020 | The Power of a Book: How a Book Can Transform People's Business with Kathy WheelerJan 21, 2023
Join me for another epic reboot episode from SuzPro Live. This podcast conversation featured Kathy Wheeler, an author of six books and creator of the 90 Day Book program. The conversation discussed the process for writing a book, including the importance of outlining, Amazon research, self-editing and having a professional editor read it. It also discussed the differences between self-publishing and traditional publishing, as well as how authors can use their books to leverage their businesses.
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This podcast conversation featured Kathy Wheeler, an author of six books and creator of the 90 Day Book program. The conversation discussed the process for writing a book, including the importance of outlining, Amazon research, self-editing and having a professional editor read it. It also discussed the differences between self-publishing and traditional publishing, as well as how authors can use their books to leverage their businesses.
Additionally, it was noted that authors are responsible for their own marketing regardless of which route they choose and that book tours are becoming less popular.
Finally, it was suggested to set a time limit when trying to traditionally publish and to be aware that self-publishing is constantly changing every couple months. In this episode, Kathy discussed how to write and publish a book for coaches and entrepreneurs. She highlighted two common mistakes: not hiring an editor and not doing enough upfront work.
Her number one tip was to simply commit the time and do it, even if it's only 15 minutes a day. She also suggested using voice recording software such as Temmie, which will require more editing but can help capture ideas quickly. To help people get started on their book-writing journey, she has a course available on her website the 90daybook.com and a free blueprint available on her website as well.
The Imperfect Transcript:
Welcome to another episode of The Suzanne Show, where I talk a little online business, human resources, personal development, chronic illness, and whatever else I decide to chat about. I am so excited that you are here and I love to hear from my listeners.
Please feel free to reach out to me on my website, suzanneproxa.com, or on my program site, programs.suzanneproxa.com, or on all the socials where I'm also Suzanne Proksa. And don't forget to put that K before the S. Let's move on with the episode. I can't wait for you guys to dive in.
Hey beautiful human, just a quick note that the episode that you are about to listen to is from my former show, SuzPro Live. But it is so good that I just wanted to make sure that it was still being shared. So enjoy. Hello everybody, your goofy host Suzanne Proxa here, business strategist and coach. Welcome to another Suze Pro Live.
I am super excited to be here with Kathy Wheeler today to talk about books and being an author. This lady is an author of six books, not just one, and has a program called the 90 Day Book. So I am going to let her tell you all the juicy details about her and what she does, because as I always say, she'll do a much better job than I can.
Well, thank you. Welcome everyone. And we really did not plan our matching shirts today. Mine's my writing shirt, my black and white script. Nice. Yes. Yes.
Well, anyways, I'll just give you guys a bit of a background about myself. I actually have an engineering degree with marketing minor. So I have a very diverse background. I kind of pulled all that in to create the class I have. I started writing books five years, well, actually longer than five years ago. My first published book was five years ago.
I just got really inspired and decided I was going to do it. And I did it. Self published, loved the whole process, had a very successful first book and people started asking me how I did it. So everywhere I'd go, they wanted to know how I wrote my book, not about the other stuff I did. So I started coaching people on the side and then eventually I created my 90 Day Book course.
And that kind of came about because when August, someone who heard that I wrote books called me and she wanted to write one. So we met at a coffee shop and here we are in this little coffee shop. And she says, I want to send my, it's like right around Memorial Day weekend or no, Labor Day, Labor Day weekend.
And she says, I want to send my book out as a Christmas present to Mike. Instead of sending a Christmas card, I want to send a Christmas book out to my whole list.
And she's like, can we get it done?
I was like, if you can follow structure, we can get it done. So we worked together, came up with a plan and she got her book out for her whole Christmas list. She sent her little book. Cool. Yeah. Anybody that knows me knows that I like creative. I like outside of the box and creative things. So I think that's super cool. Yeah. I have her book right here.
I have some demo books.
It was, I mean, it's, it's just a nice little book and it was about a year that she took. She took a year sabbatical and she wanted to write about it.
So that's, that's what that was about. Very nice. Yes. And in addition to that, I also published book writing magazine, which is a magazine available through Apple, through the newsstand.
