November 30, 2010 fm

5 Steps To Becoming A Professional Speaker – Step 4

Step 4: Write Your First Book

It was in October 2009 when Rose asked me one day: “Why don’t you write a book?” – I thought for a moment and responded, “Great idea!”

Six months later The Seven Minute Star went Amazon

It was definitely my most decisive and most rewarding step on the bumpy road to becoming a professional speaker.

In this fourth step, first, I will share with you three powerful benefits of writing your own book – reflection, credibility, self-actualization. Then, I will show you how I did it.

Finding freedom

Before I wrote the book my 15-step keynote presentation that I give in my seminars took some 30 minutes. After writing my book this interactive presentation takes 1h 15 min. I can flexibly prolongate or shorten it because I deeply reflected on my topic.

When you are sitting in front of your laptop, you switch on your creative light. In the beam you discover and invent anecdotes, exercises, lists, graphics. You don’t need to sell your ideas to anyone – it is your book. You can write whatever you want – a true feeling of creative freedom.

For me the writing process was a wonderful experience. I inspire you to start writing today.

100% credibility

Once I was sitting in a one-on-one sales pitch meeting. The HR director asked me if I had a business card. I shook my head and said, “No, but I have this for you…”. Then I gently handed over The Seven Minute Star.

You see the sparkle in the eyes of your prospects – your book conveys a message of credibility. If this guy wrote a book on this topic he must know what he is talking about.

Of course, it is true. But how many times in life are you confronted with the situation that you know something well and nobody cares?

Everybody notices your book. Your book makes you a perceived expert. Your book makes you 100% credible.

Climbing up Maslow’s pyramid

We all have needs in life. Do you know Maslow’s pyramid? Maslow calls self-actualization the top level of human needs – the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming.

Leaving your mark, finding self-actualization – writing your book lets you climb up Maslow’s pyramid at a great pace.

Now that you are inspired to write your first book – how do you make it on Amazon?

The big question – publisher or self-publishing?

For me this was never a real option. Based in Spain and Germany I wouldn’t have found a local publisher to publish The Seven Minute Star in English targeting the US market. I had to choose the self-publishing path.

You can always try your luck with the classical path. Have in mind though that any publisher receives a multitude of book scripts every day. How do you stick out of the gray mass? Plus, as a first-time writer you will have no negotiation power whatsoever. You will end up with 5% margin – pre-tax.

The downside of self-publishing is the lack of the bookstore sales channel. But then again – how many books will be sold there in the first place? And isn’t Amazon the number one sales channel today?

My recommendation: With your first book go for self-publishing through services like www.createspace.com or www.epubli.de. Once you have a tangible product in your hand and have made first sales you will stick out of the gray mass of book scripts – for sure!

What you always need are one or two experienced lectors. Your style of writing is not the style you find in best-selling books. There are professional lectors who are trained to refine the language, the plot, the logical structure. No way you can write your book and publish it without the help of these lectors. Good editors are hard to find. Ask other writers you might know. Dig into your network. Find them!

Title, title, title

Ask yourself – what are the criteria for you to purchase a book? Wouldn’t the title be a top criterion? Of course, it would be.

Imagine a title like… “The effects of alcohol consumption in Western civilizations”. It’s too long, too many words. It is not engaging. And where is the suspense?

What about… “Are you drunk?”

Your book title is so important, please consult the help of advertisers and text professionals. Never choose a title that YOU like. Select a title that 20 of your colleagues, family and friends admire.

Design, design, design

The same applies to the design of your book. If you go for self-publishing, please make sure that you do not design it yourself in Word using Times New Roman or Arial 12.

Great books have professional designs – design is for professionals!

The Seven Minute Star layout and design was created by Berlin-based Navarra Design. They also produced a landing page website and the promo trailer. Social media work best audio-visually – be audio-visual!

You made it – congratulations!

The 5th step

The 5th and last step to becoming a professional speaker.

I’ve done one inspirational keynote at a conference in May 2012. Yet, in October 2013 I face the first super challenge. A customized inspirational keynote speech for 400 lawyers in Berlin.

When I’ve done it, I will write a post on the 5th and last spet of becoming a pro speaker!

See also:

Step 1: Train Your Skills
Step 2: Go Out There
Step 3: Set Up Your Seminar

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