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How To Write A  Book On Anything  In 14 Days or Less…  GUARANTEED!!  

A Professional’s Guide  The complete, no-holds-barred Success  System for getting your marketable book  written faster than you ever thought possible,  and succeeding as a published author!  

Steve Manning  



ISBN 0-9692613-1-4  

Retail price: $399.95 


My friend, I envy you. As a person you’ve gained so much experience and expertise  but now you’re about to embark on an even bigger adventure. You’re going to write your  book. And frankly, who knows where that will lead. Certainly it will be an exercise in  expression and achievement. But it could also be an enchanting marketing effort and  perhaps even a profit center all by itself.  

 Whatever you want it to be, I’ll be right here to help you achieve your goals.   I used the word ‘envy’ when I began this introduction because I remember the first  time the lights went on for me and I started using the very techniques I had developed  and gathered. It was an amazing experience. I get that same feeling every time I start  writing using the techniques you’re about to learn.  

 And every time I stand before an audience of professionals I feel that same envy. I  know that by the time they’ve finished the seminar with me, they’re all going to arrive at  a writing position they only dreamed of.  

 I should also tell you that this manual is a work in progress. It is complete, just as it  is, in your hands. It contains all the information you could want to write your book faster  than you ever thought possible.  

 But it is a manual that is far better than the manual that was produced last year.  Almost monthly, I make changes, offer improvements, and introduce new strategies and  new ideas. I’m constantly trying to improve this success manual.  

 That’s why it’s produced in the form you see now. This manual format allows me to  give you the latest version with the most up to the minute changes. You’re not getting a  manual that is years old, with antiquated information. You’re getting the very latest  thoughts. In many cases, you’re reading much of what I was evolving just last week!!  

 No other manual can give you that kind of timeliness.  

 And it’s for that very reason that I ask one concession from you. Don’t get hung up  on any spelling errors or grammatical imperfections. If they exist in your manual, they  will be remedied in a later version. But if I waited until the text was perfect, I’d never be  able to bring you this manual-because I’m constantly changing it.  

I also want you to know that the technique for writing a book in 14 days applies to  both fiction and non-fiction. Both can be written at unbelievable speeds.  Unfortunately, many times as you’re reading along in a chapter, you’ll get the  distinct impression I’m talking about non-fiction when you want to write fiction. Or  you’ll be convinced that I’m talking about fiction, when you want to write non-fiction.  Please understand that in virtually every chapter of this manual, I’m talking about  both fiction and non-fiction. But to do so simultaneously would require too many literary  gymnastics. So I might focus on fiction to give you an example. But understand that the  same technique would work for the non-fiction counterpart. And vice versa.  Please try the techniques. They work over and over again. I have students all over the  world who are successfully writing their books with these techniques.  The ONLY reason you could possibly fail to write your book is that you decide not to  follow the guidelines.  

I look forward to seeing your book, and to hearing about your success!  Steve Manning 

Chapter 1  

Why you MUST write your book in the  shortest possible time 

and create the greatest marketing tool you’ll ever  produce!  

A Special Note:  

Ever read a book and the first thing the author did was apologize for using the masculine  pronoun, “he”, throughout the book, hoping you’d understand that the author meant both  genders. It was just that using one consistently was more convenient? Well, I haven’t  done that. But I have used the concept of non-fiction more than fiction. Not to worry. All  the techniques in this system work equally well for both fiction and non-fiction. It was  just more convenient to use one rather than trying to go back and forth.  

He handed it to me and told me it was his number-one reason for success as a consultant.  It was the reason he didn’t have to make cold calls. The reason he never had to explain  what he did. The reason he had instant credibility with clients and prospects alike.   He said he couldn’t believe how many doors it opened for him, how many  opportunities arose that hadn’t been there before. It was the very basis for his high six figure income.  

 “As soon as I had the book in hand it became an instant and incredibly powerful  marketing tool for me,” says Tom Stoyan, sales consultant. “Any time anyone asked me  what I did I just handed them my book. I told them if they liked what was inside my  book, then they’d like me, because that’s who I am. And my consulting practice took off  from there.”  

Why there simply isn’t any better way to  

 spend your marketing time if you’re a  

 consultant or a professional 

 If someone came to you with a machine and told you they could turn your $5 bill into  a $10 bill, and after looking at the process you discovered it was legit and you really  could buy $10 for $5, there wasn’t any catch–in fact, they actually guaranteed your  success–what would you do?  

 If you were a normal, breathing, thinking, human being, you’d get as many five-dollar  bills as you could find. You’d clean out your bank account, mortgage your house, and  borrow from banks, friends, and strangers. You’d set up partnerships, climb mountains,  cash in your securities, and sell your furniture!  

 Well, that machine is what you’ve got in your hands right now. You’ve got a book, a  machine, that will literally show you how to produce the most powerful marketing tool  you or your business will ever encounter. Just days from now you’ll have that marketing 

tool and you’ll be using it to harvest more revenue, bring in more clients, rocket your own  career and experience more success than you may have thought possible.   Your book is the most important marketing tool you can have because it gives you  and your business instant credibility. It differentiates you from every other consultant, or  professional with whom you compete. It can be turned into a client magnet, a success  vacuum that sucks up leads and deposits them right on your desk.  

And so much more  

Okay, you’re not interested in writing a non-fiction book. You’re much more  interested in writing fiction.  

 How would your life be changed if this morning you had had just appeared on Good  Morning America? Or the Today Show, or Regis? What if you enjoyed the success of  being a published author of fiction, with publishers eagerly waiting for your next book,  so they could offer you substantial advances?  

 You’ll find that information in this book as well! This writing success system has  been designed to help you write your book, fiction or non-fiction, in the shortest period  of time possible. If you want to write fiction, you’re sure to realize the benefits that come  with notoriety and celebrity. But lets spend a few moments letting you in on the lesser 

known benefits of your non-fiction book.  

How you are perceived  

when you’ve got your book 

 Think of it in your own terms. When you meet someone who has “written the book”  on a subject, you “know” they’re the expert. They’re the person to go to if you’ve got a  problem in their specialty. They’ve been anointed by the publishing industry. They’ve  been on your favorite local and national radio shows and television programs. Hey,  they’re even celebrities.  

 You’re also convinced they’ll give you the value you’re looking for through the  business service they provide. If they’re the experts, if they know more than anyone else,  then their insights, their talents, their services, must be worth far more than everyone  else’s.  

 After all, if it weren’t true, they wouldn’t have a book out on the subject, right?   Look around. Are there other consultants with a book on that topic? Not likely. And  if there are, this latest author is the one uppermost in your mind.  

 It’s even part of our language: “She wrote the book on it,” has become shorthand for  saying she knows more about the subject than anyone else on the planet. And if you want  the right information, the right answers to your questions and the solutions that make  sense for you, she’s the one you MUST contact!  

 So this consultant or professional has successfully done what every consultant or  professional wants to do: Separated himself from all the competitors in the prospect’s  mind, in the minds of those who can logically be expected to send money or business  their way.  

 That’s what makes writing a book the most powerful marketing tool any consultant or  professional can create. It gives you EXACTLY what you’ve been trying to develop with  your marketing. 

 It creates massive awareness of your talents in the minds of those who can do you the  most good–your clients and prospects. That awareness, that celebrity status, that  credibility, can easily be translated into business, career success, profits, or any other  advantage you can think of.  

 The author/professional is the expert. That’s how clients and prospects view them. In  our society, if someone publishes a book, that means someone in authority–an editor, or  publisher– declares that what the professional has to say is worthy of publication.   Your book is the ultimate endorsement, or referral or testimonial. And endorsements,  referrals or testimonials eclipse all other marketing strategies!  

 If you were looking for an expert, chances are you wouldn’t be looking at ads, or  scouring your mailbox for a sales letter. You’d go to one of your friends and ask them if  they knew anyone who was good. Someone whom they respected. Someone talented  enough to do the job and give you the results you’re looking for.  

 Your friend’s recommendation would mean a lot to you. And if your friend were an  expert in that specific area, the recommendation would be even more powerful.   So it is with your book. Your prospect is looking for a recommendation from  someone in authority. Someone who’s opinion they trust. In our society, anyone with  celebrity status has a ‘halo effect’. If they are a television personality or journalist, or if  they’re in a position of power, they must also know a great deal about what you’re  interested in.  

 That isn’t logical, but that’s reality. So if a publishing company decides to publish  your book, if an editor decides to accept your manuscript, or if a radio or newspaper or  television station decides to review your book or interview you, you’ve past the  credibility test for your prospects. You have been anointed as THE expert in your field.  

 The publisher, or the media, has indirectly given your name, your business, as a  referral to all who are listening, watching or reading–and may need your help. How else  would you explain why a consultant gets on a program like Sally Jessy Rafael and,  simply because she’s the author of ‘the book’ on the subject, gets 30,000+ calls seeking  her advice, her insight and her services!  

 It wasn’t necessarily because she said anything insightful. She was tacitly endorsed by  the host of the show, the show itself, and the book publisher.  

 If you’re not getting these kinds of results with your present marketing system, then  you MUST write your book right now!  

 Your prospects see you as the expert. As accomplished. As successful. Whether you  are or not is completely irrelevant. They PERCEIVE you as successful. Therefore, you  ARE successful.  

 And people want to deal with those who are ALREADY successful. That’s why the  late Howard Shenson, consultant to consultants, was constantly advising consultants and  professionals to appear successful already, if they wanted to succeed! When was the last  time you saw a brain surgeon knocking on doors trying to drum up business? “Excuse me  sir. Do you, or any family member, need your brain operated on?” Not likely!  

 And still more benefits to you. Publicity, business opportunities and a never-ending  income or prospect stream.  

Why your book is the magic key for unlimited publicity and no-cost promotion

 The media’s favorite interview is the celebrity. Like it or not, when you become  author of your own book, you also become a celebrity. You get all the natural benefits  that go with celebrity status.  

 Let me give you an example. As the editor of a small trade magazine, I’m well known  in a specific industry. Unknown beyond, but well known within. I stride into a hotel for  an industry convention, and none of the hotel staff recognize me. That’s to be expected.  As I near the convention floor, people accost me, shaking my hand, asking me to stop for  a moment, complimenting me on my last feature article. People whom I’ve never met in  my life!! I’m into the convention and I’m being ushered to the complimentary buffet. A  business person is asking me if I’d be available to test drive one of his new products, and  on and on.  

 That kind of celebrity pays huge dividends in business relationships and new business  for my other services. If your prospects know who you are, and respect you before you  even start, doesn’t that minimize your marketing efforts substantially? And if they hold  you in awe, it’s much easier to negotiate a fee, or a condition of a sales contract.  

 More to the point, with your book you’re inviting potential clients to call you with  their problems, or their challenges. You’ve created a never-ending stream of potential  clients who have already verified in their own mind that you’re the expert who can help  them most.  

 I can’t think of one single marketing strategy that will improve your business position  better or faster than writing a book. So it just makes sense that you should write it in the  shortest amount of time. You obtain instant expert status, recognition among most–if not  all–of your prospects, and a constant flow of people who are calling you–rather than you  calling them.  

 That’s an enviable position to be in as a marketer.  

 When professionals ask me how they could best spend their next 14 days, I tell them  their first task is to write the book that will promote them to the top of their profession.   With the techniques you’ll discover in this book, it will take you only a matter of days  to accomplish, and when you consider the alternatives, well, the choice is obvious.   If you’ve been using direct mail–which, by the way, I think is particularly effective at  generating leads–you spend a lot of money every time you to send out a mailing.   And, you’ve still got the problem of proving your expertise to those limited few who  receive, open, read and respond to your mailing. After the mailing has hit, you’ve got to  start over again from square one.  

 Cold calling? You must be joking. In the time it takes you to write your book, you’ll  make, at best 1,000 cold calls. And, again, if you’re lucky, you’ve got 30 or so people  who are ‘sort of’ interested in what you have to offer.  

 Even then, after you’ve gone through those leads, you’ve got to start all over again.   Advertising? Yep, that works… sometimes. It also costs, and you’ve got to keep  spending. Often the ads don’t work or the leads don’t pan out–and there’s still that  question of credibility. The professional who places an ad has nothing like the credibility  of the published author.  

 Just a final comment about advertising. Advertising does work. And it works very  well. If it hasn’t worked for you, it’s not because the concept of advertising is faulty. It’s  because your ad is faulty. But that’s another book. 

How your book develops a never-ending stream of profit potential for your business  Your book, however, just keeps on bringing them in, month after month, year after  year. If you’ve published your book with a traditional publisher, you’re actually  MAKING money on this whole process, rather than spending it.  

 When you look at all your alternatives, your benefits, your costs and your long-term  value, it’s clear. If you spend just 14 days producing your book, (part-time) you’ll be  harvesting the benefits for months, maybe years, to come.  

 I can’t tell you how often a professional tells me he or she would love to write their  book. They already appreciate the value of the book. And they know if they had one  ready, it would be the most important weapon in their marketing arsenal. “But,” they  whine, “We just don’t have the time.”  

 My first instinct is to say that regardless of how much time it takes, they should block  the time on their calendar (you know, the one that’s hanging on your wall with all the  blank squares on it) and get on with the job at hand.  

 Instead, I offer them one of my seminars, usually as my guest, and suggest they invest  just three hours to learn the techniques and skills necessary (the same techniques you’ll  be mastering in upcoming chapters) to write their book in just 14 days… or less.   You see, if you have the right techniques, you can get the job done easily. If you  follow the strategy that has worked for others, time and time again, you’ll get the same  results my students and clients get.  

 Here’s an example of what I mean. Let’s say you bake. If you want to make a perfect  apple pie, first find a recipe that will give you a great apple pie. The rest is simple.   No one is asking you to create your book-writing recipe from first principles. The  recipe already exists. All you have to do is follow each step, in the right order, and ‘hey  presto’, you’ll always end up with a book.  

 In the chapters that follow, I’ll give you the winning recipe that will always give you  the book you need, in record time.  

 So you see, it really has nothing to do with having enough time to write your book.  Starting now, you’ll have that time. As soon as you finish reading this book, you’ll  wonder why it took you so long to write those first three pages you’ve had tucked away in  your drawer for these many years.  

 Three weeks from now, you’ll probably be starting your second book.   I’ve taught literally thousands of people how to write the book of their dreams, the  book that will advance their career, earn them a promotion, or get them more prospects  than they ever thought possible.  

 Just a few days a go, one of my students, David Dick from Toronto, called me and  said the techniques I teach will even work for a doctoral dissertation.   I paused and asked him if he really did that. He said yes, (but it had taken him three  weeks instead of just two). I asked him if he had given the dissertation to his professors  and, again, David said yes. The upshot is that David now has Ph.D. after his name and his  professors want me to give lectures to them, their colleagues and doctoral students!  

“Why should I listen to this guy?”  

 Whenever I lecture, one of the first graphics I use states clearly “Why should I listen  to this guy?” And you might be thinking the same thing. 

 I’ve committed my life to helping people just like you write more effectively, and to  developing techniques and strategies that make it easy for you to accomplish your goal of  writing your book.  

 I’ve been a professional journalist for almost two decades now. I’ve written more than  1600 feature articles for magazines, making me arguably one of the most prolific  magazine writers on the continent. Eight books, more than 30 Special Reports, two audio  albums and countless pieces of corporate communications.  

 I live to write, to develop the written word, to derive from it all that is possible and to  use it effectively as the most important business tool we’ve ever been granted.   When you start from that position, is it any wonder you develop techniques that get  the writing job done faster, faster, and faster still?  

 I’ve developed techniques that allow anyone, regardless of your writing background  or history, to write effortlessly and easily. High school English teachers invite me in to  lecture and I get standing ovations after I show students that writing can be fun, exciting  and not the drudgery they thought it was.  

 More important is my commitment to your personal success. You see, I won’t be  happy until you’ve got your book written and you’re using it as an effective marketing  tool. As I say to so many who introduce me all over North America, my biggest goal is to  help you write your book as quickly as possible, and to turn the experience into a sheer  delight!  