Oh, nice. That's cool. Yeah. Awesome. So everybody go out and check that out.
Well, thank you. Yes.
So, so many questions on this topic because it's a hot one.
You know, a lot of people want to write a book. I know I've got three ideas and outlines myself. Uh huh. Find the time. Right.
So can you talk to us about like the general process for writing a book?
Yes. Yes. Unless you have a better starting point.
No, but I do want to say that spurred a couple of thoughts when you said that. So first of all, that is perfect that you have three books you want to write because most people try to put too much into one book. So it's better to slice it down into those bits and pieces like that. If you can.
In fact, right now, um, people are used to consuming smaller pieces of information. So the shorter books, which is like this, you know, like this one, um, tend to do better like because people read them through the end. So I've heard the statistic and somebody told me that Dan Sullivan of the strategic coach said it, the 80% of books that are this length are red.
Like once people get them, they read them versus 7% of traditional length books. So that's really incentive to write the shorter books. Now I have not been able to track that statistic down, but the trend is definitely more towards the shorter ones.
So it's, it's nice.
In fact, the book that has gotten me the most business is a very, very specific short niche book, but it serves people. It's what they wanted. So I wanted to mention that while you had said that. And then you also mentioned that you were through or working on the outlining. So that's a great place to start.
So with my engineering background, of course, I have a little quality quote by one of the quality experts, Deming, he said the first 15% of the project is really what determines the success. So you really do want to put a lot of work into that upfront part of the outlining, the research.
In fact, I just put together a quick video today. And I can share it on in your group, if that's okay, of how to do some of the Amazon market research. So at the upfront, it's so much like running a business. You want to really have clarity and things defined.
So what are some of the things you do at the upstart of the business?
Who knows what their, who their target audiences?
Oh yes. Yes. Yeah. It's good to take it even a step further when you're writing your book. You want it to sound very engaging and conversational. So if you pick one specific person, so maybe it's your favorite client and do it like you're writing a letter to them. But I mean, like a book just to that one person. So it's good to have your target market defined.
So really just like the, you know, that's one of the tips for writing copy is to pick a person that you want to talk to. Yeah. Sally that you put on your avatar sheet or whatever. So that's interesting. Yes.
And this, I think it's even better if you have one specific client in mind. Yeah.
So, I mean, cause you really like, you really know them.
So yes, it is exactly like it is in this. When you go through and clarify your message at the get go. So the clarifying the message, narrowing it down, working out the key points, looking out at what's out there. And so this is another thing that's so much like regular business. First of all, you have to kind of find your little spot in the market that you fit.
So you're not exactly the same as other books. You need to look and see what's out there that, uh, what people want. So you have in your mind what they need. And so this is so much like regular business, like, you know what they need, but it's so important to give them what they want too.
So you kind of need to lead with what they want and also include what they need in the book. And when you're structuring it too, before you start writing, it is so good to know what you want the purpose of the book to do.
So is this just a completely transformational book or do you want to drive people to your website?
Do you want to have these people as clients?
And I've, I've worked with both so that I just looking over at that book, she just really wanted to share her message. So she doesn't have a website and all of that, but I've also worked with people and, and this lady did a really good job. This is called be amazing. It's a motivational seven step book.
And so I had a time she thought about the structure and I don't know how well you can see this, but she put worksheets in here. And then she has people go to her website so that things can be printed too, if they want. So there's great ways you can work it in. So it's really important to think about that structure upfront, how you're going to want to do it all.
So you get your outlining. We're still talking about the process here. I hope I didn't lose anyone. I feel like I'm sidetracked here and there. After you have your outlining done, it really all comes together. So there's different styles of outliners and it doesn't matter. Do what works for you. If you're a mind mapper, do it via mind map. If you're a bullet list, do it that way.
So whatever works for you, the more details you have in it, the faster it will be to write, but it will take longer with the outline. I will say I have one gal who had so many details in her outline. She said it took her a week to write her book and this is her book. That's how thick her book is. So that's how the difference, the outlining can make me.
