SPS 022:Behind the Scenes of Multiple NYT Bestsellers with Daniel Decker

My guest today, is Daniel Decker. He is the CEO of Higher Level Group and an expert at platform development, book launching, and marketing for authors and speakers. He has worked with such notable authors as Jon Gordon, Michael Hyatt, Ryan Blair, Mark Sanborn, Crystal Paine, Allison Pataki, and Tony Robbins to name a few. If you haven’t heard of him, you have probably heard of one of the books he has helped launch.
We talk about his first book marketing venture, and how he crushed it and moved on to creating even bigger launches and platforms. We also talk about the importance of having a team, and how self-publishers still need to get out there and hustle on their own. Daniel shares the importance of offering something of value when trying to find promotion opportunities. He also shares his past successes and lessons learned along the way. He talks about platform building for speakers and authors and more.

You can find Daniel here:

Daniel Decker
Higher Level Group
Daniel on Twitter @DanielDecker
Daniel on LinkedIn
Daniel on Instagram
Show Notes
[02:10] How Daniel got started on the book side of things. He had an ad agency. His friend, Jon Gordon, wrote a book and they crushed it on marketing.
[06:25] Jon had a 4-week Today Show segment with ways to get your energy up. Taking it national worked.
[07:12] How Daniel focuses on relationship capital and adding value. He presented already researched ideas to producers which would help the producer as well as themselves for promotion purposes.
[12:52] If Daniel can help better the world and feed his family it is a win win.
[13:33] Daniel gets enough business by referral that he doesn’t really have to market his services.
[14:31] On the first launch the combination of everything was the key, but being on The Today Show really helped. They also ran a Dr. Weil ad.
[17:44] Being a giver and meeting Michael Hyatt through his blog. He offered to add value to Michael’s platform and proved that his ideas were good.
[19:03] The importance of leverage and having a special landing page instead of an AWeber form.
[24:00] Daniel takes every client as an individual and what their goals are before creating and condensing the campaign.
[25:38] How it’s harder for self-published authors to get on the New York Times list. Presales are important and distributing sales among retailers.
[26:54] Having a 50/50 strategy between pre-sales and launch marketing.
[27:39] Getting strategic with launches including using free books on the back-end.
[28:59] How the NYT list is not only based on volume. They are subjective.
[33:33] Methods for incentivizing offers and growing a mailing list. Using things an audience will perceive as value.
[34:33] How people tend to devalue their offers and how it is surprising how well it does.
[34:53] The importance of having a launch team.
[36:06] How people want to help other people succeed and help spread the message.
[36:40] Always offer something of value when you reach out.
[38:22] Having a launch team with a thousand people. Usually, 60 to 70 percent participate. How creating a launch team is not shooting yourself in the foot.
[40:02] Nurturing a launch team and asking for support and creating a net gain of book sales.
[41:16] Not burning people out by communicating only things that need to be communicated.
[42:18] Remembering that people are people and use your launch team strategically and be sure to engage with them.
[45:50] Asking a launch team to read and critique the book. Asking for reviews and to buy a copy. Taking the team on the journey with you.
[50:29] Partnering with charities and nonprofits as an incentive to get views etc.
[53:01] Long tail promotion strategies include defining who you want to be and where you want to go. Do you want to monetize the book or promote your core product?
[56:19] Having your book sales tracked by BookScan and metrics that publishers use to track sales.
[01:01:19] Daniels plan for using a publisher for his first book and self-publishing for his second book.
[01:05:08] Parting advice is to find a publishing plan and then act on it.

Links and Resources:

Energy Addict by Jon Gordon
Dr. Weil
Michael Hyatt
Platform by Michael Hyatt
Get Published Course Michael Hyatt
Platform University Membership Site
WishList Member
Bury My Heart at Conference Room B by Stan Slap
Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain by Ryan Blair
Money Saving Mom
Daniel Decker
Higher Level Group
Daniel on Twitter @DanielDecker
Daniel on LinkedIn
Daniel on Instagram

make a book

How to Make a Book

Let’s make a book! If you’ve authored an eBook, you may be interested in printing paperback books—either to keep for yourself or to sell. Luckily, we’ve got great news: the process of how to make a book isn’t as challenging as you might think. And, we’re here to walk you through the process.

IMPORTANT: No matter what you decide, I recommend getting your book published on Kindle first, and then moving on to creating your physical paperback copy.

