How do you write your book from front cover to back cover? It’s not a straight line. Maybe a better question is, how do you plan to write your book? Today, Arlene explains how to get each part of your book written the expert way. For example, the introduction is the summary of your book that is meant to grab the reader and let them know what the book’s benefits are, show your expertise, and maybe even sense of humor. That’s why an introduction is very crucial, and should be written last. Yet, too many writers get stuck here or muddle through, but lose the reader on page one or two instead. She also discusses how to build in stories, case studies, and cautionary tales, and the difference of each, to enhance your book. The goal in book writing is to establish you as The Expert in your field. Are you clear on your field of expertise? You might be surprised at all little details needed to answer this question properly. Tune in to Part 3 of the March Madness Series!
“If you believe you have to write a book from front cover to back cover, that’s a false mindset and will do one of two things: keep you from starting your book, or 2) it will keep you from finishing your book.” -Arlene Gale
00:28 A March Madness of Different Championship
07:00 How A Book Should Be Written: Introduction
12:00 How A Book Should Be Written: Contents
18:40 Case Study vs Story vs Cautionary Tales And How To Include Them
24:24 Let Your Book Tell Your Expertise
Are you a real expert? Do you have a book to present you this way. Join Part 3: March Madness series with @arlene_gale on how to write your book from front to back. Or do you have to? #BookWritingBusiness #BusinessBuildingBooks #marchmadness… Click To Tweet
03:57 “In order to win this battle, we have got to be together.” -Arlene Gale
10:01 “Your introduction is your first impression inside the cover of the book that lets the reader know what they’re going to get.” -Arlene Gale
10:39 “If you’re not interested in the book you’re writing, why should your readers be interested in the book you’re writing?” -Arlene Gale
11:37 “If you believe you have to write a book from front cover to back cover, that’s a false mindset and will do one of two things: keep you from starting your book, or 2) it will keep you from finishing your book.” -Arlene Gale
19:11 “Don’t put a story in your book unless it relates how it’s going to benefit your clients.” -Arlene Gale
23:29 “Case studies are positive stories with positive outcomes.” – Arlene Gale
Connect with Arlene:
Arlene Gale is an expert in helping people tell their stories (professional or personal) to build business. She combines decades of business marketing, communicating, and writing expertise to direct clients past damaging business mindsets, myths, and misconceptions toward powerful and profitable business-building success. Arlene is a top-notch business strategist and written content expert. She has helped hundreds of clients, in a variety of industries, earn millions of dollars in business as a result of writing & publishing credibility-building books. She helps clients duplicate these results from start to finish, including writing book proposals earning mainstream publishing contracts before the book is written. If it needs to be written, Arlene can do it, and do it in such a way that it generates income. She has written thousands of feature magazine articles, hundreds of business plans establishing short- and long-term goals, written and produced hundreds of television and radio advertisements, and more.
Arlene Gale: Welcome to this installment of my version of March Madness. This week’s episode is REALLY about the myths and mindsets that people have about writing a book, or think about writing your book. It doesn’t really need to be written from front cover to back cover, and that kind of strategy will either keep you from starting your book or it’s going to keep you from finishing your book. And that’s what we’re going to talk about for the bulk of this episode.“If you believe you have to write a book from front cover to back cover, that’s a false mindset and will do one of two things: keep you from starting your book, or 2) it will keep you from finishing your book.” -Arlene Gale Click To Tweet
But first, I want to talk a little bit about what March Madness used to mean to other people in the United States. And I pray that we’ll go back to it meaning next year. And what has March Madness come to mean to people all over the world this year? Like right now. So let’s start with my listeners who are outside of the United States, explaining that March Madness usually refers to a men’s college basketball tournament. And I probably am in the field of knowing just enough to be dangerous. But this is what I do know about this men’s basketball tournament. It’s a college basketball team. They start with about 68 teams that come from the top basketball teams that are in what’s called Division One. And they all get together and they play basketball. It’s a single elimination tournament. And what that means is if you lose, you snooze, you get to go back home. If you lose one game of play, then you’re out of the tournament. And that’s kinda how it plays, how it happens. That’s what is usually referred to as men’s basketball. So why would they do this? Well, it’s played to determine which one of the men’s college basketball teams is the number one team for the year, I guess, gives you bragging rights. And I do know that last year that a Texas College Basketball Team actually won the tournament. The Texas Tech Red Raiders came home with that championship. Yay, Texas. Yay, Red Raiders.
