by Claudia Gere Claudia Gere No Comments

Writing as Coauthors: Benefit or Bust?

For many aspiring authors, the idea of writing a book can be daunting. How am I going to have enough to say to fill an entire book? How am I going to sustain the effort of writing? Having a partner to co-write a book with can be a great way to divide and conquer. For Alesia and Rosemary, writing More Time for You was one of the most synergistic projects I’ve ever experienced. For their book and the others involving multiple authors, the results have always been positive. Despite the advantages, there are also possible pitfalls to avoid.

5 Pitfalls to Avoid Working with Coauthors

To be a successful collaboration, there can be obstacles to overcome. Here are five pitfalls and how to avoid these mistakes.

  1. Decision-making. The most important decision the authors have to make is what book to write and often that is the most difficult one to agree on. Having a clear idea of how the book will benefit each of the authors is one of the best ways to come to agreement. All collaborators should be able to experience benefits from having the book published. There will be many decisions along the way, so having a track record of working together is the best indicator of future success. Second best is if the collaborators are used to facilitating or working in groups to make decisions.
  2. Agreements. Even the best of plans can go awry so having a concrete agreement will avoid future disputes. And put it in writing. What happens to the project content, profits, and authorship attribution if a change in life circumstances or priorities means a contributor drops out, doesn’t meet their agreed upon commitments? Having everything clearly stated up front, will make those determinations much easier in the eventuality of the breach of the agreements.
  3. Accountability. While each author can serve as a cheerleader and provide inspiration to the others, writing takes time and commitment. Without a roadmap and a timeline, it’s possible for a project to go on forever. Developing a project schedule with the designated individual responsible for each task can help everyone commit and deliver accordingly.
  4. Compatibility. If the contributors have all worked on projects together before, then they will probably know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. If everyone working on the book is a big picture thinker and averse to details, you’ll need to commit to adapting styles to complete the work. If both are detail oriented, then there is the danger of getting so mired in refining and reworking the content. Recognizing each other’s strengths and weaknesses at the start will help to determine how you will hold each other accountable. Or acknowledge up front that you will need to hire editorial support.
  5. Copyright and profits. Who will be the designated copyright holder(s)? Be clear in writing before starting the book. For business partners, it’s often easiest to put the copyright in the name of the business. If the partnership dissolves, the plan for settling their affairs is most likely in place. Is the book based exclusively on one person’s content, with a co-author who is ghostwriting, editing, and helping in other ways to get the book finished? It isn’t always clear-cut. Similarly, to whom and how will profits be distributed? Are there expenses to pay off for creating the book before dividing profits from sales?

Whatever the agreements are putting them in writing before starting will ensure a smooth solution to problems that arise. Realize the benefits of co-authors and avoid the pitfalls.

5 Advantages to Working with Co-Authors

Despite the possible pitfalls, there are many advantages to working with a co-author. Here are five primary advantages:

  1. More content. Two people have different stories to contribute to illustrate points the authors make in the book. Each has different life and business experiences. Even two people who think they know the same things can be surprised by what unique insights the other has. Working with two authors is the very definition of synergy. Conversations lead to new ideas, expanded explanations and illustrations. Two authors build on each other’s ideas and trigger new ones.
  2. Editing and review. Every writer needs and editor. One partner can review what the other has written. Aside from inspiring new ideas, they can help each other avoid egregious errors. One of the most difficult aspects of writing a book is seeing what is missing. What haven’t you said that is necessary for getting your point or lesson across? Someone looking with a fresh perspective can help avoid errors of omission.
  3. Accountability. Having another person in your corner, a cheerleader,  someone for inspiration can make a big difference in keeping the momentum  going.  Holding each other accountable, means a greater likelihood of meeting schedule commitments.
  4. Split the costs. When it comes to self-publishing, two people can split the costs for editing, design and layout, and print production set-up.
  5. More marketing and sales. When you have two authors, oh, they can be in two places at once. Multiple authors can speak more, blog more, and create more demand for their book. Essentially, multiple authors multiply the number of people they can appear in front of to promote their book.

Having the right partner will drastically the amount of work each has to contribute in order to write, publish, and market a book. Just be sure to have the right agreements in place before you start. If you would like more information about ways you can write your book contact me, Claudia Gere, for your free 15-minute consultation.

by Claudia Gere Claudia Gere No Comments

Before You Hire a Ghostwriter, What You Should Know

Some time ago, New York Times contributor Julia Moskin referenced Gwyneth Paltrow and Rachel Ray in an article on celebrity ghostwritten cookbooks. Both celebrities vehemently denied using ghosts to write their books, which appears to be the case given their responses on follow up appearances, where they talked passionately about the writing process. Both described it as a labor of love. From my experience, anyone who talks about being involved with that level of passion and commitment is the de facto author. At one point, Paltrow deduced that the reporter lumped writing the glossary and stocking the cupboard as ghostwriting.