1. Ask Yourself Why You Want to Make a Book

The first step to making a book is to ask yourself why? There are several valid reasons for turning your eBook into a paperback.

First and foremost, because you want to! You put the blood, sweat, and tears into authoring a book. Now you want tangible proof that you can see, carry around, and display on your bookshelf. That’s a good enough reason!

Some authors, especially those who identify as non-fiction experts, find that paperbacks serve as glorified business cards. These copies are especially useful for speaking engagements or professional development events, such as conferences or continuing education courses.

Passing out free books to interested readers is a terrific way to build a solid fan base as well as spread the word that you’re an author. If you elect to sell your books at events, you can recoup some of your costs and potentially even turn a profit.

Using your printed book to generate leads and make network connections is never a bad idea. If your book genre lends itself to this type of network development, then definitely go for it.

2. Important Factors to Consider Before You Print Your Book

The Cost of Making a Book

If you’re basing your decision strictly on revenue, then you’ll want to think about it before heading down the printing path. Paperback can be costly to produce. Luckily with Amazon’s CreateSpace, they take care of the cost upfront, but they will take a higher percentage of your revenue to make up for the printing cost. This means you won’t make as much money off the sales of a paperback as you would with an e-book.

We’ve often seen that the most lucrative path for e-authors is the combination of a Kindle eBook and an audiobook.  If your goal is to make as much money as you can, and you have to choose between the two, then consider pursuing an audiobook over a paperback. (Although funding an audiobook can be pricey, and you are responsible for that upfront cost, so do the math!)

Who to you choose for printing and fulfillment?

You may have heard that KDP recently started printing paperback copies of books on demand. So the big question everyone has on their mind is “CreateSpace or KDP?”

Since you’ll already be familiar with KDP from uploading the Kindle version of your book, it may seem like KDP paperback publishing is the easy choice. But that’s not necessarily true, at least not yet.

At Self-Publishing School, we recommend CreateSpace over KDP (in the meantime!) while KDP works out some of its kinks. As of right now, KDP does not offer discounted author copies for resale, print proofs, and expanded distribution.

With CreateSpace, you get all of those benefits and your work is manufactured to meet demand, so your title is always in stock. There are no upfront costs and no need to carry inventory because they print on-demand through Amazon. It makes creating a hardcopy much simpler!

For more information on this, check out this helpful blog post from our friends at Kindlepreneur.

The Length of Your Book

Before you make a book in print version, make sure that your book length allows for the optimal outcome. We usually recommend printing books that are over 15,000 words. That’s not to say that a lighter word count should preclude you from printing—for instance, children’s stories, photography books, and travel books are all examples of shorter genres that are easily and commonly converted from eBook to paperback.

Should you decide to create a paperback version of your eBook, it might be easier to wait until after your book has been published digitally.

3. The Pre-Printing Checklist

You’ve given it some thought and considered the factors above, and you’ve decided that you do want to print paperback copies of your book. Before you take the next step, it’s important to dot your “i’s” and cross your “t’s.” Run through our pro-developed, pre-printing checklist to make sure you’ve checked all the appropriate boxes.

  • Choose the size of your book.
  • Decide on black & white or color (Note: The prices may vary).
  • Price your book properly.
  • Create a rough concept for your covers.
  • Decide whether to outsource your cover graphics and design.
  • Write your author bio for the back or inside cover.
  • Pick your author headshot for the back or inside cover.
  • Pick the reviews you want to include.
  • Pick your spine design and layout.
  • Decide whether to outsource the interior formatting.
  • Work out an interior layout—from fonts to chapters to margins.

4. Your Cover Design

The next step on the road to printing your masterpiece is to design a Louvre-worthy cover. Ok, that’s a lot of pressure, but you should aim for at least a Barnes & Noble-worthy design.

Meeting with a designer can help you verbalize and align on your creative aesthetic and vision, resulting in actionable suggestions. If you decide that you’d rather design your book’s exterior on your own, there are online programs that can help. CreateSpace allows the non-professional artist to render pro-quality graphic designs with relative ease.

Some design elements you’ll need to consider are: whether or not you’ll want a matte or glossy cover, which fonts you’d like, and the design of your book’s spine. Typically, books with less than 101 pages should have a completely blank spine, due to space restrictions. Books with more than 101 pages have room for a title on the spine.

