Welcome back, everyone. Hope you had a fabulous Easter.
Being a book editor is such a strange job. It has enormous up sides: not requiring me to, say, buy a lot of expensive equipment or be out in extreme elements. I don't have to dig through anything too revolting. At least not physically. But still, it has its challenges.
Chief among those is the fact that everyone I meet wants to publish. And this varies in intensity, often marked by dilated pupils and shortness of breath when I mention what I do, who I've worked for, authors I've helped. In most settings, I try not to mention it because chances are if the person has thought about writing at any point in their life, a little bell labeled "My-Golden-Ticket-to-Published-Author" goes off in their heads. And its particular frequency has a way of pushing the conversation past the more important matters like writing, editing, networking, etc.
Even the best writers need a lot of help ignoring this pesky bell. Especially if they spend any time online.
But once in a while I meet someone who wants to be an editor and I always get excited because I've always wanted to help more authors than I have time for. It's no easy thing sometimes to help authors say what they mean, prove we're worth listening to and that they're not, in fact, full card-carrying citizens of crazyland.
My advice to future editors is this: 3 things. Creating great books (and authors) always starts with the same 3 things, and they all derive from the question, Will this book absolutely force people to share it?
The big challenge with being an editor is that you get to be the one to ask how exactly it will do that. It's a difficult question for authors to accept, let alone answer. But if you can get them to face the question, the rest isn't all that hard. Help an author keep answering that question through every stage of the book process, and eventually what they'll get is an exceptional book.
Will this writing compel sharing? Does this edit improve the chances of sharing? Is this a brand that fills a desperate need or want? And is there someone who would be naturally inclined to enjoy it?
And while good editors can provide help in at least two of the three essential categories, a good writers group can help in all three:
The first essential element in birthing a book that can change lives is a heart that's fully engaged. Writers who are most productive need daily encouragement and inspiration to continue the hard work of showing up, sticking with it, and continually developing the vision. This is a critical step that's missing in most of the courses I've seen. Each week, I want to send you a new motivational message to inspire you to write what matters most.
Writers need to engage in every step of the book process as though it's the most important step there is. From writing to editing to branding, networking and publishing, the reason a book doesn't sell is a breakdown in one of those areas. And unless authors have a strong understanding of their story and their essential difference, the book won't rise as well as it might have. First, authors need to know how to write words that work better than the rest, and like any creative endeavor, this takes training and practice over time. Each step should build on the last, with solid guidance in editing, building a brand, networking, and choosing best publishing options.
The final element that's sorely missing for writers today is connection to a larger, engaged community. The trick with books is getting critical feedback on your best efforts at each step to ensure you're on the mark. And when it comes time to release your message, the best way is organically–by letting people put it to use. You don't sell great books, they sell themselves because they're so remarkable. They solve huge problems and inspire people to change. If I was a fancy marketer, I'd call this the Authentic Approach Advantage or something, but it's basically what happens naturally when you stay focused on helping people all along the way through your own development.
To encourage authors to finish well and excel my new plan is to focus on an online writers group. I'll still help authors individually, but much of it will be through the website. For those who signed up over Easter weekend, I'm grateful for your trust, and I'd like to extend the $10-first-week offer for your entire first month. Anyone else who would like to check it out, your first month will be $10 as well. Who knows, if it gets going well, I may extend that price indefinitely.
I'm learning how to run a website as I go, but I'm still just an editor and my goals for these three categories haven't changed. So if you want to see if YWG can help you produce an exceptional book, I encourage you to come by and see the different kind of community we've just gotten going.
Thanks for reading–I'm always open to any ideas you have for making it better. See you over there!