You’ve seen the business books out there and heard the gurus talk about how writing a book is essential to growing your business. But what you’re not really sure of is how to write a book, run your business, and manage it all while still leveraging your book the right way.
Karen Williams is here to talk to us about not only how to write an awesome book for your business… but to use it to generate revenue before it’s even written, published, or started.
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Alyson Lex 0:01
You've seen them on Amazon, you've seen the best seller badges. You've heard them on podcasts, authors who have books who come on, and they talk about their specialty that they've written about in their book. And you've probably even thought, Hmm, maybe I should write a book one day. And then you wonder what the process is going to be like how hard it's going to be how much work it's going to be. And that might hold you back. And so that's why we have Karen Williams here today to talk to us about what it really looks like to write a book, and how you can
keep it from just derailing how you run your business. So Karen, thank you so much for being here with us today.
Karen Williams 0:47
Thank you, thank you for inviting me, I'm really delighted to be here with you.
Alyson Lex 0:51
So I think the big question that a lot of people probably have is, Will anyone actually read a book if I write it?
Karen Williams 1:02
Yeah, so it's one of those things that's, that comes up quite a lot for people, because you might have an idea to write a book, you might think it's gonna land in the right place, but will it? So one of the things I suggest people do Allison is when they write a book is they make sure that it's the right book for their business, that it's going to be well received by their readers and actually do some research to find out what their readers want to hear from them. So that is the number one thing I would suggest people do got an idea want to write it, run it by your readers. And it's a great way of validating the information that you want to share before you've spent all of your time and energy on maybe the wrong idea.
Alyson Lex 1:39
So how would we go about that? Would we do like a poll in a Facebook group or what? What's the best way?
Karen Williams 1:45
So I talked about seven different ways of self funding and self validating your book. So there are seven different ways that you can do it. An easy way is to do a social media post, start to talk about your book, start to talk about your book ideas, maybe do a blog post, share something on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, whatever your preferred platform, but also the platform that your readers may choose. And also to think about, maybe doing a survey, doing some market research, or even interviews. So there are three really easy ways of getting started, that don't take too much time and don't take too much energy. And think about it, you do a survey or you do some interviews, you're raising your profile, you're telling people you're writing a book, people go, Oh, that's interesting. And you automatically exert that authority, before you've even written a single word. So that's definitely something I recommend people do. And I've had clients. So some of my clients get clients off the back of their book, before they've actually started writing it, because they've done the research.
Jennie Wright 2:42
That is, that's a phenomenal idea. And it plays in very well to my vision, with building up your authority online, and having those conversations while you're building the thing. So while you're building an online summit, or while you're building a challenge, or while you're doing any of those things, talking about it, it builds up that authority, which I think is a really great idea because we don't want to be like silent about it, and then go I have a book, check, you know, buy my book, like you want to do that build up and including your social media presence, or your even your email list, if you have one into the process makes them feel like they're part of it, and creating that connection. And then when it comes out, there's I think there's like you're building that anticipation. My partner talks about that a lot, like build the anticipation, so that when you do the thing, they're like, yeah, let's, you know, let's get into it. So I think that's phenomenal. So I know that a book can produce revenue for your business. But I worry for, you know, when I think I'm trying to embody the issues that our listeners would hear the time spent writing it would take away from their businesses. So how do people handle that?
Karen Williams 3:51
So for most of my clients, they're writing a book about something they're talking about already on a day to day basis. So they have probably got tons of materials, webinars, training courses, blogs, information they've already written on, it, probably loads of information in their head as well. So actually, if they start to bring everything together that they already talked about, it should hopefully make it a little bit easier.
That's really why it's about raising your profile as you write it, because a typical book I find when I work with clients, takes about a year to go or at least a year to go from idea to actually having a book in your hand. And as you say, Jenny, you know, you don't want to spend all that time thinking about it and, and not promoting it and not talking about it, you can actually make the most of it as you write it. So that's all about making time. So one of the things I do with my clients is we look at the planning to begin with so that when they start writing it, they've got really strong plan, so that they can actually start to reap the benefits. But also, they can make the most of the time they've got available to write. So from a timeline point of view, if you have a good plan, and you can give yourself half a day a week to write with a good plan, and you make the most of that half a day. Now that's not how do where you're checking your emails going on social media.
You're walking the dog, and all the rest of it. But half, if you think about it, 50,000 words, 25 weeks, or 2000 words per week in half a day feels doable, doesn't it? Yeah, it does.