But this year, March Madness, in my opinion, is something completely different. First, the tournament was canceled. So there will be no March Madness tournament winner for 2020, at least at this point, unless they choose to re-scheduled it, but it won’t be called March Madness, it’ll be something else madness. But you know, I just, I don’t feel like I can go on and not mention the March Madness that the world is going through right now. This CoronaVirus has done damage all over the world. I don’t know where we go from here. I really don’t. And I don’t think that there is one other single personal life who does either. I think everybody’s just trying to do the best that they can do. That’s all we can do at this point. The borders for many countries have been shut down, and you would think that that would separate us and divide us. And I choose to think about it this way, that we’re all fighting this virus together as one world. And I see it as bringing us closer together, because in order to win this battle, we gotta be together. It doesn’t matter what language you speak, or what borders you’re behind, or anything. So I pray for people all over the world who’ve lost a loved one because of this virus, they’re hurting. Because I know there’s never a good time or a good way to lose someone you love, there just isn’t. If you love them, I don’t care what your belief system is, our earthly flesh still misses their hugs, and misses their smile, or their laugh, or their glance. So I pray for everybody who’s experiencing the death of a loved one, especially right now when everybody’s in isolation so you can’t get together to celebrate their life, it’s harder to get together to celebrate their life, at least right now, right here, right now in the midst of all of this. So I pray for everyone that’s impacted either physically, emotionally, or financially, or in any other way that, from where I said, I can’t even imagine at this point. I just pray that we can all move past this world pandemic in an organized way, quickly and together.“In order to win this battle, we have got to be together.” -Arlene Gale Click To Tweet
So that’s my prayer, and I just didn’t feel like it would be right to go too much into my March Madness podcasting month without talking about how March Madness has changed and it’s gone from a definition. I think that was about a college basketball tournament, and now pretty much sums up the feeling of the world, because in the last few days, weeks, months, our worlds have changed. My 18 year old came to me and gave me a big hug and said: “Mom, I don’t know what’s going to happen because I’ve never experienced anything like this in my life before.” How do you comfort a child, or is it a comfort to a child when you tell them, you know what son, I’m a 100 years older than you are, and I haven’t either. We’ll do it together. We’ll take it one step at a time, one hour at a time, one day at a time, and we’ll do it together. That’s all I know. And that may put me in the category of knowing just enough to be dangerous. But you know what? I’ll own that and I’ll listen and learn.
But with that said, my intent with March Madness when I first started this was to share some of my expertise for helping you write your book, to help provide you with some tools, and tips, and tricks, and some things to think about as you start wanting to move forward in writing your book. Today, I’ve come back full circle and talking about busting some myths and bad mindsets that people have about writing their book. And for this particular episode, that myth or mindset is about how a book should be written from front cover to back cover. That’s what quote they say, right? Well, I’m here to tell you that that’s absolutely positively not true, and I want to start with this example. The introduction of a book is the first part of the book, right? It’s the first thing, or one of the first things, the first piece of meat content that our reader picks up. So in my opinion, based on my expertise, I believe the introduction of the book should be written last, or rewritten once the book is completed. Think about it, why do you as a reader, pick up a book and read the introduction? What are you looking for? You want to see a little bit about the personality of the author maybe, right? Because if it’s a business topic, and it’s one that may be or could be really dry, does the author present it in such a way that he has a sense of humor or unique outlook? Or she has a unique outlook on whatever the topic, or the process, or the system is, that would make you buy the book potentially, right? If you get a good feel for the content of the book and what are the benefits for you, that would make you pick up the book, right?