I just put one or, well, really one sentence, sometimes one or two words is what I was going to say. And so then the writing takes me longer, but you have to do it for the style that works for you. Yeah. I just do the one sentence thing. Yeah. Yeah. So it's just really whatever style has worked for you in the past. Just do that.
Like do what you would do for blog posts. If you're not a big fan or for blog posts and maybe just, you still want some sort of structure like the one or two sentences, but maybe not all the details.
And then, so do you have any questions up to this point?
And I can go on.
Well, I do have one cause you mentioned the Amazon research and I'm not sure that everybody really knows like how to do that. Yeah. It's in that video.
So, okay. Yeah. I'll post it on your page so everybody can go and watch that, but I could run through it real quick here if you wanted to, but that might get kind of boring, but you can, cause it's kind of technical. What you can do is you go on Amazon and you, and there's search bar, you just search for your topic area. So the example I did social justice.
So some people might want to do mindset. And so then it will pop up all the books and you can get so much information from those books. You can click inside and look at the table of contents to see what people are writing about, what they're including. You can kind of tell who they're targeting based on the language and the description.
Like for example, the social justice one, I came up with one that was specifically for Catholics. So you can kind of see where you fit in the market with that. And the reviews are a wealth of information, a wealth in there. So you will find what people wish was in there, what they love that was in there.
The number one thing you will see on self published books is that it needed an editor. So you must, must, must have an editor. No matter how you are publishing, you need to have it professionally edited. But the step by step instructions are in there. Those are all good things to look at as well as, as pricing and the categories that it's in. Cool. Thank you. Yeah.
So once you have all of that done, you have your strong foundation built, you need to start the writing process. So that's going to be just really different for everyone. And I have some writer block tips we can talk about later if you want. Oh cool. Yeah. So the writing process is, if you have a goal finish date, you break it up for that goal finish date.
And then the important thing is to write, write, write, write without stopping yourself. So you get in the flow and keep writing. Don't try to edit while you're writing. If you're stuck with where to start, I always say just start with your favorite subject, your favorite chapter. You do not have to start at the beginning. And in fact, I recommend do not start at the introduction.
It's best to write the introduction last because book writing tends to be an organic process. So things will change. You have your whole outline and then you'll be like, but wait, I want to do this, which is perfectly natural.
So, so go for it that way. And then once you have it written, you're going to want to go through and do at least one round of self edits. So you want to go through and rewrite, some people take out two thirds of their book. Oh my goodness. So most people overwrite. I underwrite, so I have, I have the opposite problem, but don't be surprised if it changes a lot.
Cause like I said, it is an organic process and that's such a hugely important part of the process is to do that whole rewriting.
And I don't know, do you do that when you write content for online?
Do you go through and rewrite?
You know, I actually love writing. I shouldn't admit this people because the people have been asking me about copy lately. It's kind of funny, but I actually love writing. And so I just type like mad, you know, kind of like what you suggested.
I just go, go, go. And I go back and make a few tweaks. It's usually, I actually usually like what I end up with. Right. And that's great for online content. And that's kind of how I go for online content too. Your book will be a little different. It will need maybe a bit more fine tuning.
And after you've put it away for a while, cause you've written all the other things and you come back, you'll be surprised at the things you want to change. Interesting. And then you'll pick your book up a few years later and you'll be like, Oh, I should have changed that too. I would absolutely do that. Yep. So you have to cut yourself off from editing too much.
At some point you have to cut yourself off. But yeah. So after you've gone through your first round of edits, you're going to want to send it to an editor, to a professional editor. And I recommend having an editor who is, is familiar with your field or genre. So this is the example. It just comes to mind of this.
I was at a writer's conference this weekend and the gal I sat next to was telling me about a gentleman who came to her and he had written a romance book.
So I work, I work mostly with nonfiction authors, but this book was a romance book and he had romance plastered all over the cover, all his marketing. So all this money invested into it and it wasn't a romance. It didn't fit the room.
So what's the one thing everybody knows about a romance?
It needs a happily ever after at the end. And they lived happily ever after. This book did not have a happily ever after. I was trying to win his wife back through the whole book. And then the end, she ended up with a different man. And it was written from his point of view.
