Author's Sidebar: I never planned to write a book. In fact, I did everything possible to get out of writing a book. :-)
I think that many of us have been told that we should write a book, right? But, why don't we?
All that is required is some knowledge about food and nutrition and a strong desire to want to help people with their health problems.
The real key is to write about your life. Why? Because no one knows your life better than you do! No one knows how you've really suffered over the years. No one knows what you had to overcome to get healthier than you were before you got sick.
If you are a health advocate, then, most people don't really know why you are so driven and so motivated to want to help people.
But, I'm sure you've been told by many people that you should write a book. But, you poo-poo it off. Am I right?
Do you know why? Because you don't think that you have anything to say that other people would listen to concerning your life and your struggles. You don't feel worthy.
And, if you happen to be a homemaker who took care of the family and didn't finish college, then, you feel inadequate because you don't have any initials after your name. But, there are a lot of famous writers who never finished college, e.g. Mark Twain, HG Wells, Jack London, Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird).
All of these feelings are driven by fear. The key to overcoming this fear is to write about what you know about -- your life. Focus on the challenges that you have had to overcome, especially those associated with your health.
Once you've done that, then, start doing some research about your health issues to understand a little more about how you improved your health. If you do those two things, you'll be well on your way!
The primary ability or drive that you need to write your own health-related book (or be a health advocate) is the desire or motivation to want to help other people.
As long as you have a strong desire and drive to help others, this will allow you to overcome the excuses that have been keeping you from writing your own book.
Beyond having the desire to help others, the minimum set of skills and abilities that you need to be a health advocate or write your own book include:
- Socializing (with family, friends, colleagues, etc.)
- Networking (with others in-person, phone, email, social media)
- Speaking (1-on-1, public, group)
- Reading Comprehension (to understand what products/services to sell)
- Writing (To create text documents, write-ups, emails, letters, posts, etc.)
Beyond those basic skills, some additional skills that will help to make it easier and save you some money include:
- Research (To be able to perform research in the library and on the Internet about nutrition, diseases, products, etc.)
- Accounting/Mathematics (To track your expenses and profits)
- Empathizing (Ability to "connect" emotionally with others)
- Computer (Email, MS Word, PowerPoint)
- Internet (Websites, Blogs, Social Media)
- Marketing (to promote yourself and your book)
- Selling (to engage customers to believe/buy your product/service)
- Science (to understand disease and biology)
It is not necessary that you have all of these skills and abilities, but, it will make it a lot easier to write your own book and keep you from having to spend a lot of money to get started. Also, it would help tremendously if you have a great idea or hot topic for your book.
If you are a community health advocate, at some point, assuming you want to reach more people, you will have to write a book. Authoring a well-written book will give you credibility!
This is one of the classic mistakes that health advocates or first-time authors make! They're motivated to help others, so they start out doing just that -- helping others. But, as they get more involved, it starts to take up more of their time. Then, they begin to feel stressed and tired; and, will eventually burn out. Why? Because they treated their book writing or health advocacy like it was a hobby.
Author's Perspective: Being an engineer I may be somewhat biased, but, I believe that technology is a beautiful thing -- especially if you know how to use that technology to improve your life. Two of the most powerful technologies from the 1980s and 1990s have grown such that more and more people are able to live better lives. Do you know what those two technologies are?
Hint: If you're reading this web page, then, you are using both of those technologies -- namely, the personal computer and the Internet.
The convergence of the personal computer and the Internet has fueled a major shift in the way we live, work and communicate. This convergence allows us to learn about things that used to require us to go back to college or it required us to spend a lot of time in the library doing research.
Now, you can accomplish a lot of this and other activities in the comfort of your own home -- especially if you like to write and do research. Unfortunately, most of us either misuse or under-utilize our personal computer and its connection to the rest of the world via the Internet. Most of us use our computer for things like paying our bills, shopping online, playing video games, and socializing via platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
But, the real power of the personal computer and the Internet can help you address two of the top problems that most of us will face during our lifetime. One of those problems is financial -- unless you're related to Bill Gates or Warren Buffett. 😃 The other problem is our health -- sooner or later, either we get sick or a loved one in our family gets sick.
Fortunately, there are thousands of ways that your computer and the Internet can help you with your finances and/or your health -- as long as you're willing to put in the time and effort -- to first figure out how to help yourself, and, then, use that experience to help others. But, if you're just going to sit around and complain and blame the government or regret what has happened to you, then, your computer can't really help you.
On the other hand, if you're motivated to either improve your health or improve your finances, then, your computer can be a true Godsend to help you connect with your local community and churches. Sorry, actually, that's exactly true -- you don't need a computer initially. All you need are your legs and a car to get started locally. Initially, you should avoid Facebook and especially Twitter (I'll explain later).
Once you've connected locally, then, you can start using some of the free Internet tools and social media platforms to expand your reach, i.e. Google, Gmail, Blogger, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, Picasa, SlideShare. Some of these platforms will actually pay you! Technology is great if you know how to use it ...
If you're not sure how to get started, read this web page for some ideas or read our How to Start a Business web page for ideas for starting a health project or for generating a secondary income for you and your family.
But, more importantly, before you jump into this, take some time to think about who you are. What do you really like to do? If you didn't have to worry about paying bills, what would you be doing with your life? What would get your juices flowing such that you would jump out of bed every morning with enthusiasm and joy?
Then, think about the major challenges and problems that you have had to overcome and deal with during your life. Some examples may include things like raising a family, putting your kids through college, getting a college degree, improving your health, losing a lot of weight, serving in the military, fighting city hall, overcoming abusive parents, helping others ... the list goes on and on.
Then, think about what you're really good at -- writing? talking? planning? science? mathematics? raising your children? working? tutoring? arguing? helping others? convincing others of your point of view? making new friends? fixing things? giving parties?...
Then, think about how to converge what you like doing with what you do well and with the challenges and problems that you've had to overcome during your life.
Then, do your own research in an area that garners a lot of interest from you. Don't focus so much on how to make money -- instead focus on how to help others -- learn how to be a true servant first.
Join a local support group or start one in your church; and, share your story. Or, share your story with another person standing in line at the grocery store.
If you do this, you'll be well on your way! If you have any questions, feel free to call our toll-free number or contact us via email.
Personal Observation: I have met many healthcare professionals and business entrepreneurs in the health & wellness industry over the years. It simply amazes me how so many people spend so much time pushing "the next great supplement" or some other product -- while ignoring their greatest product of all -- themselves!
So, the most important piece of advice that I can give you is to not underestimate your own story and strongly consider writing your own book. And, if you lack certain skills (i.e. writing, public speaking), then, take a class at your local community college or go online.
Another Observation: Social Media has provided an environment for angry and incompetent people to have a voice. Because of the controversial issues with Big Pharma and Western Medicine, some scientists and engineers like myself get attacked because some people who don't understand science think that all science is bad! Ironically, we also get attacked from the other side by doctors and Big Pharma reps. Although I welcome the attacks because angry and egoistical people tend to show their ignorance, this may not be your cup of tea. 😃 So, do your homework and educate yourself -- there are a lot of angry and manipulative people out there who will manipulate you and destroy your confidence, your credibility and your reputation ...
Social Media Awareness: Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are excellent ways to reach a lot of people.
Some people like to use Facebook and other social media platforms because it's easier to use an existing platform than it is to build your own platform. But, these platforms are set up for them to make money (via advertising) when you create a project or a movement that attracts a lot of people.
If you take a look at successful people involved in health advocacy issues, you'll notice that they usually have a book and a website (or a blog) that they use as their primary platform. They don't use social media as their primary platform. They use social media to further their agenda and their book.
Most people don't know how to build a website/blog or write a book. So, they use Facebook or another social media platform as their primary platform. This may seem to be okay in the short term, but, if your goal is to reach a lot more people, you have to build your own brand and your business -- instead of building Facebook's brand and their business.
Facebook makes it very easy for us to reach like-minded people so we are able to help a lot of people. But, most of us don't own any parts of Facebook. Facebook wants us to bring in more people because that's how they make their money! So, in a way, you're working for Facebook. You need to use Facebook to work for you, not the other way around.
Who Gets Involved in Writing a Book? The 3 Key Attributes
So, who are these people who become writers? There are thousands of writers from different walks of life.
However, people who write self-help health books tend to have 3 key attributes:
- They like to help people.
- They solved their own health problem.
- They love to write.
people who get involved in writing a health book do so because they want to help people improve their health. The good news here is that there is such a broad range of professions and required skills that almost anyone can get involved in writing a book.