 The concept of speed writing evolved by necessity, rather than through conscious  effort. I was being asked to write more and more, produce more and more copy for  corporate clients, write more magazine articles and larger reports for still more clients.   And all the time I was hoping to start writing books that, as I’ve already mentioned, I  knew would put me front and center before my prospects.  

 One day I started a conversation with a young author named David Onely. His first  novel was a fictional account about a space-shuttle disaster (long before the Challenger  mishap). And it was doing quite well on the bookstands.  

 After exchanging a few banalities, mercenary that I am, I came right out and asked  him how much money he had made from the book.  

 Bear in mind he had spent an entire year researching and writing his manuscript.   “You mean including the advance and all the royalties?”  

 “Yep!” I tried to look non-chalant.  

 “About $10,000 all together…”  

 I’m sure David had more to say, but I really can’t remember anything after that.  $10,000 for an entire year of work!  

 That was when I started developing a strategy that would have the best possible book  produced in the shortest possible time.  

 If $10,000 was all I could expect from the sale of a book, there was no way I could  spend several months, let alone years, producing it.  

 The next element occurred one evening as I talked with my wife (a schoolteacher)  who wanted to develop a better way to write extensive comments on her students’ report  cards. She was having difficulty developing different comments for each student.   I suggested that instead of trying to develop something off the top of her head, she  simply write down questions that could be answered for every student. For example, 

‘How is the student doing academically?’ Or ‘Is the student progressing at an acceptable  rate from the last report card?’ Something like that.  

 “Now,” I said, “you no longer have to think about what you want to say. Just answer  the questions for each student. And when you’re finished, erase the questions and you’ll  have lengthy, pertinent and useful comments.  

 Thus began the vital insight. That it is far easier to write in response to a question,  than it is to create and present information.  

Introducing: The Writing Response 

 The final key came when I encountered the work of writers Allen and Ellie De Ever,  who introduced the idea of using three essential words to ignite the strategy I’ve  developed called the Writer’s Response. A strategy that obliterates writer’s block and puts  your writing ability on automatic pilot.  

 I’ve yet to have anyone see this technique, try it for themselves, and not be blown  away by the simplicity and the productivity.  

 But the important insight is that this information is totally transferable. Teachable. In  minutes, even those who thought they couldn’t write, can produce volumes of intelligent,  cogent, publishable material  

 You don’t need any additional talent. Nor do you need special training other than  what you’ll find in this book. All that is required is that you have a realization of what a  book will do for your professional career and be willing to apply some very basic  principals to achieve the result.  

 Of course it may not take you just 14 days to write your first book. It may take you 20  days, maybe even 25, depending on how enthusiastically you approach the subject. Then  again, you could be a quick study and be sitting with a manuscript in your hands just a  week from now!  

 You’ll also need a bit of time (for 5-minute practice rounds I’ll show you) to get your  mind into the writing swing and activate your own Writing Response.   Your second and third books (sounds interesting already, doesn’t it) should take you  no more than 14 days on average and perhaps even a bit less. Just for the record, the  shortest time I’ve taken to write one of my books is six days. But that was working full  out on my keyboard. Nevertheless, I’ll show you a way to write your book easily, at even  faster rates.  

 Oh, one more thing. You won’t suffer any chest pains with these techniques. You  won’t be putting a strain on your marriage, nor will you have to devote yourself to writing  10 hours a day for those 14 days. In fact, you should be able to finish writing an entire  book in under 30 hours, once you’ve mastered the entire Writing Response technique.  

 No, it doesn’t matter whether you write by hand, or on the keyboard, or dictate, but I  will be covering the advantages and disadvantages of all of those techniques. And, no,  you don’t have to sit for 30 hours straight just to get the writing done. One of the  wonderful things about this strategy is that you can actually break your writing up into  just five-minute intervals.  

 Still, there’s one thing I can’t provide for you. That’s your commitment to start,  continue and finish the job of writing your book. If you are a professional consultant or  service provider who wants to succeed I shouldn’t have to spend any more time  explaining why the writing of your book should be a top priority for you. 

 Of course, one of the benefits of The Writing Response is that you really don’t need  that much motivation. One of my students called me a week or so after the class and told  me I should advise future students that they wouldn’t get much sleep. Not because she  was that dedicated, but because once The Writing Response strategy kicks in, it’s difficult  to stop!  

What qualifications must I have to write my book? 

 What you need to succeed as an author is vital information that your clients must  have to accomplish their goals. And if you’ve got fresh information, or a fresh perspective  on seasoned information, that can work in your favour as well.  

 If you’ve been a consultant for any length of time, you already have that pre-requisite  covered. You already know far more about your specialty than any prospective client. By  now, you have a profound and exact understanding of the information they need to  succeed.  

 Now, here’s a revelation that may shock quite a few readers. Often consultants will  say they don’t want to give away their information in a book because if they do, the  prospect would have little reason to call them.  

 The truth, however, is just the opposite. The more information you distribute the  more insightful knowledge you distribute to prospects, the more likely they are to call  you to get more, or to get you to reiterate the same information.  

 You see, consultants actually get more business the more helpful they are to their  clients and their prospects.  

 Next comes your attitude. You’ve got to be totally committed to helping your  prospects get the results they so richly deserve. And if that can be conveyed through the  pages of your book, great. But, more likely, your book will only point out the solution to  the reader. The implementation strategy will still be yours to distribute as a consulting  service.  

 You must also get used to a phrase Robert Ringer first coined in his book, “Winning  Through Intimidation, back in the mid 70’s: The Leapfrog Theory of success.   Meaning you don’t have to ‘pay your dues’ as the saying goes in just about every  industry. Instead, you can simply assume the position of being far more skilled and  talented than any of your contemporaries.  

 This may sound somewhat arrogant, but it’s true. There is absolutely no correlation  between the value you provide to a customer and the length of time you’ve been a  consultant.  

 So if you’ve been a consultant in your field for only a matter of weeks, but you want  to establish hour place far and away ahead of the pack, then write your book with the  knowledge that the Leapfrog Theory of Success stands behind you. I’m not saying you  don’t have to be competent… you do. But there’s no relationship between competency and  length of time served.  

 Overall, you’ve got to be committed to helping your clients get the benefits your  service provides. And if you can do that, your book will be a winner. You’ll be able to  truly exploit this fantastic marketing opportunity.  

What if I can’t think of anything to say?

 One of the biggest challenges facing consultants and professionals is the ability to say  something new or different. To distinguish themselves from the pack.   In most cases, simply restating the information you have is sufficient to overwhelm  your prospects with your expertise in an area. Most consultants make the mistake of  thinking what they know, everyone knows. That’s not the case at all. So getting the basics  out in your book is your first step. And yet another reason why you MUST write your  book.  

 Next, I’ve no doubt you’ve been developing your own strategies, your own  techniques, and you have a sheaf of your own experiences. Each unique, each special and  each able to contribute to the success of your prospects efforts.  

 That kind of insight also makes you special and unique.  

 Then there’s the element of creativity. Any professional can expand on the body of  knowledge already out there, simply by asking themselves, ‘what if’. What if we did that,  or what would happen if we didn’t to this?  

 When you expand the body of knowledge, you’ve gone beyond what is commonly  known and you further distinguish your contribution and unique position in the industry.   Then there’s the creation of what I call your own technology. ‘Technology’ was the  term used, initially, by Tony Robbins to describe a specific strategy.   You can do exactly the same. In a later chapter I’ll be giving you the rules for  developing your own, unique, acronym, so you will be the first in your field to create and  develop a new technology that may well become the rage in your industry. A technology  that could help countless thousands.  

 Let me give you some examples: NLP, TQM (Total Quality Management), TCV  (Total Customer Value), SPIN Selling, and so on. You’ll learn exactly how you can  develop your own acronym and turn it into an outstanding book, as well as a constant  stream of publicity for yourself.  

 If you’re still stuck for what to say when you write, let me give you just two words of  advice: mind power. Your mind is far more powerful that you ever thought it could be.  Ask it virtually anything and, like Aladdin’s genie in the lamp, it will give you the results.  There are more ideas in your particular field, whatever that field is, than you ever thought  there could be. All you’ve got to do is assume that posture and start harvesting the results.   Helping you develop those topics, those ideas–pulling them from your mind until  your mind yields an avalanche of new topics for you and your prospects, will be my job.  Stay with me and you’ll discover just how easy it can be.  

 If you’re worried about not having the ability to write, I’ve got good news. You do.  And it’s yet another reason why you MUST begin to write your book. If you can put  words on the page, regardless of the technique, then there are as many books inside of  you as you want to produce. One, 10, 20, even 100 or more.  

 Most of us know we can write when we’re seven or eight years old. And we hold on  to that knowledge until we’re in our mid to late teens. Then we’re told, directly or  indirectly, that writing is difficult. To do it correctly requires years of harsh study, monk like dedication and a ferocious commitment to creativity.  

 Nothing could be further from the truth.  

 That child in you had it right. Writing is easy, it’s fun, and it’s always (literally) right  at your fingertips. 

 As for creativity, believe me, you have more than your share. In fact, when I teach  these methods at seminars, I prove to audience members that they can easily develop 30  different story ideas in about 60 seconds. And that’s without any effort at all.   Your writing talent is unlimited if you’ll take the most important step of effective  writing: develop a non-critical attitude to what you produce. Perfectionism, self doubt,  old memories will only serve to limit your writing talent and discourage you. I’ll let you  in on a secret: pretend you’re the greatest writer in the world (don’t tell anyone, just keep  it to yourself) and you’ll be astounded by how your writing improves.   Even more important, you must adopt a non-critical attitude AS you write. Too many  people THINK when they write and the result is self doubt AS they are putting the words  down on paper. My strategy, as you’ll soon discover, is to get you writing as fast as you  possibly can, without even thinking about going back to fix a word, or editing as you go.   This strategy will return time and time again throughout this book: the faster you  write, the better you write. As soon as you learn that you CAN produce your book, that  the writing process is well within your grasp, you owe it to yourself, and your prospects  to get your information, you insight, your perspective out as quickly as possible.  

A question of quality 

 If you’re concerned about literary quality, if you’re concerned that writing a book in  just 14 days will produce something inferior, know this unassailable rule of life: There is  no relationship between the amount of time you spend on something and the inherent  quality or value within it.  

 That’s not commonly known in our society. Especially with books. People naturally  assume the longer you take to create something, the more value and the higher the  quality.  

 Rossini’s “Barber of Seville”–probably his greatest work–was composed in 14 days,  Robert Louis Stevenson’s “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was produced in  72 hours, Mozart wrote most of his work without revision. In fact, most of the non biological things you’re most proud of creating in your life were probably accomplished  in a matter of days.  

 Conversely, I’ve seen people work on a painting, a quilt, and, yes, they’re writing for  months or even years. And still obtained virtually no level of quality.   Just to ensure you don’t run afoul of this myth in our society, after you’ve written your  book in 14 days, simply tell everyone you’ve been working on the book for years. They’ll  instantly see the quality within the work.  

How to create real literary value 

 If your book is going to have long-term value, it must be client focused. It must be  oriented solely to helping your clients and your prospects get the results they want and  need. There must be no skimping on this strategy. If you hold back, your readers will  know.  

 You must also fill your book with as many reader benefits as you possibly can. That’s  the real criteria when it comes to the quality of your book.  

 In the realm of non-fiction, the reader judges the book not on how beautifully it reads  (although that’s always a nice bonus) but on the results he or she gets based on the  information you present. 

 That means realizing your book must be constantly presenting solutions to reader and  prospect problems. Your prospects buy and study your book not because they’ve nothing  else to do with time or money. They want solutions. Your book’s ‘quality’ level will be  judged entirely on that basis.  

 Just to add a note of reality to the process, writing a book in 14 days does not include  any research you have to do. Nor does it include editing. Nevertheless, I’ll be giving you  some wonderful information on both those topics so you’ll minimize the research you do  to the bare minimums. If you’ve ever found yourself mired in research, only to discover  you don’t have the information you need, sweep that thought from your mind. My  research technology will give you the answers you need in record time, with the least  amount of effort. It becomes CHILD’S PLAY.  

 As will my SNAP editing process. You’ll be able to trim the fat from your writing and  ensure your manuscript is tight, precise and focused.  

 To give you still more of a reality check, the actual writing of your book will be the  easy part of accomplishing your goal. Selling your idea to an agent or a publisher, going  the self-published route and promoting your book relentlessly will also be explained.   In short, this book is more than just your recipe for writing fast. What good is a  manuscript that sleeps in your attic and collects dust? I want you to profit from it. And I’ll  have specific information to help you do just that.  

 After all, you’re special. You have unique information your prospects need, and  deserve. And you owe it both to yourself and to your prospects to succeed with the most  aggressive marketing tool there is for consultants and professionals.   Sadly, there are consultants and professionals who haven’t got a book to use as their  biggest promotional tool. Sad, because every time I ask why, they never say because they  think having one is a bad idea. They never tell me they don’t write their book because  they think it would be a bad investment of their marketing efforts.  

 They say they don’t have time.  

 Well, now time is no longer an issue. Now you have precisely the time you need to  write the book that will rocket you to business success. And in the pages that follow  you’ll get the recipe that will awaken this potential in you.  

But I want to write Fiction!!  

And many people do. I’ve yet to encounter the professional who will not pull me  aside and tell me that, although non-fiction is the book that will do her the most good,  fiction is where her heart is.  

 She won’t rest until she writes and publishes that great romance, or that horror story,  or the whodunit that’s been seething within.  

 The good news is that all of the techniques, all of the strategies, all of the ideas in this  book apply to both fiction and non-fiction. That’s because the rationale behind buying a  book is exactly the same for the reader… regardless of whether they want fiction or non fiction.  

 They each want the book to give them something. With the non-fiction book, it’s a  piece of several pieces of information. With the fiction, it’s a great story.   This book covers both. If there are differences, or if there are areas where one type of  book must be considered separately from the other, I’ll make sure you know.   In the next chapter, you’ll discover… 

Chapter 2  

The 20 Great Myths and Mistakes Most  Professionals, Consultants and Writers  Make When They Begin Their Book, How You Can  

Avoid Them and why this could be the most liberating  chapter you ever read in your life!  

 Every day dozens, sometimes hundreds, of professionals, consultants, and would-be  writers, just like you, approach me and tell me they’ve got to write their book.   Then they tell me all the excuses they have for not writing it.  

 Even months after they’ve taken my course, spoken with me on the telephone, or  heard me speak at their association meeting, and congratulated me on the outstanding  techniques I’ve delivered, I’ll ask them if they’ve written their book yet. And then out will  come that barrage of excuses.  

 Usually I smile at them, encourage them to call me if they have any questions, then  we part company… but they’re still no further ahead.  

 One day, I could take it no longer. I was talking with a professional who wanted to  write her book but just ‘hadn’t got around to it.’  

 “Haven’t got around to it? Think of all the media you’re missing out on. Think of all  the business you’re letting walk into the competitor’s office, think of the notoriety, the  credibility you’re delaying. Whatever goals you’ve got right now could be made real,  sooner if you had that book. And how much money are you leaving on the table every  time you DO get business because you’re not perceived as THE EXPERT in your field?  

 “And if you don’t want to be crass about it, if money doesn’t mean a thing, then let’s  be altruistic. You could be helping hundreds, perhaps thousands, more people than you  are right now if you could get your message out with a book.  

 “NOW tell me why you ‘haven’t got around to it’.”  

 She stared at me. The lights had finally gone on. She immediately realized her  objective must be writing that book in the shortest time possible.  

 So, while this chapter probably contains the least amount of ‘how-to’ information in  the entire book, it may well be the most important. If it motivates you, if it strips you of  any excuses you’ve got right now for not writing that book, then it’s done it’s job. If it  doesn’t, then give me a call at 905-686-4891 and I’ll be only too happy to yell at you,  while I dispose of your own, individual, excuses.  

