How to Write & Publish Nonfiction and Memoir Readers Can't Put Down

{The Blog}

Getting Your Self-Published Book into Bookstores (A Reality Check)

“How do I get my book in bookstores?” is a question I’m asked by every single person I’ve ever spoken with who wants to write a book. Every. Single. One.

Some are referring to big box bookstores like Barnes & Noble, some aspire to be carried by their favorite independent bookstore, and some dream of seeing their book in the book section of Target (just after purchasing their flat white latte to enjoy while excitedly putting 89 items they didn't come for into their cart). 

The first question to answer isn't, "How do I get the book into bookstores?" (I can give you the how.) The first question is, "Will you even want to once you know how it all really works?"

It’s possible that you won’t meet a person who loves bookstores more than I do. Especially indie bookstores—my devotion to them runs deep.

When it comes to big chain bookstores (Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, etc.) or the book sections of big box stores (Target,...

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Pros and Cons of Independent Book Publishing

The previous article in this series talked in greater detail about traditional book publishing---what it is as well as the pros and cons of the approach.

In this article, we'll dive into the second of three main forms of book publishing: independent publishing. 

Independent publishers consist of both hybrid and vanity publishers (sometimes also referred to as indie publishers, small press publishers, or professional publishers). They make up the many publishing houses that are not part of a larger conglomerate and do not operate under a traditional model.

There are a lot of them---so many, in fact, that they make up nearly half the market share of the industry. Many of them operate wonderful businesses with integrity, yet far more do not. It’s therefore important to know what questions to ask and what red flags to be on the lookout for.

Hybrid Publishing

Hybrid publishing is a model whereby an author pays a publishing house to do the publishing...

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How to Write an Incredible Non-Fiction Book

I often work with aspiring authors who think they're writing non-fiction but are really writing memoir (or vice versa).
 
Understanding which you're writing is incredibly important when it comes to how to write an incredible non-fiction book because it informs the way you write (deliver information to the reader), and it will help you re-focus when you have wobbly moments that create self-doubt. These moments often sound like:
 
"I don't know whether to include this story or leave it out."
 
"I don't know how throughly to explain the process I used to get through a challenge (or whether to explain it at all)."
 
"I don't know that I have a true process that I even want to teach anyone; I just want to tell my story and hope that it inspires someone else or reminds them that they can overcome challenges too."
 
To be clear, one genre (non-fiction versus memoir) is not inherently "better" than another, so get those "shoulds" out of your thoughts right now!...
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Writers: How to Erase Self-Doubt

I just started writing my sixth book.
 
It’s fiction (“chick lit” to be exact).
 
Of the 6 books I’ve published, none of them is fiction.
 
Whether you’re writing fiction, non-fiction, or memoir, the process may be different, but the underlying resistance is often the same, and I was intrigued to find myself stalling–in much the same way my clients do.
 
So I sat down yesterday and asked myself:

Who do I have to BE to write this? Who do I have to be in order not to:

 
⛔️ procrastinate due to fear that it will suck
 
⛔️ compare it to other people’s books (and fear it will suck)
 
⛔️ say, “I’ll start next month” (because if I start this month, it’ll suck)
 

The result: I have to BE someone who:

 
✅ Is curious about the unknown
 
✅ Trusts my own voice
 
✅ Seeks guidance from people who are intimately familiar with...
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Book Writing Playlist

Not all book-writing roadblocks are easy to clear. 

(But some are easier than others.) 

There's a saying: "Silence can be deafening?"

Now, I happen to love silence (having 5 kids will do that to a person).

But when it comes to writing, silence is NOT golden.

In fact, it's the enemy.

Silence puts me in my head, which isn't always where I need to be...especially when I'm writing from my heart. 

The key for me to access the emotions that both want and need to be on the page is music. 

As much as I love Eminem (and I do), that kind of music doesn't work. 

The lyrics are simply too distracting. 

And if I'm not careful, they stealthily enter my subconscious, and when I ultimately read back what I've written, I'm confused why, "mom's spaghetti" is mentioned when I exactly zero profound memories that involve my mom's spaghetti. 

It occurred to me the other day that perhaps my playlist might help you to get into the zone and unearth the thoughts feelings...

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Book Writing Tip #45: Don't Edit As You Write!

"Just edit as you go," they say. "It will keep everything clean and save you tons of time on the back end."