Jennie Wright 5:11
Now, it didn't a minute ago. But
that's fantastic. So that I mean, on average, then even if it's your first book, what do you say to people in terms of how long
that they can get it really like, they can actually get it written.
Karen Williams 5:30
Typically about a year to get a book written, well written and published, depending on how people get it published. If you're going down the traditional route, it can take a little bit longer. If you're going down the self publishing route, you can do it quicker. So it really depends. There's so many variables, and also depends how long it is because I've worked with clients from 19,000 words up to 96,000 words. So there's a huge variable here as well. So if it's a short book, a quick read, you can do it quite quickly. If it's longer, or maybe it's autobiographical. And you're delving into the past, or there's a lot of research involved, it might take a bit longer. So there is no one size fits all when it comes to how long it's going to take. But it just takes priority and commitment.
And one of the questions I'm asked quite a lot is, you know, do I need to get up at five o'clock in the morning every day? No, you don't, not unless you want to. But it's about that consistent action that you take on a regular basis, scheduling time in your diary, making sure that time happens. And then you'll get your book done and also having a goal. One of the things I like to do is work with my clients and you know, talk about when do they want their book published, and then we can work backwards from that publishing date to make sure it's realistic and fits in with everything else that's going on in their life.
Alyson Lex 6:38
work backwards thing is a Jennie Wright specialty as that's exactly how she plans list builds with her clients. And I've adopted that strategy myself with Okay, here's my date. Now, what do I need to do? You mentioned something that you could have a 19,000 word book or I don't know if you said 190,000 word book, that's a lot of words.
But how long should these books be? And if we're using them to grow our businesses?
How long should we really strive for?
Karen Williams 7:13
So a typical business book is normally around. So 5055 55,000 words, so you're looking at sort of typical of you thinking, normal size book, you're looking at about 200 220 pages. So that's, that's typical. But there's not much point in putting something out if you can say it in less words. And sometimes you might say it in more words, but one thing that's really important to mention is that if you're writing a book, not everyone, not everything that you know, has to go in this one book. And that's one of the biggest mistakes I see people make they, they have an idea to write a book. So they put everything they know into it without a clear structure or really clear focus or outcome. And one of the things I like to say to clients is, what's your big promise, you know, what are people going to get from reading it? And then you can decide what needs to go in this one. And whether there's three more that you might want to buy later. When you know that from the start, it makes it so much easier. See all sudden, we can do this?
Alyson Lex 8:12
Okay, so how do I start with building that structure and really deciding what I want my book to be about? Because that's the problem that I've run into, I've had
write a book on my goals list for four years now. Hashtag transparency. And every time I fall into that, it needs to be everything I know. Or even the it needs to be something that's never ever been written down ever in the history of ever before. And now, I know that both of those are unrealistic. So how do I decide?
Karen Williams 8:55
decided in terms of what to include in the book or decide where to get started?
Alyson Lex 9:00
Or both? Can I be selfish and say both.
Karen Williams 9:04
So I teach basically, I teach 10 principles when it comes to writing a book that takes people through the whole process from idea to launch and and beyond, because it's breaking it down into manageable chunks. So I think with a book, you have to break it into manageable, manageable chunks. If you think I'm writing a 50,000 word book that is overwhelming, that make that feels quite unachievable. Certainly, when other things get in the way it can feel really daunting to achieve. So when I start working with people there, there are four principles I follow with people which are quite chunky, before they get in, get into writing the book. Because if you open up a Word document, a blank Word document, you put chapter one and you start writing, you're going to get stuck. Whereas if you follow the four principles before that, which actually helps you with the planning and deciding what you're writing and who it's for and how you're going to leverage it and you know, the thing that makes you a bit different and also what else has been written. Once you've done all the planning the writing will, I promise
It becomes so much easier, I promise.
Jennie Wright 10:04
And that's a good promise. I'll take that promise. I like that. Yeah, me too. And you talked about these four principles. I was wondering if you wouldn't mind giving us a little bit more detail on what those are?