1. You feel you just don’t have enough time. 

 You’re just flat out wrong on this one. You do have enough time. In fact, you have  more than enough time. Take a look at all the professionals and consultants and fiction  writers who have written books and used them to advance their career. I can tell you with  100% certainty that they have the same number of hours in the day as you do. 

 However, we get caught up in the demands of each day as it comes along. We make  the mistake of hoping that tomorrow there will be a free hour or two so we can work on  ‘our book’ only to discover tomorrow has just as many spontaneous fires to put out as  there are today.  

 The only way you’ll have the time required to write your book is if you block out the  time needed to write your book. That means you schedule time for writing, just as you  would if you had sold time to a client. Only the client is yourself.  

 If you turn to your calendar and schedule one hour, or 15 minutes or whatever, for  tomorrow, and treat it with the same gravity and importance as you would a meeting with  an important client, do it every day, your book WILL be written very quickly.   The next problem regarding time is that you think you need at least a couple of hours  to do anything significant when it comes to writing. That’s wrong. With the techniques  you’ll discover in this manual, you need no more than five minutes to advance your book  significantly.  

 In our busy schedules, who can find a spare hour or two. Not me, and probably not  you. But can you find five minutes while you’re waiting in a lobby, or in an airport, or for  your spouse? Can you find five minutes between appointments? Have you ever found  yourself finished with one time-sensitive task five minutes before you had to get to the  next time-sensitive task?  

 If you can see yourself having the odd five minutes free, then you’ve just discovered  more than enough time to write your book.  

 Don’t say you can’t do it. I’ll show you how.  

 And, if you’re thinking about getting depressed regarding the length of time it will  take you to actually write the book, if you can get excited about something ‘you’ve heard’  takes years before you see the result, you can put that one out to pasture as well.   Your book will take about 25 writing hours to produce, complete, from beginning to  end. No, I’m not saying you must sit down at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday morning and  continue writing until 9:00 a.m. Sunday, only to collapse in a heap until you recover. All  I’m saying is you’ve got to commit a TOTAL of just 25 hours to your book to ensure it’s  completion.  

 So, if you can write for two hours each day, your book will be finished 12.5 days  from now. If you write for 1 hour and 48 minutes a day, you’ll hit the magic 14-day  schedule in the title of this book.  

 Of course, if you can write for only 10 minutes a day, (a leisurely pace to be sure)  about the same time you devote to either shaving or putting on your make up, your book  take a little longer to complete.  

 Interestingly, if you write for just 10 minutes a day, you could easily produce two  books a year. Have you got a spare 10 minutes?  

2 You’re sure you have no writing ability 

 This is just flat out wrong! Everyone has writing ability. If you can talk, you can  write. Good writing is just the literary version of good talking. If you’ve got something of  interest to say, then you’ve got something of interest to write. The challenge you face is  not developing writing ability, but thinking you MUST develop writing ability.  

 You’ve already got it. That’s because the fundamental rule for effective writing is to  write the way you talk. Any time I discover bad writing, the reason can always be traced 

to a violation of this rule. Any time you read writing that is ‘lousy’, however you perceive  that, the reason is the words don’t sound as if someone is actually speaking them.   Writers, particularly professionals and consultants, always want to sound  sophisticated when they write. They want their writing to be the best possible, so the do  everything they can to use words they’d never use in common speech, to develop  constructions their 8th grade teacher told them about, to be grammatically perfect, and  more.  

 Unwittingly, they’re actually moving further away from good writing.   Write the way you talk. The quality of your writing will go right through the roof!   I’m going to return to this point a little later on, but I wanted to underline the  importance of this concept.  

 If you write the way you talk, you will always write well. If your writing is something  less than what you want, then it’s usually because you’re not writing the way you talk.   Now a point you’ll hear several times in this book. The faster you do something,  usually, the better you’ll do it. Those who do something really well, usually also do it  very quickly.  

 If you write quickly, you will be writing the way you talk, and that means you’ll be  writing well. Therefore, THE FASTER YOU WRITE, THE BETTER YOU WRITE!   Here’s another secret about writing ability. When you’re explaining something, try to  use simple language. Don’t use big words just so you’ll ‘appear’ sophisticated or  intelligent. Those who understand the big words also understand the small words. Those  who understand only the small words, will get the message very clearly if you use those  small words.  

3 You can’t find a clear direction 

 Direction is another problem many writers have. They don’t know where they’re  going, so they never know if they’re headed in the right direction. And they certainly  never know when they arrive.  

 That means your book is, at best, a series of wanderings with more than a few detours  that lead to nowhere.  

 First, you’ve got to have a good topic for your book. With that in hand, you know  exactly where you’re headed. And the topic has to be specific enough to get the job done  for the reader, but not so general that you ‘re trying to be all things to all people. Leave  that for your next book.  

 That has a lot to do with focus. If you know, going in, exactly what your book will be  about, if you can focus just on the essential elements of your book, you won’t wander.  That means a more cogent, more concise offering for your reader. Your reader will enjoy  the book more and will get a lot more from your writing.  

 But you’ve also got to have a solution for your reader if your book is non-fiction.  After all, that’s why your reader is reading your book. They’re usually looking for a  solution to a specific problem they have. You must give them a step-by-step account of  exactly what they’ve got to do and also any of the challenges along the way. If you do  that, you’ll have a presentation that leaves the reader anxious for your next book.  

 For fiction, you must have a winning story, or plot: an entertaining series of events  that leads the reader to the exact point you want him or her to be. 

 Only when you’ve got all those things in combination will you have your book  direction nailed down. But if you don’t, if you’re missing one of those elements, then your  book will be like what we see offered on the shelves of so many bookstores. Ethereal,  unpredictable, and rambling. Not what the reader was looking for at all.  

4 You don’t have a deadline set for the accomplishment of your writing  Someday, someone is going to do a study on the impact of deadlines on our society.  And when they do, they’re going to discover deadlines are one of the essential ingredients  to anyone’s success.  

 In our society, the deadline is the great creator of productivity. The closer we get to a  deadline, the more productive we become. If you don’t believe me, think about the last  time you had company coming over to visit. You knew they would be at your place  tomorrow, but did you prepare? Not at all. When you suddenly realized they were  scheduled to arrive in 90 minutes, things really started to happen.  

 The closer we get to a deadline, the more productive we become. You’ve probably  already noticed that in your work, or in your academic days. Who started an essay three  months before it was due? No one! But everyone was working at an astounding pace  when the essay was due in three days.  

 Everyone is like that. And everyone suffers as a result. But it needn’t be like that. You  can actually use deadlines to your advantage. Especially in writing.  

 When I write, I know the closer I am to a deadline, the more productive I become.  Ideas flow like water, where once there was only barren rock.  

 To take advantage of this fact of human nature, I strongly recommend you give  yourself just five-minute deadlines. If you give yourself a five-minute deadline, you’ll be  productive almost from the word go. You know you’ll be writing as fast as you can for  the next five minutes. It’s not so long that you can’t do it. But it’s long enough for you to  accomplish great things.  

 Believe it or not, I can write about 300+ words in five minutes. Just about all of my  students, even the beginners, can write at least 200.  

 Here’s something you’ll become even more aware of in the months and years ahead.  As we move more and more towards the era of voice recognition (you talk while the  computer ‘listens’ and transcribes) we will find the writing of a book even easier.   No longer will we have to ‘try’ to write as we talk, we’ll actually be talking our book  into our computers. This will dramatically reduce the time it takes to write a book and  you’ll easily be able to write 200+ words in just two minutes, rather than five!    

5 You’re not really clear about your topic  

 Yet another problem for the writer. A problem that goes hand in hand with not being  focused is not being clear about your topic.  

 You’re always writing in response to a problem the reader has, or an entertainment  need. You’ll have to identify the problem, and then work towards solving the problem, or  providing for the need, for the reader.  

 If you’re a consultant now, you already know what problems your potential clients are  having. If you don’t know about those problems, you better find out. It’s not difficult to  do. Just ask a few dozen what their biggest concerns or challenges are. They’ll tell you. 

 Then you’ve got to provide the reader with the answers for those problems And they  must be presented in a manner that is both unique and innovative, as well as memorable.  I’ll be telling you how to accomplish all of those things in the pages that lie ahead.   You see, you can’t just answer the questions the way the are usually answered. If a  person is having trouble studying, and you tell them they’ve got to spend more time at the  desk with adequate lighting and preparation and a plan, well, that’s the obvious answer  but if you present it that way, you’ll not get any notice from the reader. They’ve heard that  before. What they want is a magic wand, a single pill, something they’ve never heard of  before (a secret). And you’ll be able to give them just that.  

 You’ve also got to present these answers in a simplified version. The simpler, the  better. Simple answers are easier to remember and they’ve got a real powerful ancestor.  Everyone knows the closer an answer comes to the truth, the simpler the answer always  appears. The fewer the words, the more powerful the answer.  

6 You don’t have sufficient motivation to write a book 

 Motivation is another concern many professionals have when they write their book.  They just can’t maintain the writing discipline most writers would say you need. Good  news on two fronts there. To begin with, the “writing Machine Method” doesn’t require  you to have that much motivation. You simply plug into all the elements and then turn  the Writing Machine on.  

 So motivation becomes an after thought.  

 I’ve tried to make this method so simplistic you really don’t need any motivation to  accomplish the writing of your book.  

 Of course, if you still think you need motivation and you can’t arouse it, it’s because  you’ve got impotent goals. Your goals don’t motivate you to accomplish those things you  want to accomplish. Revise those goals. Start to visualize the benefits of having written  your book.  

 Writing your book, or books, could be the most important achievement of your life.  Your book can open doors, bring you clients, give you the credibility and the notoriety to  accomplish great things. I truly believe, outside of taking care of personal matters with  your family, there’s nothing more important than creating the books that will be you  ticket to fame and success.  

 When you’ve got that kind of insight into your efforts, motivation becomes an easy  element to bring into the writing mix.  

7 You’ve tried, but your outline is never adequate 

 The outline is one of the biggest problems facing a writer. Not the creation of it, but  the development of what to do after it’s in front of you.  

 After you’ve created an outline you have, well, an outline. Not much more. You don’t  have any way of transforming that outline into a book. There are no guidelines at all. I’ve  taken care of that with the Writing Machine Method. You aren’t left simply with an  outline. We go several steps beyond that.  

 You see, if you have an outline for your book, you’re left with the feeling that the  outline is, somehow, inadequate for your book. That’s because it is.  

 You simply can’t write a book from an outline. There isn’t enough information there,  no matter how detailed it is. 

 The structure for your book doesn’t exist in an outline, nor does the focus. You want  to move from your outline to your book in the shortest time possible, and that’s what the  Writing Machine technique does for you. You go from outline to several more steps that  transform the unwieldy outline into a perfect map for the creation of your book from start  to finish.  

 And there’s virtually no effort involved. Believe it or not, all the thinking is done  already when it comes time to transform your ‘outline’ to a book.  

 Wouldn’t that be a nice change from what you may be used to, or from what you’ve  encountered so far in your writing?  

8 You don’t believe you have sufficient talent to write a book. 

 Talent is another element professionals concern themselves with. Naturally, if you’re  a good consultant or professional, you know it takes a certain amount of talent to be  successful in your chosen field.  

 In writing, however, the challenge is somewhat different. The writing process really  requires little or no talent.  

 In fact, I often tell my students that the less talent they have for writing, the more  likely they are to be a success in the field.  

 That’s because people with writing ‘talent’ always get bogged down in the process of  writing beautiful prose. You really don’t want that for your book  

 What you want is clear thinking, the presentation of ideas in a logical structure. In  most cases, your solution to a problem is presented in a step-by-step and followable  manner.  

 That usually happens when you write as quickly as you possibly can and when you  get out of the way of your mind. Simply write down the words as they flow from your  brain.  

 Talent has nothing to do with that process.  

 Of course, when you finish your book I insist you tell everyone about the talent you  have, that it was naturally acquired and that you pity all those writers out there who  weren’t born with the talent you have. Keep reality a secret. It helps the rest of us  maintain the mystique.  

 Fiction writing-as you might suppose– demands slightly more talent. But not much.  I’m constantly amazed at how wonderfully competent any writer can sound if they just  get out of the way of their brain and let the words flow–fiction or non-fiction.    

9 You don’t have a strategy for successfully writing your book 

 While talent is certainly not a prerequisite for writing your book, realize that you  must have a strategy for successfully writing your book. That strategy will take you from  the beginning to the end and every point in the middle. You must know exactly what your  finished manuscript will look like long before you ever start writing.  

 The Writing Machine allows you to do just that.  

 Many of my colleagues believe the method I’ve developed limits their creative input.  Nothing could be farther from the truth. The creative input takes place at the mental  level. It takes place when you step aside from your mind and simply let it write the words  it wants to. 

 That’s where real creativity lurks. Often, when they do this successfully, my students  will actually marvel at how creative they really are. Not surprising. When you hold the  reins of a horse tight, you’ll never allow it to perform to its maximum ability. But when  loosen your grip… wondrous things happen.  

 When you have a strategy for your writing, you’ll never wander from the point you  want to make. You’ll always be on track and displaying the information precisely.   Writers who have no strategy, who feel the right way to write a book is to simply sit  down and begin the process, always come away unfulfilled, disappointed.   With a strategy, you’ll never encounter the disappointment of writing 10 or even more  pages only to find they don’t ‘fit’ into the book and so they have to be disposed of.   The strategy will simply get you through the process of writing your book in the  shortest possible time and give you the best possible book you have to offer.    

10 You keep running up against ‘writer’s block’  

 If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard a writer lament about ‘writer’s block’ I’d be  writing this from the sunny climes of the French Riviera.  

 Writers are almost obsessed with this malady that besets them virtually every day of  their writing life.  

 They’re always disappointed when I tell them writer’s block is a device of their own  creation. They make it. And they like it because it gives them an excuse for not writing.   For those who have never encountered it–and frankly I never have–let me explain  what writer’s block is, based on the symptoms so frequently displayed.   The writer wants to write, but can’t think of what to write. He doesn’t know where his  story or his book is going, so he has no idea of what element is next. In fact, writer’s  block sets up a kind of paralysis.  

 Even the inadequate, although perfectly plausible, solution of stopping the story at  that point and writing in a different part of the book, doesn’t work. The writer is frozen in  a trance-like state.  

 So, the writer simply assumes today is not the day for him or her to write because the  cloud of ‘writer’s block’ has descended.  


 Writer’s block is the result of very poor planning on the part of the writer. The  problem arises only when the writer has no idea what to write next. If you told the writer  what he wanted to say next, or what he wanted to explain, he’d have no problem writing  it.  

 Therefore, one can only assume, correctly, that writer’s block always stems from a  poorly planned ‘outline’ for the book. If the outline were more precise, more exact, more  detailed in its nature, telling the writer what comes next, there would be no writer’s  block!  

11 Despite your convictions, there’s an element of uncertainty you have to contend  with. 

 Then there’s the problem of uncertainty. The problem the writer faces when they’re  not sure about what they should say next. 

 This can take many forms. And it’s always based in insecurity. Most consultants, who  are established, don’t have to worry about this. However, those starting out, or those not  so secure in their own thinking, have the problem of uncertainty.  

 Is what they’re writing correct? Will it always give the necessary solutions to the  problem? Is it of a quality that will be accepted by colleagues, peers or potential clients?   Let’s get this rubbish out of the road immediately.  

 If you’re sincere about helping others, I can tell you what you’re doing is about as  good as it can get! You’ve already devoted hours to learning what you already know and  realizing other facts as you go.  

 There’s nothing wrong with the substance of your writing. It’s perfectly usable. The  moment you sit down to write a book, you should assume the substance of your material,  no matter how new you are to the industry, will have some positive impact on the  industry.  

 The quality will always be great. Why? Because the book written–regardless of the  quality–is always infinitely better than the outstanding book that languishes in the mind  of the layabout.  

 Of course, you’ve got to realize the longer you’re in this industry, the more you’ll have  to say. But that’s always going to be the case.  