If you are fortunate, you end up with a job that you love, a job that allows you to take care of your family, and a job that is fulfilling and allows you to help a lot of people. Unfortunately, some of us end up with a job that we love, but, it doesn't bring in the income that we need to take care of our family.
But, as you are aware, you can expand the scope of your job by getting some additional education in a specialty field or complementary field that allows you to make more money and relieve the stress of not making enough money to pay the mortgage and other bills.
In addition, you can use your experience and skill set to write a book or start your own business to supplement your salary. For example, if you like to talk, you can be very successful conducting lectures and 1-on-1 counseling.
Another example: if you like to write and do research, you can make money as a blogger, a writer and/or a researcher working from home on your computer! Having the skills of a writer and a researcher is ideal for making money working from home. But, most people are unaware of how to use all of the free technology and tools on the Internet to run a successful business from home.
Learning how to connect with people who have your health issues or beliefs will help you in writing your book. Connecting with other people will give you insights into their own problems and how they solved them or how they are still struggling with them.
Author's Perspective: After I recovered from my near-death coma, I was asked to speak at several churches, several health fairs and a couple of conventions. But, there were always so many questions.
And, people kept asking me if I planned to write a book. So, I put together a "church pamphlet" (1 page document folded in-half lengthwise).
Since I worked at a company where I had access to huge electronic printers, I printed out about 10,000 pamphlets of varying colors: blue, yellow, pink, etc.
I handed out these pamphlets everywhere, thinking that people would stop asking about the book. But, they didn't (more about that later) ... :-)
There are many ways to connect with your customer base or your target audience. The best way is to join a local support group or find them in your church.
Once you have engaged with people locally, then, use social media to connect with more of your target audience. Facebook and Twitter are excellent platforms to expand your audience beyond your local community. YouTube is another excellent platform, especially if you want to grow your own brand.
Other ways include reading health magazines that are associated with your health issue or disease; joining a group or forum online where they discuss your health issue or disease; attending a local health fair; or, attending a health conference or seminar.
Other ways include getting interviewed on a radio show or TV show or getting your story in the newspaper. But, make sure that you provide your contact information during the interview so that people can find you.
Most people get involved with writing a book because they improved their own health and want to share their experience with others.
If you were overweight and people noticed that you lost a lot of weight, more than likely, your family, friends and/or co-workers asked you how you did it.
And, so, you tell them and explain how you lost the weight; and, what you learned while you were losing the weight.
This happens to be the primary method that most people use to help others with their health -- they talk about it and share their own personal experience.
However, there is a second method that most people fail to use to help others with their health -- it is to write about it.
But, most people prefer talking about their experience instead of writing about it. Why? Because, talking about it is usually a lot easier for most people.
Ironically, what most people fail to realize is that talking about your health is actually the first step to writing about it! This is especially true if you talk about it almost every day or if you talk about it in public settings like at your church, or at a health fair or at some other community event.
And, if you have the foresight to record your talks or create your own handouts, this will make it even easier to start writing your book!
One of the best ways to be seen as an expert is to write a book! If you are a good writer who loves to write, this may be just what the doctor ordered. 😉
The self-help book industry has been booming in recent years, due to more people looking for non-drug alternative ways to treat diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, chronic fatigue, autoimmune diseases, and cancer.
People are constantly searching for ways to improve their lives, especially in the areas of health, finances, and relationships.
And, if you think about it, three of the top problems that most of us have to deal with during our lives are (1) problems with our health; (2) problems with our finances; and, (3) problems with relationships.
Some of the many (health-related) topics that people write about include topics such as personal challenges, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, depression, nutrition, weight loss, high blood pressure, chronic fatigue, allergies, autoimmune diseases, exercise, food, recipes, lifestyle changes, and spiritual enlightenment, just to name a few.
Becoming an author is a great way to gain credibility and build your customer base -- as long as you write a book that talks to your target audience. And, because there are so many free tools and technologies, writing a book and getting published is a lot easier today.
But, the Number 1 key to writing a book is to get started! I have met so many people who say they want to write a book, but, they never get started!
I'll let you in on a little secret. If you research how to write a book, you'll find hundreds of websites that explain step-by-step how to write a book. But, all of them overlook the most important step!
The most important step is to reset your priorities so that you'll actually find the time to write your book! Then, establish a daily routine that you can commit to and implement -- that's how you'll get your book written.
If you don't do this, a year from now you will still not have written your book.
Below is a diagram that depicts the overall 12-step process that we teach first-time authors so that they can get started on their journey as soon as they're ready.
If you look very closely, you'll notice that almost half of the steps have nothing to do with actually writing the book! Most of the work is about being a health advocate, improving your own health and helping other people! So, if you have already improved your health and/or you're already helping other people, you have more than enough information to begin writing your book!
DTD 12-Step Guide: How to Write a Book
If you follow these steps, you can become a first-time author within several weeks or sooner, depending on your level of interest and your passion for writing.
A lot of people say they want to write a book or they say that they're going to write a book but they don't. A year goes by, then, two years go by ... then, eventually, they just give up. Why? There are 5 reasons why most people never write a book (more about that later).
Some people even get started with writing their book! But, eventually, they give up. Something comes up. Something always comes up. They don't have the time. Life happens ... These people will never get around to writing their book. It's just not that important to them.
People who are really serious about writing a book are driven. They're passionate. They love the process. They love doing research. They love helping people. They are true health advocates who have something to say. People are always telling them that they should write a book.
Does this sound like you? If it doesn't don't bother wasting your time. If it's not that important to you, that's okay. Just move on and stop kidding yourself. Maybe it's not in you to write. Maybe it's not your time.
Some people even start writing their book but something always gets in the way. Or, they get started but they're distracted. Or, after a few weeks, they get bored with the process. Or, something more important comes up. Or, they find out that they really don't like to write.
Some people try to get started, but, they don't know where to begin. They try and try but, the words don't come. So, they get frustrated. Then, they finally give up.
Some people never get started because they don't feel worthy. They didn't go to college so they don't feel qualified. They don't believe that anyone is going to read their book because they don't have a degree.
Some people say that they haven't bothered to start writing because they don't know how to get published. Actually, getting published is pretty easy! It's the writing, research, and rewriting -- that's the hard part! We'll show you how to get published once you complete your manuscript.
So, do you still want to write your book? Yes or No -- let us know. And, get started.
How to Get Started with Writing Your Book
After resetting your priorities and setting aside time every day, select a topic that you want to write about. Select a topic that you know something about, preferably something that you have experienced or are currently experiencing.
Starting with your own health issue is a great topic and a great place to start -- it will connect you with your audience. If you are passionate about a specific health issue, that's another great topic to start with.
Then, start researching that topic to see if it really interests you. Think about the key sub-topics or chapters that you want in your book. Think about the specific problem that you want your book to solve. Think about what life experiences you've had that allow you to provide a unique perspective that no one else can provide.
Lay out all the key pieces of your research and notes. Look for and find the connections -- they're there -- it's like a puzzle.
Create an outline of your key sub-topics. These sub-topics will become chapters of your book or they will be key sections within a chapter of your book.
Create a set of steps, a diagram or a flowchart that ties all of your chapters together. Review, edit and re-edit your steps until they flow and make sense. This will take a lot of time -- it really depends on how much you know about your topic. Keep it simple. If you do this right, these steps will become "your program". This is critical -- most books fail to do this!
If it doesn't seem to fit together, you may be taking on too much. Step back for a moment, Maybe you're taking on the whole world with your problem instead of one topic within that world. My first book was called "Death to All Diseases" -- it was over 10,000 pages! My daughter said: "Dad, you didn't write a book, you wrote an encyclopedia! :-) No one is going to read that!"
I eventually listened to my daughter and pulled out the diabetes sections (250 pages) and added some other information (150 pages) about diabetic complications, meal planning and recipes. :-) Now, all of the remaining information didn't go to waist. I eventually used it to write 30 new books about juicing, detox, recipes, boot camp, autoimmune diseases, the flu, etc. :-)
If your topics still don't fit together, maybe you need to pull out a section or do more research about your topic. Take a look at other books on your topic and see what they did.
Review each chapter and each major step. Make sure that you can measure or evaluate each step and whether it's achievable by your readers.
Write about one or two key topics every week. If you don't, you'll never finish writing your book.
People love stories. Collect personal stories or testimonials that reinforce each chapter of your book. Don't use people's names unless you have their written approval. Even then, only use their first name and last initial.