Karen Williams 10:13
Yeah, absolutely. So the first principle starting with the end in mind, really important when you're doing any marketing any, any sort of project like this, and I break it down into three key areas, the first festival, what is your vision? What is your vision for it? So imagine you've got your book in your hand? What do you want your book to give you that you don't have already? Do you have a personal vision, a business vision? And also, why are you writing it because your y will help you when the going gets tough, or you're struggling to know, you're struggling to decide whether to make it a priority. So that's the first part of starting with the end in mind, the second part is being really clear on your ideal reader. Because for most business owners, your ideal reader and your ideal client are likely to be the same person. So that's when you know, you can start to do your research, what is their biggest problem? What do they want to get from your book, so you can start to delve a little bit more into their avatar. And actually, again, if you're, if you're writing about your current readers, your current clients, you should know this already. And the third part of that is leverage, you know, how are you going to official book, because a lot of people think about a book as a separate income stream. And it is, however, a book itself isn't going to make you a millionaire. But if you if your book leads into a course, or training or one to one, or speaking, that is where you're going to be able to leverage it in the most. So that's the first part starting with the end in mind. And then it's about really getting clear on the subject for your book. What are you writing about in this book? Because if you're like most entrepreneurs, you've got huge amount of information in your head. How do you decide what you're writing about in this book, and what might go in another book. So getting clear on the subject, and also the type of book it is, is it an interview style book, a memoir, a how to book, what is the flow of information likely to be and how you're going to take people through the information.
So that's the second thing. The third thing is your secret sauce. So they will so as you may have noticed that the secret sauce, what makes your book different, what else has been written, which I've already mentioned, and also what makes your book different, and what makes you but you different from anything else that's out there. So kind of, you know, you might align yourself to your competitors, who may or may not have written a book as well. And then finally, the fourth thing is structure. And I tend to get the post it notes at this stage, map it all out. And the more detail you can go into the planning stage, the easier it becomes. And then when you get to principle five, if you can get on and write it. And there's a little bit more to it after that. That's a starting point. That's a great starting point. And I love alliteration. So right I love alliteration, so the S is just just sing to me, I love it, saying, see,
see what we're doing?
Jennie Wright 12:47
So you've kind of sort of answered this. But my my question for you now is, we've created the book, congratulations. It's been nine months, you've purchased this beautiful book, whatever this book is, can you tell us a few of the different ways that we can leverage this to help or support our businesses? We know it's not going to make us a millionaire. But how do we support and leverage this new piece of content?
Karen Williams 13:11
The really great question, and one of the things I recommend people do is to market their book, as I say, write it so that when you launch it, you've already pre sold it ideally, or at least you've had it, you've got a list of people who want to buy it. So that's a really good starting point. I'll give you a few examples from clients I've had, I've got one who is currently a finalist in the business Book Awards in the UK, so that's a very, and I've had a client before, he's been a finalist a couple of years ago. And you can appreciate through speaking engagements as well. I've got one client who is who's who wrote his autobiography. And he uses it as a really great tool for speaking engagements. But not only does he do the speaking engagements is often the organizers bulk buy his book, so he's not selling one copy at a time, you know, he might have 50 books that he sells there. And then so bought copies is a really great way of doing it. Because you're not relying on the individual sales people going to Amazon, you know, if your book is maybe part of it. Maybe it could be part of a curriculum or something like that. You may have people who bought by your book.
What else is there? And of course, of course, it's a brilliant thing to do. So I've got one client I'm working with at the moment. And she is literally we've seen the cover copies today of her book, and she's looking to launch a course at the back of it. So when she launches it, which is probably about four months time, she's going to have a course ready. That's the plan anyway. So there's so many things one to one membership sites, podcast interviews, and all sorts of ways of actually or even having your own podcast. Well, one thing you could do is have a podcast that becomes a book. You know, if you've got loads and loads of podcast interviews that you've done, that could make a really good book. I'm looking at Alison right now. feeling the pressure from both sides because on my zoom screen, they are on either side of me and both looking at me right now like Alison it's time to write a book.
I will also say I have had some clients use their book in what we call shotgun all boxes. And so especially if they're a service provider, or they're selling something high ticket, they will include a book and some goodies and some information in a package that they mail to their ideal client, and it just grabs attention, and it lends that credibility. So that's another way that I know to leverage the book to learn those clients. Right? Because it does it helps with that. Yeah, we call it bulk email, lumpy mail in the UK. So um, lumpy mail. Great to see. So if you're trying to get into project corporate clients, instead of sending a letter in the post or an email, why don't you send them a copy of the book, and I do that they sent since I last talked to you, ladies, I've launched a business book planner. And I use that as a, you know, that is a really great tool to pop in the post. And I have a big pile of blue Jiffy bags, which make it a bit different. So you know, isn't it great? We don't we get so many emails these days, we don't get most much in the post. Isn't it great when you know, postman knocks on the door and gives you a brightly colored blue, purple, yellow package? It's a book. It's exciting. I'd like that. Right. It's like, yeah, I mean, getting packages, or mail that isn't bills or junk, is exciting. And even more. So now. I mean, my mailbox is mostly empty most days. It's exciting to get something. And I think a lot of business owners can leverage that in multiple ways. Hint, hint.