 If you want to create certainty, simply adopt the personae of the certain person.  Become certain. Pretend, for lack of a better phrase. And, as is so often the case, you will  become what you think you are.  

12 You feel inadequate and unworthy of the task 

 “But who am I to take on the task of writing a book on this topic?” I can hear your  bleat even now. “I’m not worthy!” Hey! No one is asking you to lead the chosen people to  the Promised Land. All you’re doing is writing a book. Believe me, you’re up to the task,  you’re worthy enough and you can do it very well.  

 Any potential ridicule you suffer because you write this book, will be more than  offset by accolades you receive from it’s completion. Besides, if there are others more  worthy, how come they haven’t written their book? And if they have, how come they’ve  written only one!  

 You become worthy if your book has sufficient benefits for the reader. Make sure you  deliver on your promise, stated in the title. And make sure you deliver so many benefits  in the pages of your book that your reader is, frankly, overwhelmed and delighted with  what they get.  

 Those around you need to learn. And you’ve got the information they need.   Once again, it may come down to the adage of ‘fake it until you make it’ Pretend you  have all the talents and worthiness you need to ‘deserve’ to write this book.   If that strikes you as odd, or if you’re can’t see the merit of that–if you want to wait  until you truly ‘know it all’ before you write your book, realize you’ll be waiting forever.  Because the more you know, the more you realize you don’t know. You’ll never reach the  point where you are the person who knows ‘everything’ there is to know about your topic.   That person doesn’t exist and never will. Start where you are, with what you have and  with what you know.  

13 You don’t have a starting point for your book.

 Writing you book doesn’t have to be difficult. Even the starting point is pretty much  laid out for you. Too often consultants or professionals will tell me they don’t know  where to start writing. The reply:  

 Always start from the most interesting point. And if you don’t know which point in  you story is the most interesting, just think of several areas of your story, then do the old  Miss America process.  

 You remember, where they start out with ten, then choose the best five, then the best  three and finally they have the winner.  

 The same process is used to get to the most interesting point in your story. Start with  10 points you think are the most interesting. Out of those 10 which five are the best, then  the best three and finally, you know exactly where you’re going to start your story.   Now, why do I ask you always to start from the most interesting point? Because your  reader (and for many that could start with the agent who will work on publishing your  book), will see your first page first and want to be grabbed by the lapels and transported  to a wondrous land of excitement and possibilities.  

 If you think he or she will wait until page 55 or page 12 or even page 2 before they  dismiss your book as not worth the effort, you’ve got another think coming. Agents want  to be transported from the very first paragraph, from the very first sentence of the first  paragraph.  

 The only way you can do that is to start from the most exciting point of your story. To  do otherwise is to run the risk of being dismissed as an author who can’t get to the point  quickly.  

 Always start from the most exciting point and your agent, editor and reader will  always declare that your books are full of information and never full of fluff.    

14 You don’t have a finishing point 

 I still remember the conversation I had with the writer. He had an immense  manuscript and was telling me he still had a lot of work to do on it before it would be  finished.  

 “You mean editing?” I asked.  

 “No, some more writing.”  

 It looked to me to be plenty thick enough and didn’t need any more content. When I  asked how long it would be before he finished, he didn’t have any idea.   The purpose of writing a book is to write a book, it is not to keep on writing until  you fall, exhausted, onto the floor. You must have a finishing point. You must know  when you’ll be through. Otherwise, you’ll be writing forever.  

 If you don’t know your destination, you’ll never know when you arrive.   Your finishing point must be the complete solution of the specific problem your book  sets out to solve. It is not supposed to be the definitive work on anything, nor is it  designed to be a work that answers all the questions of the universe. If the reader wants  still more information, they can get your subsequent book, or your special report on the  matter in question.  

 And don’t forget you’ve got to close with pure poetry so your reader knows you’re  ending and can appreciate the finish of your book. I’ll get to that in a little while. 

 For now, it’s enough that you should know your book doesn’t go on forever. It will  never answer every question there is, nor should you be trying to do so. You want it  simply to answer the question it was designed for… and no more.  

15 You’re stuck in research  

 At least 10 per cent of my students in every class, and sometimes as high as 20 per  cent, get stuck in the research trap. They can’t write the book because they haven’t done  sufficient research. Unfortunately, they can never write the book because they’ll never do  ‘sufficient’ research. That’s because no matter how much research they do, it will always  open several doors to other areas… that need to be researched.  

 This ‘dog-chasing-its-tail’ problem can be easily solved… STOP IT!!   People get into the research trap because they have no idea what they’re looking for.  If they have no idea what they’re looking for, then everything is possibly the answer.   You must know exactly what you’re looking for down to the specific date or time or  place. And that’s all. The most important ingredient in successful research is knowing  what you’re looking for. The second most important ingredient is knowing that  everything else is irrelevant and you don’t need it for your book.  

 Next, the writer gets too comfortable doing research. Hey, as long as they’re stuck in  that library, they never have to come out and write. They’ve always got a viable excuse  for not writing the book–they’re doing the research essential for the book’s success.   Sorry, that’s not the way you do it. When we get to the research section of this book,  you’ll find there’s a compelling way to do a minimum amount of research and it will leave  you with little choice but to do the least amount of research possible and still have every  single bit of essential research for your book–with not one irrelevant word.   Believe it or not, the secret lies neither in how much you research, nor in what you  research, but rather in WHEN you research.  

16 You’re a perfectionist 

 Woe unto the perfectionist. They accomplish nothing, a perfect nothing and create  nothing. They, too, are mired in a quagmire of their own creation.  

 I have just three words of advice for the perfectionist–GET OVER IT!!   Nothing is ever perfect. No will it ever be perfect. If you think any book you produce,  if you think any book anyone has ever produced or ever will produce is likely to be  perfect–or even approached perfection–you’re wrong. Your book will be published,  imperfect.  

 Once you realize that, you don’t get as hung up on perfection. It’s not that important.   Even the pursuit of trying to minimize the imperfections is flawed.   And frankly, it doesn’t matter. If your book goes out with several flaws in it, welcome  to the publishing club. If you think your book will be perfect, I’m looking forward to  seeing it. It will be the first.  

 As for your writing career, let me give you some very sound advice I’ve already  mentioned elsewhere. The completed mediocre book is infinitely more exciting than the  uncompleted piece of perfection.  

 In fact, your book should not be perfect. It must leave the reader wanting to know  more. It must leave the reader wanting to discover still more angles, and possibilities. 

The very imperfection of your book, the incompleteness of your presentation, should  leave the audience wanting to get hold of your next book as soon as possible.   As the great entertainer Al Jolson said, “Always leave them wanting more!” That’s  the way it should be with your book. Stop trying to perfect a book that will never be  perfect.  

 If you struggle to perfect, you will never accomplish.  

17 You’re sure you ‘can’t write’  

 “But I just can’t write!” comes the lament. Sure! I’ve seen so many people who will  tell me they can’t write, and when I tell them exactly what to do and give them a deadline  of five minutes, they always shock themselves by coming up with something so powerful  they’re absolutely astonished.  

 If you can talk, you can write your book. If you can hold a pen, or talk into a tape  recorder, or dictate to someone who can take shorthand, or if you can speak into a  computer equipped with voice-recognition software, you can write a book.   But more powerful than that, if you can put together a few thoughts, you can write the  most powerful book ever written on your subject, and you’ll have a book people love to  read again and again.  

 You don’t have to be talented, you don’t have to be skilled. All you need is the ability  to put your thoughts on paper or on the computer screen.  

 If you don’t believe me, stick with me for a few more pages. When we get to the five minute-writing exercises, you’ll see exactly what I mean.  

 If, when you begin writing your book, you feel the least bit self-conscious, here’s  what you do. Write your book, but don’t tell anyone what you’re doing. Just do it on your  own, away from the prying eyes of family or friends. When the book is ready, in a few  weeks, (or less) announce to one and all that you’ve been working on this book for  several years (I always count the fanciful thought processes that start years before I ever  decide to actually write a book). They’ll line up to congratulate you.  

 “They laughed when I told them I was going to write a book, but when they saw the  finished volume, their laughter turned to looks of amazement.”  

18 You don’t know what readers want 

 This is a real concern. I’m not treating it nearly as glibly as I’ve treated the other  members of this family. If you only THINK you now what your reader wants you’re in  for a big surprise. You’ll likely miss the mark and create a great book, well written, on a  subject no one cares about.  

 What you want is a book everyone wants and which catapults you to the level of fame  and notoriety that ensures your success in other endeavors.  

 Start by asking people. Write down several titles of books you want to write. Which  one of these, based solely on the title, would they want to buy and read?   Make sure you give these 100 or more people a selection of several titles you’re  skilled enough to write about. What you think is important is largely irrelevant. You want  to write the book people want. You can’t force them to read the book you think important.   Once you’ve got the book you want to write, know that the reader doesn’t want to read  your eloquent ruminations on that subject. They want answers. Solutions to their  problems. You’ve got to focus on that relentlessly. If you waver for only a brief moment 

from that prescription for success, you’ll lose the reader and they’ll reconsider the worth  of the book they have in their hands.  

 You’ve got to continually be delivering both benefits and results to the reader. After  they finish reading your book, they’re only complaint should be it was too short, they  wish they could read another on the same subject that had as much information (surprise!  that’s your next book, and it will be available in about, oh, 14 days or so!).  

 You get that reaction only by packing your book with the solutions, the answers, the  benefits, the results and the objectives the reader wants and thought they would get when  they started reading your book.  

19 You just CAN’T 

 For whatever reason, you believe, or have convinced yourself, you just can’t write the  book. Well, here’s a news flash for you. If you don’t write the book, I’ll guarantee  someone else, perhaps someone less qualified (certainly less worthy) will write the book.   I’ll also guarantee they won’t cover the topic or say it half as well as you could have.  In our society there is something I call Literary Coincidence. Ten or more people all  having the same idea for a book at the same time. Those who hesitate in the writing of  their book are bound to be disappointed when they discover at least one individual who  didn’t hesitate.  

 But on a more altruistic level, what you’ve got to say is really important. It could well  change the life or lives of your readers. You’ve got something that could add benefits to  their lives, make them a better person, or make their lives easier to live or more enriched.  You owe it to your fellow citizens to give them (or at least allow them to buy) this  information.  

 Think of it as your duty, your obligation. Any reason you have for thinking you can’t  write the book should be easily countered by this rationale.  

 The fact is, you CAN write the book. It’s not nearly as difficult as you think–as  you’ve already found out from my seminar (if you attended) or from the pages you’re  about to read.  

20 You think too much research is required 

 Listen, for the last time, will you please stop thinking about research. Your research  into this topic–apart from what you’ve already done in your life, will be minimal. There  will be hardly any effort required to research your book, because I’m going to reduce it to  the smallest amount possible.  

 Research should be the least of your worries when you write a book. Even if you’re  thinking about writing a historical romance, it’s still not that important. It’s the story that  plays the main role in any book. It’s the benefits the readers get that play the main role in  any non-fiction. Not the nagging little details.  

 For the cynics out there, yes, God is in the details. So let God take care of the details.  As for you, you should be devoting yourself to writing the book and gaining all the  success you know is out there. There is nothing redeeming, personally, or professionally,  about doing research–especially research not essential for your book!  

Chapter 3  

Why your attitude must change,  how to do it and what you’ll get when you do.  

I’m not going to play the game of motivation with you. You’re much too sophisticated  for that. I’m not going to get you all charged up and ready to write as many as 10 books  in a single month… I’ve seen it done!  

But I do want you to understand the importance of your attitude when you begin  writing your book, and when you consider writing several books.  

There really is no difference between the person who as written a book and the  person who has not written a book… except for the obvious. The author is the person who  has written a book, and the non-author, of course, has not.  

It’s really that simple and that straight forward. It has nothing to do with anything  except the decision to write the book.  

I’ll also tell you that the person who writes a single book, can also write several  books, even several dozen books. The reason is that they’ve decided it was possible.  When people ask me how I can continue to write so many books, what they’re saying  to me is that I must (according to their rules) reach a point of saturation. A point where  there simply are no new books left ‘in’ me. But that’s not true at all. I KNOW there are  hundreds of books I can write, thousands of books I can write. And it’s just a matter of  opening my mind and letting it happen. Once I acknowledge that there are hundreds,  thousands, of possible books awaiting my arrival, it’s a far different matter than the  challenge facing the person who believes they don’t have a single book in their future.  This whole thing about attitude sounds remarkably glib. Like all you’ve got to do is  ‘think’ you can write a book and it will happen. (By the way, that’s NOT how the Writing  Machine strategy operates.)  

All I’m saying is you must realize it is an absolute truth for you. There are far more  books you can write than you’ll ever have time to produce.  

How to blow up the single obstacle that’s holding you back  

I don’t care what your goals are; I don’t care what you want to do with your book, or  how you want it to help in the accomplishment of your professional or personal  objectives. There is only one reason you have yet to write the book… And that’s  procrastination.  

Take a look at your written goals. Take a look at your dreams and your aspirations.  Now consider what you must do to accomplish those dreams, goals, aspirations, etc. On  the list of prerequisites, do you see the word ‘procrastination’?  

I didn’t think so.  

You must rid yourself of the procrastination monster once and for all. The Writing  Machine concept will certainly help. It will get you from start to finish in record time,  faster than you ever thought possible. 

But what I can’t do, unless I’m standing right beside you, is to get you to sit down and  start the process.  

Realize that all of the things you could have been, all of the honours or successes you  could have had, that were missed, were all missed because of procrastination.  If you’re not where you want to be with your book, your writing career, or any other  career, it’s because of procrastination.  

Now some startling information about your procrastination… no one cares! You can  procrastinate all you want, you’ll just get the negative benefits of procrastination. Your  colleagues don’t care, your family really doesn’t care, and your friends don’t care.  Frankly, I can’t even care. That’s the nature of procrastination. It has very little serious  impact on others. And an overwhelming impact on the procrastinator.  

The only one who really cares if you procrastinate is yourself. You really owe it to  yourself to get all the benefits you really deserve for your career. Make the decision to  slay the procrastination monster immediately. There are countless books on the subject.  Many have excellent ideas. But make it a top priority for yourself right now.  

How you can tap into an unlimited number of ideas and possibilities  There are an unlimited number of ideas, themes, book projects, stories, and  possibilities in your mind, right now.  

Most people don’t believe that. They get ‘stuck’ because they can think of only one  idea and no more. They wrongly conclude they have (at most) only one idea for a book  and that any more are simply not available to them.  

I don’t really care of you’re in that position now or not. Eventually, you’ll conclude  that there are no more ideas out there. Everyone gets to that point at one time or another.  When I was the successful editor of a business magazine serving a particular industry,  I ‘knew’ that I had exhausted every idea there was for a potential article.  After I sat down and really thought about it, I had to conclude there was really no end  to the number of articles I could write. There was no reason to stop.  Take a look at your favorite magazine and you’ll see the same situation. How many  months can they possibly go before they say the same thing twice? The answer is ‘there is  no limit.’ Once you realize that, then you’ll also realize there is no limit to the amount of  information you can use in books, and there is no limit to the number of books you can  produce for your readers.  

So realize there is no limit to the number of ideas you can create, write about, and  produce books for.  

Creating the ‘Recipe’ for your book’s success  

Have you ever made an apple pie? If you have, you know there’s a vital ingredient to  the whole process that only a very few would dare do without. It’s the recipe for that  apple pie.  

Even the best of bakers either have the recipe before them, or have it ingrained in  their minds. They know exactly what to do, to what extent and when it must be done.  That’s a recipe for an apple pie.  

And any baker, anywhere, can rest assured that if they follow the recipe for an apple  pie, at the end of the process they’ll always end up with an apple pie. They’ll never end  up with a pizza, or a loaf of bread, or a chair. They’ll always end up with an apple pie. 

The same is true for your book. If you want it to be a best seller, then you’ve got to  have a recipe, or a strategy, for making it complete and successful.  