Continue with your research. Take notes.
If necessary, take a class about your topic -- get another perspective.
If you struggle with writing, take a writing class.
Look at other similar books in your genre and see what's missing and make that your value-add. When I started looking at other books about diabetes, I saw what was missing in all of the books. I didn't find a single book where the author had gone through what I had gone through. I saw that I could bring a unique perspective. It motivated me even more to write my book! I started to spend more time researching and writing my book.
All of this was reinforced when I talked to people, went to health fairs, talked at churches, attended support group meetings, etc.
Also, look at the authors of these books in your genre and their backgrounds to understand what they did to get to where they are.
If possible, find an expert in the field you're writing about and pick his/her brain.
When you start writing a chapter or part of a chapter for your book, always think about your target audience. Pretend that a member of your target audience is standing right there in front of you. Speak to them about the topic you're writing about. Explain why this topic is so important. Explain to them how to accomplish the goal associated with this topic or chapter of your book. Create a diagram, flowchart or table if it makes it easier to explain.
Once you finish a chapter, read it out loud. Listen carefully. Record it and play it back. You'll pick up a lot when you hear yourself talking about a topic!
Based on your research, begin building a list of reputable clinical references and web links. Group the references and links based on major categories or based on the chapters and major sections in your book.
If you know that a specific chapter is going to be controversial, make sure that you can back it up with key references, studies, quotes from renowned experts, etc.
If it's a controversial topic, make sure that look at both sides of the problem. The more you know about both sides, the better. If you're only looking at one side, you will limit the scope of your knowledge and severely limit your credibility and reputation.
Engage with people who are your target audience. Get to know them and how you can help them. Understand what they believe are their top problems. Listen to them. Don't just hear them -- truly listen to them. Figure out how to connect with them -- empathy is very powerful when it's authentic.
Move outside your comfort zone. Talk to people who don't necessarily agree with your point of view. This is a classic oversight that first-time authors make. First-time authors think they know it all. They think they have all the answers.So, make sure that you listen to them. Don't force your beliefs onto them. This will turn them off.
Ironically, I learned a lot from doctors who didn't believe in nutrition and whether I could wean off the insulin. Listening to them helped me to write a better book! Some of these doctors even bought some of my books to give to their patients!
Join a local support group -- this is one of the best ways to build your audience. In today's world of social media, a lot of people rely on Facebook and Twitter to "connect". Big mistake! Connect on a personal level first; then, move to the Internet to expand your connection. If you've already started on Facebook or Twitter, that's okay. Just don't ignore your own backyard!
I spent a lot of time looking at Western Medicine to understand what they did well and what they didn't do well. Even though most doctors didn't like my book, they still bought my book because I didn't blame them for the problems associated with being diabetic. I also pointed out what aspects of Western Medicine were important for diabetics. I also explained to diabetics how to work with their doctors -- what to do before, during and after their appointment.
Well, as it turned out, doctors loved it! They saw that if patients followed my instructions that it would make their jobs easier. My family doctor liked my instructions so much, he bought over a dozen books! Later, a doctor that I didn't know bought multiple books for his patients. Plus, he invited me to speak to his diabetic support group that he had set up!
I also spent a lot of time looking at Alternative Medicine. Believe it or not, there's a lot of junk science and pseudo science in Alternative Medicine, so be careful. Focus on the areas that you can measure and prove.
Figure out which topic or topics that you want to become an expert in and make that part of your mission. You can't be an expert in everything, so pick a sub-topic from your book. And, do in-depth research into that topic. If necessary, take a couple of classes. If possible, you want to know more than most people about that sub-topic. When you become very good at something, your credibility rises dramatically. Learn how to use "power" words the right way -- Mr. McCulley can explain this better than we can explain it.
Use social media to expand your platform. Don't make social media your platform. This is why a book (or a website) is so important. Facebook and other social media platforms make it easy to connect with people. But, be careful -- that's how they make money off of you. You end up working for Facebook! If Facebook went away tomorrow what would happen to your advocacy and your group? What would happen to your posts, your documents, your research?
These platforms will pull you in and you'll be swamped with posts, requests, controversies, research, etc. Facebook will be running you instead of the other way around. You'll find yourself tired, frustrated, and eventually burned out. Set aside a fixed amount of time to spend on social media. If you don't, it will eventually bury you.
In addition, the more time you spend in social media, the less time you will have to write your book. Take a look at the successful people you know on Facebook or Twitter. Most of them have a book and a website. They're not dependent on Facebook or Twitter.
Spend time building your identity and your brand. And, more importantly, spend more time writing your book.
By now you should have a pretty good idea about the title of your book. Come up with at least 3 titles. Bounce them off your family and friends; then, some strangers or other writers.
Once you're comfortable with the title of your book, begin thinking about the book cover. This is an area that first-time authors overlook and underestimate its importance. Be creative -- come up with at least 3 designs. Pictures and photos are very powerful. Come up with a picture or photo that fits your title and reinforces your program or your goals. Find a local artist that can help you with your design.
Once you're comfortable with each chapter, pull them together into one Word document -- that's your first draft manuscript. Review and edit your document. Run spell checker several times! There's no easier way to lose credibility than to have a bunch of misspelled words in your book!
If possible, test your program with members of your target audience. Have them use your book instead of relying on you. This will help you identify any holes in your book.
Format your Word document into book format with Page Setup, Styles & Formatting along with headers and footers. Use 6" x 9" or 5.5" x 8.5" for your page size. If you don't know how to do this, purchase a book template online or hire a professional writer/editor.
Add your Front Matter (copyright page, acknowledgements, disclaimer, bio, testimonials, table of contents, etc.) and Back Matter (appendix, references, diagrams, epilogue, index, etc.).
Proofread and edit your draft manuscript. (You'll be doing this a lot over the next few months). :-)
Get your book cover design completed.
Make high res PDF copies of your cover and manuscript.
Print your book by sending your PDFs to a local printer or copy service store.
Read your book for the first time as a book. Don't be shocked when you find misspellings and other errors. It will happen. Correct your manuscript master copy.
Get your book published -- use Amazon, a traditional publisher or a vanity publisher.
Market and promote your book. If you haven't done so yet, this would be a good time to set up a small website. Include a web page that provides a link to buy your book.
Note: For more details, get the author's "How to Start a Business and Write a Book" ebook..
Other Thoughts from the Author
Make sure that you have a support system in place before you start writing. You can't do this alone. People are going to make fun of you. People are going to attack you. People are going to try to intimidate you.
Some of your "friends" on Facebook may turn on you. Don't get despaired. Expect that it's going to happen and you won't be disappointed. If it doesn't happen, consider yourself lucky.
In the beginning, most of what you have to do has very little to do with writing -- until you've collected enough research and taken a lot of notes. Some people make the mistake by starting to write right away before they've done their homework and in-depth research. That's one of the reasons why some people struggle with writing! They haven't invested enough time into doing the research!
Research is another area where first-time authors make a mistake. Most people think research is all about searching the Internet for clinical studies, medical references, publications, reports, news articles, statistics, other data, etc. Sure, that's a part of research, but, there's a lot more to research than the Internet. :-) Spend time with your target audience and people who oppose your beliefs. Go to health fairs, community events, churches, conferences, etc. Talking to real people is a great form of research.
Once you've done the research, writing about it will come easy! In fact, you'll find yourself spending even more time writing because it will just flow out of you! But, if you don't invest the time in research, talking to others, attending events, etc. then, you will struggle with writing about it.
Writing about a specific topic will become the natural output of doing good research, talking to people about that topic, being a health advocate, doing local talks, attending support group meetings, doing radio interviews, attending health fairs, talking to church groups, doing even more research, looking at other people's perspective about your topic, etc.
Think about the content of your book and the various job aids that you've already created, e.g. your birth plan is impressive. You need to turn that into a job aid or training tool -- a diagram, flowchart, table, etc. And, every tool or job aid should have your name, copyright and website url at the bottom. People will take you a lot more serious when you take it a lot more serious.
Concerning your radio interviews, make sure that you get an mp3 file copy from the radio station. You'll need it for your website or if you want to develop a CD. We can show you how to create your own CD or how to convert your mp3 file into a YouTube video!
If possible, get interviewed on a local TV show. But, make sure that you're ready. The first time I was interviewed, I was not ready! It was a little embarrassing ...
If possible, get your story into the local newspaper or a community magazine. But, make sure that the story supports your beliefs and reinforces the book that you're writing.