Why Hire a Ghostwriter?

How much and what parts constitute a book as being ghostwritten? You’ll find as many definitions of a ghostwriter as there are ghostwriters and authors who’ve collaborated in some way. For authors who hire someone to be their ghostwriter, it is usually for one of three reasons:

1. I don’t have the time to write my book.

For these people, so often they can see the book written in their head and then it is just the annoying detail of putting it on paper. They need someone to hold them accountable for getting the book done, even if that means throwing all of their content over the wall for a ghostwriter to organize, put into readable form, and polish.

2. I really can’t write.

Most people can write, but might not know it, because they haven’t been encouraged or taken the initiative to try. More often it’s because they don’t know the difference between writing, writing a report, a blog post, or a proposal for example, and writing a book. The fear of not knowing what you don’t know.

The greatest fear is often not knowing what you don’t know.

Writing a book is different. There are guideposts and other elements readers expect.

3. I don’t know what I have to say.

The opposite of number two, these people don’t know what they do know. They either think everyone already knows what they do, so they have nothing new or interesting to offer. They think all of the books have been written on their topic, and everything they know is already in a book somewhere. What they need is someone who can pull the information out of them. Someone who can help reveal their experiences solving their clients’ problems, the advice they give over and over, the tasks they perform so routinely they could do it in their sleep. Then someone who can help develop a framework and recognize what is different in how or what they deliver for their clients.

Know When It’s Smart to Hire the Expert

There is a fourth reason. Tamara Myles grew up in Brazil. Portuguese is her native language (though you’d be hard-pressed to deduce that in a conversation with her). While she is an excellent, successful corporate trainer and has developed courses that inspire people to become more productive and reach their full potential, the idea of writing an entire book in a foreign language was daunting. And as a productivity expert, she knows that hiring an expert to do something you would need to learn at the expense of conducting business is a smart investment in your business.

What all of the authors I have worked with have in common is their unique knowledge and experiences. They might not know what they know, but they have used their knowledge and skills to become successful in their field. All they need is someone who can help them get that information out of their head and into a book.

What that means can be as varied as there are authors and ghostwriters. When I agree to ghostwrite a book, first I want to be sure both the author and I agree upon what that means. There are ghostwriters who will take an assignment from a client to write a book on a topic, how to sell real estate for example. The ghostwriter researches all of the information available on real estate: sales techniques, skills, checklists, legalities, ethics, do’s and don’ts, and so on, then writes a book based on the findings. The client contributes nothing. While that may seem to be the easiest way to become an author, there is one caveat. One of the most difficult aspects of being an author is selling your book. Can you imagine how much more difficult it is when a book isn’t authentically yours? How can you speak about the book without knowing what it says inside out? How can you relate the content in the book in a way that is personal enough to connect with your audience? It will be much more difficult to present yourself as an author if you don’t know the material, if you don’t own the material.

So before you hire a ghostwriter, be sure you have the roles of author and ghostwriter carefully mapped out and agreed to.

The role of the ghostwriter:

  1. To interview the author and help discover and uncover what it is the author knows that is unique.
  2. Help to develop a framework or template to deliver the content. While some might call this an outline, often this structure is what makes the book unique and creates a new way to display even timeworn techniques.
  3. Showcase the author’s content in the best possible way, but also maintain the author’s voice.
  4. Create a book rather than a compilation of information, with all of the window dressing people expect when opening a book.

The role of authors:

  1. Keep the idea of writing a book in the forefront while going through the day. It is astounding what authors can remember, observe, and connect with their topic if they operate in author mode.
  2. Record and transcribe or make notes of everything connected with their topic (teleseminars, new client intake conversations (with permission), training sessions, and so on.
  3. Prepare, prepare, prepare. When the ghostwriter assigns the next chapter, think of all the possible experiences that relate to their topic (stories, examples, successes, failures, identify the steps used to solve problems, the tools, books that influenced their processes, outline the steps, do mock interviews. Whatever authors can do to rehearse the content will make the task of creating the content for the chapter go more quickly.
  4. Review and revise material as requested by the ghostwriter.