I don't know who "they" are in this scenario, but they're wrong! 

Have you declared (with lukewarm confidence) any of the following?

"As soon as I iron out the details of this chapter, I'll move on to the next."

"I'm just stuck on whether or not this metaphor makes sense."

"I'm trying to decide whether the content in chapter 2 makes sense; then I'll move on."

"Chapter 4 should perhaps be chapter 2 and chapter 3 should perhaps disappear altogether. As soon as I figure that out, I'll continue on."

While your intentions may be the best of the best, if you are editing (or strategizing chapter order, or debating content, or researching proper comma use) as you write, you are doing yourself a disservice. Here's why:

1. In 99.978% of cases, editing as you go (or telling yourself that you are) is a form of procrastination. 

2. In the other .022% of cases, editing as you...

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How Legos Can Help You Write, Publish, and Promote Your Book

I did something somewhat absurd two days ago. I poured 1334 Lego pieces onto the kitchen table. 
 
My son received the Volkswagen Camper, and as his self-appointed Parts Manager, it was my job to organize all of the pieces into groups so that when he called out, "I need a red 1 x 3 tall" I knew just where to find it (not to mention what the heck it is, which took a few hours to learn on its own!).
 
 
It occurred to me (after downing several lattes) that, much like a 1000-piece puzzle, writing, publishing, and promoting a book is very much like putting together an absurdly large and detailed Lego set. 
 
At first, you have no idea where to start. You know you have to get through two 83-page instruction books in total, and so you start at the most obvious place: Book 1, Page 1.
 
WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR BOOK:
 
Just start. Don't think about how long the writing, publishing, or promotion process will be. Just take ONE...
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Sample Author Email Template from The Vault

A great way to connect with your readers is to communicate with them about a product or service they will genuinely be thrilled to learn about (that relates to your book topic!).

For example, if you've written about managing anxiety, is there a meditation app you recommend? 

If you've written a book about changing your lifestyle and nutrition habits, is there a meal prep service or mean planning product you recommend?

If you've written fiction, what hobbies does your main character engage in? Is there an online course related to learning that skill?

As promised in the last post, here is an actual email template from the email vault you get access to when you grab Email Templates for Book Marketing (Made Easy)


Email for Non-Fiction/Memoir Authors

Email Subject Line: A Resource You Will Love Knowing About!

Hi there, [FIRST NAME],

I so hope that [YOUR BOOK TITLE] has been helpful to you and has provided insights and tools that you can use to enhance your own...

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Necessary Book Marketing Tools

Confession: I used to cut the grass in our yard by hand.

When I was six years old, I decided one day that I wanted to cut the grass. Obviously, my parents wouldn't let me operate the lawn mower, but "Who needs a lawn mower?" I thought. "I have scissors!"

Out I went, and the same way a hair stylist pulls a client's hair between her fingers and then cuts straight across, I started cutting the grass.

Please keep in mind that our yard was not small. But still, I thought I was going to cut the entire thing...with a pair of scissors.

*This was the front yard. I suppose I gave zero thought to how I'd replicate the perfect diagonal lawn-mower pattern.
 

It wasn't more than an hour later when I looked up from the 15-inch by 15-inch square I'd completed, feeling fairly pleased with myself, and noticed just how incredibly far I had to go.

Worse, if I backed up seven feet, I couldn't even tell how much work I'd done over the past hour!

And this is how I learned that lawn mowers are...

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30 Creative Writing Prompts for Memoir or Non-Fiction

We all get stuck (or, dare I say it, "writer's block") from time to time. I see this happen in two primary ways with clients. 

The first is, they'll message me and say, "Elizabeth, I'm supposed to write 2000 words today, and I felt like I did but then when I checked my word count, I was only at 1246. Do I force the rest? What do I do?"

The second message they'll send sounds a bit like, "Elizabeth, I'm sitting here and I'm thinking and I'm sitting here and I'm thinking and...I've got nothing,"

In both cases, I promise, you have something to say. You are overthinking, and worried too much about the quality of what comes out of your mouth (or fingers). At this stage, it's about getting the stories down. The feelings. The perspectives. 

I have NO doubt that you have no problem sharing with me your perspective on just about anything---and usually in far more than 2000 words! 

All you need is for someone to ask you a question in a way that compels you to have to...

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