Get organized. For example, organize your Facebook project and writing your book as two projects of your advocacy business. Allocate specific time to each project.
Organize and set up your infrastructure, e.g. documents, notes, job aids, work processes, day-to-day tasks, contacts, slides, research notes, clinical references (organized), emails, posts, feedback, testimonials, etc.
Keep copies of all of your key Facebook posts, documents, charts, etc. Make sure you have a cloud and/or auto-backup set up on your computer -- most of these tools are free.
FYI Some people may not like you doing some of this, so be aware of the crabs in the barrel.
In fact, we can show you how to write a book in 30 days or how to develop an ebook in 7 days! We can show you how to offer your ebook as a gift or sell it as a product! We can show you how to convert your radio interviews into a video that you can put on YouTube so that you can reach more people with your story!
Now, you may be thinking: If it's so easy, then, why don't more people write a book?
There are 5 reasons why most people don't write a book:
- Time: Most people don't believe that they have the time to write a book about their health. Yet, most people have the time to talk about their health or spend all day on Facebook or Twitter. ☺ Tip: You can turn your talk into an audio book within 24 hours!
- Humility/Humbleness/Fear: Most people, especially mothers and homemakers, underestimate their own lives, and don't believe they have anything to write about that would be of interest to other people. Fear of failure or not feeling worthy stops a lot of people from writing a book.
- Motivation: Most people aren't really driven or motivated to write a book.
- Writing Skills: Some people believe that they have to know how to write well to write a book. Most people are unaware that you can write a book by talking! (e.g. audio book).
- Publishing Skills: Most people don't know how to get a book published. Most people think that getting a book published is a complicated and expensive process -- it's not!
The good news is that if you really want to help people and if you're truly driven and motivated, you'll find the time to write your book or get recorded. Then, once you write a manuscript (or get recorded), you can get published and become a first-time author within several weeks!
There may be another reason why some people never write a book -- finances. It can cost anywhere from $0 to several thousand dollars to get your book written and published. It really depends on two things: (1) your computer skills; and (2) the quality of the book you want to publish.
It is very beneficial to know how to use tools such as MS Word in order to write your manuscript. Of course, it's not mandatory, but, from a cost perspective, it's imperative that you know how to use these kinds of tools.
It may also be helpful if you know how to use PowerPoint, Photoshop, Adobe, graphic tools, PDF printers/converters, audio/video recording and reformatting tools, etc., but, again, not mandatory.
It is also beneficial if you're an excellent writer or even a fair writer with good sentence structure, good grammar, spelling, etc. Otherwise, you're going to have to pay a good editor to edit and rewrite your manuscript.
One of the best places to spend some money is with the book cover. This is one of the most common mistakes that first-time authors make -- not paying for a well-designed book cover. Find a local artist or graphics designer who can help you design a professional-looking cover as a high resolution PDF file and/or a high res image file.
Printing costs is another area that you can't overlook. Try to find a local copy center (e.g. Kinkos, Staples) or a print shop where you can get a discount with bulk printing. I was fortunate because I worked at a company where I had access to large printers. 😃
If you don't have the finances, that's not a good reason not to write your book! Begin saving your money now and by the time you've finished your manuscript, you will have the extra dollars for your book cover and printing costs.
Worst case, even if you don't have the finances, for $0, you can always convert your book to an ebook until you are able to save enough money to get your book printed and published.
Can I Really Write a Book?
Of course you can! Despite what you have heard, it's really not that hard to write a book -- if you really want to ...
As previously mentioned there are 5 reasons (or excuses) why most people never get around to writing a book. Let's take a deeper look at those 5 reasons and what may be holding you back:
1. Time: Most people believe that they don't have the time to write a book.
Actually, that's not completely true. It doesn't require a lot of time to write a book. It's really about your priorities. Have you noticed that you find time to do other things? Change your priorities and you'll find the time to write your book! Also, don't try to do too much in the beginning.
Establish a routine and set aside at least 30 minutes to an hour each day; and, stick to a schedule.
This is the key reason (or excuse) that you must overcome if you're really serious about writing a book. Time!
Even if you don't like to write, you can record your talk and create an audio book!
2. Motivation: Most people aren't really driven or motivated to write a book.
This is a tough one. If you're not really motivated, it's going to be difficult. So, try to find a good reason why you should write the book. Think about how you overcame personal challenges and improved your health.
Think about all the times that someone told you that you should write a book. They see something in you that you don't see in yourself. This happened to me -- my mother and my daughter kept telling me that I should write a book. My friends and co-workers saw something that I didn't see. It wasn't until the new ADA director fired me and told me that I lacked the knowledge and fortitude to write a book. All of a sudden, I was driven and motivatedto write the book. So ironic ...
Think about how you can help other people, based on your personal experiences. Wanting to help people is a great reason to write a book.
Or, think about someone or something that you really love, for example, your children, or your husband, or your wife, or your partner, or your lifestyle.
Then, think about how your book could make their lives easier or how the book may change your lifestyle.
3. Writing Skills: Some people don't know how to write.
Actually, you don't really need to know how to write with today's technology! If you like to talk, then, get a portable recorder and record what you have to say.
Then, use an audio editor to edit your mp3 file; and, voila! -- you're just a couple steps away from having your book on an audio CD disk!
Or, you can pay a college student to transcribe your audio file into a Word document and you'll have your first draft manuscript!
An excellent way to help you with the writing is to make a list of the key topics that you like to talk about or you feel are important to you. Then, review each topic and identify any sub-topics that you feel are important.
Then, take some time each day to research and take notes about each of these topics. If you do this consistently, within a few months, you'll have more than enough notes to begin writing your book; or, you can hire a writer to take your notes and turn them into manuscript pages.
Another problem that some people have is that they have collected a lot of notes over the years, but, they can't seem to be able to connect the dots or tie it all together into a cohesive book.
But, you can get around this issue by stepping away from the details and think about what is the specific health problem that you're trying to solve. The more narrow your focus, the easier it will be tie it all together. But, if the topic is too general, you won't be able to tie everything together and come up with a concise solution.
4. Nothing to Say (Humility/Fear): Most people are humble and don't believe they have anything to write about that would be of any interest to other people. Or, they don't believe they're an expert at anything that they can write about.
Or, they fear that they will be humiliated or made fun -- this is the classic fear of failure or not feeling worthy which stops a lot of people from writing a book.
Actually, we're all experts at something, so we shouldn't be afraid of sharing that. We usually have experience through our job, other work experience, raising a family, taking care of the home, doing community/church or volunteer work, or being a health advocate.
But, if you didn't have the opportunity to go to college and obtain a college degree, you may feel uncomfortable or afraid about not having some letters after your name. But, think about it: Did missing going to college stop you from doing research to help improve your health or the health of a friend or relative? Did missing college stop you from running your own support group? Did missing college stop you from raising children that went to college?
Unfortunately, some people, such as mothers, homemakers, truck drivers, janitors, etc., believe that since they didn't go to college or work in Corporate America, that no one is going to be interested in what they have to say or write about.
Well, nothing could be further from the truth! A woman who has raised 5 children and put them through college -- well that's a story! There are people out there who will want to know how you did it!
Take a man who has lost 120 pounds -- people will want to know how he did it.
Take a woman who is fighting multiple diseases -- people want to know how is it that she is still alive!
There are a lot of famous writers who never finished college. Some examples include the following people:
Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain): left school at the age of 12, when his father died. He was introduced to the world of writing through his apprenticeship with an older brother, a printer.
Charles Dickens: went back to school for a brief time, but he then left to become a clerk in a solicitor’s office.
William Faulkner: This Nobel Prize winner never earned a high school diploma. He attended the University of Mississippi, but he only attended classes for three semesters before dropping out.
Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird) dropped out of law school to pursue her writing dreams.
Jack London: began a series of odd jobs starting at age ten. By 13 he quit school, kept working, and read voraciously.
George Bernard Shaw: dropped out of school at 14, finding little value in formal education. Instead, he chose to write on his own.
H.G. Wells: left school at the tender age of 11 when his professional cricket player father fractured his thigh. This loss of the family’s main source of income forced the children to take on apprenticeships. Wells hated it and, like Dickens, his experiences later inspired his writing.
Because of society, we tend to believe that we need to have a college degree to validate ourselves and to be taken seriously. People don't care whether you have a college degree, especially if you have a compelling story that will help them!
Now, if it really bothers you or if you're in a very competitive field, then, find the time and go back to college to get your degree.
