You are what you read.
To be a good writer, you have to be a good reader, too. Behind every writer is a book that played a pivotal part in inspiring you to become a writer. Maybe it was a childhood book or something from grade school that made you want to pursue this passion. Now that you are chasing this dream, it’s time to have an intentional reading list. It’s vital to a writer’s success, and with it being Christmas time, there’s still time to treat yourself.
Here are three book recommendations for helping you become a better writer.
He may not inspire you to become a horror writer or read The Shining, but Stephen King’s On Writing is an essential read for all writers. Immensely helpful and illuminating to any aspiring writer, On Writing shares the experiences, habits, and convictions that have shaped King and his work. What makes King’s On Writing so good is the way it blends his story into a book about how to become a better writer. That...
In a recent inspirational post on Instagram (Follow us @author_coaching), a writer asked us, “I feel like I need thicker skin but also don’t want a hardened heart in the process. Any wisdom on how to do that?"
That’s a great question.
No one wants to become some Grinch-like writer living alone with a dog on top of Mt. Crumpet, envious of all the writers out there doing what you wish you were doing. If you’re an introvert that loves dogs, there might be something in that life for you, but for the rest of us - it’s tough to have thick skin.
If you want to cultivate a thicker skin, the first step is to own the things you can control. You can’t control what that agent is going to say, right? Here’s what you can control: Putting together a well-researched query letter. You’ve done everything you can to give your manuscript the best opportunity possible: you know the agent’s genre of expertise,...
What’s the biggest thing your book is missing?
Have you ever read a book and when you described it you said, “It didn’t deliver?” That thing it didn’t deliver, that piece that was missing, is the promise. Every book makes its reader a promise. If you don’t deliver on that promise, it’s doomed. That’s why it is so important to define your book’s promise. Let’s unpack how to create a promise so this doesn’t happen to your book.
The book’s promise is what fulfills your commitment to the reader.
When we are talking about a book’s promise, here’s what we mean: let’s say you were sitting with one of your readers telling them what your book was about (the premise). And then you say, “I promise that after you finish reading my book you will …”
One of the most critical mistakes a book can make is breaking its promise to the reader. So much of the success of...
Why is my book’s hook so important?
“What’s your book’s hook?” is a crucial question that you are going to need to answer if you hope to entice readers. Your book’s hook makes readers pick it up and check it out. It’s what will set you apart from your competition. So how do you craft a successful hook that does that? Let’s explore sharpening that hook so you can help bring readers to your content faster.
“What’s the hook of the book?”
This is one of the most important questions your book has to answer. You cannot presume that a reader is going to pick up and buy your book just because you tell them to. If you ask your reader a compelling question, you captivate them, and they will sit up and take notice.
You might have heard this term before, but essentially a book hook is a sentence or two that is meant to tease the reader to purchase your book. The hook is the backbone of a good book idea.
Your book hook should be...
Do you have an outline?
If you were going hiking and you asked us, “What’s the one thing I have to have that most people forget?” We would say, “Water.” Of course! You have to have water. But have you ever left on a journey, maybe a vacation or even a hike, and forgot to pack something essential? Maybe it was water. You wouldn’t be the first person to leave a water bottle in the car.
Often on the writing journey, writers leave something essential behind too: an outline.
An outline is an essential part of your writing journey, like water is an essential part of any hike.
You might be surprised that a lot of writers when asked if they have an outline, respond that they don’t. “I know where I’m going,” or the classic response, “I have an idea.”
An idea of where you want to go with your book is great. That’s a start. An outline is like a map of your book. It’ll help you get where you want to...
At Yates & Yates, we advise our clients to be the kinds of authors that people working on their book will stay after 5:00 p.m. to work on it. We want you to be a "nights & weekends" author. It’s not because we are some kind of publishing Scrooge. It’s because people will put in extra time and effort on the projects they like versus the ones they don’t. Maybe better put, they’ll go the extra mile for authors they really like.
No one in publishing stays late to work on projects they hate. Why? Because the ones you hate get the minimum, nothing extra.
So how do you become one of those authors?
It starts with publishing etiquette.
When we say “etiquette,” you probably think of your mom scolding you for having your elbows on the table or reminding you to say “please” before she will pass you the peas. You might not have known it then, but your mom knew something about...
Procrastination doesn’t look like Procrastination. It’s super sneaky.
Let us give you an example. Sometimes procrastination looks like research: “Once I do a little more research, I’ll be ready to write my book.” Or it looks like conducting an interview: “I can write that next chapter once I schedule an interview with her.” It’s easy for these things to come between you and your writing. You think you need to do a "thing" before you can do the writing.
The thing is, the writing is the thing.
You have to make time to write AND do research, conduct interviews, etc. What separates pros from amateurs is their ability to recognize the difference. Schedule time for the writing and then schedule a separate time for the other things. That’s how you keep procrastination from getting between you and your writing.
If you’re waiting on the right time to write your book, you are wasting...
“Urgent!!! Act now.” “2 days left to save.” “LAST CHANCE!”
We’re suckers for those subject lines, aren’t we?
One of the strongest tools in marketing is urgency. You see these tactics all the time. Here are the four most common ones: Time (limited time, last time, now, today only, deadline, seconds, minutes), Speed (now, act now, don't delay, hurry, rush, instant), Scarcity (once in a lifetime, one day only, never again, last chance), and FOMO (price going up, offer expires, now or never, final sale).
Like us, you’ve probably made a purchase based on one of those factors, and there’s nothing wrong with it. Understanding how marketing works is a super useful tool when writing your book. We commonly tell our clients to “bake in” the marketing hooks. That means viewing your manuscript through the eyes of a marketer.
(Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a...
So you’ve finished a draft of your…novel, business book, etc. Now what? There’s a strong tendency to want to go back and begin revising and working on it all over again. It’s natural to feel that pull.
Let’s look at some options that will help you come back to your draft inspired and ready for your next steps.
1. You’re going to be kind to yourself. There’s a strong temptation to look back after finishing a draft and think it’s crap. You’re not going to be mean to yourself. Everyone makes bad art. This is a part of the process.
2. You’re going to remind yourself that you’re showing up for writing and art. Be proud of that. Completing a draft, even an unpolished first draft, is a step most writers never get to, believe it or not. It’s hard to finish. Be proud of your efforts to get this draft completed. If you want to take it a step further: celebrate. Maybe it’s ice cream or a...
John Maxwell understands the power of story. He’s used it to sell over 35 million copies of his books. PowerPoint and statistics will only get you so far. If you want to be memorable, you need stories. They are the secret sauce of John’s writing.
During a recent Minute with Maxwell, John unpacked how important storytelling is. “I made my career in telling stories,” John explains. On a recent trip to Jonesborough, the oldest city in Tennessee and dubbed the “Storytelling Capital of the World,” John attended the National Story Festival, which they have once a year.
“The greatest way to express yourself is through story.”
- John Maxwell
What is a magnet of storytelling?
“The greatest way to express yourself is through story,” John said. “I thought principles without stories. It was a great mistake.”