Passion is a Good Thing, But…

Frustrated writerAspiring book authors are a pretty passionate lot, aren’t we?  We want to change the world and make it a better place for as many people as we can.  We want to help the people who suffer with the same problems or issues we solved ourselves. We want to get the word out to our niche market so we have a flowing, stream of clients knocking at our front door.  Book authors want to help:

  • Athletes perform better at their favorite sport
  • Couples keep their marriage alive and sexy
  • Intrepid travelers enjoy their journeys more
  • Moms and Dads be better parents of their kids
  • Women feel more empowered and confident
  • Cooks prepare better food for friends and family
  • Entrepreneurs have a more profitable business

When you’re in the midst of a passionate, get-it-done no-matter-what mindset, its possible to make kneejerk decisions that are unwise. In the book world there are many people more than happy to sell you substandard products and services that don’t jibe with reality. Unfortunately there’s no recourse because you didn’t read the fine print. Or, you didn’t read between the lines of the fine print.

Take mini-books for example:

frustrated writerMini-books are little books, many don’t even have a spine that are under 80 pages in length.  Seems like a smart idea, right?  After all, we live in a busy world nobody has time to read a 300 page volume, right? Mini-books seem perfect, right?

Not so fast.  The runaway block buster the last two years coming out in movie form this year, “50 Shades of Grey” is 528 pages long. I don’t suggest this length of book for a how-to or personal growth book. Generally 150-275 pages is the norm.

Here’s the facts:  I’ve talked with several PR and media people in the last couple weeks and all of them say: we won’t accept anyone on with books of less than 100 pages.  They’re not serious, they’re wannabes.  And PR is one of the best ways to build buzz about your book.  They’ve learned to ask, “How long is your book?”

Media and book promoters also want to avoid collaboration or contributor books.  I wrote another post about this here. They’ll ask, “Are their co-authors?”  They want to sniff out collaboration books because you’re not perceived as a serious author here.

Many workshop and seminar leaders want to see your book before having you speak on their platform.  They want to weed out wannabees with poorly slapped together books.  You’ve been told as a book author you’ll get all these speaking engagements? Not as likely with a mini-book or a collaboration book.

Guy in cafeIt’d be okay to write a short book and offer it as a free bonus when people sign up for your email list. Or, add it as a free bonus with a bundle of other info-products. No biggie.  I have a 108 page ebook on writing sales letters.  Not quite. I also two have a very short (22 pages each) ebooks on my goalsetting system and another on doing public relations yourself.  I offer them as bonuses with other programs. I’ve used them to get people to sign up for a list. And I give them to clients (I’d never nickel and dime my clients when they’re already paying me.) I’ve never tried to tout myself as a “book author” because I wrote a 22-page ebook. You shouldn’t either.

When seminar gurus charge their passionate audiences thousands of dollars to be included in a collaboration book that won’t take their business anywhere I get ticked off. Or, they tell you to spend a bunch of money on a program to write a short book that won’t do much for you, either.  Both play to low self esteem. People uninformed about the options and the truth of what happens when you try to “position yourself as an expert” later.

For about  the same amount of money you can work with a book coach who’ll help you over six months or more, one-on-one to write a real book.  (I know an excellent book coach.)  You not only get knowledge and hands-on support, you also gradually get increased self esteem to go from being a “normal person” to a “book author.” I’ve written other articles  about aspiring book authors who’ve had a challenging time getting over the emotional hump.

Me @ Barnes & NobleHow is this possible?  In my own case I can say I don’t:

  • Live in a palatial 10,000+ square foot home
  • Pay 50-60 percent affiliate fees to marketers
  • Cover the payroll for dozens of people on staff, full-time
  • Need massive numbers of people to be profitable
  • Cover overhead for huge free seminars to generate leads
  • Pass clients off to “licensed trainers” with less experience

Are you getting the idea?  Instead I operate my business to benefit my clients because my passion is supporting my client,s not living like a Rockefeller or Kardashian. So I:

  • Own an average size home – though it’s nicely furnished over time and I love calling it home
  • Pay a 10% referral fee to a small handful of friends and former clients who get how much I care.
  • Have a few part-timers who help me with my website, a bit of social networking support, and my husband Ernie’s runs errands for me.
  • Need only a reasonable number of clients to avoid overwhelm. I never take on more than ten private clients at a time.
  • Conduct a small workshop once a year, usually with 50-60 people without high pressure sales-speakers.
  • Work one-on-one with all my clients, always sharing my experience and wisdom

Maybe you’re thinking – this article sounds like a sales letter. I just don’t want your passion to stand in the way of making a smart choice when you decide to become a book author.  The reason the prices on seminar gurus packages are so expensive and provide so little is because as you can see above – they’re supporting very high business overhead and they’re supporting an extravagant millionaire lifestyle.

So, let’s add it up.  Mini-books in my opinion are mostly a waste of time. Same for collaboration books.  When gurus value their time at $2,000 an hour or they value a CD that costs a few bucks to duplicate at $500 or more, your Spidey-sense should lock in place.

For about the same amount of money you can get a highly qualified book coach who’ll work with you personally, go the extra mile to help you and most importantly they’ll tell you the truth because they’re not trying to sell you another upsell program.


smalllogoDenise Michaels is author of  “Testosterone-Free Marketing” a business bestseller sold in 16 countries.  She’s also C.C.O.* and  Founder of the “International Book Writing Guild.”  She coaches people to write “how-to” and “self-help” books. Then you can position yourself as a leader, an expert in your field – so you become more in-demand and increase your income. Click here now to discover info about the “Ready. Set! WRITE!!” group book coaching program for aspiring book authors.


One Comment

  1. Very good write-up. Its pragmatic in the publishing world. Makes one think before they start writing a book.

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