Think about any major problem you have had to overcome in your life -- these make great stories and the foundation for a great self-help book!
Examples include: losing weight, overcoming a major health problem, raising kids, growing a garden, planning a wedding, setting up a major church event, helping your parents, surviving bankruptcy, helping your alma mater, being a health advocate for your community, running a health fair, fighting city hall, being a math tutor, being a mentor for high school students, cooking/baking, singing, being the peacemaker in family arguments ... the list goes on and on!
5. Publishing Skills: Most people don't know how to get their book published.
With today's technology, getting published is pretty easy -- as long as you have the money to pay a publisher. In fact, even if you don't have the money, you can still get published! -- as long as you have the MS Word processing and editing skills.
And, even if you don't have these skills, you can still get your book published. This is where we can help you since I have already gone through all of this in writing my first book, "Death to Diabetes". Just contact our office for a free consultation -- I'll get you going in the right direction and will show you how to get your book published in 90 days!
Stop procrastinating -- get started today or first thing tomorrow morning. If you don't, another year will pass and you'll be right back here, thinking about writing a book ...
And, for those of you who have already beaten a disease or are already in the process of helping others, believe it or not, you have already started writing your book and you don't even know it! Take a closer look at the steps in the diagram (above), which we use in our writing classes. You'll notice that you are already doing some of these steps, e.g. research, interviews, talks, etc.
So, you have to ask yourself: Why do I doubt myself? What is holding me back? What am I afraid of? What's the worse thing that can happen?
Whatever are your answers, you can overcome them. Think about it: You've already overcome a lot in your life. Why are you making writing your book such a big deal such that you are frozen or afraid or refuse to allocate the time? Don't let excuses or the world around you stop you from doing what you need to do to help other people.
I went through all of this, so I know how you're feeling. Luckily for me, I had a daughter and a mother who somehow saw what I didn't see. I had a hundred legit reasons for not writing a book, but, they knew better. They saw past my "fake" excuses and the fear that I felt about putting my beliefs down on paper versus just talking about them.
When I look back, the only thing that I regret is that I waited so long to write the book ...
Here are some tips to help you if you're really serious about writing a book:
Use your own life and work experiences to write about a topic that you are most knowledgeable, skilled and comfortable to talk about. Keep notes or a journal of your journey to improving your health.
Research, research, research. And, keep good notes. There is nothing more important than research! You need to know more than the people you plan to help -- a lot more! And, the more you know (especially about the science), the more credibility you will have.
Maintain objectivity. Be objective and knowledgeable enough to understand both sides of a controversial issue. Some people, including some doctors, were surprised when I included some medical practices in my book. I don't believe that everything that a doctor does is bad! It's interesting to me that the majority of people who hate doctors or believe that all doctors are bad tend to be people who don't understand science! Is that a coincidence? I don't think so. If you don't have the science background, either acquire it or find a couple science people without an agenda that you can trust.
Record clinical references, studies, etc. Keep good records of clinical references, studies, reports, etc. that will help to substantiate any of your claims.
Know your audience! If you're diabetic, talk to diabetics -- that's your audience. Since you're diabetic also, you know how the disease affects you physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, financially, etc. This will give you the insight track to being able to help others.
Know who you're talking to and be prepared. In general, from a "who-knows-you" perspective, there are 3 types of people you'll meet: (1) People who know you; (2) People who think they know you; and, (3) People who don't know you.
Why do you need to be prepared to deal with all 3 types of people? Because people who know you or think they know you already have preconceived notions of who you are. That may become a barrier in them believing your message -- especially when it comes to family, friends and co-workers. And, people who don't know you aren't going to listen to your message if you don't sound credible and engaging.
In general, from a disease perspective, there are two types of people that you must be prepared for. If we use the disease Type 2 diabetes as an example, there are two types of diabetics that you must be prepared for: (1) diabetics who take prescription drugs; and, (2) diabetics who don't take prescription drugs. And, in most cases, both groups of people will be unhappy dealing with their diabetes.
Bottom-line, you must bring a fresh perspective that will help both groups with their disease.
Join a local support group. This is an excellent way to learn how people are dealing with your disease. It's also a way that people will get to learn about you.
Focus on your primary target audience! Make sure that you don't try to take on the entire world! Focus on a niche market and learn how to be successful in that small niche markets to build your credibility. Then, leverage your success to expand to other groups. If you try to take on the whole world or too big of a problem, you will fail. Or, you will burnout within a couple years.
When I first started, although I knew a lot about a lot of diseases, I focused on Type 2 diabetes. Although people with other diseases like obesity, heart disease, cancer and Type 1 diabetes approached me, I remained focused on Type 2 diabetes. Even when parents who had children with Type 1 diabetes approached me, I stayed away for quite a few years. Why? I stayed away for two reasons: (1) I didn't know as much about Type 1 diabetes as I did about Type 2; and, (2) The dynamics of helping children is different than helping adults.
Let me explain. It was pretty easy to address the first reason -- all I had to do was invest the time into more in-depth research of the pathology and pathogenesis of Type 1 diabetes at the cellular level. Concerning the second reason, that is a little trickier. Parents are very protective of their children and rightly so. It is easier for an adult to entrust their health with you -- if it doesn't work, they're okay with that. But, it's a lot more difficult to entrust their child's health with you -- if it fails, heaven forbid, the child may die. In fact, this is part of the fear factor and guilt trip that Western Medicine uses to keep parents in line with relying on drugs to treat their child.
As a result, you must have a lot more credibility if you want to help a child versus the credibility you need to help an adult. Many health advocates make the mistake by doing the exact same thing that Big Pharma dord -- they use fear! By telling the parent that child is going to suffer or even die, it raises their defense shields. Instead, the focus should be to first educate the parents and provide safe alternatives that can be tested and verified before using their children as guinea pigs!
In my situation, it turned out that at least one of the parents who had a child with Type 1 diabetes, also had the disease or some similar disease. By educating and treating the parent first, we gained credibility; and, more importantly, we gained their trust to eventually be able to help their child.
In addition, for any suggestions we made, especially about nutrition and supplements, we always provided clinical references to substantiate our claims. We also used blood tests, hormone tests, etc. to demonstrate that their health was improving. If you can't back up what you're saying or writing about, it becomes your word against the word of Western Medicine and Big Pharma.
Focus on a solution. Find or design a solution for your target audience. Don't play the blame game. People want solutions to their health problems -- not complaints. Complaints won't make your customers healthier. In fact, you may cause damage to their health by making them angry!
Now, don't get me wrong -- there are some authors who have become very successful by blaming others. Kevin Trudeau is a great example. He became a millionaire blaming Big Pharma and the government. But, his books didn't help people with their health.
Become a health advocate for your community. This will allow you to connect with your audience and other people. This is also how you build your credibility. You will also learn how to develop a thick skin. when you become a health advocate. Remember: you're going up against the establishment, the status quo -- so, people are going to attack you. But, don't take it personally.
Keep in mind that there are 5 major reasons why people will attack you:
1. Ignorance, lack of knowledge
4. Lack of self-esteem/confidence
People know very little about the science of disease and drugs, so they will attack you out of ignorance. You can counter this by educating them (talks, lectures, workshops, a book, a website, etc.).
People are fearful of change, especially when it affects their lifestyle or their children and it goes against conventional wisdom. And, when people are afraid, they become overly anxious and even angry. Politicians use fear a lot as does Big Pharma. Again, education is the key.
Some people will not accept the fact that you may know more than them. Their pride will prevent them from accepting your message. Instead, they will test you. I used to love this when someone would test me during a public talk. They assumed that they knew more or they thought I was some hokie who didn't know anything. But, I welcomed it, because many of them helped to reinforce my message.
Believe it or not, people who attack you lack self-esteem or self-confidence! But, they hide it by attacking you! It's part of the bullying dynamic. Remember the local bully in your neighborhood? He/she was more afraid of you than you were of them!
Some people may attack you out of jealousy or envy. Because they perceive that you're living this great life, they may become envious of you or even angry.
Now, you may be asking: What does this have to do with writing a book? Well, it takes courage to write a book, especially a book about a controversial topic. When you put yourself out there, you want to be prepared.
If you're prepared, you'll have fun. If you're not prepared, you will not have fun -- it's that simple.
"Be prepared, son. That's my motto. Be prepared." [Quote from Bruce Willis in The Last Boy Scout]
Write a bio. Write a great bio, based on how you overcame your health problem and improved your overall health. Think about your family, work, and life experiences and how they guided you to this point.
