, “If you have an apple and I have an apple, and we swap apples—we each end up with only one apple. But if you and I have an idea and we swap ideas—we each end up with two ideas.” Writing books in collaboration with others is an excellent way to share ideas.
  • Reduce Upfront Expenses. To self-publish, an author pays upfront for editing, cover design, interior formatting, proofreading, and publishing expenses like an ISBN number and a printed proof. Your ideal book cover design may require a stock photo (with an extended license), an original illustration, or a custom photo shoot. After you’ve completed your manuscript, expenses can easily run $5,000 - $10,000 before you’re ready to print. Self-publishing in collaboration, the expenses are divided among the co-authors.
  • Expand Your Marketing Reach. Before social media made it so easy to connect, it was said that most people had about 250 in their network of contacts. Now it’s common for someone to have 500 – 1,000 contacts. The reach of one person with a 1,000-person list of contacts is a drop in the bucket compared to the reach of ten co-authors with 1,000 contacts each. Each co-author benefits from the exposure of all their co-authors’ contacts. This is especially effective for publishing a book as a strategy for marketing your business.
  • Build Stronger Relationships. People like to do business with people they know and trust. One key to building stronger relationships is to do what you say you’ll do. A collaborative book is a short-term project that highlights your knowledge and creativity while demonstrating your ability to follow-through on a commitment—with the added benefit of a book to sell at completion.

In addition to strengthening relationships with your co-authors, publishing frequently is a powerful way to build relationships with potential and existing customers. Becoming a published author elevates you to the status of an expert and can be the starting point for a foundation of trust.
Publishing a book is a lot of work, but sharing the load of writing, publishing, and marketing is like having a group of friends help you move. You’re tired at the finish line, but you’ve laughed and created memories along the way. 

Listen to these Write Here, Write Now radio archives for more on collaboratively publishing:

Contact Vanessa to discuss the possibility of being a co-author in one of her upcoming collaborative projects.


Vanessa Lowry is a marketing consultant, graphic designer, author, radio host and speaker. She leverages nearly 30 years of design and marketing expertise to support book authors who are self publishing. Her books, including The 28-Day Thought Diet, are available on Amazon.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Write Forward, Not Backward

You’re ready to sit down with your computer for another exciting adventure of writing your book. But first, you scroll back a few pages to re-read what you wrote during your last writing session, just to make sure that what you’re about to write will flow well with the previous text. You find several misplaced commas, a few dangling participles, and an entire section that needs to be rewritten. So, you fix, rewrite, and re-read what you corrected. By now, two hours have passed and you haven’t written any new content to move your story
forward. You’re frustrated ... again!

If you have experienced this scenario, you’re not unlike many authors who write backward, instead of writing forward. It is very easy to get caught in review mode when you’re creating your manuscript. You want every word to be the right word and every sentence to flow seamlessly into the next. You want to be completely satisfied with your last paragraph before you create the next one. But that method is a surefire way to remain stuck and never get your book finished. This self-editing is a form of perfectionism that you must keep at bay if you plan to complete your manuscript during this lifetime.

Put a stop to your backward writing by trying this approach:

As much as possible, set a start and end time for each writing session. Arrive at your “writing cave” well fed, well rested, well hydrated, and well focused. During your writing session, write with reckless abandon. At the close of your writing session, resist the urge to review what you’ve written. Trust that you’re on the right track (a detailed outline will help immensely with this, but that’s another post altogether). Instead, on a separate page from the text you just created, jot down several bullet points for what should come next in your story. This will be your guide for the next writing session. With these bullet points visible and on a completely different page, you should be able to pick up at the next session where you left off at the last, without reviewing what you’ve already written. This will save you time and frustration, and help you get to “The End” much sooner than your previous attempts.

By the time you reach the end of your book, you should have covered everything in your outline. Only then are you ready to review what you’ve written and begin the self-editing process. Start this process too soon and you’re sure to remain stuck there. Remember that you will enlist critiquers, reviewers, and editors to help sharpen your manuscript, so don’t stress over fixing everything while you write. You are creating a masterpiece; this takes time and process. So create, then fix. Write forward, not backward, and experience the joy of completing a manuscript you’ll be proud of.


