One of the best strategies I can recommend to get you published is to get professional support. I am currently working with book coaches Presland Quirk on my second published work – a book collaboration with Damsels in Success. Here I interview Cathy Presland – one of the partners of Presland Quirk – who shares her expert thoughts on writing and getting published:
Tell me three words that best describe you Cathy?
I’m fun, energetic and expert!
What is your experience of writing?
When I wrote my business book back in 2010, my husband had been encouraging me to write for ages. “It’s what you do” he said.
Yes, I’ve always written. I worked as an economist and policy adviser for a long time so I wrote policy papers, political briefs, and programme documents. Some of them very long and very boring! And since then I’ve have websites and of course I’ve always blogged. In fact I find it really easy to put together a blog post of a thousand words or so.
But I didn’t think of myself as a writer – and for years I found the idea of writing a book too overwhelming to even contemplate.
But once I’d decided to do it, I actually found the process really easy. I’m someone who likes structure, so it helps me to be structured and then I write in chunks, not necessarily in order – in fact absolutely never in order. I just like it better that way.
What are your 3 top tips to getting started on writing a book?
People ask me this all the time and I tell them that the biggest mistake is not doing it. It’s not as hard as you think. And, with the right support, pretty well anyone can do it. And now – especially with the digital platforms like Kindle, books are becoming shorter. That doesn’t mean you can throw anything up there – readers are still critical and they want quality. But it does mean that it’s easier to publish than ever before.
Get support: Whether you join a group or go on a course, it’s so easy for “life” to take over and the next thing you know two years will have gone by, and your book will not be finished. Declare your intention to someone that you are going to write and let them help you get started and finished.
I already gave away my third one which is around structure. I think the more structured your outline is, the easier it is to write. ‘Clear structure equals easy writing’, is one of my mantras. And your structure can change, you don’t have to feel boxed in by it. It just means you are not faced by that blank page when you sit down to write.
What is your experience of publishing?
I am all about self-publishing. I love the fact that we can be online with a blog in no time at all. And it’s the same with a book. You don’t have to be beholden to a publisher or an agent. Just do it yourself and get your ideas out there. This is what I teach and it is so empowering to see people putting their work and their experience out into the world.
What are the main obstacles to people getting published?
I think it’s mainly in the head. There are so few barriers now – especially with digital publishing like Kindle – it’s very affordable and it takes almost no time at all. But still people don’t publish and I completely get that. We think that it’s all been said or that we have nothing new to contribute and maybe we think our writing isn’t good enough. But I invite you to look at your own bookshelves and I bet that whatever your reading interests, you have more than one book on any given topic. Maybe you have all the books by a certain author and at some level they are all telling a very similar story – but you buy them anyway because you love them. I’m not saying that you have nothing new to say but I am saying that people want to hear you say it in the way that is unique to you.
What is different about what Presland Quirk provides?
We are very clear that the book is just part of what we do. It’s a means to an end. Whether that’s personal growth or business growth, for us books are the magic that create the transformation. And the two of us together (with Jacqui Malpass as my “partner in crime”) we have a completely unique set of skills that I don’t see anywhere else. We combine business and marketing experience (both online and offline) with being brilliant coaches and trainers.
Why are you running the Book Boot Camp Weekend?
We know that life gets in the way. That there might be work, business or family commitments that mean that your book idea gets put on the back burner. So this weekend is all about focus and time. Focus to get clear on what the book is going to do for you. And focus on getting it done. Three days of unrivalled small group access to us is priceless.
What results can people expect from collaborating with you over the Bootcamp weekend?
Complete clarity on what your book is about and why you are writing it. And prepare to be surprised – because the idea you have now might change. Once we dig into some of the exercises to get underneath why you want to write a book, and how you see it working for you and your business, it may take on an entirely new direction.
And you will also get complete clarity on how to get your bestseller finished. We don’t promise that you will walk away with a finished manuscript but you will have everything in place to get it finished in a short space of time and we even follow-up with you to provide the support to get to that final draft.
Presland Quirk are running their next Book Boot Camp on 10 – 12 May at Newport in Wales. In fact if you act quickly, you can take advantage of their special Easter offer – get even more motivated by taking a friend along, as they’ve got a ’2 for 1′ deal if you sign up by 3rd April. Follow this link for all the information and to book your place…