Annie On Writing

August 11, 2008

Machine Made Authors – or How to write and publish a book in 30 days.

I recently attended a symposium on Wealth Creation which encompasses speakers from many facets of business. I was very excited to find that writing and authorship featured highly on the line up of speakers and looked forward to that session with much anticipation.

Before I continue, I acknowledge that the speaker is a multi, multi millionaire with 8 top selling New York Times books and a very successful business. I wrote copious notes and also acknowledge that I found great value in parts of the workshop he headed and will be implementing at least few of the strategies he outlined in my own writing businesses and ventures. However, I was challenged and became concerned about the integrity of the business of writing on the whole during the session and want to air my thoughts here.

I was delighted when the speaker announced that everyone in the audience has a book inside them and that they owe it to the rest of the world to ensure they write it. However this elation soon turned to distress and I found myself pretty challenged when he began to outline the mechanics of how his company assists people in making this a reality. I will note the steps on the process which were taken from my handwritten remarks below my comments . I feel this is not true authorship or writing and feel that this will really dilute our profession and integrity. I am not saying that this sort of things doesn’t already happen though. I found myself angry with the whole mechanics and automation of a craft I believe comes from spirit and heart. I understand that you must generate new ways of promoting your work, but the overselling, the continual sales and advertising would put me completely off if I were on the email list.

The speaker did stress that the books subject area needed to be something close to your heart and not to do it for the money or with the outcome of just making money. He emphasized the point that the subject needed to be something that would improve not only your life – but that of others; things that run true with my philosophy.

However, looking at the positive and up side of this plan, it demonstrates that there are many ways to market an idea and gives a good framework to build a book in a short amount of time. I particularly like the mix of speaking and brainstorming the ideas on digital media. The spoken word and your commitment to it is very powerful.

The plan was relevant for an ebook or a more traditional printed book – though the physical publishing side of it was left out of the workshop discussion. The speakers company neatly packages this whole process for a cost just under US$10K. The only input an ‘author’ needs to do is the initial interview and sound bites. Their company have ghost writers etc who take care of everything else.( and this is when I started to itch)

How to write a book in less than 30 days and develop a massive income stream from it.

Choose your subject – 1 full day masterminding and researching basic topics of interest. Ensure that this is a passion and that you are completely pulled by this subject. Its is the thing you will be known for and be googled by.

  1. Write the topics to cover the subject area – one per A 4 page.8 -10 topics is enough. Post these on to a physical wall in your office or room. – take 3 hours to complete this
  2. Gather information- take 3 days to complete this – a variety of sources – internet, books, magazines, own experiences – in note form.
  3. Get a digital recorder and stand in front of each topic and speak about it. Make believe that you are speaking in front of a totally enraptured audience. Something magical happens when you verbalize ideas. New ideas come to you , stories and other links – which if you are typing, will slow you down and its hard to keep momentum. (2 days)
  4. Send your recordings off to get transcribed. A fair rule of thumb is 20 mins of talking takes around an hour to type. Generally speaking this will cost around $25 – $30 an hour to transcribe. ( 2 days)
  5. Self edit the document when it comes back. Expand ideas. (2 days)
  6. Send to a professional editor (3 days)
  7. Review and self edit (4 hours)
  8. Send to a different editor for final editing(3 days)
  9. Review ( 4 hours)
  10. Send to a typesetter for professional layout for book. (4 days)
  11. Publish

    In the down times ( whilst book in with transcriber or being edited)

    Develop a simple 3 page website.

    Page one – describing book and offer of a free download ( sound recording of either an interview about the book or a short reading from it) to access download – need to go to page two

    Page two – asking for any referrals – anyone who may also like to have this free download or information about the book. Click here for form to capture email address – so wav file or sound file and be emailed.

    Page 3 about the author and testimonies which can be sound bites or written.

    An autoresponder program needs to be in place to capture the enquiries and referrals with appropriate sales emails sent out. The speaker suggested that a small sales link or blurb be inserted at least three times in each communication.

    Upselling the whole way before the book is published.