So anyway, if he would have had a romance editor reading through that and that would have never happened. So now he really needs to go back and reposition his book or rewrite it because it's just making people unhappy. But also they'll be familiar with your industry terminology. Or if you have somebody who's familiar with your genre or your category, read it. And I recommend having some peers read it at first too.
But you'll go back through and no matter how good of a writer you are, if you're Stephen King, I don't care who you are, you're going to have a ton of edits to put in. So there's a lot of work that goes to place in that is not grammatically correct, but you guys know what I mean. There's a lot of work that goes into that. Interesting. Yeah.
And then if you're self publishing, while this is all going on, you also are working on cover design, back description and everything to get your marketing up and running. But then it's very easy to format and publish. You can hire somebody to format it. You can format it yourself. That's relatively easy.
Well, it's a few hours work, tedious, but it's not as hard as it might seem. Well that's good news. Yes. Anything that you can hire out that isn't super tedious is very good news. Yes. Yes. Yes. I will say though, when you hire it out, make sure you have your final, final version done and then ask them how revisions will be handled.
Because it might be in a format that you can't edit at that point and ask them for an editable format as well.
Oh, interesting. Yeah. Okay. So there's people that do just that. Yes. They do just the book formatting. So you can find them anywhere else. You can find any of your helpers.
Upwork, Fiverr, Hansel.
I was going to ask Fiverr and Upwork, are those going to be okay?
Yes. So you're going to really want to look at their credentials and background. When you look, especially at Upwork, you're going to want to look at their past work to see examples and really, really review them. Upwork has a ton of good people though for books, like a ton. So there's people who, in the publishing industry, people do not get paid much. So there's a lot of side jobs going on.
So a lot of these people are people who actually work for publishing houses. And then the publishing houses use a lot of freelancers as well. So they might be working for both.
In fact, I have a cover gal I've talked with who does a lot of the artwork for one of the big publishers. Interesting. Yes. And I've done a couple of my covers on Fiverr. I'm just looking for some examples. I had this one done on Fiverr. This was one of my first books and I still like the way that looks.
And that was not very much, but if you, but you will look at this cover so much nicer.
This one, she's a graphics person, the lady who wrote it. And by graphics, I mean an artist, she's not computer graphics, but she had a vision for how she wanted it to be and worked with a good cover designer. Very nice.
So curious, did you self publish yours?
Yes. Yes. So this will go back into my backstory with my engineering. I was not using the creative side of my brains. How during my lunch breaks, I would sit down and write. And so this was a long time ago. I would write out by hand and my little spiral notebooks. And I got partway through the traditional publishing process.
And then it wasn't accepted, but they asked for the whole manuscript was just actually a pretty big deal. If you're doing traditional fiction publishing, then we ended up relocating. We've relocated five times.
So I got, I got out of the writing, had kids, but so when I decided five years ago that I wanted to start writing again, I was like, I am just going to self publish because the traditional process is great. And I haven't talked at all about that. It's great, but the percentage of books that are actually published from when they go.
So from when you have your idea to going to the publisher, it's less than 1%. Oh wow. Yeah. So it's pretty low. Never discourage people though, if they want to traditionally publish, if that's their dream, I think they should give it a try. I just said it suggests that they set a time limit, like maybe try it for a year and then go back. But so people do want to traditionally publish.
The first part is a little bit different in that they, they do all the stuff we talked about, but they have to write a book proposal. So you don't start writing your book until it's been approved by the publishing company generally.
No, there's always exceptions to the rules, but that's how the majority of publishers like to work it. Yeah. So that would explain why a lot of people self publish. I'm sure there's a lot of reasons.
Yes, I actually, I'm sure. Yeah. I do have a report and it's like five reasons to self publish and one reason not to that. That is a good thing, but yeah, there's so much going on in the publishing industry and self publishing is so different than it was even five years ago.
In fact, it changes every couple months. Like things are constantly changing. A lot of the authors, a lot of the mainstream authors in both fiction and nonfiction are doing a combination of self publishing and traditional publishing because they like to keep their ties with the traditional publisher, but they tend to make more and have a little bit more creative flexibility when they self publish.
