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How Long Does it Take to Write a Book?

It’s a question I get asked regularly, especially when I’m speaking from stage…

“How long does it take to write a book?”

I get it! You want to know how to plan your work load, your life, your biz, and your book’s launch.

Unfortunately this is one of those “it depends” answers.

A book is a project with a clear starting and ending point. (Idea to completed first draft). But the path between those two points can get… murky.

Think of it this way:
051716-VacuumI want to vacuum my house. I have to get the vacuum and plug it in – regardless of how large my house is, I must do that step. (Call this the idea step!)

Then, I have to vacuum. But do I dust first? Is that really part of vacuuming? (This can be thinking about companion products to your book – like an opt-in gift.)

Why writing a book is like vacuuming the house! Click To Tweet

Is this the week where I do a quickie vacuum or when I really move furniture and get in all the cracks? (This can be the difference between a shorter book (20,000-30,000 words) or a longer book.)

How big is my house? Am I vacuuming every room or just the main areas? (Think about your book – are you trying to be the definitive guide or an introduction?)

The end goal is to have the house vacuumed – clean floors. But the time to get from getting the vacuum out and plugging it in until I’m done and wrapping up the cord and putting it away… That varies!

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The World Needs You – Your Message Matters

Do you ever tell yourself…

My book doesn’t matter. People have written about this before. What could I possible say that would make a difference?

051016-DesireThat, my dear, is stinkin’ thinkin’.

Your. Message. Matters.

I was at a marketing training this month and the topic of having a Big Idea for your marketing (and business) came up. Even with my years of helping people to finally write (and publish!) their books, I couldn’t see my Big Idea. It’s like trying to see your own nose – you just can’t unless you use a mirror.

In talking it through we realized that my Big Idea was the one thing I say to ALL of my clients, prospects, people I meet at events, etc.

Your. Message. Matters.

#1 reason why you need to write your book: Your Message Matters. #amwriting #YourMessageMatters Click To Tweet

Here’s the thing: you are the only person on the whole planet who is the unique sum of your experiences, feelings, knowledge, and opinions. All that comes together into your own world-view.

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All-New Book Publishing Checklist

Nothing is more frustrating than knowing you want to go from A to Z and not knowing what the steps are to get there, right? Trust me, I totally get that! It’s frustrating enough to have all these unknowns – but what’s even worse is when you’re headed down a path only to discover that you’ve missed a step.

No bueno!

And sometimes, you just need to know more about the end before you can even start – even if it seems counterintuitive to get all those details. You’ve just got to see the bigger picture before you can even get started.

I get it!

PublishingChecklist-3D-CoverAnd that’s why I’ve created “Kim’s Kickass Publishing Checklist” – because even if you’re not ready to publish your book RIGHT AT THIS MOMENT, you still want to know what publishing looks like. And you really want to know all the steps in the book publishing process so you can move forward with confidence you’re doing the right steps in order.

You need… A checklist!

All-new #free Book Publishing Checklist! #amwriting Click To Tweet

Download Now <<

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What is overwhelm costing you? (And your message!)

I’d like to think that I know a thing or two about overwhelm…

When I was a junior in high school, my mom had to leave her shopping cart in the middle of Walmart to take me home – too many people after too long a day and I started crying. I was overwhelmed and we had to leave Right Now.

042616-SinkLast week I started crying before breakfast because the dishwasher was full of clean dishes, the sink full of dirty, and I couldn’t get my tea kettle under the faucet to make a cup of tea. Ben saved the day by filling a mug with water and pouring it into the kettle.

It took me nine months to completely unpack after we moved – and I still have boxes in the spare bedroom that were stuffed (full) into the closet. (And I “packed” in three days before I moved because I couldn’t figure out how to pack and still live/work in the house.)

The first four seasons I spent working in the family tax practice, I’d break down crying at LEAST once a week because there were three phone lines ringing, a waiting room full of clients, and I couldn’t find my stapler.

Here’s the thing about me: I actually rarely procrastinate. Because I’m always busy doing something – and it’s usually some activity that is getting me closer to a goal. But there are just so many moving parts at any one time, I get stuck knowing where to start, what to do next (or what to do first!), and how to keep everything I’m doing moving forward.

This is a classic definition of overwhelm.

All too often I think that we wear “overwhelm” like a badge of honor. Like the person with the biggest To Do list, the most amount of projects in progress, the most chaos in life wins.

Are you living an overwhelmed life? 'Overwhelm' is NOT a badge of honor! Click To Tweet

So I get it that the idea of adding “Write A Book” to an already overwhelmed life feels heavy. Like there’s an elephant sitting on your chest. And the desire to write it battles with everything else that life requires and before you know it, you’re overwhelmed, behind, and crying at the sink because you just want a cup of tea and all the steps required to just get water into the kettle are more than you can handle.

And I don’t even have kids yet!

Sweetie, I get it. I know what it’s like to be on the perfectionist scale – the one that says More Is Better (not the one that creates a Pinterest-worthy life!). And I know what it’s like to bite off more than you can chew – regularly – and then wonder if you’re a masochist or just dumb because you’re not learning from your past “mistakes”.

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Stories Make Memories – Are You Using Stories in Your Writing?

When I work with clients, I’m always asking them about the stories they’re including in their book. And through the phone, I can hear their skepticism; what place does story have in a serious book that has a serious message that helps people change their lives?

And I think that’s the exact problem! You’re so concerned with your message (very important) and showing your expertise and credibility (also important) you miss the most critical piece:

Connecting with your reader.