    One on one phone coaching

    • E classes
    • Workbooks
    • Study guides
    • Affiliate programs
    • Tele seminars
    • Rolling Product launches
    • Membership
    • Corporate seminars and book packages
    • Audios – synopsis or reading the book or author speaking on why they wrote the book etc
    • Online sales details

    Thus sales can begin before the book is even typeset and a large list of potential customers generated virally.

    This small presentation was a feeder into a much larger weekend seminar but gave me some insight into the huge business of ebooks and online information sales. My skin crawls now with the whole Jay Abraham approach to sales letters and auto responders which have permeated to ad nauseam throughout the sales world. I feel that the market is saturated by these letters and free downloads/ reports. Surely it must be time for something new to be introduced? However, in recognition of Mr Abraham, he is a ba-squillionaire ( no that’s not a word – but you get my meaning)… and I am not …. So who the heck am I to question a practice which is making the people who follow his techniques and strategies more money per min than I make in a year?

    Now after digesting all of this- what are your thoughts? There have been some posts in the past about ghost writing – so I won’t go over the same material. Is the place of a writer simply to churn out the words from another person ideas? Is this the new face of writing – the automated machine made type? Surely the public will recognize something that is written with the tender love of a real writer compared to that from the keys of a dispassionate ghostwriter? Or don’t they care??



    1. Sad developments, indeed! To me, books written in this way are purely commercial and not what I call ‘real’ books at all. At least, I would not want to spend money on such a book and I wonder how the consumer is supposed to know before they order? It seems unfair towards all the passionate ‘real’ writers who sometimes take years to develop their ideas and to get their story exactly the way they intended. Just another art form falling victim to greed and commercialism.



      Comment by Yvonne Drazic — August 11, 2008 @ 1:58 pm | Reply

    2. I have seen these services on the internet and I disagree with a few points made in the above blog, and the comment that it’s not ‘real’ writing.

      Books exist for a vast variety of purposes. And readers will read books that interest them from a vast variety of genres and formats. The ’30 days’ format is brilliant for non-fiction and reference books where the author is a specialist in his/her field. That’s the reason the program exists. If you don’t think this is ‘real’ authorship, then you’re hiding behind your writing profession in just the same way that you claim actors hide behind jobs in hospitality (oh boy, shall I tell that one to my girlfriend in New York?).

      Writing is all about sharing your expertise, is it not? So if your expertise is in wordcraft and storytelling, great! Go write that book. If it’s not, but you still have expertise the world can benefit from, hire a ghost writer. It’s the intelligent way to work. More of the world will be willing to read your book if it is written competently.


      Comment by Jodie Miller — August 23, 2008 @ 8:12 am | Reply

    3. Halleluiah for the freedom of speech and thought. Thanks Jodi for sharing your thoughts on this – I am so thrilled that someone not only read my thoughts – but felt motivated enough to comment –so thanks!! And yes- I have hidden behind hospitality and other part time jobs, waiting for that big break; along with many talented wonderful actors and performers – feeding on each others misery and jubilation at each audition we attended – so I write this from personal experience. I am sure your girlfriend in New York will recognize others in her circle who have hidden in this way in the past – I am honest enough to say that I sure did.
      Having published an ebook ( not through the system from the workshop I attended) – but following internet marketing techniques laid down, I am a little jaded by the whole sales aspect and thrust of it all. Although I recognize and acknowledge that others have made a lot of money by integrating the teleconferences, the downloads, the worksbooks, the personal coaching etc into their books, it doesn’t sit well with me. ( and just because it doesn’t’ sit well with me doesn’t make it wrong) By writing a book or an article or a short story, an author is attempting to meet at some level one of the 6 human needs. There is nothing wrong in commercializing an idea – I mean that’s why you publish and market a book – to sell it and make some money – or to gain some sort of significance out of it – or to gain connection with others out of it.
      The internet and new technology sure makes the speed of business lightening fast and everyone an expert. I do love that things can be published quickly and that it doesn’t take years to see the fruits of your labour…Perhaps it is the heralding of me finally aging – wanting things to slow down and questioning whether just because its new – is it better?
      thanks agian for commenting


      Comment by Annie — August 25, 2008 @ 10:55 am | Reply

    4. Good words.


      Comment by Amber — November 12, 2008 @ 12:48 am | Reply

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