You know that, of course, your book will need a front cover, but you shouldn’t neglect your book’s rear. In addition to the cover art and fonts, you’ll need to create a back cover design. Most back covers provide a brief description of the book, an author headshot alongside a quick bio, and an optional barcode and ISBN.

5. Your Book’s Interior Formatting

Formatting your printed book pages is a finicky, technical process. For this reason, many authors say that outsourcing this chore to a professional book formatter is well worth the cost. Page margins, titles and subheading, and fonts are all tough to layout properly. Handing this over to a pro can save you a big headache. Moreover, at the end of the process, a good formatter will give you an archival quality product.

If you do decide to tackle the interior formatting yourself, then there are programs that can make the process simpler. Word has downloadable templates to make the work easier. These formats vary, depending on how many pages your book has. Make sure to experiment with multiple formats to help you decide which works best for your specific layout needs.

6. Upload to Amazon’s CreateSpace

Once you’ve created your printed book, the next step is to find your fulfillment house. There are many options available. Fulfillment houses pack and ship, and provide customer service for your books. We tend to overwhelmingly recommend CreateSpace. Their services are user-friendly and simple to follow. And CreateSpace works with Amazon to sell your books on demand, so you can curb the costs of printing more than the number of copies you need.

There are multitudes of resources out there to help you turn your eBook into printed paperbacks. Whether you want to sell your printed books, use them as pro marketing tools, or simply admire how lovely they look gracing your bookcase, realize that with a few easy steps, you can create your own beautiful paperback version of your eBook.


Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in July of 2016 and has been updated for accuracy.

SPS 021: Using Books to Grow My Blog, Following & Online Business with Crystal Paine

Today, I am speaking with Crystal Paine from Money Saving Mom. Crystal is a wife, mother, speaker, and author of several books. Money Saving Mom is a coupon and blogging website about intentional living, finance, family, and business. Crystal began couponing while living on a strict budget while her husband was in law school. Her couponing and blogging eventually turned into her Money Saving Mom blog which exceeded her expectations and helped allow her and her husband to purchase their home outright.

Being around Crystal is contagious. She is just one of those people who you would trust to let your kids go to her house. I’m excited about this episode as we discuss how Crystal used her books to help promote and grow Money Saving Mom to phenomenal levels. Crystal wrote her first book The Money Saving Mom’s Budget when she was contacted by a publisher. She had a following, but she didn’t really know how to write a book and really didn’t understand the contract.

Her first book deal was a bit rocky because she did everything wrong, but it was a great learning experience. She shares her lessons and inspiration for writing a book the right way. Some of these include having a thorough plan, outline, and proposal. As well as having a ghost editor to help with cohesiveness, accountability, and input. With these experiences learned Crystal is now a book writing machine, and she shares all of this and more in today’s episode.

You can find Crystal here:

Money Saving Mom
Books by Crystal Paine
The Money Saving Mom’s Budget
Money Making Mom Book
Say Goodbye to Survival Mode
Show Notes

[01:34] Why Crystal decided to write her first book The Money Saving Mom’s Budget.
[04:43] Lessons learned included needing to have a plan before writing a book.
[05:31] On her second book she spent time finding the idea and then focusing on that topic and writing a proposal that outlines every single step.
[07:20] Using ghost editors made the full-length book process much easier.
[08:21] The editing process helped with accountability and organizing and strengthening the text.
[09:54] Having published books gives a form of legitimacy and credibility that opens up opportunities.
[11:18] Going through a publisher is not as strong an income stream as self-publishing.
[11:56] Crystal had to make the time to work on her books because she is extremely busy and it becomes a family endeavor.
[13:01] Getting up early helped with her first books. She wrote her third book from midnight to 4:00 am to find time to focus.
[14:49] Her husband also helped with the homeschooling and allowed Crystal to sleep in.
[16:51] She put together a marketing plan for her first book. Publishers expect you to do the work of marketing.
[18:27] She planned 7-9 months in advance and found hot topics to write on and promote on social media. She thought about the marketing while writing the book.
[19:33] On her third book she was honed in on marketing from the beginning including finding her target audience of overwhelmed moms.
[21:35] She focused on sharing the value the book would give people in the form of articles and creating awareness.
[24:00] Using a launch team also helps get the word out.
[27:58] The book has opened doors and helped Crystal’s confidence grow.
[31:05] Being a real person has been key to Crystal’s success.
[32:18] Crystal used Periscope to promote her 5-day Money Making Mom course.
[37:27] Crystal offered a free 1st-day offer on her courses. This was a great teaser that led to a lot of sales.
[38:13] Her biggest revenue is from email sign ups and blog readers which lead to affiliate sales.  
[38:56] Her books are also in the library which has led to readers.
[39:45] Giving away coupons and freebies from companies fell flat on its face until she gave away a chore planner. Focus on the freebie that will be the biggest incentive for people.
[44:02] Share your own unique gifts and your own unique story.