Don't underestimate your own life -- you may not think your life is important or exciting because you're living it. But, there are events and challenges in your life that you overcame that could help someone else.
Don't be shy or bashful -- be open and honest; and, expand on the challenges you had to overcome and explain what motivated you to get better, e.g. I wanted to see my children grow up and go to college.
Write an elevator speech. If you ran into Oprah on an elevator and you had 30 seconds, what would you tell her? Make sure your key message is in your bio! People make the mistake of writing long bios and forget their message or they bury their message!
Begin defining your brand. Think about who you are and what you represent. Think about what you want other people to know about you. Make that part of your brand.
Make sure that your narrative is a positive one -- it's part of your branding. For example, Mr. McCulley was initially known as "the anti-drug guy", but, he changed the narrative to "the guy who helps diabetics live a healthier life." Later, he became known as the "ex-diabetic engineer" and the "engineer who saves diabetic lives". FYI: If you google "ex-diabetic engineer", Mr. McCulley's name should come up.(This is part of your branding).
Develop a program. If you have done a lot of research and taken a lot of notes, you probably have more than enough information for several book! But, you can't seem to tie it all together, right? Step back and make sure that you're not trying to solve world hunger. :-)
Select a topic with a lot narrow focus. Then, define a set of steps or instructions that will address the problem. Flush out these steps until it makes sense to you. Once you have done this, you will have an outline of your "get well" program!
Then, you can take each step, make it a chapter within your book and then start adding the details to the chapter.
Put together a 1-page pamphlet that summarizes your story of recovery and improving your overall health. Define a set of steps that explains how you recovered. And, don't forget to include your name, contact information, and, a nice photo. Then, make copies of the pamphlet on various colored papers to hand out at health fairs, church events and other community events.
Also, convert the pamphlet into a PDF and offer it as a free "ebook" on your blog or website.
Create your draft manuscript. Review, edit and update your manuscript.
Example of a Book Outline, Content & Architecture
Below is an example of a book outline architecture that you can use as a guide to define your book's architecture and set of chapters. This outline is based on the MS Word doc template that some of our first-time authors use to build their first draft manuscript.
Our doc template has the Page Setup, Headers and Footer, Styles & Formatting, sections & sub-sections, pagination, and TOC built into the doc template. This is for people who aren't that familiar with how to use MS Word to set up their book format.
For more details and a copy of the template,refer to the author's How to Write a Book ebook.
Format your manuscript. Get the manuscript formatted in book form with headers, footers, page numbers, etc. Popular paperback book sizes include 5 x 8, 5½ x 8½ and 6 x 9; and, 8½ x 11 for workbooks or spiral-bound books.
Get a designer to do a professional cover design. Unless you are an artist and can do it yourself, hire a professional. They will be quick, and will help your book have visual appeal and look professional.
Get an ISBN number. An ISBN number is a 13 digit code used to easily identify and track your book. Many self-publishing sites will provide one for you, but if you plan on publishing entirely by your own, you should acquire one for yourself. You will need this so that your books can be listed in the Bowker database where bookstores pick up latest books for retailing.
You can buy a single or multiple ISBNs directly from Bowker or an ISBN service.
Get your book printed. Find a local printer and get your book printed. Then, review the book in detail. You'll be surprised how many new problems you uncover! :-)
Publish online. Use Amazon, Kindle, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, etc. to reach a larger audience. Also, consider setting up your own online store.
Use a Vanity Publisher to publish your book. This may seem to be the easiest way to get published, but, be careful of hidden costs and giving up some control. Also, if you get your ISBN from them, they own your publishing rights!
Conduct in-depth research for your topic area. Find out what experts in that topic area have to say. Figure out what you have to offer that would be beneficial to your potential readers.
Conduct a market survey of your key competitors and determine how to position your book to sell (with a great hook). This is one of the biggest secrets for turning your book into a top-seller!
Benchmark you book against other books -- what added value will your book provide? What will separate your book from other similar books?
Of course, I wouldn't really worry about doing any market research in the beginning -- unless you don't believe your health problem is a big problem.
FYI: I remember when I was trying to convince my mother and my daughter that there was no need to for me to write a book about diabetes, because there were already thousands of books written about diabetes.
But, when I started doing the research, I discovered that most of the diabetes books were written by doctors and so-called marketing experts who hadn't experienced dealing with the disease. They were writing from a theoretical perspective!
Consequently, there was a strong need for a book about diabetes, written from the perspective of someone who had actually lived with the disease and beaten the disease.
Note 1: The business of writing self-help books is about establishing credibility as an expert in your subject area. If you expect readers to seek your book for advice, you need prove you aren’t just an amateur. So, it’s important to complete extensive research. The use of statistics can help you make points, show how certain techniques work, or let your readers know they’re not alone.
Note 2: Part of your research should include getting to know your target audience. Examine the type of person that you’ll be writing for, so you can develop a positive rapport and gain their trust by understanding who they are. It’s okay to address your reader as “you” and refer to yourself as “I.” This develops a warm and supportive tone that is imperative in a self-help book.
More Book Writing Tips
Organize your thoughts and develop an outline. Build your book around a framework of headings and subheads to help your reader easily follow along.
If you're good with pictures, then, develop a flow chart or diagram that represents the structure of your book.
Use a step-by-step method to explain your "program" and to avoid confusion.
Focus on just one skill or theory in each chapter, helping the reader know what they should be taking away from the material. Then, expand on each chapter to build the manuscript for your book. Use shorter paragraphs to limit each paragraph to a single idea.
Remember to stay focused on the practical – inspirational sentences and theories can be helpful, but overuse may overwhelm the reader.
Have your manuscript properly edited by a professional. You want to ensure that people don't find misspellings, typos and grammar being utilized incorrectly.
Select a great title to reach your target audience.
Come up with a design for your book cover and find a reputable professional designer to design your cover as a high res JPEG and a PDF.
Make sure you tell your story as part of the book. Why? Because stories sell. Your story will create a connection with your reader and target audience.
Provide a fresh point of view that is different from other books in your genre.
For a self-help book, provide a simple solution that is easy for your readers to understand and implement. Make it as easy as possible for your readers to see how they can implement your instructions and improve their lives.
Speak their language, that is the language of your target audience. Speak in your voice or the voice of the reader to "connect" with your readers.
Author's Perspective About Selecting the Right Topic: It may take you a few months to discover the best topic to write about, so don't let it overwhelm you -- the process will guide you. For example, when I first started researching, it led me to investiage other diseases, not just diabetes. I ended up with a manuscript of more than 10,000 pages of words, tables, charts, diagrams, spreadsheets, etc. Obviously, I had gone a little overboard. :-)
But, ironically, that in-depth research helped me to better understand how most diseases break down the body at the cellular level and how the body responds to those diseases. And, by looking at multiple diseases, I began to see certain patterns about those diseases and realized that diabetes was a lot more than a "blood sugar" problem!
Consequently, I was able to design a more effective solution that addressed a lot more than the blood sugar. And, by doing that, I actually came up with a solution (a wellness model) that worked! And, because it worked, people loved the book! [Years later, I used the same wellness model to design programs for other illnesses and diseases, e.g. heart disease, cancer, autoimmune diseases. When I am able to find the time, I will do more in-depth research and eventually write a new book about another disease].
Because of all of the in-depth research I had done, it made it easier for me to explain why people were diabetic and remained diabetic. More importantly, it made it easier for me to design a solution that actually help people with their diabetes!
While writing your book, be careful not to overdo "the blame game". I discovered early on that blaming "Big Pharma" or the government made people angry and it didn't solve their problem with their diabetes. In fact, because they became so angry, this raised their blood sugar! So, I decided to focus more on the science behind diseases and understand them at the cellular level.
But, you may be thinking that since most people don't really care about science, how is this going to help people? Well, back then, there were a lot of disagreements about how to treat diabetes. There were hundreds of these diets, but, most of them either didn't work or they only worked for a short period of time.
So, instead of designing a solution at that time, I decided to go back to the basics of science and biology to understand the disease better. And, by doing so, I began to see why most of these diets failed! I began to see that many of the assumptions that even some medical experts had made about diabetes and food were dead wrong! [no pun intended :-) ]
Of course, this took me a lot longer to write the book, but, in the end, it was the best thing that I could have done.
Please Note: During my talks to various community groups, I quickly realized that most people didn't care about the science. So, I decided to leave out a lot of the science in my book and put that information on my website; and, years later, in my training program.