041916-EngagementFrankly, your reader is NOT going to keep reading if your book is boring. And then your message goes right down the drain because they never read it!

What makes a boring book?

It’s when your reader can’t relate to the material; it doesn’t feel relevant, they can’t imagine themselves in that same situation. There’s no emotional engagement.

Readers don't connect with your material if it's boring. Story is the cure to a boring book! Click To Tweet

STORY combats that all.

I was once hired to edit a book about using the power of the Internet to build a freedom-filled life. It was all about websites and email marketing and social media. It should have been engaging (after all, I’ve got an online business!) but it wasn’t.

There wasn’t a single personal story in there. The author could have been… anybody. She didn’t share anything about her struggles, mistakes she’d made, or successes she’d enjoyed. Nada.

I understand not wanting to put your vulnerability on the page. But you DO have a second option: case studies! If you don’t want to (or can’t) use your own stories, share stories from your clients, friends, people you’ve helped, etc. She could have done that.

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Publishing: Ask an Expert to Write Your Foreword

040516-AuthorLet’s face it: Publishing a book and claiming the title “Published Author” instantly boosts your credibility as an expert in your field. It helps you get new clients and attract attention of people who’ve never looked at you before.

And when you publish that book, be sure to explain why you were already an expert BEFORE you wrote the book. This is where your “About the Author” page really needs to highlight your knowledge, training, and degrees.

But what do you do if you’re just getting started and don’t have a lot of history, credibility, expertise to put on your “About the Author” page?

Then call in a third-party expert!

When I was working on a pet-project book where I had ZERO credibility about the subject I knew I was going to have to do SOMETHING to boost my credibility and help with sales. Before I go any further, it’s not a genre that really NEEDS a boatload of credibility. Plenty of people write successful, helpful titles with no more knowledge than I have. (I’m not writing about finance or romance or legal stuff.) But it is in the health industry and other than being healthy, I really don’t have any creds to offer.

What I did have is a friend.
Who’s a PhD.
In the health industry.

Now HE has credibility, right? Even without telling you exactly what his degree is in (pharmacy) just by telling you he’s got his doctorate you already view him in higher respect for this health-related-topic than me.

And you should!

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How Do You Write when the Story is Hard?

So just how do you write something that is… hard? Something that is hard to explain, it’s complicated, it resists breaking down into the elemental pieces of word, sentence, paragraph?

How do you approach a piece of writing that isn’t about the technical difficulty of a concept – but about the emotional side?

What do you do when the meaning behind the words, the message you want to share, is elusive?

And how do you handle the line between memoir and a how-to? Navigating the muddy channels of revealing the truths from your own story to bring peace, enlightenment, teaching to the readers?

How do you get into that and not walk away?

032916-HardWritingThere was an experience last week that changed me. I knew in the moment that I was being changed – I flung myself into it with open heart and bright-eyed excitement knowing it would happen, welcoming it in, understanding that the initial choice to even start would result in alterations.

But now…

Now I’m in an interesting place, one that is uncomfortable. One that is clearly showing the untaken steps of “Kim the Author” – and highlighting, rather painfully, the miles ahead of me on the writer’s journey. Miles, that frankly, I thought I’d already tread.

Humility isn’t one of my greatest virtues.

I’m working with three clients who are writing “teaching” books – that are really thinly-veiled memoirs. Three clients, three authors, who I’m in awe of as they bravely are unearthing their stories and their demons and laying their bones upon the page. Three people who are staring unflinchingly into the mirror of their message and not only bringing that message forth onto the page, are doing it with a literary aplomb that is enviable.
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You Got a 1-Star Amazon Review! Now What?

This article first appeared on Ink Authors. Visit their website.

032216-1StarReviewYou’ve spent hours writing your book – rewriting, editing, getting feedback, and then writing some more. You’ve invested in the story arc and pulled your hair out over commas. You’ve navigated the murky trails (and trials!) of professional edits, layout, cover design, and book launching.

And the book is beautiful. It’s a work of art. And it’s here to change the world – starting with you!

All hyperbole aside, I know first-hand what goes into writing a book and getting it published. After all, I’ve got 16 titles to my name. And I know first-hand how holding your book in your hand for the very first time just never gets old. If anything, the lady at the post office is sick and tired of watching me rush out to the truck like a love-struck fool to caress the shiny cover on the proof.

But there’s something really important that is never told to authors – and it really should be.

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Is Your Brain All Over the Place? 5 Steps to Focus on Your Book

I received an email from a newsletter subscriber named Paul. He asked:

I have been toying with the idea of publishing some sort of eBook. My problem is staying focused on one topic. I could say I probably have topics and starts of layouts for about a dozen books. Do you have any ideas on how to stay on track?

Thanks for the email, Paul. This is a really valid concern.

1. Decide why you want to publish your book.

031516-Focus

Are you looking to establish your credibility in your field? Attract new clients? Fulfill a life-long dream of being a published author? Make extra money?

No answer is the wrong answer! But the answer to WHY you want to publish your will direct how you go forward.

2. Know your thought process.

Do you need to write it all down and get it all out? Or can you make a list of book topics before actually writing a word?

5 tips to keep your book on track! #amwriting Click To Tweet

There are people who work both ways. Either way is just fine and use with what works for you. I’m a list creator and usually that works for me. But sometimes, I end up writing everything that comes through my head and then cutting it down to just the main topic and moving all the rest of the writing to different projects.

Personally, I recommend using the Book Idea Workbook to gather and organize your ideas BEFORE you start writing. I use this with all my clients and with my own projects!

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