Links and Resources:

Sell Your Book Like Wildfire
Motivated Mom’s Chore Planner
Money Saving Mom
Books by Crystal Paine
The Money Saving Mom’s Budget
Money Making Mom Book
Say Goodbye to Survival Mode

SPS 020: How to Punch Worry in the Face with Mitch Matthews

I am really excited about today’s guest. It’s the man, the myth, the legend Mitch Matthews. Mitch is a speaker and entrepreneur and the host of the DREAM. THINK. DO. podcast. Mitch is an inspirational guy. He is a success coach and the author of Ignite: 3 Simple Steps for re-sparking Your Buried Dreams and Building a Plan That Finally Works. He is also the founder of the BIG Dream Gathering where people can get clarity on their dreams and goals and then build a plan that enables them to take massive action towards those goals.

Today, we talk about the worry, fear, and doubt side of writing a book. We talk about how there is a huge disparity of people who want to write a book compared to people  who have written a book. Circumstances sometime have something to do with it, but the main problem is usually mindset. Mitch shares his ideas about how to think better and to create the right mindset to crush our goals and dispel worry, fear and doubt. Mitch also touches on his 3 ways to punch worry in the face, tips for productivity, and hacks for getting that writing done.  

You can find Mitch here:

Mitch Mathews Website
Ignite: 3 Simple Steps for re-sparking Your Buried Dreams and Building a Plan That Finally Works
Mitch Mathews LinkedIn
BIG Dream Gathering
Show Notes

[02:06] Things that get in the way of thinking better. Worry.
[03:59] How we get nervous right before publishing a book. Worry is why so many people never take the final step and publish.
[05:33] First step is to acknowledge worry. Sometimes we don’t even realize it has overtaken us.
[07:11] How fight or flight can be good when it comes to safety, but chronic worry has negative effects.
[08:19] How worry narrows our ocular nerve and makes us see less, great for escaping predators but not so much for creativity.
[10:45] Acknowledging the worry is there and then replacing it.
[11:14] Taking an inventory of what you are actually concerned about.
[14:06] How many of the things that people worry about can be overcome with training.
[14:22] Getting so caught up in the fear that you don’t take that first step.
[14:40] Distinguishing between good and bad worry.
[15:31] How journaling can help get a handle on the worry so that you can acknowledge it and make adjustments. A worry journal.
[16:44] Replacing the worry. If you are told to not think about purple cows, replace it with pink elephants.
[20:31] How worry is unproductive imagination.
[22:53] To replace worry ask yourself better questions.
[23:30] Asking what success looks like.
[25:51] Asking what I can control and what I need to let go.
[26:28] Step 3 is doing something intentionally. Worry may make us react in a way we don’t want to. After acknowledging worry and replacing worry, take intentional action.
[28:43] Having an action that you can take immediately even if it is only for 15 minutes.
[29:13] Giving yourself permission to skim a book in 15-minute chunks. Give yourself permission to listen to the book’s author on podcasts while working out or when you can fit it in.
[33:35] The difference between worrying and being tempted to worry.
[38:37] Giving yourself grace if something goes wrong instead of just going off track permanently.
[44:39] The importance of surrounding yourself with supportive people.
[46:21] Having other people’s back, so they will have yours and not defining your circle of influence to your zip code.
[49:04] Punching worry in the face. Acknowledge or write it down.  Replace it by asking a better question. Getting it out of your head and then doing something intentional or taking action to shift that state of mind.
[50:33] Acknowledging your worry may be the genesis of what you need to teach about. Teach the lessons you break through.

Links and Resources:
Brendon Burchard | Declarations to Claim Your Personal Power
Mitch Mathews Website
Ignite: 3 Simple Steps for re-sparking Your Buried Dreams and Building a Plan That Finally Works
Mitch Mathews LinkedIn
BIG Dream Gathering

writing a book

8 Steps to Start Writing a Book

One of the biggest challenges to writing a book is starting. Putting actual words to “digital” paper can create stress, anxiety, and instill that fear of failure.