Now, before you go off the deep end and declare I’m reducing the writing of a book  to a ‘formula’ know this isn’t my intention at all. I’m not trying to stifle your creativity.  I’m just trying to make the production of a good book inevitable for you… as you’ll  soon see. It’s essential that you have a recipe for the success of your book. I’ll prove that  to you right now.  

Have you ever encountered an author who wrote a fantastic book, acclaimed by all  the critics and the market as well? Then the next book they produce is an absolute bomb?  No body likes it at all. The third book is mediocre at best. But the fourth book they  produce is a blockbuster best seller again, and everyone congratulates the author on  finding their original ‘form’ and writing a great book yet again.  

The fact is that the author had no idea what they were doing in the first place. They  didn’t have the recipe they needed for the great book.  

They stumbled upon it for their first book, and then promptly assumed it would  always be there.  

It wasn’t and their writing suffered as a result.  

There are many writers, such as Stephen King, Danielle Steele, Ken Follett, and  others, who simply can’t help but write a best seller every time they put pen to paper.  That’s because they know what the recipe is. They’re the literary equivalent of the master  baker who has the recipe in her head.  

I’ll be showing you exactly what that recipe is and how you can capitalize on it time  and time again.  

How to Leap frog ahead of the competition and destroy the ‘paying your dues’ myth  This one is gong to be difficult for many people to understand. Difficult because the  strategy, or rather the dogma, is so well entrenched in our society that most people fight  me tooth and nail on this concept. If you want to be among the many, by all means feel  free.  

Your argument against what I’m about to say won’t be the first I’ve heard. I hope it  will be among the most eloquent. But as far as logical, real-world thought is concerned, it  will be dead wrong.  

In our society there is a myth that before you can become something worthwhile, you  must pay your dues. That’s the phrase everyone uses… ‘Pay your dues.’ If you’re  uninitiated-count yourself lucky-I’ll explain it for you.  

The road to success (in whatever form you want) is paved with menial tasks,  degrading jobs, a profound lack of success, and more than a few opportunities to chuck it  all because no one realizes how wonderful you are.  

Common dogma dictates you must endure this road of hard knocks, before you arrive  on ‘easy street’ and get the recognition you so richly deserve.  

The dogma is promoted, understandably, largely by those who have ‘paid their dues’  and finally arrived at the level of success they were looking for. Since they achieved  success, using this route, they naturally assume this is the right, proper, and ONLY route  to success. It is not. It has never been the only route, it is simply the path most traveled  and the one held in greatest esteem-particularly by those who have trod it. 

I admire those who follow this strategy. More specifically, I admire their tenacity.  However, I’m deeply saddened by their stupidity and ignorance of the real world.  There are millions and millions of people who have fought the good fight, paid more  than their share of dues, and ended up not on easy street, but rather skid row-or the  equivalent, depending on which industry you’re discussing.  

Paying your dues is not an automatic ticket to writing success. It’s not even a good  ticket. In fact, it’s a lousy ticket.  

The trip takes too long, is uncomfortable at every point along the way, yields very  few benefits, and you, more often than not, end up no where near the destination you had  in mind when you began.  

Your success as a writer-non-fiction or fiction-depends entirely on the value you give  to your customers… not on the years you spend producing the work..  If you produce a manuscript that is really valuable, no one cares how long it took you  to produce it. If it took you one week, one month, one year, one decade, the reader  doesn’t care. The reader cares only for the value you’ve offered.  

If you don’t have the credentials, the paid dues, years in the business or before the  typewriter; if you’ve never published anything before, if you’ve no ‘traditional’ right to  claim a position of authority… that’s okay.  

If you can give the value your readers want, then you can claim the position anyway!  Now, for all the cynics and skeptics out there, please note I did not say assume the  position even though you have no right to it. I’m saying, simply, that if you have the  value, if your writing gives the reader what she is looking for, then you can assume the  position. Napoleon did not wait for the Pope to crown him Emperor. He grabbed the  crown and placed it on his own head.  

You’ve got to do that with your own writing. You’ve’ got to declare yourself, to  yourself and to your readers, the expert in the field about which you write. You’ve got to  declare yourself the expert in the area of fiction you’re writing. That, to any sane  individual, sounds so outlandish that you’d never do it. But look what happens when you  take that approach.  

When you do that, something very strange happens. If there is no one in the field who  has already assumed that mantel of expertise, then everyone will quickly agree you  should have that mantel-except those few who are envious.  

If there is already a ‘title holder,’ then assume the mantel and challenge that pretender  to the throne. If you’re good, you’ll out write them. If you’re not, you’ve garnered  sufficient publicity for yourself to make the whole process worthwhile.    

The six steps to becoming a powerful writer, even if you’ve never written before  Okay, now we get down to some of the nitty gritty in the writing process. And I’ll  lead off with two of the most prolific writers of our time… Isaac Asimov and Dame  Barbara Cartland.  

Isaac Asimov specialized in science fiction writing. He was both a good writer-by  anyone’s estimate-and a profoundly prolific writer (take a look at your nearest Guinness  Book Of World Records to get an accurate picture).  

Within an article in Writer’s Digest (an article in which I was used as a source as  well) Asimov was asked why he was so prolific. What was it that caused him to have  such a wealth of writing, and good writing at that? 

His answer was so profound, so useful to budding and veteran writers alike, that I  was amazed virtually no one commented on it.  

I suspect the answer was so simplistic everyone sloughed it off as a statement  shrouded in self-effacing modesty. And missed the power in the words.  Said Asimov, “I guess I’m prolific because I have a simple and straightforward  style.”  

So powerful are these words that they should be engraved in stone and placed on the  desk of every writer who has ever thought about producing a book.  

“I guess I’m prolific because I have a simple and straightforward style.”  Ironically, Asimov could just as easily have said, “I guess I have a simple and  straightforward style because I’m prolific.”  

The two statements are co-dependent.  

If you want to be prolific, you must have a simple and straightforward style. But the  only way you can have a simple and straightforward style… is to be prolific.  I’ll explain…  

Do you know ANYONE who does something well? If they do it well, chances are  very good they also do it very quickly. Now, this does not mean in order to do something  well, you should do it quickly. It means only that those who do something very well  almost always do it quickly.  

They have mastered the details, they have mastered the techniques, and they have  mastered the process and the challenges. With this mastery comes proficiency. And  proficiency will always be accompanied by speed.  

Now my next point of explanation…  

In order to write well, you should write the way you talk. If you write the way you  talk, your writing will always be very understandable to the reader.  

There will be no convoluted sentences. No $25 words, where a 50-cent variety will  suffice. There will be no misunderstanding. No misinterpretation. When you talk to  friends, you don’t ‘put on airs’ in your speech. You speak to be understood, and (with the  exception of politicians) you usually are.  

And just about every writing instructor, agent, editor, publisher and reader will tell  you that if you write the way you talk, your manuscript will be infinitely more readable,  publishable and sellable.  

You’ve already mastered the art of talking. You’ve been doing it ever since you were  a few months old, and you’ve been honing, practicing and developing your talking skills  just about every day of your life!  

You have mastered the details, you have mastered the techniques, and you have  mastered the process and the challenges. With this mastery comes proficiency. And  proficiency will always be accompanied by speed.  

Does that last paragraph sound familiar? I used it to describe a person who has  mastered a skill previously.  

 You talk relatively quickly because you know how to talk. You know what you want  to say and how you want to say it.  

Those who know how to do something well, usually do it quickly. You know how to  talk, so you talk quickly (by that I mean you don’t labour over every word). If you want  to write well, write the way you talk… 

The logic is inescapable. If you want to write well, write quickly. If you write  quickly, you will always write the way you talk (you won’t have time to develop the  awkward sentence).  

If you want to write well… write fast!  

If you want to be prolific, write quickly.  

If you want to write well, write quickly.  

The faster you write, the better you write!  

And now to the most prolific writer of our time, the late Dame Barbara Cartland.  Cartland produced, when she was writing, about one book every week or so. A  phenomenal pace. There are many who would argue that producing a book at that rate  would yield no literature of any value. Yet her books are constant big sellers. The public  has decided that, despite the speed with which they’re produced, the books are quite  enjoyable and quite worth the price on the cover.  

Cartland’s writing strategy is so simplistic, it’s almost laughable. She knows what  will happen in the story based on her many decades of reading and writing experience.  It’s an ingrained pattern she follows with every book.  

Now, you don’t have that ingrained pattern yet. So you’ll need a map to get you from  start to finish. We’ll talk about that a little later.  

Knowing where she’s going in the book, she simply dictates to a series of three  stenographers, who work in rotation, taking dictation and then transcribing.  Cartland not only writes the way she talks, she writes as she talks. She never has to  worry about whether she’s getting it right. She has no choice. If you talk your book (a  subject I will not deal with in this manual) you can’t help but write a very enjoyable  manuscript. The reader will get the benefit of your actual voice, on paper.  Another writing maxim is one used by virtually every editor on the planet. If you  want your writing to be more powerful, omit needless words.  

Behold, if you write the way you talk… quickly… you will always omit needless  words.  

The final step is the easy one. If you have a plan for your writing, a map, then you’ll  know exactly what you want to write about at every step of the process.  With a writing map, you can produce a book in record time. A publishable  manuscript faster than you ever thought possible.  

How to create an overwhelming drive to write your book in the shortest time  possible.  

Now here’s a bit of cold water for your otherwise inspired brow. Despite all of the  information I’ve just given you… and I truly believe I’ve just given you one of the keys  to the writing vault… I can’t sit by your desk and force you to write your book.  I can only make it remarkably easy for you.  

Yet, despite the tools you already have in your possession (and there will be more in  the pages to come) you still may not actually get down to the process of writing your  book.  

This is unbelievable to me, but I see and hear about it daily.  

That’s also why, when many of my seminar attendees ask me how many of my  students have actually written a book, I must confess, the answer is woefully low.  Not because they couldn’t write their book, but simply because they chose not to. 

So, right now, before we go on to another page, I want you to realize that you must be  willing to write the book. There must be an intensity. There must be some sort of  ambition, drive, motivation or inspiration that makes you want to write your book.  

It doesn’t have to be overwhelming. It need not be all consuming. But there must be  some reason for you to write your book… otherwise-sadly-it will not be written.  The methods in this book allow you to produce a book that virtually writes itself…  but you’ve still got to make it happen.  

Become focused in your pursuit. Know why you’re writing your book, and realize  that in just a few days, you’ll have that finished product in your hands.  Commit to writing for a certain period of time each day. It doesn’t matter how long  the period-five minutes, 10 minutes, or two hours. But you must remain consistent and  persistent. If you’re going to write for just 15 minutes each day, then make sure that is  exactly what you do. Make sure you never skip a single day of writing. Because if you  skip one day, it becomes that much easier to skip the second day. Profoundly easy to skip  the third day and then, several months later, you’re still without a book.  No, I don’t care what time of day you write. If you feel better writing in the morning,  great. If the evening feels better for you, then make that the time. But be consistent.  Frankly, it doesn’t matter what time of the day you write. I’m just as comfortable  writing in the morning as in the evening-those who feel there’s a ‘best time’ for  themselves are simply kidding themselves and not giving themselves enough credit for  their ability.  

But the daily ritual of sitting down and writing, even for a few minutes, will bring  that book to reality in very short order.  

At this point, of course, you’re all dressed up with no place to go. The motivation is  there, the drive is there, but you’ve not got the topic on which you want to write.  That’s what the next chapter is devoted to. If you’ve already got the topic in mind,  may I suggest you shelve it (your topic) momentarily and read what I’ve got to say on  this topic.  

Too many authors, in their zeal to begin, end up with a book no one wants. Had they  simply taken a few moments to consider-or even better, had they simply had the  opportunity to read the next chapter as you will-their lives would have been so much  more rewarding.  

That’s why I’ve devoted chapter 4 to…  

Chapter 4  

How to select, develop or create the magic  topic your readers, clients or prospects simply can’t  resist 

Why the topic of your book selection is critical to your success  

Your topic must fulfill your reader’s want. And you should underscore the word want  in your own mind. Not what he or she needs.  

Your book will live or die depending on the topic you select. I can’t point this out  strongly enough. If you’ve got a topic no one wants to read about (and, by the way, that 

happens a lot more often than you might think) you’ve got a dead book that no publisher  will want to touch. And, even if you self-publish, you’ll have an unbelievably tough time  making it work.  

If you’ve got the right ‘want’ you’ll be separating yourself from all the other  consultants and professionals out there. Those other consultants are the folks who focus  on what they ‘believe’ to be important.  

I’ve read their manuscripts. They fixate on what they know. They wrongly believe  that because they’ve spent years learning about it, it automatically translates into what  others ‘want’. That’s not true.  

If you can constantly deliver books your clients or prospects want, then you can use  your book as the key to virtually every element of success you desire.  Every successful consultant has a book that focuses on the client’s wants. The client  will always believe that if you deliver the wants in book form, you can certainly deliver  them in a form more tangible for them… and lucrative for you.  

If you spend your time working on a topic no one wants, you and your book will be  relegated to the trash heap even before you leave the starting gate (or the printing press).  The selection of the wrong topic means hours of work for you and no, or little,  reward. Work hard at selecting the right topic for your clients and potential clients.  

How to use a ‘magic wand’ of topic selection  

So, how do you select the right topic for your clients? The first step is to realize that  regardless of your professional standing, or your position in the industry, you have an  option of choosing any, and I mean any, topic you want.  

That’s often difficult for most writers to understand. They think they must choose a  topic with which they’re very familiar. That’s often the case, but it’s not obligatory. It  helps the writing, but it’s not essential  

Start with your magic wand. Ask yourself, “If I was God and could give my readers  whatever they desire, what would they most want to obtain?”  

Think hard. You’ve just removed all the limitations for your topic. Now you’re God.  You can do anything. Produce a book that tells readers anything.  

Remember how I phrased that statement. I didn’t’ say, “What would I most want to  tell my readers?” I said, “What would they most want to obtain?”  

Selection of a great topic has nothing to do with you and your abilities. It has  everything to do with your readers and potential readers.  

This strategy also allows you to create the most desirable books possible. The readers  don’t have to fit into what you’re offering. You can give them exactly what they want.  Don’t limit yourself only to what you know. Part of the fun of creating winning books  is knowing you must do a bit of research to get many of the facts. Part of the fun is  approaching a new and interesting topic. A topic you may be approaching–in some  measure–for the first time yourself.  

That way you can be as intuitive and as curious as most of your readers.  

How to suspend your own disbelief  

and develop revolutionary concepts 

The development of outstanding topics for your books, and therefore outstanding  books, begins when you stop limiting yourself. Stop saying you can’t, or you don’t know  how.  

Let me tell you about the book creation process at Rodale Press. These are the folks  who publish many health and lifestyle books with contents seemingly impossible to  believe… yet there they are.  

Here’s how it’s done. They start in the advertising department and request that a book  be produced. The advertising comes first.  

Unencumbered by an actual book, the advertising department can run wild with all  the ideas creative people normally get. The book will tell readers how to do this, how to  do that, how to achieve this fantastic benefit. And each benefit, each statement of what  the book will contain gets more and more fantastic, more and more outrageous, yet more  and more intriguing for the potential reader. The reader barely believes that such  information could actually exist. But if it does, he or she wants it, now!  

“You’ll discover how to get 20 clients just 24 hours after you start reading the book,  How to get virtually 50% of old clients actively buying from you again, and how to get  every one of your competitors sending new clients to your door-even how to make  money from clients who decide NOT to buy from you!!!”  

Now, armed with a stack of benefits and features that will appear in this new book,  the management goes to the editorial department and presents the advertising efforts…  along with the request to ‘write the book.’  

After getting over the initial shock, and the initial tendency to say ‘it can’t be done,’  the editorial department gets to work… and produces just that book.  That’s exactly the approach you must bring to your book writing. You’ve got to  believe anything is possible and you’ve got to believe you can create it. All that’s required  is a little time and a little effort.  

