Hey Guys! Nicole Gabriel here! I’m the host of the Let’s Get Your Book Published podcast. I’m also the author multiple books, a Book Designer, and a Publishing Coach as well as an intuitive Business Coach.
I’ve been in the book business for awhile now and I’ve helped many clients get their book published over the years. On this podcast I share personal stories, client stories, and the truths about the publishing industry….
I hope you are doing well. It’s really been quite busy for me lately and I’m grateful for that! I am blessed to have such wonderful clients during such an unusual time in human history. If any of you are listening - thank you for your trust! I am blessed not just to have the partnership but I’m also blessed because I just love what I do!
We’ve got lots of books coming into print soon and as such I have been slacking on getting my regular podcasts out. I’ve had lots of new clients coming in and when that happens that means lots of planning and thinking about approach and strategy. The unfortunate thing is that I don’t have much to show you at this stage, but I do have a lot to tell you!
My new clients Brian, Brandie, Christine, and John are all working on book cover images and repeat client Jim is cruising right along on his second book—we’ve already got his jacket and several rounds of interior layout complete and edited and he’s preparing to print his first proof book. Some days it’s hard to keep up with where everyone is at as they all tend to be in different stages at different times. I do take notice though of certain themes that run through my week and generally address those in a podcast as a reflective process. I often look at both successes accomplished and hurdles overcome. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and I really want my clients to be very happy when they holding their finished book in their hands. So, one of the themes I’ve been watching this last week is a concern about how the book is perceived.
Brian already had worked on some branding so we’ve already nailed his cover design and now he’s completing the manuscript with the editor. Jim was looking to create a book cover and interior design that was consistent with his first book, so we brought all this together pretty quickly and without much question. In fact, he provided me the cover image and we plugged in the details. But, Brandie, Christine, and John have taken a bit longer to nail down the look at feel. Brandie and John are writing personal development books with a bunch of experiential stories and they are still working through writing the book and bringing the content together so as a result, it’s taking a bit longer to pull together a look and feel because they are still working through all of the content. But, Christine’s book is more in alignment with today’s podcast and I will be highlighting some thoughts on this (as well as the others) on today’s podcast…
The subject of today’s podcast: Writing a Book for Online Training - Showcasing Your Expertise
Generally when an author sits down to write a book they are a subject matter expert in something. They have oftentimes acknowledged a common weakness they have the ability to turn into a strength. There may also be a need to write a book that becomes more of an instructional manual or textbook in some cases…and perhaps one that can also masquerade as a business or coaching book as well. Having a dual or multi-purpose book that serves many functions is not hard to do. In fact, it’s smart business.
There can be some unique thinking required however. What I mean by this is that you don’t want to give away everything you are teaching in the book, but you want to give enough to teach solid lessons or skills. If you earn an income as a coach, teacher, trainer, speaker, or have some other functional skillset requiring you to show up in person or online then you need to not give away everything in a $24.95 book that would traditionally earn you a nice income. You give guidelines and basics in the material in the book and you give the rest in your in-person event that you use the book as an excuse to draw attention to. For example, I wrote my Let’s Get Your Book Published book and in it I speak of editing and guide you that now it’s time to get an editor, but I didn’t tell you who to use. You’ve got to leave some room for expansion. You want enough to showcase your center of expertise in your topics but not too much that you’re giving away the farm!
And the way you present your book also matters. The graphics must speak to your target market and fit the genre as well as inspire someone to pick it up and engage with it. The cover has to let people know that you are not just teaching but you are providing value—and just what that value is. The reader wants to know if they invest the time in reading the book they will get something out of it. In fact, they want to know what value it offers well before they get deep into reading. If they are in one place they want to know you will, at the end of their investment in time, deliver them to their final (and desired) destination. And, if you have an engaged reader, they are also going to want to know how you can better serve them in the future…outside of the book.
I recently worked with Christine to design her book on listening. It was being designed for a corporate environment. She didn’t want the book to look too masculine or too feminine. She wanted something that was neutral and didn’t offend or persuade in an improper direction. We went through probably 50 different designs before she settled on having no images and only words on her cover. The irony is how simple the design is, yet how long it took to get there!
So what is it about Christines book that inspired me to say more about it. What I like about Christine is that she has done the time in her industry and already has a business model and website in place and she’s got a very good understanding of the audience she serves. She’s done all the leg work so putting a book together at this stage makes a lot of sense. There is a real purpose and need for it. She wants to have the book serve as a tool to showcase a corporate program she’s put together to help executives and their organizations to listen. She is not selling the book online to random buyers, although I don’t think she’d mind selling a few to random readers. Her goal is to showcase her book in her corporate networking. She is pretty laser focused on what she offers to her target market. She will build out a program behind the book as well. She will pitch the program and her book through her corporate networks. One will create awareness of the other. Ideally, this is the best way to introduce a book…when you already have something up and going!