Writing in and of itself isn’t that hard but the trap that many people fall into is, where do I begin? Do I write chapter 1 first? Should I start without an outline? Do I need to finish that course on book writing before doing anything?

Resistance to the craft just seems to show up at the beginning of each writing session as we become flooded with feelings of overwhelm, perfection, and the fear of failure. We want to do everything right, to navigate around potential mistakes when writing your book. But this could be the very thing holding you back from starting your book.

So how do you start writing? How do you keep the momentum going each day until finished? How do you deal with the most common sticking points for writers and creatives that show up disguised as procrastination, self-doubt, and uncertainty?

Why do we stop ourselves from starting the things that would bring us the most joy?

If we procrastinate and put off the writing by telling ourselves “I’ll do it later” or “I I’m just not in the mood today”, you’ll walk away from your writing project full of frustration.

Writing a book is like any other project: You have to stick with a schedule, be resilient, and push through the resistance when you get stuck. Small details and not sure what to do next can keep you from making progress.

If you are feeling overwhelmed when it comes to starting your book, you are not alone. This is a common obstacle for most authors, even after they have been doing for years. But there are a few effective strategies we can use to get over this hurdle and become book finishers instead of book dreamers.

In this blog post, I’ll give you some simple strategies for:

  • Getting started on your book
  • Building momentum
  • staying focused on your writing project.

We will look at 8 strategies you can put into action to assure you show up again and again with a game plan to get your thoughts out of your head, down on paper, and into the minds of your readers.

Develop the Writing Habit

To get started on your book, it requires the mindset of “just do it”. Remember the Nike commercial? Doing it means you are moving beyond just thinking about your book. By taking action, you can immersing yourself deep into the process of putting words to digital paper. But to get there, you have to show up and do it. Write that first word, first sentence, and first page.

This can be accomplished with building the writing habit. The #1 reason authors fail to publish a book is because they never finish the book they intend to write. Why? They didn’t do any writing. Or they tried for a few days but realized that, unlike the myths of a writer creating the great American novel and earning millions of dollars from a book deal, writing is hard work.

But you can do this. The resistance you have towards starting your project is just fear. Do you know what the cure is for removing fear? Yes, taking action and just doing it.

Every book I wrote has been published. Why? I finished it. How does a book get finished and ready for publishing? One word at a time. Where would you be if you could write a thousand words a day? One thousand words a day is about an hours work. We spend longer than that a day watching TV or surfing the Net looking for mindless distractions.

Your writing habit can start small. You can commit to five-hundred words a day first thing in the morning. Build up to a bigger word count over the days and weeks to come. If writing is difficult for you, write a page of three hundred words. If that is difficult, write a paragraph of one hundred words. If it still persists, make it a sentence.

Keep breaking it down until you can show up everyday to work on your book. The writing habit isn’t about writing quantity, it is building the behaviour at first. You can scale up as you go.

What most people get stuck on isn’t writing once or twice but to keep it going, to start writing every morning. It is breaking past the first ten minutes of bad writing when the ideas are not flowing and you have to keep pushing forward to get into the flow.

8 Strategies for Starting Your Book and Building Momentum

1. Write in Bite-Sized Chunk Method

Feeling overwhelmed about writing your book is a natural feeling. If you pull a book of your shelf and hold it in your hands, you can feel the weight of it, the amount of words it contains. You know a lot of work went into this book you are holding.

You might think about the author and how much time they spent writing, researching, planning, editing, and all of the other steps that went into getting the book to market. As you think about this, it isn’t any wonder overwhelm creeps in and steals our creative moment.

But remember, every book successfully finished had a beginning. The author started somewhere, even if he or she wrote the ending first. If you are having trouble starting, you can write just a paragraph. Or a sentence. Or the first word. Start with something.

Momentum begins with taking that first action.

Remember what Lao Tzu said: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

Well, the journey of writing a book begins with that first page.

The bite-sized chunk method works because it breaks your project down into a manageable state. It is the act of staying present in the moment and focusing on the Deep Work we can do in the now.

2. Stay Focused on One Project

One of the challenges many authors face is dealing with the horde of ideas that continue to pop up as they are fixated on the one project. I hear it all the time:

I often hear people say: “I have so many ideas for other books I don’t know where to start.”