When you’re untethered by what you ‘know’ is possible, your imagination takes flight.  And that will always yield the very best book. Don’t limit yourself with what you know  to be possible, or what you know you can produce. You’re about to produce something  magical… that’s what makes a fantastic book.  

Nobody wants another book on that same old topic. They want ‘THE’ book. The  book that will give them the answers they’ve been looking for. That’s what your book  will be!  

How to make sure your topic is a winner  

There are dozens of ways to ensure your topic is one your clients want to read, but the  very worst way is to actually ask your friends or peers and solicit their opinion. The next  worst is to ask clients. Your peers will tell you anything you want to hear and your  clients, well, they’ve got nothing to gain by giving you bad news. If you’ve got a client  who is especially candid with his or her opinion, you should listen to them. Otherwise,  probably not.  

Nevertheless, you should use your current clients to give you feedback on your  proposed topic. This is the way to do it.  

First, develop a list of about 10 topics you’re considering. Ask your clients if they’d  do you a big favour. Out of the 10 proposed topics, could they please select the one  they’d most like to see in print. 

When they’re given a choice, they’ll give you the topic they really want to see most.  That should be a great indictor of what to write about.  

I do this with my seminar topics. At most seminars, I’ll throw up an overhead with  about 10 seminar topics I’m thinking about producing. I ask the audience to hold up their  hand for the topic they’d like to see most.  

I do this with about 1,000 seminar attendees and there is usually a clear winner.  That’s the topic I develop next.  

You also want to make sure there are potential or future books in this area. You don’t  want to be a one-book wonder. You want the success of your second book to build on the  success of your first book… and so on. If you have a topic so narrow it can’t allow you to  write a second book, that’s not a great topic.  

The irresistibility factor is very important. Even when I have a topic I feel  comfortable with, I’ll work it and rework it-using the audience vote method-until I have a  topic my readers simply can’t resist.  

The two-step method for uncovering  

precisely what your clients want  

There is a two-step method I’ve developed for finding out exactly what clients are  looking for. First, I ask them, and then I tabulate responses.  

As I mentioned above, you can’t simply ask clients what they want in a book.  They’ve never thought about it, they have no idea what’s available to chose from, and  they really have no vested interest in your book.  

You’ve got to present them with choices. They’ll say the second of the list is a topic  they really need to know about, or really excites them.  

Remember, we’re playing a magic-wand game here. You don’t have to limit yourself  to what you actually know. Just give them options you think they’d like to have.  A further note. How you present these options is just as important as what you’re  presenting. If I give the audience a series of choices and one of them is, “How to run a  business” that’s not going to be greeted with much enthusiasm.  

But if I say, “How to change your business from mediocre to magical in 30 days” that  will get a lot more support.  

When they choose, ask them why that choice is important to them. What they would  hope to discover from that topic. And if they could be a bit more specific in their choice.  You really want to nail them down about what they want.  

Just because you’ve got a clear winner in the voting, that doesn’t mean the second-,  or third-place topics can’t also appear in your book. You want the book to be as exciting  as you can possibly make it. So use those other suggestions as well.  

T.E.S.T The acronym to ensure you have the best topics possible  Of course you can always come up with a good list of topics without using the voting  method. But what happens when you haven’t got many clients? Or you don’t talk to  audiences?  

Your first step is to Talk to a series of people who, if they are not your clients, you’d  like them to be your clients. Tell them you’re doing research for your book. That’s the  truth. People will be more than happy to talk to you. 

You want to Establish what your client’s needs are. They’ll tell you that as well. Not  on the first question, of course. I remember the marketing consultant who asked his  clients what their biggest need was and the response was almost universal… more  money. Or more profit.  

Well, you must dig a little deeper to find out the real needs. Ask them to explain what  they mean by ‘more money’ or a ‘quick divorce settlement” or an easier way to achieve  some benefit. They’ll tell you.  

After you’ve talked with your clients and established their needs, you’ve got to get to  the Specifics. Narrow it to as precise a benefit as you can. That will help you in the  writing process.  

Finally, Tabulate what your clients say. If half of all your clients, or prospective  clients, are looking for the same thing, you’d be doing everyone (including yourself) a  grave disservice if you focused on anything else.  

The master strategy for creating a topic your readers simply can’t resist  You can create a topic your readers simply can’t resist if you address your reader’s  biggest need. I’ll prove it to you. What’s your biggest need right now?. Go ahead;  daydream a few seconds before you give me your answer. Have you got it yet? Great.  Now, before you is the book entitled How to Get (your biggest dream) in the Next  Seven Days with the Resources You Already Have!  

It’s a book you simply can’t resist because it promises to give you exactly what  you’re looking for.  

And therein lies a very important message. Don’t try to give people everything they  want, just focus on one of the things they want. That’s the benefit the reader will get from  the book. I’ve read countless books that promise the reader everything and come up  short, both on the content side and on the credibility side. No book can give me  everything,… but maybe there is a book that will help me lose weight, or learn to swim,  or get more clients, or get out of a messy custody battle, or buy a house more  inexpensively… and so on.  

You should also make sure of the solution to the problem. The steps that must be  taken to get the benefit the book promises are easy to implement. The reader doesn’t have  to start off being either rich, or a genius, or highly positioned, in order to get what they’re  looking for… unless of course the majority of your potential readers ARE already in that  situation.  

The solution must be easily implemented, requiring no Herculean tasks, or biblical  feats of will power. It’s got to be do-able.  

The three secrets to creating a  

never-ending stream of possible topics  

You wouldn’t believe the number of times an author, or a would-be author, will come  to me and tell me the book he’s just written is the be-all and end-all for the topic. This is  unfortunate, I tell him, because if it’s true, they’ve got nothing more to write. They can’t  write anything else because they’ve exhausted the topic. Sad (especially sad if the  publisher enjoyed your book, because he or she was hoping for a second and third as  well). 

There is no end of topics for books you can write. There is no end because there is no  end to the topics. The stream of useable topics ends only when your imaginations says it  does.  

Just ask yourself, after the reader has obtained the results he wants, what then? What  is the next logical step for that person. There’s your next book. Or perhaps your reader is  likely to have some difficulty with the theory you’ve just put forth. You’ve got to  develop a workbook, or a second book on the same topic telling them what they should  have done if they didn’t.  

How many times have you seen a book entitled, “More of….” Simply because the  first book was so good.  

I used to encounter this all the time when I was writing a plethora of magazine  articles. After writing a hundred or so of them in a few months, I’d be exhausted and  certain there were simply no new topics on which to write. The fact was, there was no  end of the topics and I hadn’t even scratched the surface. But unless I got myself out of  the mindset that the topics were all done, nothing would come.  

How to get massive success by exploiting  

the success of others and create instant recognition for your book  Some outstanding success with books has arisen because authors have capitalized on  the success of other books. They take a variation on the successful book’s name and, hey  presto, you’ve got name recognition. You can write “the one-minute…..” or “The 7  habits of highly effective….” Or how about “the happy….” A title cannot be copyrighted.  So you don’t have to worry about the legalities of this practice. It’s a cheap and effective  way of getting a lot more recognition for your book than it would normally have.  Another method used frequently, sometimes not frequently enough, is the technique  of getting endorsements from famous or credible people. Most people like to get three,  maybe four endorsements. My recommendation is to get as many as you possibly can.  Get 20, 30, 50 or more. If you want the ultimate example of this, get hold of a copy of the  book, “Swim with the sharks…” by Harvey Mackay. I haven’t counted all the  endorsements at the front of that book, but he’s got dozens of them. And because all  these people say it’s a wonderful book, you can bet the prospective buyers feel this book  must be exceptional. Ironically, it doesn’t cost anything to get an endorsement and you  can get them very easily. I’ll be telling you exactly how a little later in this manual.  The next technique is to follow a particular trend. If everyone is wondering “Where’s  the beef” or is wondering how you really do spell the word potato (thanks Dan Quayle)  then that’s a trend you can capitalize on for the topic or the title of your book.    

How to create credibility for yourself  

instantly within your topic  

Now, this is going to sound like heresy to many readers of this book. The topic of  credibility, the topic of qualifications, the topic of experience always comes up when  someone writes a book. People are always asking me, almost rhetorically, “shouldn’t a  writer know a lot about the topic before he or she writes about that topic?” In a perfect  world, absolutely. In the real world, it really isn’t necessary. 

People aren’t looking for your qualifications when they buy and read your book.  They’re looking for results. You aren’t applying for a job-where your qualifications are  paramount in many cases. It’s just the results that people are looking for.  

Now, if you’re eminently qualified, you should say so right up front. If you’ve had  outstanding results with people for the past two decades, then make sure you say that.  But if you don’t have any of those kinds of qualifications, simply remain silent and let  your writing, or the information you’re presenting, speak for itself.  

I’m always astounded by the fact that the writing of the book is often the only criteria  people need to shout their opinions from the highest mountain top (or highest rated  television show). It’s the book that gives you credibility, and not the credibility that  makes the book.  

As the average age of our population gets older, more and more people are turning  away from ‘professionals’ and are becoming more devoted to those who are logical, but  passionate, about what they’re doing. They want to follow (read) the work of people who  are enthusiastic about what they’re doing.  

In short, don’t get hung up on qualifications. You don’t need them to succeed with  your book. Don’t misunderstand me. They’re nice, but they’re not necessary.  

I’ve spent a lot of time telling you how to get the best topics for your best-selling  non-fiction book. If your interest is also in the area of best-selling fiction, take a look at  Chapter 9. That’s where you’ll find a never-ending stream of fiction ideas and concepts.  

Just remember that the topic you choose for your book is a lot more important than  you might think. Not only does it allow reach the right reader, but it gives you a head  start on…  

Chapter 5  

Creating and establishing your unique  place in your industry 

This single strategy will turn you and your book into a winning combination.  There’s simply no doubt about it. If you’ve got the book on your topic, then you can  bet your clients will be beating a path to your door. If you don’t have the book, then  you’re just the same, no better no worse, than all the other professionals out there making  things happen… or trying to. But if you’ve got the book, then you’re the anointed one.  If you don’t believe me, try it out on yourself. You’ve got to choose between two  professionals to help you-either professionally or personally. One is listed in the yellow  pages, or has an ad in the local paper, or has even been referred to you by a friend. The  second has a book published and available for sale in the local bookstore and you hear  about him or her on a local radio programme.  

Who has more credibility? Who is the person you think will be most capable of  helping you find a solution to your problem? Which one is ‘better’? 

The choice, of course, is purely subjective. And you’d be right if you said such a  decision should be based on their experience, and what successful work they’ve done in  the past.  

But that’s not how most of the population works. That’s not how you think… if I  caught you in an unguarded moment. You’d pick the person who has the most credibility  and, in our society, fame is easily converted to credibility.  

If you realize that, you can easily use it to your advantage. If you’ve written the book  on your subject, you have an instant package of credibility that few of your competitors  will be able to beat.  

In our society, the person who has written the book has an instant advantage over the  competitors who have not. If they’ve written the book, they MUST know more about the  topic than others. That’s because an impartial, authoritative source (the publisher) has  chosen this author as being the best person to write this book. If people can’t make up  their own mind, they’ll bow to the authority of an independent who is judged capable of  deciding.  

This whole process is hysterical when you think about it, because you could very well  be your own publisher. That doesn’t seem to matter to your prospective clients, however.  A publisher has chosen you as the most suited to write this book on this topic.  

So, taking a short cut to decision making, your prospective clients will save  themselves a lot of time simply by going along with the decision already made by your  publisher (you, in some cases).  

And even if your book is traditionally published, a publisher rarely seeks out the best  and most skilled professional to produce the book on the topic. They get a competent  person who can do the job… that’s it.  

That’s why a book can be absolutely instrumental to your success as a professional. If  you’ve written the book, then you’ve got all the credibility, fame and references you  could ever need to take your career to the heights of success.  

I often wonder what would happen if a person in any field of endeavor (preferably in  a large company) started writing and published books on his field. Then sent copies of his  books to all those in the company above him. It wouldn’t be long before he would  quickly be rising through the ranks, surpassing anyone at or above his level.  

And this leads me to my next point… the content of your book (sadly) is largely  irrelevant to your level of success. I can’t tell you how often I’ve encountered successful  entrepreneurs, or authors, who owe their success in no small way to the books they’ve  written. I can’t tell you the number of authors whose success can be attributed ONLY to  the books they’ve written, because they’ve got nothing else to sell. Yet, when I read their  books, I find them not only lacking in content, but even lacking in readability. Some are  nothing more than glorified workbooks, with more lines to be filled in by the reader, than  actual text to be read and ideas to be implemented.  

This will sound like heresy to you, and, frankly, I wish it was otherwise, but content  in your book is largely irrelevant to your success. It’s enough that you’ve written the  book, and presented it in published form.  

One of my students will frankly tell anyone listening that the book he has written is  responsible for more than six figures of his annual income.  

When a potential client calls him and asks him what he does, or can do, instead of  getting into a long list of benefits, this author casually states, “Instead of me telling you 

everything I can do for you, why don’t I just send you a copy of ‘my book.’ If you like  what’s in there, you’ll like me because that’s what I’m all about.”  

The book goes out and my student gets a new client. Does the client ever read my  student’s book in its entirety? I sincerely doubt it. I’ve read his book from cover to cover.  There’s nothing even remotely earth shattering, innovative, or even new. It’s the same  old stuff you’ve already heard a thousand times before.  

But because it’s now in book form, it has a huge amount of credibility for the reader.  I imagine the recipient gets the book, is impressed by the fact that this guy actually  does have a book, takes a look at the price in the upper right hand corner, reads all the  glowing endorsements written by my student’s friends, and decides that if my student has  written a published book, it must be good, and so, too, must the author.  That’s not right, and in a perfect world it wouldn’t be the case. It’s not a perfect  world, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t take advantage of this opportunity.  Of course, I hope the content of your non-fiction work is absolutely outstanding …  but, sadly, I’ve found that it’s not necessary at all.  

Create the revolution:  

for yourself and your book  

Okay, here’s the first step for creating the ultimate book in your industry. First,  realize that no matter how mundane your topic, no matter how many other books on the  same topic are out there, there’s no reason why your book can’t be the definitive book on  the subject, the book everyone else refers to as the ‘bible’ on the topic.  

And, that’s what you should be trying to achieve. You don’t want yet another book  on the topic. You want to create the ultimate book on the topic. After you’ve created this  book, it will be some time before any other professional even thinks about writing a  similar book, or any book, on this topic.  

And I don’t care how many other books are out there on your topic; you must create  the ultimate book on the topic. So if you’re ready to write a book on time management,  or sales strategies (both of which have never been touched on before, right?) or  something unique, you’ll be writing the best book possible.  

First, get hold of the top five or ten books on your subject.  

Unless your subject is a computer technology you’ve created yourself, or that just  came out a few hours ago, chances are there are at least five books on bookstore shelves,  profiling your topic.  

As I said, get hold of the top five sellers in your category.  

Read them.  

There are chapters that will be common to all of them. They will be very repetitions  as you read each book. Each one has a chapter on this, or each one has a chapter on that.  But they all have those basic, core chapters.  

Guess what? You should have those basic core chapters in your book as well. And  include the same information. You want to be able to say to anyone who picks up your  book that it is at least as good as everything else that’s out there. The best way of doing  that is to ensure you’ve covered the same ground other books have covered.  

Now, if you’ve got some original insights into these basic topics, by all means, make  sure you include that insight in these chapters. If your revolutionary insights are ONLY 

in these areas, then you might want to wait until you arrive at a chapter where you can  highlight your innovations and give them the full spotlight.  

In any case, make sure you can justifiably say your book is at least as good as all the  other books out there, because you’ve duplicated the information that’s available in these  books.  

Now some insight into non-fiction books. We buy non-fiction books for one reason  and for one reason only. We want to find the solution to a particular problem. We don’t  want to know everything about a particular subject, we just want to know the answer the  to the question that’s bugging us.  

When computer manuals first thumped onto the stage, their biggest problem was-and  remains-their size. No one wanted to pay for, let alone read, all that information when all  they really wanted was to simply make a graph, or use their computer modem.  

