Even after creating great content, often authors and bloggers are confused whether it requires an edit, or can it be published straight away? How to make sure what you have written is ready? To shed more light on topics like these and to take an expert opinion on the matter, I interviewed Nick Brodd who is an author, editor, entrepreneur and co-founder of Writers Rise. In this post, he answers some of my questions which are related to creating unique content, advantages of creating an e-book for a product or a service, common mistakes made by novice authors and tips on editing and proofreading.
1) Please tell us more about yourself?
Nick: I am a productivity enthusiast, family man, author, executive and entrepreneur. And sometimes I wonder what I will be when I grow up! The titles I’m most proud of are Husband and Co-creator of the world’s best twin boy and girl. These are the guys that give me inspiration every day! I spend most of the days heading up a relatively large company. Over there we help Fortune 500 CEO’s turn-around their worst performing factories. I’m also the co-founder of Writersrise.com and we just released Hard CORE, Soft Cover. A book packed with advice on how you write your own book in 30 hours or less.
I was a very late bloomer when it comes to social media. Today I’m adapting it whole-heartedly with a hard-core focus on return on invested time. I also enjoy financial investing and am big into passive wealth, stock and option investing.
As you can see I’m juggling many balls. I’ve got a vision to enable people to do the same. Success is for me all about fulfillment. So my focus is on doing it all with the least effort and maximum satisfaction while having a great life balance.
My mission is to help a million people double their productivity and quadrupling their income. As a result I write about Personal Productivity, Digital Marketing & Wealth Creation.
2) What would be your tips for creating unique content which stands out?
Nick: My tips for creating unique content are the following:
- First of all know your competition: If you don’t know what’s out there, you don’t know if your book is just another book on the same topic already explained in the same way by 10 other authors. One thing I recommend is to find other books that are similar to yours. But don’t just read their books. Study all their reviews on Amazon. Go to their website, go to their Facebook page,etc and get a thorough understanding about what their customers are saying. What seems to be the weaknesses? Also, understand who the readers of this book are. If your book have a similar audience, find what angles they seem to be missing. Write from a different viewpoint.
- Incorporate your own story: The most unique thing about your book is that you are writing it, not anybody else. Put your own stories to use. Be personable and share how what happened affected you. Shows the reader that there is a living, breathing human being behind the words on your book.
- Upgrade old ideas: Now, I don’t mean you just take other people’s works, rewrite a little and pass it off as your own. That would be plagiarism and I’m certainly not advocating that. What I do suggest however is that you take relatively new topics and combine them with older wisdom. For instance, how about reading a great book on leadership and then a newer book about social media. Then you add your own experience and take what you learnt and write in your own words how Social Media is impacting the role of today’s leaders. It’s fresh content governed by time-tested concepts.
3) What are the ways by which an author can be of help in an online business?
Nick: There are a lot of ways being an author helps you with your online business:
- Authority: Books are a brilliant way to position yourself as an expert in your niche. Say you’re an author on a topic and people trust you know what you’re talking about. By publishing the right book you will strengthen and widen your platform, instantly boosting your brand.
- Lead Generation: Amazon allows you to tap into a couple of hundred million customers. These are people who got their credit cards ready and want to buy. And a book is not a high dollar item, so it’s a great way to make that first connection with people who can become customers for life.
- Upsell: Over-deliver and your customers will be hooked. They will want to buy more things from you. At this stage you might be able to start selling products with a $50 price tag, or a $100 price tag or even $1,000’s of dollars.
- Passive Income: I don’t want to hype the opportunity to make a lot of money on the actual books. But with the right marketing the profit margins can be awesome. Get a decent amount of sales from one book, then get several books that sell well and you will have multiple streams of truly passive income.
4) What are the advantages of creating an e-book for a product or a service?
Nick: There are so many, many advantages of writing e-books, I can’t talk about them all. But I’ll just mention a few of the most important ones.
- First, the market is massive. Anyone in the world with an internet connection is your target market.
- Secondly, as mentioned earlier, the profit margins are staggering.
- Thirdly, there is a different purchasing pattern for e-book than for physical books. The cost per book is so low, that people in high income countries tend to buy them without even thinking twice.