So a lot of the big name fiction authors are doing that. And some of the nonfiction authors as well. Something to think about. Yeah. Okay. So in this process, well, okay. So we talked about the self publishing versus traditional publishing. I'm trying to think of how to word this.
So what exactly is involved in the self publishing?
I mean, like what kind of things are people going to get into?
You mentioned the book cover. Right. I think we've talked about pretty much all of them. Okay. So you do have more control of your marketing. Either way, it's important to know that you're responsible for your marketing. So just because you go with a traditional publisher does not mean that they're going to do you a 50 city book tour, book signing tour at Barnes and Novel. No.
So like, you know, John Grisham might get that, but no, you and I, you and me, no, we're not, we're not going to get that. And book tours are becoming less and less popular. Okay. So either way, you're going to have to plan on doing a lot of marketing to sell your book.
And that's why one of the reasons I think it's best to write your book to help leverage your business because you put so much into it. You get your message out there, but all the time you're going to put into marketing it, you're going to want it to help your business too.
So your, most of your income is going to come from the clients you get because of your book and not because of book sales. So that's important to know.
But yeah, so some of the things though, if you do self publish, you can hire an interior designer to format it. You can hire, you want to hire a cover designer. The two things I strongly suggest to hire out no matter what the editor and the cover designer and the editor will cost. There's so there's, I could get really technical here, but I'll try not to. There's different types of editors.
The minimum price you will pay for a good editor is three to five cents a word. So that's just, yeah.
So it's, yeah. Oh my gosh. Somebody like me who talks a lot, writes a lot. Wow. Oh my goodness. Okay.
So how can you talk about using it for your business?
So how can people then use a book that they've written to boost their business, promote their business to, yes, to get clients in?
Well, first of all, a book just builds your credibility. People hear you have a book and it just 10 times your credibility. And so that book, I was saying that I've gotten the most business from, it's actually a very niche book on writing headlines.
I mean, so it's very, very niche.
And I, at a chamber of commerce event, somebody heard about it and it led to this whole chain of events. This person talks to that person where I've gotten so many referrals working with people because of that book and it all started because of that book. And then people come back to me, Oh, I heard you wrote this book.
Can you do X, Y, Z?
And so that's how a lot of business comes about. But so for the people who don't know you are not in person, you're going to want to structure a book upfront to drive people to your website. So have them go and like, it's kind of like a freebie, have them go and download worksheets or yeah, or like a list of things that will help them.
Or you can even with Kindle, you can link them specifically to videos. You can embed videos in there. So you can have videos in there. I have someone who's going to be putting links to meditations in her book.
Oh, cool. Yeah. So a lot of cool stuff that you can do. And then of course, if you're a speaker, you're going to want to bring your book to sell at the speaking events and you can leverage the organizers. Maybe if you can't get the speaker fee you want or any fee, you can sometimes leverage it like, okay, but buy this many books to give out to each person.
And then you make your money that way. Oh yeah. Yeah. But not only does it help you sell the books that way, but you'll be again, the credibility, you'll have more credibility because you have a book and more likely to be selected for the speaking event. I like it. Yeah. Very cool stuff.
So you teach more of this in your course, right?
Yes, I do. Yes. Good. All right.
So what are like the top mistakes that people make when they decide to dive into this?
Yeah. Having too many ideas.
Well, one of the first mistakes I already mentioned is not hiring an editor. So that was actually something that I hate to admit it, but I did it my first book. I know all these PhDs and I thought they can go through and whip through and fix my book for me.
And what I missed out on was what I talked about before grammatically it's fine and everything, but they didn't point out some of the issues I had with the book. Like it's boring here. That goes along with having somebody that you don't know read your book, having a professional editor and having someone who's familiar with the category you're writing read the book.
So that was a mistake I made with my first one. That's one of the huge mistakes. But the other one is not doing your upfront work. So you could write a fabulous book. And here's another example of a gal who did this. She wrote a book about a horrible situation.
She abused situation she had been through when she was younger and she does go around and speak about it, but she didn't pull out any redeeming things from the book. So not like I learned this or this is how I can recover and you can do it too, or here's some resources if you're going through this situation. She didn't do any of that.