Behold the popularity of the ‘idiot’ books and the ‘dummy’ books. These are books  that offer the reader a very basic answer to a very basic question. Well, not too basic.  After all, you’ve got to fill about 200 pages to make people see value in the book.  

People will buy 200 pages because they want a thorough answer to a specific  problem.  

When you write your non-fiction book, you’ll be giving people the answer to a very  specific question.  

Interestingly enough, everyone already knows the answer to this question. At least,  all your peers know the answer to this question. If you’re a lawyer, you and all of your  peers know how to make a bullet-proof will, or a great employee contract, or how to set  up a trust, and so on. The answer is obvious to just about everyone who’s involved in the  business.  

But it’s even more basic than that. No matter what you want to do in life, there is a  basic answer about how you can do it effectively. The variety-and the reason a book  becomes a best seller-is the way the information is packaged.  

I’ll give you another example. Everyone knows that if you want to lose weight,  there’s only one way to do it. You must exercise more and eat less. And I don’t care how  many times Richard Simons dances across the stage and shoves little cards into pictured  slots, or how bombastic Susan Powter gets, the message is always the same. Eat less and  exercise more. Everyone knows that. It’s the presentation of that information that makes  the difference.  

If you want to be an expert on time management, the problem is how do I become  more productive with the time I have in the day. Answer: work only on those things that  yield the biggest benefit. It doesn’t matter what system you use, or what other strategies  you incorporate. If you work only on those items that give you the most results, then your  productivity will soar.  

It’s sad, really, when you boil it down to that level. But I’ve found this to be the case  no matter what kind of non-fiction book you’re writing, or planning to write. The  question is ubiquitous. The solution is obvious. It’s how you present the solution that  makes the book a best seller.  

Creating your own ‘technology’  

Okay, let’s create your own technology. This is a feat most people think is reserved  only for the geniuses in our midst. Nice to have you aboard, fellow genius. If people ask 

you how you developed your own special technology, make sure you tell them it just  came to you in a flash of genius.  

When I say technology, I mean a specific set of instructions, or steps that will bring  your reader the results they’re looking for, easily and quickly. Preferably without any  effort at all.  

If you’ve ever browsed the non-fiction books in your local bookstore, you’ll see there  are quite a few technologies out there. Stuff like NLP or SPIN selling and the like.  Here’s how we create your own technology.  

What’s the problem in your business that every one wants solved? You’ve heard it a  million times. It’s the question you hear over and over again. As soon as someone hears  that you’re involved with X technology or industry, they want to know how they can, Y.  

This is the question your book will answer. This is also the question your technology  will deal with. Knowing this question is fundamental to your developing a new  technology that will revolutionize your industry.  

Now, to make this example come to life for you, I guess I should use an actual  example. The problem of me doing this is that you’ll say, sure, the example works in the  case I cite, but it’s different for you. Your business is completely different. Yeah, right.  

I don’t care what business you’re in; there is a recurrent question. It keeps coming up  again, and again. If you’re a trainer, the question is how can I get the most value for my  training dollar… or something similar. That’s the one we’ll use for our example.  

Keep that question in your head. Next, we have to come up with a clean four or five letter word. It really doesn’t matter what the word is, but the whole process works better  if it’s a decidedly forceful or aggressive word. Something like Power, or Energy, or  Smart, or Laser. It could be ‘plate’ or ‘chair,’ I really don’t care what it is. You just want  the word to be memorable and-if at all possible-have something to do with your topic.  

I’ve found that the word ‘shoe,’ or ‘nose’ (or any body part for that matter) is simply  too funny and can’t be used with a straight face. For our purposes, we’re going to use the  world CHALK.  

Remember, it could be any word. The word itself doesn’t matter.  

Behold, this is the CHALK strategy for getting maximum value from your training  dollar. It’s an acronym. The “C” stands for… come on, there are no right or wrong  answers here. We want to maximize the use of a training dollar, so naturally the C will  stand for… um, er, how about “content” Remember, There are no right or wrong  answers. I could just as easily have said class size, or calendar, or cash budget. It doesn’t  matter.  

The “H” stands for Heart, or History-your choice. “A” stands for advantages, (or  appropriateness, or anything else you want). The “L” stands for longevity. And the K  stands for Konsistency (so sue me!)  

Okay, here’s Manning’s CHALK strategy for training value.  

C content  

H history  

A advantages  

L longevity  

K konsistency  

Using these elements any one of your clients can maximize the value their get for  every one of their training dollars. 

You could use a chapter or two focusing on this technology or a chapter for each of  the letters in the acronym. You could develop several technologies and spend a chapter  on each one of them.  

Now here’s the amazing part. Does any other trainer have the CHALK strategy for  maximizing training value? Of course not! We just invented it. Does any other trainer  have anything even remotely like this? Of course not. Does any other trainer even have a  technology of any kind that can be used when selling to a prospective client? Well,  maybe two or three… and those are the trainers making the big bucks.  

But now you have more than a technology… you’re the “founder” of your new  technology. You’re the trainer who has developed this technology. You’re so far  advanced from other trainers in your field that you’ve left them far in the dust. While  they’re trying to do the same thing everyone else is doing, you’re advancing the CHALK  strategy for maximizing training value.  

What does this sort of thing do for you in the eyes of your clients? You must be  joking! Okay, for the two or three professionals who really can’t see the obvious, let me  walk you through the scenario.  

You call a prospective client (or better yet, they call you) and they ask you why  you’re different. What separates you from every other trainer who’s out there? Why  should they choose you instead of anyone else?  

Your response?  

“Well, Mr. Jones, I’m the founder of the CHALK strategy for maximizing training  value. You may have read about this technology in industry magazines. I’ve created a  strategy no other trainer has that literally guarantees you will maximize the training value  of every dollar you spend. No other trainer offers this technology to your staff.”  

Does this differentiate you from everyone else who’s out there? You bet it does. It’s  the kind of stuff that every literary agent is looking for (they want to know what’s  different, not another book about the same old stuff). It’s the kind of stuff that will give  you an instant win with the publisher. They’re also looking for the next new item to come  along.  

And it will give you the lead every time you talk to a potential client. They’ll want to  know exactly what you’ve got and how they can get hold of it.  

Now, here’s one more strategy before we leave the wonderful world of non-fiction.  You’ve got to sell your non-fiction book right from the start. As soon as your potential  reader picks up the book, they should be intrigued by what you’re offering. We’ll talk  about the actual cover of your book later on, but I want you to know that your table of  contents can be instrumental in selling your book to the man or woman who picks it off  the shelf and starts to thumb through it.  

Don’t create a table of contents that tells the reader Chapter X is followed by Chapter  XI. Tell them what is in Chapter X. What fascinating facts they’re going to learn. And  why they’d be out of their mind to let this book slip through their fingers. I’ll give you an  example right now.  

Chapter 1  

Why a trainer is essential for the success of your operation. When to use an outside  trainer instead of an in-house trainer. What to expect from a trainer and how to know if  you’re getting your money’s worth. What should the training contract say and what  should you definitely avoid saying in this contract. And much, much more! 

The objective of the TofC is to get the reader so intrigued that they simply must get  the book to have all the wonderful stuff you’re going to provide. It’s what I call salt and  you’ll learn more about it when we get to chapter 10.  

Your TofC is actually a very effective marketing tool and you spend a ton of time  preparing it. The publisher or agent won’t want to read your whole manuscript to find out  what’s in it. They’ll just look at your TofC. So it’s actually a sales piece for your book-to  both the publisher or agent, and the book buyer.  

Chapter 6  

Mastering the strategy for writing your  book in just 14 days or less  

Here are all the details you’ll need to make it happen  faster than you ever thought possible…  

Before we get started, there’s something you really should know. It is the very basis  of speedwriting and it’s a concept that all my audience members, no matter what their  age, or their background, always fight me on…  

They don’t believe you can actually write a book in 14 days. They don’t believe it’s  true. They don’t believe it applies to them and they don’t believe it will result in  unbelievable productivity.  

I’ll prove it to you in a very few minutes, but I want you to know that if you don’t  believe what I’m saying… well, you’re just normal. And if you continue to disbelieve,  then you’ll remain normal. By that I mean you’ll remain an unpublished author. But if  you will just suspend disbelief for a few minutes. If you’ll read this chapter, and the next  few, and simply take my information on faith… until you can actually put it into practice  and see the results for yourself… then you’ll harvest a wealth of benefits that will help  you in your writing from his day forward.  

The concept I want to introduce you to is the very basis, the foundation, of  speedwriting. And it came to me as I was reading an article by one of my seminar  attendees Robert W. Bly. He was going over an interview with one of the most prolific  writers of our time, Isaac Asimov. Asimov was asked why, what was the reason, he was  so incredibly prolific.  

In a glib, off the cuff, response that seemed to go over the heads of all who read the  piece, Asimov replied that he believed he was prolific because he had a simple and  straightforward style.  

So powerful was this comment that I wrote it down and thought about it constantly  for several days. Finally, like an epiphany, I realized the truth only partially revealed by  Asimov’s comments.  

He was not prolific because he had a simple and straightforward style, nor did he  have a straightforward style because he was prolific-as I later believed. The truth was that  speedwriting and a simple and straightforward style were inextricably linked. One was  both the cause and the effect of the other. 

Asimov was prolific because he had a simple and straightforward style, but he could  have a simple and straightforward style only because he was prolific! Each depended on  the other.  

Said another way; here is the truth about speedwriting. The faster you write the more  simple and straightforward will be your style. It has to be. Style becomes convoluted,  unintelligible, and muddied, only when we start spending time thinking about what we  want to write, how we want to say it and what we want the reader to feel when he or she  reads our words.  

If we write very very quickly, we will always write exactly the way we talk. I want to  say that again, because it is so very important. If we write very, very quickly, we will  always write exactly the way we talk. When we talk to someone, we rarely, if ever, use  extraneous words. The idea of what we’re saying almost always comes through and is  understood by the listener.  

The faster we write, the better we write. If we become prolific writers, our writing  will also be very, very good. If your writing isn’t all you want it to be right now, you  should be writing faster and faster. Once you reach the point of writing at the same pace  as you talk (now possible with computer technology) you’re writing incredibly well, and  you are also prolific!  

 The faster you write, the better you write, because your writing will read as if  you’re talking directly to the reader, and that’s the most powerful writing style of all.  Most people are incredibly reluctant to embrace this concept. The idea that the faster  you write, the better you write, is totally foreign to their way of thinking. It’s foreign to  the way they’ve been taught, foreign to the articles they’ve read in writing magazines.  Good writing is the product of countless hours of writing and re-writing… so the  theory goes. Well, if that’s what you want to believe, then go ahead. I can’t stop you. But  I can tell you it’s simply not the case. Good writing is the product of writing the way you  talk. And writing the way you talk is the product of writing quickly. When it comes to  writing, quality and quantity go hand in hand. If you want to increase the former, you  must increase the latter.  

This idea is true in many areas of life. Think of someone you know who does  something very, very well. I’m willing to bet money they also do that task very quickly.  The better you do something, the faster you do it. And the faster you do it, the better you  do it.  

There are many who will say good writers are fast because they ‘know how it’s  done.’ If you know how something is done, you don’t have to think about how to do it.  All your time is devoted to creating, rather than the ‘process.’  

You can’t make a pie quickly until you have the recipe. Once you’ve learned that,  then, yes, you can do it quickly, and you’ll do it well.  

Surprise, you already know how to write well. There’s no skill involved. You’ve  simply got to write the way you talk. You already know how to talk. If it makes you feel  any better, you’ve already spent years learning how to talk, and how to communicate  with another person. You learned all that when you were quite young. You’ve spent years  perfecting it.  

The work is done. It’s the speed you’ve been lacking. You already have the required  skill.  

Now let’s get into the details of really producing fast copy for your book. 

How a ‘?’ can actually double your writing speed and turn you into a writer who’s  on ‘automatic pilot’  

If I ask you to talk about something, anything, no matter how much you liked the  topic, you’d be pretty hard pressed to make it happen. You’d have to stop for a few  seconds and think about what you wanted to say, what you wanted to leave out, and what  you wanted to say first, second, and so on.  

That’s if you can think of anything to say at all. If I asked you to write about the chair  you’re now sitting in, well, if you were really good, you might be able to go for a few  sentences, and then you’d be completely lost about what to say next.  

That’s normal. Unfortunately, that’s exactly the way most of us write. And we meet  with immense frustration as a result.  

But there’s a solution. It’s a solution so powerful, most people are amazed at both the  simplicity and the results.  

When you create your book outline (and I’ll be showing you exactly how to do that in  the next chapter), and later on your blueprint, you’ll be writing in response to questions,  because it is infinitely easier to write in response to questions than in response to  statements.  

You would be all tuckered out after just about three sentences if I asked you to write  about the chair in which you now sit.  

Instead, here’s the question: why does the chair you’re sitting in have a great design  for the work you’re now doing?  

Now you can write, and you can write for at least two-thirds of a page. We can  always write in response to a specific question. We’re never able to write well in  response to a statement, or a point that we see in our outline.  

This point was driven home to me when I was talking before a group of teachers.  They’re biggest concern was creating remarks for their students’ report cards. Each had  to be different, yet all were starting to look the same. If you sit down to write remarks on  30 report cards, similarities will be glaring.  

I suggested they do this, instead. Prepare three to five questions they would answer  for each student. Same questions for each student. For example, How is Johnny doing  academically, How is Johnny doing socially and How is Johnny doing physically?  

When the teachers would get to Johnny’s report card, all they had to do was close  their eyes and envision the student, then read the first question. As soon as they did, a  fresh comment came immediately to mind.  

The teachers were amazed how much more power their comments had when they  were written in response to a question, rather than a statement.  

From now on, you should never write anything, unless it is in response to a question.  This single rule will supercharge your writing ability. 

The three words that will unleash your writing ability like never before  You’re about to discover a concept so powerful, it will revolutionize the way you  write. Say goodbye to the old and say hello to the new. This is the single most powerful  writing concept you may ever learn. I’ll start out slow and in the next page or so, you’ll  discover the very crux of speedwriting. 

The human mind needs only three words to create a complete story. The three  words vary, but there are always similarities. The three words are meaningful words;  they’re words that have more meaning than simply their definition. They have a  connotation as well as a definition.  

To most people, these words would simply be nouns or verbs. But to the prolific  writer, they are the very engine of speedwriting.  

If you are given three meaningful words, words with a connotation beyond their  simple definition, your mind can create a story instantly.  

I’ll give you some examples. Try to blank your mind as much as possible. I’m going  to give you three special words. And when I do, they will create an image, a scene, a  story in your mind. If I gave you the three words, “coffee, painting, river,” your mind  would instantly give you a story of some sort. You would see an image in your mind.  You’d see someone sipping coffee while they painted by the river, or perhaps someone  spilling coffee on a painting by the river, or someone dropping a painting into a river of  coffee, or a polluted river of paint running through a coffee plantation. The list is,  literally, endless.  

If I gave 200 people those three words, they’d all see different stories taking place in  their own mind. And the more they wrote about the story, the more diverse the stories  would become.  

But the important thing is that would see a story of some kind.  

Not one of them would draw a blank. Not one of them would be given the three  words and then complain the words brought no image, no story idea, to their brain.  And it will happen again and again, over and over, as long as you give your brain  three different words to work with and these words are dynamic words. So forget about  using words like ‘it’ or ‘a’ or ‘the’ or ‘I’  

Three dynamic words will instantly bring a picture into focus in your mind.  To show you just how powerful this strategy is, a teacher friend of mine complained  she was running out of story ideas for her students. She wanted them to write stories, but  they all sounded the same, and she couldn’t come up with a new story idea for each of  them.  

“No problem,” I said. “Tell each of them to take out their dictionary. They must open  the pages randomly and when they get to the first page, they must write down the first  noun or verb they see. Then open the dictionary to another page and, again, write down  the first noun or verb. Finally, open the book to a third page and repeat the process.  