For more details about writing a book including step-by-step instructions and training, read Chapter 9 of the 400-page How to Start a Business & Write a Book ebook.
A bio is a summary of the highlights of your career and your life—your training, credits, and something about you personally, especially if you overcame any health issues. It tells the public in sentence form—unlike the columns in your resume—what experiences and formal education you have that qualifies you to help your target audience with their health issues.
A bio is useful for a host of reasons such as applying for a job, publishing an article or guest blog post, general networking etc. A bio is a great vehicle for quickly communicating who you are and what you do.
Don't underestimate the importance of a great bio. Your bio is getting more and more important and you should make sure it sells you, brings out your personal brand, and connects with your target audience.
Types of Bio: Job/Performance-focused, Event-focused (more like a story), Combo
Use the following tips to help you write an effective bio that your readers will be attracted to and become interested in your website, book, services, etc.
Think about what is your motivation: Wanting to help others with diabetes? wanting to live longer to see your children grow up? preventing the loss of more relatives from diabetes, other diseases?
Who are you? Define yourself in one sentence.
What gives you credibility? What makes you interesting? What helps people connect with you? Are you a member of a professional organization? Have you published any articles? Written for a newspaper or magazine? Have you helped to improve the health of others?
Think about what your primary skills are and how they play into your bio. Skills: 3 R's, 4th R: running your mouth; 5th R?: rebel (if you plan to be a health advocate or if you plan to write a controversial book
Content of your Bio
Try not to include too much “resumé” type information in your bio –- info such as your education, job history, etc. tends to be boring. Only include what’s relevant to your business goals and business/marketing plan.
Consider carefully the purpose of your bio and who is the audience. Why? Because the purpose of your bio determines what type of bio to write: To impress? to target a specific audience? to connect with and attract customers? to establish credibility?
Tailor your bio to your audience. For example, if your audience is diabetics, make sure that you mention something about how you've helped diabetics.
Write in the third person -- it will make your bio sound more objective – like it’s been written by someone else – which can be useful in a formal setting (ex. for work). If the bio is personal, however, writing it in the first person will make it sound friendlier.
Don't make "lists." Describe or elaborate your skills, training, and experience in sentence form.
State your claim to fame. What are you known for? What do you do for a living? Don't leave this to the end or make your readers guess—they won't and they may well lose interest quickly if it's not up front. This should be explicitly stated in the first or second sentence. Usually, combining it with your name is easiest.
Your Opening Sentence of Your Bio
This is where you sell yourself to the editor. Your opening line is your introduction, the first thing the editor notices. This line can make you or break you. Your name should be the first thing you write. Start out by stating, "Jennifer Greene is a freelancer, online journal editor, e-book author." State your name and who you are. Never mention your personal life, just your professional titles.
The 2nd Paragraph
State your business: Just like a resume, you want to drop your occupation and accomplishments in there early. The reader needs to be hooked and enticed to keep reading.
Mention your most important accomplishments, if applicable. This is a tricky one, and might not be applicable in all situations. Remember that a bio is not a resume. Do not list your accomplishments, and only include them if they are relevant and you have space.
The Next Paragraph
Include personal, humanizing details. This is a nice way to invite the reader to care. It’s also your chance to get some of your personality across.
When he isn’t glued to a computer screen, he spends time working in the garden, playing trivia at the pub, and trying very hard not be the worst pool player in the Rockies.
End your bio with your contact details or hyperlink the content to ways of contacting you like your email or your LinkedIn profile.
Note: If your bio is to be published online, be careful with the email address in order to avoid spam. Many people write email addresses online as something like: jennifer (at) fizzlemail (dot) com.
You can reach her at jgreene (at) email (dot) com.
Size of Bio
Aim for at least 250 words. For an online blurb, this is just enough to give the reader a taste of your life and personality without becoming a bore. For a more serious post such as a college entrance bio, delve into the details a little more.
Elements of bio include:
- Your area of expertise;
- Key events that your audience can relate to
- Relevant business experience (if you offer related business services or you’re a speaker)
- Any major media coverage you’ve received; Publications that you write for
- Key words (for SEO/Google)
- A link to your website
- The title of your book (if applicable)
Everyone wants your bio to be shorter. The shorter your bio, the more people will read it. No one is impressed by a long series of unimpressive things. If you have a great one sentence bio, people will be curious enough to find out more. On the other hand, if you have a bad, long bio they are certain never to want to learn anything about you. When you are famous enough to appear on TV or write an article for The New York Times, your by-line will be a few words long: Author. Senator. Musician. Keep this in mind. The goal is to make your bio shorter, not longer.
Review your bio
Review your bio several times -- ensure key words are part of your bio to help with search engines finding you. Get your friends to proof your bio before you publish it anywhere. Remember that your bio is a living document and you should review it on a monthly basis. As it’s fairly short it won’t take you too long to make changes that can be quite important to the reader.
A micro, short and long bio
You will need a micro, short and long bio for different purposes. You will find that your bio will be requested in different lengths and therefore it’s advisable to keep three or even more versions. The micro bio is basically a sentence that you can use as your elevator pitch and on your Twitter profile. The short bio should be one paragraph long and cover all the need to knows. The long bio adds the nice to knows and should sum you up completely. The long bio can live on your personal site for those interested.
As a rule of thumb, the micro bio is one sentence, the short bio should be 100-250 words; and the long bio can be up 1-2 pages.
Later on, you should expand the long bio into several pages within your book.
For blogs and websites, have a short version ready that really defines who you are, what you do and, again, why you do it.
Key Point: Make sure that you really love your bio and it's been reviewed and edited by lots of people. Make sure of this before you start copying your bio and placing it in a press release or on your website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. Why? Because once it's in Google, everyone will see any errors, especially typos, and grammatical errors. Proof, double-proof and triple-proof it!
Before you get your book printed or published, make sure that your manuscript has been fully reviewed and edited several times.
Create and edit your draft manuscript. Once you've finished your first draft, go back through it with a fine-tooth comb. Reorganize passages, paragraphs and even chapters where necessary. Replace mundane words and make your phrasing more interesting and clear. Correct your spelling and grammar! Use Spell-checker!
Share it with other people. Present your manuscript to your reading club or a friend so you can get an outside opinion. Stories you find impossibly funny might seem dull to someone else. Get feedback from several people if you can, so you'll have a better idea of how your book comes across to other people.
- If several people recommend cutting a certain section, strongly consider making the cut.
- Try to get opinions from people outside your circle of family and friends. People who know you might try to spare your feelings, or they might be biased - especially if they appear in the story.
Hire a copy editor. This is one of the most important things that you can do! There is nothing more devastating and damaging than having a bunch of spelling errors and poor grammar in your book! You will lose your credibility immediately!
A good copy editor will clean up your writing and make sense of your words so that the average person will understand what you're saying. Keep in mind that the average person only has a high school reading level of understanding.
Whether you're planning on getting your book published at a publishing house or using self-publishing, it's never a bad idea to have a professional editor polish your book at the end of the writing process.
Come up with a title. It should match the tone and style of your book, in addition to being attention-grabbing and intriguing. Keep the title short and memorable, rather than wordy and difficult to grasp.
Take steps to self-publish your book. Even if you don't want to worry about trying to sell your book to the public, you might want to have it designed and printed to keep it for yourself and give to your family members and other people that you mention in the book. Make sure that you research various companies that offer book designing, printing, and shipping services, and decide how many copies you'd like to order. Many companies offering these services produce books that look just as professional as those printed by traditional publishing houses.
If you don't want to pay for a publishing service, you can still create a nice copy of your book by taking it to a local printer or a copy store and having it printed and bound.
In fact, you may want to get your book printed locally first. Why? Because, more than likely, you'll find errors that you or even the editor overlooked!
Optional: Consider finding a literary agent. If you want to publish your book and share it with the world, enlisting the help of a literary agent can get you on your way.
- Start the query letter with an airtight blurb succinctly describing the highlights of the book. Situate your book in the correct genre, and describe what will make it stand out from the rest. Tell the agent why you think he or she is the right person to shop your book around to publishers.
- Send sample chapters to agents who show interest.
- Sign a contract with an agent you trust. Make sure to read the contract carefully and check into the agent's history before signing anything.
Submit a query letter directly to publishers. If you don't want to take the time to find an agent, you can submit a letter directly to publishers and see if anyone bites. Research publishers that publishes books in the same genre. Don't send the entire manuscript right away; wait until you get a manuscript request from the publisher.
