Excerpt from BJ Gallagher’s column on Huffington Post
When I was a schoolgirl, every September our teachers would ask us to write an essay about: “What I did on my summer vacation.” And even though I’ve long since matriculated from grade school, as Labor Day rolls around I like to pause and reflect on what I did with my summer. This year is no different.
One of the most interesting things I did this summer was participate in a two-week “Transformational Author Experience” hosted by Christine Kloser. The program consisted of interviews with leading experts in book publishing — successful authors, publicists, literary agents, publishers and editors, marketing experts, self-publishing pros, social media mavens, and even a money management expert. I enjoyed both the quality and quantity of content packed into two one-hour sessions each day: one every morning and another in the afternoon. At the same time, I marveled at the convenience that technology affords us for long-distance learning — as hundreds of participants tuned in for the teleseminar from various locations across the U.S. and other countries as well. I appreciated being able to listen in via cell phone or laptop from wherever I was each day — in my office, at home, or on the road.
I enjoyed the Transformational Author Experience so much that I thought I’d interview Christine in order to share some of her ideas and tips with other authors and aspiring writers.
BJ: I read somewhere recently — I think it was something Arielle Ford wrote — that 82 percent of Americans want to write a book. What do you make of that high percentage? Why do you think so many people want to write books?
Christine: Everyone has a story. Nobody gets through life without going through one or several experiences that help them evolve, grow, learn and become more of who they were born to be. And through the ups and downs, successes and challenges that people experience in life, business, family, health, and more, they are often inspired to share what they’ve learned in order to help others. Books are a phenomenal way to share wisdom, experience, strength, and hope.
BJ: You offer training for people you call “transformational authors.” What does that term mean? How are transformation authors different from other authors?
Christine: Transformational authors commit to the process of writing a book much differently than other authors do. A transformational author understands that saying “yes” to writing a book is the beginning of a powerful journey that will impact four key types of transformation:
Level #1: Transformation of Self
The author’s commitment to their own transformation through the process of writing a book. Who does the author want to become by writing their book?
Level #2: Transformation of the Reader
The author’s commitment to the reader — to whatever pain or struggle they may be experiencing — and to the readers’ success in experiencing a transformation that helps them heal, grow, succeed, and live a fulfilling, joyous life.
Level #3: Transformation of the Author’s Business
The author’s vision of the book plays a vital role in the development of their business, profession, cause, or calling. The author wants to create a business or cause through their book, adding systems, programs, services, and offerings that will further impact people, changing their lives in powerful ways.
Level #4: Transformation of the World — One Book, One Reader at a Time
The author’s commitment to the impact their book can have on the world. The author helps tip the scales of humanity and usher in a new world that works for everyone — a world based on love, collaboration, wholeness, peace, joy, and abundance for every living being.
BJ: What’s the single biggest barrier aspiring writers come up against in writing their books?
Christine: Fear, plain and simple. I surveyed several hundred authors and the most common fears they shared with me are: (1) they’re not clear on exactly what they want to write; (2) they’re concerned about what people will think; (3) they compare themselves to other authors already published and doubt if there is a need for their book, or if it’s already been done by somebody else; (4) they wonder if their book will really make a difference, etc.
It’s also a fear of the unknown. How to get published? Do they need an agent? Is their book marketable? How do they find a publisher? Should they self-publish? What’s the difference between traditional and self-publishing. Writing a book can be intimidating for a new author. There are lots of decisions that need to be made.
BJ: What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you as a author?
Christine: This is difficult to answer because I’ve received advice from so many amazing authors — Neale Donald Walsch, Jonathan Fields, Sonia Choquette, Arielle Ford, Seth Godin, Lisa Nichols, Michael Gerber, Gay Hendricks, Marci Shimoff, among others. But since you’re asking me to choose, I will pick two of my favorite pieces of advice: The first is when Sonia Choquette said that when you are struggling to write, simply to imagine that you are writing a letter to your best friend. Such sage advice! And second, Gay Hendricks shared a great piece of advice for when someone experiences writer’s block. He suggested they ask themselves, “What part of myself needs to be loved right now.” That hits home for many of my clients.
BJ: Who are the authors you most admire?
Christine: Many of the ones I mentioned above because their books have personally impacted me. Neale Donald Walsch’s Conversations with God was a game changing book for me. And, another author is Cheryl Richardson. Her book The Unmistakable Touch of Grace nearly saved my life when I was at the lowest point of my life. Her book was my lifeline to get up off the floor, see the grace in everything — even the gut-wrenching challenges I was facing — and recreate my life anew.
BJ: What concerns you about the future of book publishing?
Christine: Personally, I’m excited about the changes happening in the industry. However, my concern in this exciting time of change is that there are a lot of people out there who take advantage of aspiring authors and promise them the world… and just don’t deliver. Also, the ease of access in getting published means there are so many books coming out that are not well done. Quality can be lacking. I’ve seen published books that haven’t even been edited!
BJ: Any final words of wisdom?
Christine: If you feel that nudge to write a book, follow it. No matter how many books may be published on your topic, YOUR book hasn’t been written yet. Nobody on the planet has lived your life, has your perspective or knows what it’s like to walk in your shoes. That nudge wasn’t placed in your heart to be dismissed — it’s there to inspire you to take the journey of your life in becoming a published author.