So let’s talk about the look for the book. This is where Christine got a bit hung up. Since I am also a book designer, this was an active an engaged process with many zoom calls to nail down her final look. When it comes to design, you want to keep in mind that logos and brand image are important here. What goes on the cover of the book is also likely what moves into your online program, website, branding, all marketing and collateral materials. She had already spent some time nailing down colors and fonts with another designer so when I designed her book I had to keep these in mind. She also already had her website and some simple images defined for buttons and talking points on several pages. So, adding another image seemed to just be too much for a book. One of the images in a prominent position on her marketing materials and website is a mountainside trail. She uses the trail in talking points in her program. But, placing this on the cover of her book would make it look like a story about traversing a mountainside trail. Perhaps her book would have developed a personal memoire style look had we used that. And, should she ever change that image on her website, which is highly likely as her brand expands, she would have to consider redesigning her book cover. The idea with a book is to always do your best to remain timeless in both the appearance and the content. Otherwise, the inevitable re-print is in the near future.
When you are using your book for a training program (whether that is online or in the classroom) you want to create chapters that can move into training modules or easily break out into core topics. This works the same for speaking…you can have most of your speeches defined by core topics in your book. When someone asks what you speak on you simply refer them to those chapters in your book. And, many times when you speak, you might be asked to break things down into more detail in break out sessions…so this gives a meeting planner the ability to choose specific topics far easier.
What a book allows you to do is further elaborate on what your core competencies are. You might tell people you are a doctor, for example, but they would have no way to readily know what your core specialties are. In a fast-paced world, a book quickly tells people who you are. And, of course, the gift of a book always makes friends. If first impressions are everything, then you’ve already stepped ahead of your competition.
When you’re growing a business, building out your platform, showcasing your program or coaching or consulting business, a book gives people the opportunity to get to know you better before they invest in whatever you have to offer. The greatest secret is to offer so much value that they come back for more over and over again. And, another wonderful secret is to put things in your book that are also found on your website and easily printed so readers can put it up in their office to share with coworkers or clients. This might be something you offer in your program like the Top 5 Secrets on Why Listening to Your Customer is Important. The juicier the content the more value and intrigue it provides. If it’s not your book you are known for it may just be the helpful tidbits hanging around that create a reader, customer, follower, or fan for life.
When you write the book for the online training program you may also want to consider referring over to a workbook for additional exercises. This can be a companion of those wishing to expand on the knowledge shared in the book. As you write you may want to note references to exercises in the workbook, so keep this in mind—especially if you are not producing both at the same time. You might introduce the book, then the program, then realize a supplemental workbook would be nice at a later point. Try to think it all through while you are writing your manuscript. And, in some cases, you will need to make sure you have any websites built that you are referring to so that you can gather all the proper links to reference in the manuscript. It can get a bit hairy if you haven’t done all the link checking in advance and then you’ve printed a book with broken or missing links.
Writing a book with so many dynamic activities requires you not just to think about the content, but also the business behind the book. Many people think they will write a book then make it work for coaching, teaching, and training later, but the fact is that this needs to all be a part of the original plan from the beginning. Nothing you do with a book should begin with a wait and see attitude. You don’t go in having the attitude of “build it and they will come”. You build it with intention from the beginning. This intention should always be identified well before the writing begins. If you can begin the foundation of the program you are building without a book then you really have identified a need. Adding the book will legitimize and solidify the program. Lots of people think it works the other way around. But, to be quite honest…I’m a very detail-oriented and organized person so it’s not likely I would ever begin anything without first writing out all the details. Some of us need the book writing process to really focus on the details and flush things through with the end goal of a book. All I’m really saying here is have a plan. Don’t just think people will all of a sudden work like magnets because you’ve written a book. Everything needs purposeful intention first.
And, one final note before we close up this episode for today…if you are looking to build an online training program from your book. Considering using the Kajabi environment to host it. I don’t benefit in any way from telling you this, but I have built my platform on Kajabi and it’s saved me a ton of time because you don’t also have to play website developer too. The environment is all there, but sometimes you do have to think through the writing so that it also coordinates with how it is displayed. You have to have a functional understanding of the environment so that you can talk to the interface or sequence of how something flows in the manuscript. So, do make sure you think about all the website function, flow, and interface and coordinate accordingly as you write. There is a lot to take into account as you bring it all together.
I’m happy to guide you on writing a manuscript, planning the backend, and printing the book or workbook for your online training when you are ready!
For now…I’m wishing you peace, love, and light!
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