So as an author, these are the promises, the questions you need to answer, the issues you need to address when you’re writing the introduction of your book. But remember I said that it’s the last part to be written or rewritten. You can start by writing an introduction that basically says, it’s a note to yourself that these are the things that I want to teach my reader. I want to cover this point, this point, this point, this point, Oh, yeah, and this point, and yeah, let’s do the flip side of that point. So you could write those as part of your outline or part of your introduction, and these are the things you’re going to get out of the book, and then why does it matter? But once you finish writing the book, go back and fluff it up, and change it, and fix it so it becomes something that’s interesting. It tells about your personality. It tells the reader what they’re going to get when they read the book, and why this information matters to them. The introduction should be engaging. It should be personable, and it should be a lot more full when you finish writing the book than it was when you started writing the book. Because when you finish writing the book, you have a clear direction, you have completed it, and you know what the reader’s going to get, more than you did when you first started. During the writing process, a book’s content may change. The direction of the book may change. It may change a little bit, or it may change a lot, and that’s okay. That’s not an issue. As long as you make sure that your introduction matches the content of the rest of the book, your introduction is your first impression inside the cover of the book, that lets the reader know what they’re going to get.“Your introduction is your first impression inside the cover of the book that lets the reader know what they're going to get.” -Arlene Gale Click To Tweet
So with that said, I want to delve a little bit more into some of the other things that would go, topics that would go inside the book content, and how you can plan for these things, but not necessarily right from chapter one to chapter 20, how you can skip around, or how you can do, how you can write your book in a way that’s fun and interesting for you and keeps you engaged. Because if you’re not interested in the book you’re writing them, why should your readers be interested in the book you’re writing, right? So we’re going to take a quick break, and then we’re going to come back and talk about some of the things that go in your book, and how do you lay those things out, and how do you not write the book from front cover to back cover, but actually do get your book started and finished. We’ll be back in just a moment. So don’t go anywhere.“If you're not interested in the book you're writing, why should your readers be interested in the book you're writing?” -Arlene Gale Click To Tweet
Welcome back everybody. Today, we’re talking about the myth or the bad mindset that you have to write your book from front cover to back cover. That mindset will often keep you from even starting your book or it will keep you from finishing your book. So let me give you examples of what I’m talking about when I talk about not having to write your book from front cover to back cover. So let’s say you got your outline for your book. You know what key points you want to cover in the book, or what key points you want to teach to your reader. Think about what is your expertise, and what is the message that you’re trying to convey to your customer, or your potential customer. So what are you trying to communicate to your potential customer? Start by asking yourself this question when you look at that book outline, is there research I need to do to support the outline topics? And I would say for everybody that the answer is yes, especially if you think that you know the research for a specific industry.
I had a client who came to me and had all of this research that she thought she knew, and I simply said, so where did this research come from? How do you know this research? Well, the answer was, well, it’s what quote unquote, THEY SAY, well, who is THEY? She couldn’t quantify who the THEY was. So I asked her to go and do some research on that topic and see what the research said, what it actually said, hoping she was right, that she could now attribute that research finding to a professional association, or a therapist, or whatever. But at least it was something that knowing the answer to where did this research come from feeds and builds on her credibility. When we had our weekly check in call and there were tears on the surface. It’s not funny, but it is kind of funny because this client was all shaken up and ready to quit, ready to jump off building because her research findings did not support what she thought she knew about her industry.
So think about this for a minute, you have people in your industry that are using bad research or old research that doesn’t apply or is not current. Wow. I mean, really? And there are entities out there, associations out there that are doing just that. So when she finds out that the research that she’s done doesn’t support what she thought she knew to be true in her industry, does that mean she should stop writing her book? Because she was ready to stop? She had regrets, she had even started, and all she’d done so far was come up with research. My answer to her was, absolutely not, you keep going. But why? Her research was outside the standard thinking of her industry. My response was: “That’s great.” And she rolled her eyes, kind of like my teenage child is to me sometimes and said: “I don’t understand.” Well, think about it. If you’re writing your book because you’re positioning yourself as a GoTo expert in that field, and your quoting legitimate research findings that are current from legitimate sources, and those current research findings, and those current research sources are telling you that what you and the other people in your industry know to be true is wrong. Mind blown, right? So yes, absolutely. Write this book, and let’s reframe all of the topics that were in your book about fact versus fiction, or this was true two years ago or 10 years ago, but because of technology, or industry changes, or whatever, whatever, whatever, this is what the research is showing now. This sort of book sets this client up as an expert, and also on the cutting edge of what her industry needs to start embracing in order for it to grow. And this was an industry that had become stagnant. So this current research is showing people in this industry, this is not working because these things have changed and we have not embraced those changes. So the answer is, is there research out there to support the topics that you are presenting to your client? And should you do the research or verify the research? Absolutely.