Working with Tamara Myles was about as professional an experience as it gets for a ghostwriter. She was always prepared. While I helped with prompting her thinking about what she knows and her experiences, she had always thought through the content. I helped with book and chapter structure, crafting the wording and presentation, but every thought, idea, and story belongs to Tamara. She is clearly the author of this book. Without her delivering the content, it would still only exist in her head. No ghostwriter, without her experience, could have created The Secret to Peak Productivity. In fact, we never referred to me as a ghostwriter, we were always Author (Tamara Myles) and Collaborator (Claudia Gere).

People sometimes ask why I don’t have my name on the cover like many ghostwriters. The explanation above shows that I’m not the author of the content. I did all of the window dressing. Taking the content and making it flow, creating a roller coaster ride that keeps readers engaged as they learn, creating the elements and guideposts that turn writing into a book were my contribution. I’m not a productivity expert and only want to be known as an author consultant. As the collaborator, I just made Tamara’s content accessible. Tamara is the productivity expert with The Secret to Peak Productivity now published in the English-speaking countries, as well as Brazil, Russia, and China, all of the world’s largest markets. Tamara’s brilliant content is what makes this book unique and valuable.

Find her book on Amazon: The Secret to Peak Productivity 

For more information about Tamara Myles and her book: TamaraMyles.com/writing

For more information about ghostwriting for your book project, contact me, Claudia Gere, to as set up a time for your free 15-minute consultation.

by Claudia Gere Claudia Gere No Comments

3 Keys to Stop Dreaming and Start Writing Your Book

 

Finding clarity on these three topics is the beginning of your book writing strategy. Focus will help to inspire and motivate you to write your book.

  1. Purpose. What purpose will the book you write serve, both in the context of the audience you reach and how the book will reflect on you as the authority of the book’s subject? Purpose affects what kind of a book you write. If you want to become famous and write a best seller, then you need to know what kinds of books become bestsellers. If you want to write a memoir to share with your family, then you can write for yourself and what makes you happy. If you want to be recognized as an expert in your field, then you’ll want to write one that reflects your insights and experience, and one your ideal client will consider a must-read.
  2. Passion. Of the book ideas you’ve considered, which one gets you the most excited? It’ll be easier to write a book when you’re passionate about your topic. Not that you can’t exercise discipline to research and write on a topic that will further your professional goals, it’s just that it’ll be easier, especially for a first-time author, to write a book on a topic you’re close to, interested in, or even have an inner passion to get out. Books written from the heart tend to be more authentic.
  3. Process. How, when, and where are you going to write your book? Decide where you will write…physically. Find a place that means business so you know what you’re there to write your book. Or you might need the opposite, somewhere you feel relaxed so the ideas flow. When one place doesn’t work, try another. Examine how you’re going to get the information out of your head and onto paper. You don’t have to sit down at the computer to write a book.

There are so many different ways to create content, interviewing successful people, other experts in your field,  basing your book on your blog, using case studies of your successes are just a few.

Strategy Leads to Motivation to Write Your Book

Having a clear picture of the why you’re writing a book, what you want to write, and how you will write, all contribute to the greater likelihood of starting and finishing your book. People don’t get stuck when they have a clear purpose, passion, and process.

There is no one right book or way to write it, so be open to different approaches and don’t let anything stop you. The sooner you start, the sooner you will be an author.

If you need help getting started, then contact me, Claudia Gere, to set up time for your free 15-minute consultation.

by Claudia Gere Claudia Gere No Comments

Book Fair Etiquette for Aspiring Authors

Book Expo America Book Publishers

 

Book Fair Etiquette for Aspiring Authors

Your primary goal as an author at a book fair should be to find the best fit between the book you’re pitching and the publishing companies at the show. That way, your goals are aligned with the agents and editors who are there.

I try to get as much information as I can about what publishers are looking for in their various imprints and what makes a book in their market successful. For example, I found out that most cookbook publishers will only take on a book that has scrumptious photographs of food; they know books showing a visual of the finished recipes sell far better than cookbooks with few or no photos.

The first time I attended a book fair, I remember not knowing what my job was…I honestly stood there and asked myself, “Why am I here?”

Read more

by Claudia Gere Claudia Gere No Comments

Publishers Fight E-Book Piracy, Is It Enough?

When first-time authors ask if they should include ebook publishing in their strategy, my first response is, “Yes!” It should be a no brainer. The cost of entry and the possibility of reaching more people, faster, make it an easy choice for most nonfiction books. (Exceptions can be books with difficult formatting.) When asked about piracy, my response has been, create a Google alert for your book title so you know if anyone is stealing it. Then you can send a cease and desist email or DMCA, but other than that, don’t worry about it.”