Alyson Lex 16:34
So I cannot thank you enough for all of the time and the information that you've given us today. I feel like we've taken a page and a half to two pages of notes already. And I have a feeling that we may have to reach out to you if slash when Jenny ever convinces me to write a book. And so where can we or our listeners find out more about you and how you help them?
Karen Williams 17:01
Yeah, I'm available. I'm all over social media at Lieber TAs or Karen Williams Libertas. And or go to my website, which LIBOR test.com which is Li b, r o, t s.com, which has a whole different story where that came from. But libri test.com is where you can find me, there's loads of free stuff on there. I've written six books of my own, so you can get my books there as well. And just take a look and see the types of clients I've worked with over the years.
Alyson Lex 17:26
I do have to ask you for the story. You can't just drop that as a teaser, and not tell us the Libra task story.
Karen Williams 17:34
Well, Libra is Latin for Burke Libertas is freedom. And the reason I got into our part of the reason why I got into helping people with books is that, you know, when I started out as a coach, 14 years ago, I wanted to make a really big difference in the world. And I said, only, I realized quite quickly, I could only make a difference one person at a time, but actually now supporting business owners to write their books, you know, I'm helping them to get their message out to so many people, you know, it's it's such a complicated world, such a difficult world at the moment, if you know, I can support a client to get their book out to 1000s, hopefully, hundreds of 1000s of people, we can make a bigger difference together. So it's about the freedom that a book gives you. And also gives your readers if they can learn from your lessons, they can learn from your stories, they can learn from your experiences, you know, what's not to love about that? There's other things to love about that.
Alyson Lex 18:22
Yeah, I was gonna say we have very similar missions and things and passions. Because if I help people help people, then that's the ripple effects. So I just love that thank you for, for sharing that story with us.
Karen Williams 18:35
Jennie Wright 18:37
And this has been interesting, partially because I'm actually going to be speaking on a panel and a couple of months for the non fiction book Association here in Canada. So Originally, it was supposed to be a stage talk, but COVID. And so it's a panel talk online. And it's very interesting to talk to authors, and tell them how to build up their community before they actually go for book deals. And publishing, which isn't really part of this, you know, today's conversation. But I found it very interesting on how to leverage, which I think is really cool. So Karen, this has been really, really interesting and very timely, in terms of when I'm sort of focusing on into that, I have a couple takeaways that I want to share with our audience. These are a few things that you can take away from what Karen was talking about today, and possibly implement if this whole topic is interesting to you. So my first takeaway, which I think is really, really good, is using the four principles that Karen talked about. Those were the four S's, the start with the end in mind, the subject for your book, your secret sauce, and your structure. This is a great way to start looking at creating that structure for your book and how you're actually going to be able to bring it to life. The next one is you can do this and work in your business and make this a process that you
You can enjoy, it doesn't have to take over, it doesn't have to make it impossible to do the other things, it doesn't necessarily mean that you have to take a hiatus from what you're trying to do in terms of building your business. It's just an adjustment on how to fit it into your life. So finding an hour a day, whatever it's going to take, or however it's comfortable for you to get those words out onto paper. And then the third thing I have is figure out what, figure out why you'd be writing a book. Is it to support your clients? Is it to push and enhance enhance your exposure? Is it to add to like Alison was saying, your shock and awe box or your lumpy mail, as Karen was calling it? How are you going to utilize this book, and what is the purpose that you're using behind it. And then my fourth takeaway, which I think is really, really important, is market your book as you write it, so that when you launch your book, it's pretty much pre sold. You want to use it to help build your community and engage your people with you make them part of the process. So they feel like they understand what's happening. And when the book launches, they're already in it. And I think that's really important. So those are four takeaways that I think people can employ. Right from the talk that Karen just gave, which was phenomenal. I want to make sure that everybody goes and checks out what Karen was talking about in terms of some of the resources which we will put on our show notes page. She has a great free masterclass class, sorry, it's called the smart author system, and you'll be able to find it on our website, I found it very easily. There's a little tab called free, and go under that tab, click on the masterclass and register for that. As well as we're gonna put a direct link on the show notes so people can grab that.
The other thing is, is if you're listening to this podcast, and you're enjoying it, please take a moment to subscribe. We absolutely love seeing that people are listening and we love getting reviews and feedback, head on over to System to thrive.com. If you go over to the contact page, you can leave us a little note or you can leave us a review on anywhere you listen to podcasts. And let us know what you think. We're so thankful that you've been with us today. Karen, thank you so much for taking the time. And we'll be back again soon answering another big question.