Here’s another thing about, let me go back to the research topic. So if you’re doing research under each topic and you’re presenting that research to your reader under each topic in the book, then you don’t have to write the whole chapter and then give the research, or give the research at the beginning of the chapter and then write the rest of the chapter, and then go on to chapter two, and then write the research and all of the rest of the content, and then write chapter three, no, if you know what the topics for each of those chapters are, and let’s say you LOVE to do research, then do the research for each one of the chapters and fill it in where it goes, really, why not? And then you go back later and you write the rest of the chapter, or you write another section of that chapter. So that’s why it’s a myth that you should write a chapter at a time from front to back of your book. If you don’t like research, then maybe you want to force yourself to do the research on this topic, and this topic, topic A and topic B that you want to discuss in your book. And then let’s say you LOVE to present case studies, well, cool. So for every two pieces of research that you conduct and write up somewhere in your book, now you’re going to write a case study with it, because you love case studies. So you do the drudgery and stuff you don’t like first and then you write the case study that you love or vice versa. But again, that’s how, that’s proof again and a tool for you to use, a tip that will help you not only start your book, but finish your book too.
So again, once you have your outline written, what are some of the stories, or case studies, or cautionary tales that you need to write in your book to support your expertise? So I just said and asked you what are the stories, the case studies, or cautionary tales that you need to put in your book to support your expertise? And I repeated that because I often get asked, so Arlene, what’s the difference between a story, or a case study, or a cautionary tale? Well, let me give you some examples, I’ll answer that question by giving you some examples, but let me give you this tip first. Every story, all the case studies and all of the cautionary tales that you provide in your book relate to how you are building yourself up in your book as the GoTo expert in your field. In other words, don’t put a story in your book unless it relates to how it’s going to benefit your client. You can look at it from that direction too.“Don't put a story in your book unless it relates how it's going to benefit your clients.” -Arlene Gale Click To Tweet
All right, so with that said, let’s talk about stories and what’s the difference between stories, case studies, and cautionary tales. So case or story can be personal experiences that taught you something that led you into the field of expertise that you’re in. So I’ll give you an example from one of my clients. If you were raised in a dysfunctional home, whatever dysfunctional means to you, and however it played out, and you’re writing a book to become a speaker to help reframe thinking for people who were raised in similar homes or with similar trauma, then let’s say you went into social work, or therapy, or life coaching. Because of your trauma, and because of your trauma you learned X , Y, and Z, right? So if you’re going to write a story in your book that has to do with your experience and how it led you to be a therapist, social worker, life coach, holistic healer, whatever it is, and then how does this information benefit your client? That’s a story, that’s a personal story.
Also, you could write a story about a family member or a friend to your expertise, but I want to stop for a minute, let everybody take a deep breath, and give a warning. If you’re going to use stories about family members, or friends, or neighbors, or coworkers, always, not sometimes, always, always. I suggest changing the name of the person in the story to protect the innocent and not so innocent, because you may have a great relationship right now and they say, Oh, yeah, I’m okay with you writing that story, but one day, you serve them frozen peas at dinner, I don’t know where that example came from, and they get mad at you, and now all of a sudden they want to sue you because you use their real name related to their real story. And you may laugh about this or you may think, well, that’s just stupid, Arlene, nobody would ever do that. Well, you know what? I’ve experienced this with a client. So I am telling my truth based on my experience. Changed names of family members, friends, neighbors, coworkers that you’re going to use as part of your book to support your expertise. I’m warning you now.