Somewhere I had assimilated the advice, “Those that download an ebook without compensating the author wouldn’t buy it anyway. So you’re not losing sales, but hopefully, you’re gaining free publicity.” Publishers are now taking ebook piracy seriously. And the problem deserves a closer look.

As author Sheri Qualters points out in her article, “Publishers Mount Strategies to Target E-Book Pirates,” (The National Law Journal, March 13, 2012. http://bit.ly/epiracy), the file size for ebooks are significantly smaller than movies and music, making it even easier to store and move ebooks. According to the article, “In 2007, there were 147,000 e-reader sales, compared with an estimated 18.7 million in 2011 and a projected 23 million this year, according to the Consumer Electronics Association.” That’s a 22.8 million increase! The market continues to grow.

Qualters cites a case in Germany where, “…two services operated an illegal internet library where more than 400,000 e-books could be downloaded for free… estimates that the defendant operators might have earned about $10.6 million from advertisement revenues and sales of premium accounts for the pirated content during their roughly one year of operations.” This shows the high stakes in the fight against piracy.

Now some publishers are going after the big offenders, sending a signal that there are consequences to piracy. Will they be able to stem the theft as the market for ebooks increases?

Wonder if ebook publishing is for you? If you’d like help developing your publishing strategy, call me for a 15-minute, no obligation, consultation.

Claudia Gere & Co. LLC
Helping smart people become outstanding authors™

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by Claudia Gere Claudia Gere No Comments

How to Have a Comeback Book

One of the dilemmas many authors face is how to have a comeback book once the first one hasn’t proved successful enough for publishers to take the risk on a second book. As we all know, editors don’t like to take risks. Taking on a second book by an author who didn’t succeed with the first, is one way to to get fired or at least draw negative attention.

I’ve seen a couple of instances where a publishing company approached an author to write a specific book or asked authors to change the focus of their books. When the book the publisher requested isn’t successful, the author who wrote it falls into that category of unsuccessful published authors.

Now, as reported in the New York Times article (http://bit.ly/ywBRPo), Book is Judged by the Name on Its Cover (Julie Bosman, 2/22/2012), there’s a strategy that works for those authors. When famed literary agent, Esther Newman received rejection after rejection for author Patricia O’Brien’s latest novel, The Dressmaker, they used an old-time practice:

“Ms. O’Brien and Ms. Newberg had cannily circumvented what many authors see as a modern publishing scourge — Nielsen BookScan, the subscription service that tracks book sales and is at the fingertips of every agent, editor and publisher — with a centuries-old trick, the nom de plume. It has been employed by writers from Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) to Mary Ann Evans (George Eliot) to Stephen King (Richard Bachman).”

Their strategy worked, for fiction at least. If you’re writing a nonfiction book to promote your business or yourself, using a pen name might not be the smartest strategy, but could be worth trying if it’s your only option, and you have your mind set on traditional publishing.

But also, keep in mind, when a publisher asks you to change your topic, your slant, or your focus, be sure the book you’re writing is true to your goals and your brand. You’ll have still have to market the book so that it sells or risk ever publishing with a traditional publisher again.

Let me know what you think. Is it ethical? Would using a nom de plume work for nonfiction?

Not sure if the book you want to write is the right book to support your goals? Let me know if I can help.

Claudia Gere & Co. LLC
Helping smart people become outstanding authors™

Be an Author Webinar
http://www.claudiagereco.com/speaking/be-an-author-webinar/

Follow me on Twitter: @claudiagere
Join me on LinkedIn
[email protected]
claudiagereco.com
+1 413 259 1741

by Claudia Gere Claudia Gere No Comments

Why Me?

Claudia Gere envisions a world where all aspiring nonfiction authors can write books that share their experience and knowledge to improve others’ lives. There are so many different ways to write a great book, and as an author consultant, speaker, literary agent, and author, Claudia is committed to helping business leaders, consultants, and other entrepreneurs find their best way. Her career has spanned a broad range of communications positions with titles of managing editor, project director, and vice president of marketing—working for entrepreneurs, small businesses, and in the Fortune 50 arena. She has a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s in management. She serves on the board of directors for Hidden-Tech, a 2000-member organization of entrepreneurs, and is president of ProSpeakers, an advanced Toastmasters chapter.

Let me know how I can help you.

Be an Author Webinar
http://www.claudiagereco.com/speaking/be-an-author-webinar/

Follow me on Twitter: @claudiagere
Join me on LinkedIn
[email protected]
claudiagereco.com
+1 413 259 1741

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