Anita Paul, known as The Author's Midwife, coaches aspiring authors to write a phenomenal book and helps current authors use their existing books to leverage their business. She is the author of the-book Write Your Life: Create Your Ideal Life and The Book You've Been Wanting to Write, and is the creator of the Write Your Life program, through which she has created a dynamic system to Write Your Book in 90 Days or Less. She has owned The Write Image for 15 years, and has had her freelance articles featured in over 25 publications in the U.S. and Canada. Anita is also the host of "Book Your Success".
Facebook: Write Your Life Coaching Program
Twitter: @AnitaRPaul

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Summertime = Festivaltime

Although it has rained for half the summer here in Atlanta, summer time still means festival season! And if you’re publishing a book, you may be thinking about selling it at a festival, such as the Decatur Book Festival, in Decatur, GA, the largest independent book festival in the country. Festival selling may not be the right strategy for every genre of book, but for some it’s a great fit. Keep in mind, however, that festival goers aren’t there just to buy a book, and usually they don’t even know that your book exists, so it’s up to you to stand out from the crowd ... and I do mean crowd!

Bring more than just your book
Remember the last time you went to a festival for fun. You stopped when something caught your eye, right? That’s your goal when planning your booth or table setup. You want to create a display that will catch the eye of a potential reader (book buyer). Take a theme from your book and extend it. Have a giant poster printed, get someone to dress in a costume, have someone doing the hobby of your main character, use props. Have something, anything other than just sitting the books and some postcards on a table! You may have to check with the festival organizers to get the okay on bringing certain items onto festival grounds.

Do a drawing or giveaway
What better way to attract people to your table than by having a contest or prize drawing? Your giveaway can be something as simple as one free copy of your book. Who doesn’t love the sound of the words “Win” or “Free”? A large event like a festival is a perfect opportunity for you to start building a mailing list, and a great way to do that is with a giveaway. Keep in mind that if you plan to add people to your subscriber list, some contact management programs require subscriber permission (also known as “opt in”). Simply have an entry slip requesting the name and email address of those entering your drawing, and be sure to mention that they will also be added to your electronic mailing list.

Don’t just sit there
The authors we see selling the most books at book festivals are not the ones sitting quietly behind the table. They’re up, moving around, approaching people as they walk by, greeting, talking, smiling, waving, and making a connection. If you’re sitting behind the table, looking shy, staring down, looking at your phone, or you seem uncomfortable, why would someone want to approach the table and look at your book? The worst that can happen is that they might say “No thanks” and keep walking, but at least you’ll have reached out. Hiding behind the table all day is a big a waste of your time, especially if you’ve paid to be part of the festival! Talking to strangers about your book in brief exchanges helps you focus your message. So take advantage of the opportunity to test out your book talk skills. You might also want to take a few minutes to greet other authors who are there.

Trade tips
Find out what other authors have done that works, and what mistakes they’ve made that you can avoid. Events like these can be as much about networking as about selling.

Most importantly, smile
Yes, smile! Have fun, you’ve published your book and you should be proud to show it off to the public. Potential readers/buyers are much more likely to approach an author who’s smiling and having a great time than one who looks unhappy to be there.


Angela DeCaires is the Marketing & Communications Manager for BookLogix Publishing Services. She oversees corporate communications for BookLogix, and also assists BookLogix’s authors in the publishing process. Angela’s background includes experience in public relations, writing, broadcasting and journalism, having held positions in public relations and as a news writer/TV news producer.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Time Machine

Let's play a little game. Let's pretend there really is such a thing as a time machine. We could go back 12 months ago when you were thinking about writing your book. You were so ready to get started and get it cranked out. You were ready to produce your manuscript so you could soon have a book in your hand. 

Where are you today with that book? Do you have a book in your hand or are you still thinking about writing your book?

Now, fast forward 12 months from now; where will you be? Will you still be wishing and hoping you had a book? Will you still be thinking about starting to write your manuscript and wishing you had that book in your hand?

It is completely up to you what happens between now and the next 12 months. As The Author's Midwife, I suggest that you can write the first draft of your manuscript in 90 days or less. And you really can have your book in your hand within nine to 10 months as an independent published author.