And if she would have done the upfront work to look at the structure, of course a good editor would have caught that too. But if she would have done the upfront work to catch that when she was looking at the structure of other books, that never would have happened. So what she has is these people who leave these events crying. So rather than being uplifted.
So yeah, those are the biggest mistakes I see is in the upfront work. Okay. So if you've got, let's say you come across somebody who's just all, they're all gung ho, ready to go.
What's your number one tip for them?
You know, somebody is like, I want to write a book.
So out of everything that you know, everything that you've said today, what's your number one?
What do you think's most important?
They need to do it. They just need to do it. Nobody will ever regret writing a book yet to hear anybody who's written a book say that they regret it. Everybody's happy. You just got to sit down and do it. Commit the time and do it. All right. Very cool. So what you're saying is I need to schedule that time and just get it done. Yes. Yes.
You need to schedule it, even if it's only 15 minutes a day.
I don't, everybody has different writing chunks that they work in, but I think a lot of people can do it even with 15 minutes a day. Yeah. I recommend 45 to an hour, but, but start, start small. And once you get into it, you might just keep writing. Yeah. I know. And for me with time being so limited, it's like 10 to 15.
Oh, well you would like to write. So this might be a little different, but a tip for people who don't like to write is that you can use the speak to text software and speak your book, or you can record it and have it transcribed through a thing like Temmie. Those are going to require way more editing, but that is another option. So you could write it while you're driving.
Well, and that's interesting because I tried to find a decent app to do that for me and I could not find a decent one. What I have the best luck with for voice recording is the, the new one that Rev.com came out with it's called Temmie.com or I'm not sure if I'm saying that right. T-E-M-I.com.
And I think, I think they still have their free trial going on, but it's only 10 cents a minute. And now there's a lot more mistakes, but if you just record it, I think it's a lot easier than the text, the talk to text. If you just record it, they'll send it back to you and you'll have definitely things to correct, but you have your ideas captured. Okay. That's cool.
See, that's a great tip. Yeah. All right. So you've mentioned, or we've mentioned a couple of times that you have a course that can help people with this because obviously there's quite a bit involved in a lot of things that we absolutely could not dive into today.
You know, the whole nitty gritty of how to put it all together and where to send your book and how to do it on Kindle and all that stuff.
I'm sure you teach all of that, right?
Yes, I do.
So how do people get into that course?
You know, how do they find you?
How do they get into the course?
I have, well, I have a Facebook group called how to write and publish your book for coaches and entrepreneurs. So that's one way to kind of get in and learn a bit more. But my website is the 9090daybook.com and in there, there is a link to my Facebook book group and there's that 90 day book course.
And I also teach a workshop to just go through the first to get people through their outline, like that first part for people who think that they're ready to go, you know, just want to get going on the writing.
Okay, awesome. So everybody check her out, get those books written because I know that a lot of my followers have mentioned it for sure.
So and no, people really don't know where to start. They just don't.
Yes, actually not where to finish. Yes.
Well, structure is good. It's good to have a little game plan to go. I have a free blueprint on my website too.
Oh, cool. Yeah. So they can think of my website, they can check that out. Okay.
Well, when we're done, will you type in all of the websites and stuff in the comments for everybody?
I sure will. Awesome.
Well, do you have anything else that you want to share with people today before we take off?
Just thank you. And thanks for your awesome group and show. It's all so much fun and so valuable.
Well, thank you. I'm super excited that you were here to talk about this topic because as I told you before we got on, you know, it's a hot topic and very exciting. So thank you so much. And to the audience, as always, much love to you. Thank you for watching. And I will be back next week. Bye. Bye. Bye. Bye. I hope that you loved this episode.
If you did give me those shout outs. Show me some love on iTunes. Give me a rating.
And hey, if you want to know where to find me, you can find me on pretty much all social media at Suzanne Proxa. That's S-U-Z-A-N-N-E-P-R-O-K-S-A. And you can also head over to my website, SuzanneProxa.com. Until then, I'll see you in the next episode. Here is some music for you. Bye.