So most don’t.

Or, “I’m going to write three books at the same time and then publish all three within weeks of each other.”

But they never finish any of them.

My favorite: “I don’t know where to start because I’m so overwhelmed. I’ll just research some more before writing.”

Then the research takes months and nothing gets written.

Staying fixed on one project is challenging but, if you spread your energy thin, you’ll get weak results. When you start something, start it with the decision that you will finish it within a set time period. Have a plan for everyday, even if it is just “write for thirty minutes on my book.”

Writing two or three books at the same time requires high-end organizational skills and experience. Stick with your one project until finished. Having ten books in first draft mode will not do much for your self confidence if you don’t finish any of them.

Remember: only published books can earn you money and get you interviewed by podcasters who want you to tell your story.

Focus on your One Thing until finished.

3. Know Where to Start

Tell me if this sounds familiar.

You decided to wake up early to start writing your book. You sit down. Time  passes by. After twenty minutes you still have a Blank page.

You realize you need coffee first to get things moving so you get up to make some.

Come back. Sit down.

Blank page.

Before writing that first sentence, you decide to check your email. Might as well do something while waiting for inspiration. Several emails marked urgent require an immediate response. You take care of that first, still thinking you are in warmup mode.

Then you get several FB notifications on your desktop. You jump over to FB to check it out because that will just take a few minutes anyway while you’re here, and then you’ll start.

Thirty minutes has passed and you are still reading up on today’s current posts that run in an endless loop. Now one hour has passed, you’re tired, and you need a break to stretch.

But, you never make it back to your book for that day.

This is a familiar story with writer’s. We have the best intentions to start writing and then, when we show up to get it done, we make ourselves feel so busy by buying into cheap distractions that nothing gets written.

Once again, we fail to start. This is why you need a plan before you show up to write. Without a game plan, you are inviting distractions in to take over your schedule for the day.

Starting a book the first time isn’t difficult. But starting your writing session everyday can be. Depending on the time of day you write, it is important to be clear about two things:

1. What are you writing about right now? Is it your introduction? The first 1000 words of chapter 7? If you don’t know what you are writing, you’ll lose momentum from the start. Be clear about the material you are working on. Of course you can start cold just to warm up if you aren’t sure, but when you are short on time, every minute counts.

2. How much are you writing? Set a target goal for your session. You can approach this in two ways. Write for a set amount of time [30 minute session]. Or, set a word target goal [1000 words].

Now that we have a plan for what to write, we can…

4. Write With Focus

Once you get into the flow of writing, you want to stay there for the duration of your writing session. Suddenly stopping to check that email notification can break your concentration and set you back 20-30 minutes.

By the time you are done chasing digital data down the rabbit hole, you might not get back to your writing. You started something but you couldn’t finish it.

By jumping around we become less efficient and it takes twice as long to complete our writing. Stay centered in the moment and leave the distractions on the outside.

We can do this by following a few simple strategies.

  1. Use focus enhancer apps such as pomodoro, coffitivity.com or StayFocused to build more focus into your writing time.
  2. Turn off your phone during your writing time.
  3. Inform friends and family you will be unavailable during this time.

Get yourself into the writer’s flow and you’ll become unstoppable while working in this mode. I work with a 25 Minute Timer that tracks the time spent on a project. Take a break and then get back into it.

5. Set Your Creative Mood

The environment you write in plays an important role in writing. Some writers can get focused in a noisy cafe; other people need solitude and the background of quiet music.

Create the environment that is relaxing and settles you into the mood for writing. If you are constantly feeling distracted, you’ll struggle to get into the writer’s flow.

Set your writing session up for success: favorite music, inspirational quotes, or reading a section of your favorite book to get you “feeling” it.

You can even decorate your work area with the pictures of your favorite authors or best writing quotes. Spend 30 minutes to create your ideal space for writing. You will feel more inspired to show up and write even on those days when you are not feeling like it.

Inspiration will not always be there, so you have to create your inspiration for those days when dealing with writer’s fatigue.

6. Use the Seinfeld Method to Stay Accountable

In the early days of his career, Jerry Seinfeld was asked how he managed to create such great content. He said: “The way to be a better comic was to create better jokes, and the way to create better jokes was to write every day.”