So you decide what's going to happen in your time machine. Will you be back 12 months ago when you were wishing you had your book and you still don't? Or will you be fast forwarded 12 months from now and you actually do have a book that you're proud of, that is leveraging your platform, and that is helping you brand yourself as the expert you know you are?

I suggest you get out of the time machine and just decide to make it happen: write the book! If you need help, get in touch with me. I have really easy programs. You can do our self-study program or we can talk about coaching. If you think you need the accountability, the support, and the instruction from an author's coach, get in touch with me. Our team can help you develop your content, get your book produced, and  further extend that content into other leveraging opportunities for your business.

So enough with the time machine. It's time to get your book done!


Anita Paul, known as The Author's Midwife, coaches aspiring authors to write a phenomenal book and helps current authors use their existing books to leverage their business. She is the author of the-book Write Your Life: Create Your Ideal Life and The Book You've Been Wanting to Write, and is the creator of the Write Your Life program, through which she has created a dynamic system to Write Your Book in 90 Days or Less. She has owned The Write Image for 15 years, and has had her freelance articles featured in over 25 publications in the U.S. and Canada. Anita is also the host of "Book Your Success".
Facebook: Write Your Life Coaching Program
Twitter: @AnitaRPaul

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Don't Let Fear Rob You

Guy Finley, best-selling author and self-realization teacher says, “The only barriers between yourself and a life without limits are the powers you’ve mistakenly given to your doubts and fears.”

Sometimes, it’s not until you read something that you become tuned in to just how much

you let your fears determine your actions, or your inaction in many cases. Once I decided to write a book, I thought just making that decision was enough of an accomplishment to put it aside and wait until the next wave of inspiration hit me. Or was the delay in starting simply due to the fear of what to do next? Or better yet, what if ...?

What if I don't have anything worthy enough for an entire book? What if my writing doesn’t sound interesting or compelling enough to keep the readers’ attention? What if nobody buys my book? And on, and on, and on I went. Now, looking back, I see how I gave that fear enormous power. It sounds silly, but I’m sure this kind of thinking is common. In fact, ever since you made the decision to write your book, you’ve experienced some of the very same thoughts.

Now that you've made the decision to become an author, don't put it off one minute longer. Create a timeline starting with a completion date, and then work backwards to schedule weekly deadlines from there. If you are writing 10 chapters, how many are you committing to write each week to get to your completion date? As with most things, the first step of a project is the hardest. If you break it down into bite size pieces (week by week), the project becomes much more manageable. 

Do you have a writing plan? Getting organized and setting yourself up for success will close the gap between where you are and where you want to be. In this case, that gap is the chasm between wanting to write a book and being an author.

Here are my top 5 resources that fear can rob you of:
1.  Joy/Happiness – Keeping you “locked in your box”
2.  More Income or Revenue – Keeping you from expanding or seeking opportunities around you
3.  Time – Keeping you from not getting assistance or making smart choices
4.  Fulfillment – Keeping you from experiencing success or accomplishment
5.  Healthy Relationships – Keeping you from reaching out and being more open

Once you have a plan in place for completing your book, your next step is to remain focused on your goal and committed to the process of getting there.  

The reason we are all good at something is because whatever that something is, we practice it and do it enough that we become good at it.  Staying organized and focused can help you become good at writing your book. The more you do it, the better you get at it, and the better you get at it, the more you like it. Then it becomes second nature because it is linked with feeling right and feeling good.  

So get on a roll with your writing, and before you know it, you will feel a sense of accomplishment like never before. I promise you!

Wendy Ellin, Founder of Atlanta-based Momentum, is a Workplace Productivity Life Changer & Author of the new book “Enough Is Enough, Get Control of Your Stuff!
Wendy shares her insights into living a productive and organized life with humor, a twist of irreverence and a level of passion that motivates her audience to TAKE ACTION IMMEDIATELY.  Her approach to training is engaging, interactive, and with a “let’s make a difference in your life” attitude.  She talks about real challenges that we all experience on a daily basis, such as excessive clutter, email overload, being on time (or not), reasonable expectations for getting things done, over-committing, and much more.