I just interviewed Ann Dettori and she shared the basics of the planning stage before writing a book. Read on for our awesome conversation.
Ann: There really are so many things you can use a book for in your business, even just to be able to do what I’ve done like LinkedIn posts where I would just give away a chapter of the book. So whatever that post is on, I will have a Pdf done up, and it’s got the cover and everything and people just get that chapter because that’s something that’s of interest to them and they need that at that point in time.
You can actually speed it up and utilize it in lots of different ways. It’s not just the old-fashioned print book which I suggest everyone has as well. It’s not just digital because there’s nothing like being with someone and being able to hand a copy of your book.
Alison: Do you think it gives a lot more authority when it’s a print book?
Ann: I think in certain situations, definitely, and it helps you stand out. Everybody knows nowadays you can just put together a quick ebook, whereas if you’ve actually gone to the trouble of writing a 30,000 word book, having it all laid out, it just shows that you know your stuff. People can see that you know your stuff. you value your own knowledge and also you value other people’s time. You’re giving them a printed book. You’ve gone to that effort and I’m a big believer that when you give someone a book and they’re reading it, they’re giving you their time. You’ve got to value people’s time, that’s the one thing we really can’t get back. Then they’re taking their time to read your material so I think it’s up to every author to give them the best possible thing that they can give them, and to value that resource that they’re giving you.
Patricia: What is the difference between a self-published print book, an Ebook and a non-self-published or traditionally published book?
Ann: I’ll do the traditionally published and the self-published first. so traditionally published means you go to someone like Penguin Random House. Say, if they pick up your book, there can be a time frame of anywhere up to two years between you signing a contract and the book getting out there because things take a long time. In traditional publishing, they will do everything for you, from the cover design, having it edited and they will cover all the costs of doing that.
The downside is you will lose a degree of control so you might not be 100% happy with the cover. You might have to do edits that you’re not particularly happy with and also they own the rights to it, so if you’re writing a business book you’ve really got to look into what they own the rights to. Do they just own the rights to the print and the digital? Do they own the rights for the audio? Can you turn it into an online course? When you sell the book you’ll get paid a royalty, so just a small percentage of the book.
Self-published is you do all of that, you’re in complete control, you pay for everything. You can either do it all yourself, you can work with an editor and a designer, you can pick and choose what you want to do. You work with someone like us that can do everything for you, so then with self publishing, you upload it and you can go to Amazon. We have a print-on-demand company here called IngramsPark, which is pretty much in Canada, they’re also in the UK, they’re about five locations around the world.
Self-published, traditional publishing, it’ll be the same book as a print book and a digital book. The only difference is “how it arrives.”
Alison: With all ebooks, like when you write a traditional book or you’re going for a physical book, do you have to register the ISBN?
Ann: So you register the ISBN, but it’s different in every company, in every country. Here we just go to Fort Barker and we just buy them. In New Zealand you get them for free. I don’t know what happens in other countries, mostly you have to purchase them. I recommend you get them for your digital books as well.
Amazon will give you one for free, but we generally recommend that when you buy your print book, you just buy a package of 10 and each different format of book will need an ISBN so even if you’ve got a paperback and a hardback, each of them will need an ISBN. It’s just a way of tracking book sales and it gets registered with the national library.
Alison: When it comes to writing books, particularly entrepreneurs, what are the top mistakes that they make?
Ann: One of the big mistakes that we see often is they just pick up the pen and start writing without really taking the time to plan, and not just plan what they’re going to write but plan who they’re writing for. I think probably one of the easiest ways I can sort of explain what I mean is just to talk about one of our authors that we’re still working with at the moment.
He wrote a 70 000-word book, he’s a doctor and an acupuncturist and basically what he did is he wrote a book for everybody. He wrote a book for the patients, for people that he’s going to train in his modality and also for other doctors, so it just ended up being a book that was for no one.
So he just didn’t take the time to plan who was actually going to pick up the book and read it and what they needed to know from his content so what we’ve done with that is we’ve pulled it apart and now he’ll have three books. So one will be for the patient, one’s for the doctor and one’s for the trainee. So it’s really important to actually take the time and reflect on who you’re writing for and what do they need because it might be that you’ve got more than one book, it might be that you’ve got a series of books or you’ve got one or two books that might be similar but they’ll just have a slightly different slant. Because if you’re writing to other people who are in your industry, you can use jargon, they’re going to understand it. But if you’re writing just to your everyday person then they’re not going to be able to understand what you’re talking about with your industry jargon. So it’s just really really important to take that time to actually work out who you’re writing for and what they need.
As an entrepreneur, I’m a really big believer in the fact that you need to value your reader. You need to actually value their time, the effort that they’re putting in to going over what you have to say.
We work on books where five or six editors have looked at it and once it’s gone to print, we’ll get reprint corrections. It pretty much happens on every book, there will be some mistakes, it doesn’t matter how many but when you’ve got consistent mistakes throughout, it’s obvious that it hasn’t been edited or proofread.
I think that that’s a really poor reflection on the entrepreneur. The other thing that I hear a lot of other people in my industry say is, “Just write a book. No one’s going to read it anyway.”
Well, I don’t believe that. I think that just writing a book for the sake of writing a book is a waste of your time.
So why do you think they encourage entrepreneurs to do that because I’ve heard that too.
People say “write a book it’s going to give you that authority, it’s going to build your reputation”, but if you get it wrong, then what have you put out there? You’re not going to make that money from book sales. It’s just not going to happen.
Patricia: So what I’m trying to do is follow someone’s advice. Someone who builds sales funnels for courses and so his process is, you take one of your courses and you transcribe the lesson, the course, and then have someone edit it so you just transcribe the raw files and edit it. You could do it on Descript or something like that and then have somebody edit it and organize it.
Turn this into an eBook that you sell for minimal price like four dollars or five dollars as a funnel to upsell courses and memberships. It’s probably like a 70-page eBook, but what I was wondering is, would it make sense to do something like that and then develop that later into a full, legit published book.
Ann: Start with a sort of a lead magnet, start with that, get some ideas, build up your list and start from there. The thing with that is, it will become like just a training book, it’s not really going to know exactly what is going to be in there, but people won’t sort of necessarily get to know you through that effort. Whereas if you do a more extended version they’ll get to know a little bit more about who you are as a person.
But definitely there’s no right and wrong with self-publishing as far as the order that you do things. If it’s an e-book and you don’t like it, in six months time you can pull it down and not sell it anymore. You’ve got lots of options, you’re in complete control, before you print it on paper you have included a little bit of a test.