So the next thing I want to talk about is case studies. So case studies, and I separate case studies from cautionary tales for a reason. For me, case studies are stories that are not about you, necessarily, or at least not primarily. Case studies are positive results that you have helped a client work to achieve. Case studies or positive results that you have worked with a client to achieve. Remember that case studies like stories or cautionary tales all have a beginning, middle and an end. There needs to be a point to telling any of these, and you can do all three, the beginning, middle, and end in such a way that the story doesn’t drag out on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on. You all have sat at dinner or at meetings with people who tell/give these case studies and they’ll take 20 minutes when it should have only taken two or three. If you write a case study like that in your book, you’re going to lose your reader. So figure out what’s the beginning, middle, and end. Where did you start with this client? What did you do for this client? And did you live happily ever after? That’s the case study. More importantly, was the client living happily ever after because of the results you help them achieve. Again, you can do all of these things without making your case study drag on. It’s a skill and it takes practice, but it also means that when you go back and edit, you need to be a good editor. I mean, it’s a skill that can be developed, but it’s doable.“Case studies are positive stories with positive outcomes.” - Arlene Gale Click To Tweet
So let’s talk cautionary tales. So for me, the difference between a case study in a cautionary tale is the word cautionary. Case studies, again, are positive stories with positive outcomes. Cautionary tales are just the opposite. They’re the, Oh-oh, we shouldn’t have done that, or, oops, what were you thinking. So cautionary tales are, what mistakes did clients make before they came to you that you helped them solve? Or what direction was a client going when they came to you when you helped them with your expertise to redirect a possible train wreck? A cautionary tale is something that an issue, or a mindset, or a myth, or something that the client came to you with, that because of your expertise, you saw this could be really damaging for this reason.
I’ll give you an example of one of my clients. My client was teaching time management outside of an industry that he had already become known as an expert in. So he wanted to take the time management techniques and use these techniques in other businesses. But this client kept insisting that they were a life coach, because these time management techniques, if you apply them to your life first, they will help you across the board in life and business. Now, while that is absolutely true, if you go online and you look at what a life coach is, or what a life coach does, what came up was life coaches who deal with clients who are trying to avoid a divorce, or clients who are trying to move on after divorce, clients who are trying to lose weight, or live more healthy, or get over stress, or get over addiction. Life coaches or people who are working on personal improvement, just personal topics. This man did not want to write that book. He wanted to write how time management applies to business topics, to brick and mortar stores.
So when we look up business coaches, again a whole ray of coaching, but at least those topics fit his direction better. So if this client hadn’t worked with me and hadn’t listened to me, they would have written the wrong book for the wrong target market. And do you think that book’s gonna to sell? Well, not to the right target market or the people he wanted to work with. It might sell in the personal development marketplace, but that’s not where he wanted to do workshops. That’s not where he wanted to share his expertise, so it didn’t work. It just didn’t work. So what kind of stories can you share that relate to your expertise, and how you became an expert? Why are you an expert? What kind of case studies can you use from your business that have helped you develop positive results and positive outcomes for your client? And what cautionary tales do you have about clients thinking that you helped readjust, or mistakes that clients make that you helped with? That’s the difference between story case study and cautionary tales. And all of these are important, but remember, again, this is the biggest tip that I can give you. Make sure that when you use these things that you use them in such a way that they point to you as an expert. They’re not long and drawn out and boring. Again, the most important thing is they position you as an expert. And when you have your outline, you can go back to your book outline and say, okay, in this topic I want to use this cautionary tale and just write a few words. In the next topic, I want to use this cautionary tale, and write a few words about who the person is, and what the benefit was. And then you can do that for chapter one, and chapter five, and then chapter eight because you may not know right now what you want to do in the other chapters, that’s okay. Go through and fill out a few keywords that trigger your memory if that’s what you want to do here. And then if you love writing these tales or these stories, then go back and write them first, and that will get you started and get you excited about your book, and it’ll also help you with the direction of your book.
So thank you for being here today. We’re going to close on that note, and I hope that you will think about the myth and change your mindset about a book having to be written from front cover to back cover. Because I think that if you can shed that thinking, that you will not only get your book started, but you’ll be able to get it finished.
So with that said, I want to leave you with this thought. Do not let the world dictate your story, or your book and the direction that it goes. Be mindful of the stories that you tell yourself about what is or is not possible, because you get to choose to write your own story everyday.