Well, as authors, this definitely applies to the craft. The way to be a good writer is to write everyday, and to write everyday you have to set yourself up for success even before the pen hits the paper [or the fingers tap the keyboard]. Jerry Seinfeld used what is now the ‘calendar method’. He called it the “Don’t break the chain” method. It works like this.

Get yourself a calendar and hang it on your wall. Then, for every day that you write, cross an X on the day. You should have a calendar week with a row of Xs at the end. If you keep the chain going, you will have your book written in less than 30 days. But you have to start somewhere.

So start right now and work on your book for 30 minutes today. When you are finished, mark that X on your calendar. If you miss a day, start again and see how many days you can get in a row before you break the chain.

7. Review Your Mindmap and Outline

If you don’t have a well constructed outline, you run the risk of getting lost in your book. This could waste time as you write just for the same of writing without purpose. Your outline provides clarity and direction to your story. Before you write, spend five minutes reviewing your outline.

Create a checklist of chapters and another checklist for the subtitle themes in each chapter. When we can check things off, it gives us a boost in confidence and we know that we are getting closer to our goal: finishing the book.

8. Free Flow for 10 Minutes

You can start with a strategy known as free flowing. This is a random series of thoughts about anything written in word or notepad. Julia Cameron, the bestselling author of The Artist’s Way, called these morning pages.

You don’t have to publish or edit these words. They are for your eyes only. But the key is to start writing something. It’s like working out at the gym. You can’t just walk in and start lifting the heavy weights before you warm-up. It is best to do some stretching with “words” and ease your way into it. You’ll find this will loosen your thoughts and get things moving. I have rarely had a day I couldn’t write if I did this first.

Once you are ready and the ideas are clicking, pull out your mind map or outline and get to work. You can sprint for thirty minute increments or less. I usually go for sixty minutes and then take a five minute break. In two sessions of this I can get on average two thousand words written.

Don’t worry about the word count. We are going for habit building here. Writing is hard if you are not used to it. You need to break yourself into the habit at first; after a couple of weeks you’ll be flying straight ahead.

Dealing With Resistance

It is a common obstacle that resistance to the writing is going to show up and hold us back from creating. Resistance is a form of fear that latches onto the mind and pulls us off course. If you let it, resistance will turn into a heavy form of procrastination. For years I resisted my natural urge to write. I would give into the resistance and take the easy path: watching TV, playing games or the like.

Resistance doesn’t have to defeat you. As long as you follow the first two steps you’ll be fine. But getting started, even if it is one word on paper, can turn the momentum into a powerful snowball. There are several levels to this obstacle and each one can be stronger than the last depending where you are in the process of writing.

Start-It-Up Checklist

So to revamp, here is your checklist for getting started on your book. If any of the components are missing you can go back and complete them. When you have a checklist it sets the pace for your writing schedule. I use this still even though I’ve been wiring for years because the urge to procrastinate and get stuck still shows up.

Know when to write. Set your writing session for the same time each morning. I set mine at 5:30. In order to start I have to show up at least by 5:25. This gives a few minutes to get relaxed and comfortable. I’ll spend a few minutes thinking about what I’ll be writing about. Then, using the Pomodoro technique you can set your writing session for twenty-five minutes. Take a five minute break. Go for another session.

Be ready with your outline. Have your outline ready to go. This keeps you on track and makes sure you have all your ideas organized in a natural flow. When you get stuck you can go back to your outline and find what comes next. Your outline is the roadmap for your book. Make it as detailed as you can and you’ll get finished faster with a solid outline ready to send to the editor after a quick self-edit.

Read morning affirmations. Affirmations are powerful snippets of positive “juice” that set the tone and atmosphere for writing. An affirmation for a writer could be a quote from a writer, motivational or inspiring words from someone who has been there and done that. I keep a collection of affirmations in a journal and, when I am struggling with a writing session, I’ll warm up by flipping through these affirmations for inspiration.

Here are some inspiring quotes to start with:

“It doesn’t matter how slow you go as long as you do not stop.”

— Confucius

“A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.”

— E.B. White

“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become.”

— Steve Jobs

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.”

— J.K . Rowling


You can do this. You now have ten mini-strategies for starting your book. The fears of writers rejection are being stamped out as you set out on an incredible journey to becoming a published author. I know there is a long road ahead, but you plug at this everyday and you’ll get your book done.

Just do it.

Start with that first word.

Build with small steps.

Your next bestseller is closer than you think.