SPS 157: How To Write & Publish A Memoir That Makes A Difference (Behind The Scenes Of The SPS Coaching Process) with Kerk Murray

Posted on Dec 9, 2022

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Kerk Murray is our head coach as well as a student success coach. He is also the author of Pawprints On Our Hearts: How A Few Incredible Dogs Changed One Life Forever, a book that unpacks the journey we experience alongside the animals we love. After rescuing a street puppy, who later passed away, Kerk wanted to do something to help animals and started The Lexi’s Legacy Foundation. This is a foundation that supports rescues and sanctuaries to end suffering. Kerk even donates all of the proceeds of his book to the foundation.

Kerk has completed over 2000 one-on-one coaching calls and coached hundreds of authors as a coach. You’ll love this episode if you’re in the trenches or thinking about publishing a book. We dive into writing a memoir that sells well and creates a positive impact. Kerk also shares some of his lessons from being on thousands of coaching calls. We kick off with why Kerk wanted to write his book and how he found Self Publishing School. He also shares his experience with the writing process and what his most formidable obstacle was.

We talk about how done is better than perfect and how useful it can be to read work by other authors in your genre. We talk about how Kerk launched his book, built his list, and tackled social media. We also talk about how promotions should continue after the launch, and Kerk shares how he uses an ad manager to free up time. Then we dive into juicy insights from the coaching calls. Kerk shares great advice about not being a perfectionist and setting realistic expectations for your schedule and timetable. We talk about all kinds of ways that obstacles can be tackled through coaching and having a plan. 

Show Highlights

  • [02:02] Kerk rescued a homeless puppy from the streets. It was one of the most rewarding things that he had ever done. The rescue was too late, and the puppy passed away a week later.
  • [03:08] He was distraught and thought this should never happen, even though he knows it happens every day. Kerk decided to start a non-profit to help animals and write a book about the story of abused animals. 
  • [03:41] He Googled how to write a book and discovered Self Publishing School. He also read the first version of Chandler’s book Published. He also booked a call and the rest was history.
  • [04:31] The writing process. The toughest obstacle in writing his book was to get over perfectionism and realize the first draft is a first draft or even the ugly first draft. Done is better than perfect.
  • [06:03] Read books in your genre and see what other authors are doing.
  • [07:11] One of the things that helped him with his launch was getting his list together early. He also used Instagram and Facebook Stories. 
  • [08:27] He also used book promotion sites during his launch and really kept up with the social media posts. After the lodge, he kept up with marketing by using ads with an ad manager.
  • [09:44] Determine what time demands will be realistic for you. Don’t let unrealistic expectations bring you down. Also stay out of your head and don’t get imposter syndrome.
  • [11:03] Have realistic expectations based on your capacity and your journey. Don’t compare yourself to other people.
  • [12:11] After seven months, Kerk’s book is at 277 reviews. One thing he did was follow the non-fiction outline in the Self Publishing School course. He also has a tailored review plate in his book. His book has three sections and a bonus section with extra content.
  • [13:38] In his book, Kerk asks for his review right after his personal story when emotions are high. 
  • [14:13] If you want to know more about getting reviews, check out chapter 20 in Published
  • [15:02] He won a Book Fest 2022 award with Publisher’s Weekly. Google book awards and see what is relevant and submit your book. 
  • [16:38] All of his book proceeds go to charities. He wants to use the book as a fundraiser to help animals. 
  • [18:34] Lessons learned: The number one challenge that keeps authors from getting started is the overwhelming process that makes it seem like things are daunting and undoable.
  • [20:08] At Self Publishing School, we break everything down into digestible steps. 
  • [21:08] Challenges include authors not realizing that some of their ideas conflict, because they have ideas for multiple books. 
  • [22:25] Common traits of the most successful students are the ones who utilize the available resources.
  • [23:13] It’s also important to have a willingness to ask questions. Be curious, questioning, and coachable.
  • [24:53] Things that trip people up are not showing up to their coaching calls and losing contact with the community. Don’t go into isolation as an author.
  • [27:30] The first call is a clarity call. This helps get super clear on the direction the author is going. What is their goal for the book? What is the ideal outcome? Start with the end in mind to determine what type of book you’ll be writing.
  • [29:11] Based on your publishing goals, we work backwards and determine when your first draft needs to be completed. We also like members to commit to one group coaching call a week and make an intro post to the mastermind community.
  • [31:46] To prepare for your first call, connect to your resources and do your homework. Show up with a growth mindset.
  • [32:49] Parting advice is to take action. Everyone’s story is unique, and you need to share it.
  • [31:46] To prepare for your first call, connect to your resources and do your homework. Show up with a growth mindset.
  • [32:49] Parting advice is to take action. Everyone’s story is unique, and you need to share it. 

Links and Resources

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