- Many publishers don't accept unsolicited manuscripts or queries. Make sure you only send letters to publishers that accept them.
- If a publisher decides to move forward with a book deal with you, you'll need to sign a contract and set up a schedule for editing, designing, proofreading, and finally publishing the book.
Look into publishing your book online. This is an increasingly popular method for publishing books, and a great way to save on printing and shipping expenses for all involved. Research online publishers that publish the books in the same genre, submit your query letter, and move forward with editing and publishing the text.
Create an ebook of your book to sell as a download. This is a very inexpensive way to get "published" without spending any money. But, if you want to reach the masses, you will want to get published.
FYI: Ironically, after I got published, some customers (especially international customers)wanted the ebook! Finally, after about 4 years, I finally produced an expanded version of the book as an ebook.
Get book published in multiple languages. After you have received enough feedback and updated your master manuscript, consider getting your book published in multiple languages. If it's too expensive, then, get key job aids and charts in the book published in multiple languages.
Note: The major types of books to write include:
-- Fiction: Mystery, Thriller, Crime, Science Fiction, Romance
-- Non-Fiction: Health, Self-Help, History, Biographies, Religious/ Spirituality, Current Affairs, True Crime, Business
Key Point: Write about what you know about.
Now, just because you've written a book doesn't mean thousands of people are going to buy your book! :-)
First, they have to know that you've written a book! Second, you have to make it easy for them to find your book. And, third, you need to explain why they need to buy your book.
One of the most important things that you can do while writing or after you haven written a book is getting the word out. One of the best ways to do that is to talk, talk, talk, and keep talking. :-)
Talk to others about your recovery and the challenges you faced, and exactly how you overcame your health problem. And, talk about the project that you are so passionate about.
There is no better way to promote your book (without actually promoting your book) than by just telling your story! Most people get turned off by authors who push their book. But, most people love a good story!
Don't just talk in formal settings. Talk to people while standing in the grocery store line. Talk to people while standing in line at the post office. Talk to people at work, at church, in the parking lot! :-)
Think of ways to engage people about health. Explain to people why you're drinking a green smoothie. Explain to people why you have 12 boxes of frozen vegetables in your shopping cart. :-)
In the beginning, don't rely on Facebook and the Internet solely for promoting your book. Actually, Facebook is one of the worst places to try to promote your book. Start locally and build from there. If you can't sell your book locally, what makes you think you can sell it on a national level?
Oh, by the way, when you start locally, you can make mistakes and be able to recover, plus you have time to practice. If you make a mistake nationally, it may be difficult to recover.
Where to Start:
Step 1a: The most important part of successful promoting or advertising is to figure out exactly who your customers are, where they are, and how to reach them.
Step 1b: Look for non-traditional places to share your story with others, e.g. post office, grocery store, the mall, church, a health fair, work, etc.
Step 1c: Create a 1-page pamphlet of steps or tips on how people can improve their health. Don't forget to include your contact information. Tip: Use a bright color for the pamphlet's paper so that it stands out.
Create a colorful job aid such as a chart, table or diagram that turns a complex problem into an easy-to-read solution. But, don't get carried away with the colors -- too many colors is distracting and may take away from your message.
And, don't forget to add your name with a "copyright" and your website url, if you have a website.
Step 1d: Get your story in the local newspaper. There's nothing more credible than having your story in the newspaper. Make copies of the newspaper article to hand out to people. Tip: Always carry a few copies of the newspaper article with you just in case you run into someone at the mall, grocery store, post office, etc.
Step 1e: This is the ideal to have your elevator pitch ready. There are many places besides the elevator where you will need your 30-second elevator pitch. :-)
Step 2: Once you know your target market or where they reside, speak to them directly. That means coming up with a message from your book that fits your customers.
Step 3: The hardest part of advertising your book is figuring out how to reach your target market. In the beginning, it’s a good idea to start locally. Visit churches, go to health fairs, get on the radio, get interviewed, get some testimonials, join/talk to a support group, etc.
But, don't forget to practice before you go on the radio! Use humor, but, only if it's in you. Humor relaxes people, draws them in. But, be careful -- if you try to be funny and you hear crickets, that's not good! :-)
Being an engineer, most of us are just not funny. We tend to be overly analytical and boring. We get overly excited about science and mathematics, but, most people could care less. Thanks to my daughter, she convinced me to stop talking about the science and using big words. She said: "Dad, you sound like one of those doctors who use big words to intimidate us or make us feel stupid. Talk about grandma, talk about your daughter :-) We're more interesting than science and numbers."
As it turned out, my daughter was right. Once I turned my talks into focusing more on family, it seemed to draw in more people! It also seemed to loosen me up and somehow the humor came out, which seemed to also loosen up the audience.
And, during radio interviews, I was pleasantly surprised when the radio show hosts would ask me to come back and speak again. I found out later that after my radio interviews, the radio station would receive a lot of calls about my story and asked if they planned to have me on their show again.
p.s. To give you sense of how I spoke (without the humor) versus with the humor: There are some early videos on YouTube where I was really boring, unprepared and nervous -- and, you can tell! But, in some of the later videos, you can sense the difference in my voice, my demeanor, my confidence -- thanks to my daughter ...
Step 4: Make sure your advertising is memorable and professional. Remember, first impressions are important. Create a great tagline, or slogan that people won’t forget! Add humor to your personal story.
Step 5: These days, having a good website is important. You can create a website for little to nothing. Make sure your website has all of the information your customers need about your book and your other products and services; plus, pricing, directions, and specials!
Offer a free ebook or job aid on your website to begin building your email contact list. Have visitors to your site fill out a form;and, then, send them the free ebook or job aid.
Tip: Don't use Facebook as your "website"! Use Facebook and Twitter to expand your reach to your target audience. Keep a copy of anything you put on Facebook, Twitter or any social media platform.
Ideas for Local Advertising:
Get interviewed on the local radio stations -- if you have a good story, it won't cost you anything! But, focus on your story, not the book!
And, don't forget to get a copy (mp3 file) of your interview from the radio station. If you're a "techy" person, we'll show you how to convert the audio into a video that you can post on YouTube!
Get your story into one of the local newspapers. It doesn’t have to be a city wide newspaper. Your town may have a penny saver or small alternative newspaper and your neighborhood may also have a local newsletter or neighborhood paper.
Getting on the radio creates a buzz. Getting in the newspaper creates a buzz also, but, it will gain you credibility.
Step 6: Contact Amazon.com (CreateSpace) and get your book sold online and to reach more people. Amazon will send you a monthly commissions check, based on your book sales! Tip: If you have your book published by CreateSpace, it will automatically be added to the Amazon store.
Key Point: Writing a book is a double-edged sword. If it's a great book, you'll gain credibility and notoriety and reach a lot of people. People will want to talk to you. However, if it's not a great book, you won't gain credibility and notoriety and reach a lot of people. If the book is poorly written or doesn't provide a solution that works, you will lose credibility, never gain any notoriety and not reach a lot of people.
Keep in mind that over 80% of first-time authors sell less than a hundred of their books! The primary reasons: Selecting the wrong topic; the book is poorly written, offers no effective solution, has a bad cover design and or a bad title, etc.
Bottom-line: Make sure that you select the right topic!! Know your audience! Don't assume that just because you're passionate about a topic that they will be as passionate! And, don't point fingers -- it's easy to blame others like the drug companies and the government. Most people don't care who's to blame -- they just want to get well! And, do your homework to devise a solution that works! And, test the solution to make sure it works before you publish it!
If you're not sure what to do next, or if you want to know more about writing a book, then, get the author's 400-page How to Start a Business & Write a Book ebook along with a free training session worth at least $750!
FYI: If you're wondering why information about starting a business and writing a book are in the same book, it turns out that many of the activities associated with starting a business are also associated with writing a book. Depending on how you plan to market and sell your book, writing a book may be a stepping stone towards starting a health-related business. But, even if you don't want to start a health business, you will still need to perform some of those steps for your book. Given that, it didn't make sense to separate these activities into two separate books.
If you only need information about health coaching, then, get the author's How to be a Great Health Coach ebook.
These are inexpensive ebooks that will guide you on your journey and explain how to get started without investing a lot of money upfront and, yet, save you a lot of wasted time, especially in the beginning.
If you already have a business and you want to grow your business and revenues, then, consider the comprehensive Health Coaching & Business Training Program -- the online/physical kit version or the less expensive online-only downloadable version.
Disclaimer: This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
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