5) What are the most common mistakes made by novice authors?
Nick: One very common mistake I see from first-time authors is that many are not treating their books as a business. What does this mean? Let me explain. They think that all they need to do is to write a good book. But then they end up wondering why the book doesn’t sell.
Another common mistake I see with first time authors is that they try doing everything themselves. Now before I go on, I have to make a disclaimer here. I am the owner of Writers Rise, a company that provides book editing services, so you could say I am biased here. But I see there is just no way people can write an awesome book without getting an editor. Instead they fall in love with what they have written. It’s understandable to become attached to your work. You poured yourself into it. You expended the effort to make it happen. What isn’t so acceptable is when you think there is no more room for improvement. Every book, no matter how great it is, always has something to improve upon. When you get an editor, you have someone who isn’t as attached to the work as you. Your editor has objective eyes. They can point out the weak points of the book and show you how you can improve them. They can also show you the strong points to encourage you along the way.
Another reason novice authors don’t want to get an editor is, they are scared. They are scared the editor will pick on their manuscript. They are scared that they won’t recognize their manuscript once it comes back to them. But that is not often the case. Very often, I find that people already have good manuscripts. They have written good content, better than they think it is. It’s perhaps human nature to think less of ourselves than we actually are, but the manuscripts that we receive for editing actually are full of insight and great content. If you have a good editor, the message you want to put across in your content remains intact. I haven’t seen anybody fall to pieces after receiving their edited manuscripts. In fact, they are all delighted because their content is still their but presented in a way that is clearer, more understandable and more engaging for their readers.
6) What would be your advice to an aspiring author, self publishing or traditional publishing?
Nick: Read the book Hard CORE, Soft Cover. The book I wrote on the subject! 🙂 But if you want just one piece of advice here it is. Use the Nike motto: Just do it. Just sit down and write. Don’t be afraid to get in front of the computer and get started. They say that the hardest step to take is always the first step. There is a lot of truth to that. But if you follow my advice there is absolutely no obligation to write a perfect draft. And by the way, not even the most famous and most critically acclaimed authors of all time wrote their first draft and called it perfect. So shut your internal editor down. Then when you’re done with the first draft, give it to an editor and start focusing on the launch.
7) What would be your tips for effectively editing and proofreading content?
Nick: My first tip is to hand it over to an editor completely. Again, you might think I’m biased here because we provide editing services, but I want to be completely transparent so that your listeners/readers are well-informed about who I am.
First of all, an editor, unlike you, is not attached to your manuscript. He can take a look at it and tell you in certain terms what works and what needs to be changed. If you do the editing yourself, you run the risk of not seeing your work for what it is. That’s because you are emotionally invested in your work. You were there when you decided to write, when you conducted the research and when you spend all those hours writing your first draft. Will it be easy for you to go over all you have worked so hard for and change it up? I don’t think so. An editor, however, will not have those problems.
Second, having one will save you time and frustration. Editing is hard work. You have to read your draft over and over again to figure out where to institute changes in it. If you don’t have the talent to work with grammar, spelling, word choice and other language issues, it can also be difficult to edit your book on your own. As a businessman myself, I know that there are several aspects of my businesses that need my attention. It is simply impossible for me to dedicate all or most of my time to edit my own draft. The smartest thing to do is to hand it over to somebody who does this professionally and has years of experience in it.
But, again, some people may not be able to afford hiring an editor. In that case, I still recommend having somebody else look at your draft and give an opinion of it that is separate from yours, just so you can gain an objective opinion of your book before self-publishing or sending it to publishers. It could be your spouse, a friend who is talented with words or your former English teacher, if you still maintain close contact with him.
Always get a second opinion because, in my experience, most authors, especially the inexperienced ones, think of their first books as their masterpieces.
But, if, in the rare case that you will have to edit your book by yourself, I recommend that you distance yourself from your book for a while. It could take a few days, but I think it is better if you dissociate yourself from all your hard work for at least a couple of days. Just walk away from it. Do not think about it. Start another project if you wish.
Hopefully, at least a couple of weeks can give you enough time to extract yourself away from your book so that you can look at it with a pair of fresh eyes when you go back to it to edit it.