They’ll have three dynamic words. In the student’s mind, each will have a different  story idea. In their minds, each story will be unique. If they follow the instructions of the  upcoming writing-machine exercise, they’ll be producing stories at a phenomenal rate.”  

The simple 5-minute exercise  

that will open all your creative doors  

Here is the writing machine. What you’re about to discover in the next few  paragraphs will, literally, change your writing career. If you use it well, you’ll never have  writer’s block, or suffer from procrastination again.  

The writing machine has been designed and created so that even the most challenging  writing task becomes mere child’s play.  

Ready? Here goes! 

This is going to be a writing exercise. It will last for only five minutes, and after the  five minutes, I expect your life to be completely changed. I ask only two things. You  must take this exercise as seriously as you possible can. And you must obey all the rules.  If you do not, you’ll suffer the same indignity as a young man who attended my seminar  in Dallas.  

I told everyone we were about to have a five-minute writing exercise. This young  man determined for himself that it was time for him to have a ‘smoke break’ got up and  left the room. He came back about six minutes later and couldn’t understand why  everyone was so excited about their writing ability and their writing future.  

This is a problem I run into a lot. As soon as I use the word ‘exercise’ students and  readers see this as the ideal spot to take a break, or to keep on reading without actually  doing the exercise. You’re not going to absorb this information through osmosis. There is  nothing special about the paper you are holding. The information will not be absorbed  through your skin. You must do the actual exercise.  

Most of my students pay a large amount of money for this manual. The majority of  what you have paid is locked in this one exercise. To skip it means you’re just throwing  your money away. DON’T DO IT!!! Participate in this exercise right now!  

I should also tell you that no mater how many times I offer my seminar, I always have  difficulty with those who are either very intelligent, or who think they are very  intelligent.  

The problem, of course, is that those who are intelligent (or under the misguided  impression that they are) will always take any exercise in any seminar as a chance to  express how intelligent they are by NOT doing the exercise, or by purposely screwing up  to show how humorous they are.  

I will tell you again, that if you treat this exercise in a cavalier fashion, you will get  results worthy of a horse’s ass. Treat it seriously, however, and you will be simply  astounded.  

So, if you’re incredibly bright, bear with me for a moment. I, too, have a very high  I.Q. But I know that this exercise is fundamental for your progress through the writing  machine concept.  

Now it’s time to  

prove it to yourself: Ready, set…  

Now, because you’re reading this and not actually experiencing it, I have to trust  you’ll actually do this exercise. I hope you do. If you do, you’ll be simply amazed at the  results. If you decide to simply keep reading, well, that’s okay too. But you won’t be  nearly as impressed with your own ability.  

The basis of writing your book in 14 days or less!  


Great! Get yourself some lined paper and a pen. If you’re at a typewriter, or a  computer screen, so much the better. You can work there. You’re going to do some  writing. Don’t worry. It won’t hurt. You’re going to write for only five minutes. No one  has ever been hospitalized as a result of this exercise. 

Get a timer or use your watch. If you can set it for a five-minute countdown, great. If  not, just take it off your wrist and put in front of you and to one side where you can see.  Remember, five minutes ONLY!  

The exercise is about to begin. But there are some rules that have to be explained to  you. The first rule is that you must obey all the rules. If you don’t you’ll just screw things  up and you won’t get the results you are looking for.  

The next rule is that you must write as fast as you possibly can for five minutes and  five minutes only. The faster you write, the better your writing will be. I know that  sounds somewhat outrageous, but after doing this exercise with hundreds and hundreds of  people-I know it to be the case. The faster you write, the better your writing will be. At  the end of five minutes you MUST STOP!!  

Next rule, you must not think. Difficult for an intelligent person, but I’ll explain.  Whatever comes into your head, that’s what goes down on the paper. Don’t edit the  thought process at all. You’re trying to write a story. That’s the only criteria. You  are writing a story.  

Whatever comes into your head, that’s what goes down on paper. You’re not trying to  put down a bunch of disjointed thoughts. You’re trying to write a story. But don’t let  your mind get in the way. Whatever comes into your head should go directly to your pen  or keyboard. Remember, the faster you write, the better it will be.  

Start With Three Little Words…  

In a moment, I’m going to give you three words. Here’s the next rule. You must start  your writing with one of the three words. So if I gave you ‘smear,’ ‘reputation,’ and  ‘rumor,’ you’d have to start writing with one of those three words. You couldn’t start  with any other word like It…, A…, The…, Once upon a time…, It was a dark and stormy  night… nothing like that. You MUST start writing with one of the three words. This is  essential. Start with ‘the’ or any other word and I will find out where you live and hit you  with a large stick!  

Now, if you want to add an ‘s’ to the word, fine. Want to add an ly? Great! An ‘ing’?  No problem. Add any suffix you want to, just make sure you start your complete sentence  with one of the three words.  

Final rule, the other two words must appear in the first paragraph. Remember, the  faster you write, the better it will be. All set? Great! Here are the three words. As soon as  you see the three words, you must choose one to start with and begin writing  immediately-don’t sit there and ponder. It won’t help and you’ll screw things up! Got  your timer ready and set for five minutes? I’ll wait… As soon as you recognize the three  words, start writing instantly.  

Blue, ship, darkness, rumor, hinges, chairs, Granny, grass, sadly. Now, pick every  third word to get your three words… GO! Write as fast as you can for five minutes and  don’t stop until the five minutes are up!  

Read on only after  

you’re finished the exercise!  

Now, if you did the exercise, you’re probably pretty impressed. Most people write  more than 2/3 of a page in those five minutes. If you didn’t, you can go back and try the 

exercise again later with three different words and you’ll quickly see that 2/3 of a page  isn’t nearly that difficult.  

Now the surprising news. If you want to write your book in 14 days or less-fiction or  non-fiction-and you wrote 2/3 of a page in those five minutes, you’ll have to SLOW  DOWN!!! Yep, at that rate of speed, you can create a non-fiction book in 25 hours of  writing and a 400-page fiction (the largest size manuscript any publisher will allow you  to produce) will take you just 50 hours of writing.  

Now for the really surprising part. Read what you’ve written. Go ahead, I dare you.  It’s good isn’t it? In fact, it’s better than good. It may well be some of the best stuff  you’ve ever written! 

Every time I show this exercise, I ask a volunteer to read what they’ve produced. I  pick someone at random. The results are always astonishing. They relentlessly produce  writing so good, it could be published as it is without any editing required.  

In fact, it’s usually so good I can’t get anyone else to read what they’ve written.  They’re convinced it won’t be nearly as good. And yet, everyone in the audience has  produced writing of equally high calibre!  

Techniques that shocked this expert!  

This one technique is so valuable, it even shocked a very knowledgeable individual  who was siting in my audience just a few months ago.  

While presenting to a room full of lawyers (about 100) I noticed that there was an  individual seated right in the middle of the audience. And he wasn’t a lawyer at all. I  recognized him from his picture that appears on the back of 45+ books he has written. It  was Bob Bly, one of the most prolific non-fiction writers in the U.S.  

I really can’t think of any living author who is more prolific in the non-fiction  publishing arena. And I can’t think of any living writer who knows more about being  prolific than Bob. Yet, afterwards, I got the chance to read his comments on the seminar  evaluation sheet: in fact, he came right up to me and read them!  

“Steve Manning is undoubtedly the world’s expert on writing quality and  writing productivity. I’ve written 45 books up to this point, and I only wish I had  known about his strategies when I started. I’d have even more books to my credit.  It’s a pity that every professional who wants to write a book can’t get hold of this  outstanding information!”  

Why this technique works every single time  

Most people are absolutely amazed when they go through this exercise the first time.  And the wonder doesn’t leave them even after they’ve done if hundreds of times.  Something almost magical happens. But I want to take a more temporal look at the  process and show you the benefits of this kind of exercise.  

To begin with, it is the basis, the very foundation, of the speedwriting machine. But  you’ll see how it is used most effectively in a few moments.  

First, realize that you were writing for five minutes, solid. No hesitation, and no  writer’s block. Interestingly, you may have suffered from writer’s block before, but you  didn’t during that exercise. (If you did, you were thinking about what you were doing…  and that’s not allowed!) 

Next, your writing was “In The Moment.” There was no warm up to saying what you  wanted to say. There weren’t two pages of nothing before you said something significant.  You started the story right away and it was interesting right away.  

That happened because you started your writing with a power word. You didn’t start  with a dull and boring word.  

Anytime a writer calls me and complains that they’ve not said anything worthwhile,  in the many pages they’ve written, I’ll always ask them what word they started writing  with.  

Invariably they’ll wonder what I’m talking about, first, and then after I explain and  repeat the question, “What word did you start writing with?” they’ll almost always  answer, “The”.  

And there, of course, is where the problem lies. If you start with a word like ‘the’  you’ve pretty much shot the first couple of pages. If you start with the word ‘the’ you’ll  never say anything exciting immediately. You’ll ramble on for several paragraphs, or  several dozen, and get nowhere.  

Allow me to let you in on a secret. You are not James Mitchener. You do not have  200 pages to fill before you eventually get to the story. If you’re going to be a published  author, you’ve got to intrigue the agent, the editor, the publisher, right from the very first  line.  

If you start with a word like granny, or tombs, or vacation, you will be in the situation  right away. There will be no warm up to the story. You’re grabbing the reader by the  lapels and throwing them into the situation. And that’s exactly what you want to do. You  don’t want to give the reader any w arm up.  

If you don’t quite know what I mean, go out tonight and rent the movie, “Raiders of  the Lost Ark” That movie starts with a bang and keeps on roaring upwards, like a rocket.  That’s excitement and that’s the stuff your book should have if it’s going to see the light  of a bookstore day.  

There are more than a few benefits to this exercise. There are some decided  advantages to doing this exercise. And if you haven’t done it yet, you should stop reading  this right now, go back and do the exercise. Pick the first, third and fifth word…  

The advantages you’ve probably noticed are several. And each is important. I’ll list  them right now:  

First, you were given clear instructions about writing the piece you’ve just  completed: write as fast as you can, write for five minutes, don’t think, the faster you  write the better it will be, you’re writing a story, not a bunch of disjointed thoughts, start  with one of the three words, the other two must be in the first paragraph.  

 When you have these clear directions, you will NEVER suffer from writer’s  block. Now, if you did suffer from writer’s block, there’s a simple reason… you were  thinking! It’s amazing to see a room full of 100 or 150 people, all busily writing at a  frantic pace. People who, just moments before, had complained that they frequently  suffer from writer’s block. If you simply free your brain to write, there is nothing that can  block it.  

Next, you were given a clear deadline. Five minutes. No more, no less. You write as  fast as you can for five minutes and when the buzzer, beeper, or bell goes off, you stop.  Here’s something you’re probably not aware of. In our society, the closer we get to a  deadline, the more productive we become. If you don’t believe me, invite someone over 

for dinner tonight. As the deadline for their arrival draws near, see how quickly the house  gets picked up and cleaned. This strategy works so well, I’ve even begun using it in my  day to day life. Any time the house looks a mess, I insist that my wife invite her mother  over for dinner that evening. The house then gets cleaned in about two hours. For the  chauvinists out there, I’m the one who cleans it, top to bottom, trophies to toilets.  

The next thing you should realize is actually one of the most important secrets of this  manual. Writing is fun. It’s not nearly as difficult as you might have thought. It’s not  labourious, it’s not even tedious. It’s fun.  

But that’s a secret, and you must promise both yourself and me that you’ll keep it a  secret. Any time someone asks you if writing is difficult, you must tell that that it is  tremendously difficult. As I often say to anyone who asks “think of the most difficult task  you’ve ever encountered or attempted… writing is far more difficult than that.”  

It’s not, of course, but if everyone know how easy it was, then everyone would be  doing it.  

If someone asks you how much time you spent on the book you’ve just published, tell  that you spent years and years writing it. When your next book comes out just 14 days  later, tell them you were working on that book the same time… years and years of effort!  Maintain the myth. It will work better for you.  

Why writer’s block has just become a thing of the past  

Every time I try these exercises in my seminar, everyone who tries them is amazed  not only by the quality of their writing, but, in retrospect, that they had absolutely no  problem writing for five minutes about a topic they were given only seconds before.  

It isn’t until I point it out to them that they noticed no one suffered from writer’s  block. No started writing and then drew a blank.  

As soon as I tell people they’re major objective is simply to write as fast as they can,  they no longer feel encumbered by the quality of their writing. They just write. The  quality takes care of itself.  

Once again, I want to make sure you’re aware of why you become a very powerful  writer when you write quickly. Realize that you already know how to speak well, and  writing well is simply the process of taking your words, and putting them down on paper.  If you know how to talk, you know how to write. Often it’s just a matter of getting out of  your own way.  

You’ve got to write the way you talk if you’re to be understandable to the reader. As  I’ve said so many times, how often have you read a book and found it to be either a great  story, or a great presentation of the idea. When that happens, you say it was as if the  author was talking to you directly. Like they were in the same room and speaking to you  over a cup of coffee.  

How do you write that way? By writing quickly.  

The faster you write, the more likely you are to write the way you talk. You don’t  have the time for those convoluted concepts and $100 words that few people really  understand.  

If you write quickly, you will write the way you talk. If you write the way you talk  you will be far more understandable.  

It’s a delightful circle. The faster you write, the better you write. 

The ultimate speed (according to today’s technology) is to dictate your book. You’ll  be writing at a rate of 14 to 200 words a minute. But for now, let’s assume you’ve got to  do the mechanical work of getting the words down on paper!  

A final warning about this strategy & why you must keep this strategy a secret  The concept you’ve just discovered really is the foundation of speedwriting. There’  isn’t a book, or a long-form piece of writing that can be produced that cannot benefit  from this strategy.  

You’ll now be able to produce virtually any document in just a fraction of the time it  has taken you until now.  

But, please, I ask of you to understand an element of human psychology. In our  society there is a belief that there is a correlation between the length of time it takes to  produce something, and the inherent worth of that thing. The book that is written in 14  days ha a perceived value that is less than the book that has been toiled over for five  years. It’s not true, but that’s the perception.  

So please keep this strategy a secret. Not for my benefit, but your own. If you write a  book in just days and then tell people how little time you spent on it’s writing, you won’t  receive the accolades you’re expecting. You’ll receive derision and contempt. The  perception will be that any book written so quickly can’t be any good. That’s not true, but  that’s the way people think.  

So if people ask you how long it took you to write the book, please tell them that it  took years and years and years. And when your second book comes out just 14 days later,  tell them that you were working on that book at the same time! Yeas and years and years!  

How many words are on a page?  

Remember those people in high school who were constantly asking the teacher how  many words were needed in the essay? They’re still around. Unfortunately, they’ve  grown up but the question remains. I get it at every seminar I present.  

Here’s the answer. There are approximately 320 words on a page. And for their next  question, the answer is ‘a page is a page is a page.’ If you hand write in single spaced on  lined paper, you still get 320 words on the page. Double space it on a computer, 320  words. And if you counted the words on the age of a published book, yep, you guessed it,  about 320 words. A page is a page is a page.  

The only exception is the page you’re now reading. It has about double that number.  There’s a reason for that, or course. I wanted to get as much information on a page as I  could so I could give you exceedingly high value, but keep my production costs down.  Next question…  

How many pages are in a chapter?  

 There has never been a definition given for the perfect chapter-size, but it only takes a  little reasoning to figure out what it should be. After more than a decade of writing and  experimenting and researching in writing, I have come to the conclusion that TEN  PAGES is the perfect user-friendly size for a chapter. We’ll explain why:  

 For one thing, as any newspaper or magazine writer can tell you, a lot can be said in  10 double-spaced, typewritten pages. A WHOLE lot as a matter of fact. Not only that, but  forcing yourself to keep each chapter down to 10 pages also forces you to get to the point 

sooner, instead of allowing yourself the “liberty” of rambling at the expense of your  audience.  

Readers on the run 

 There are some excellent marketable reasons for designing 10-page chapters as well  that you can easily see if you put yourself in the shoes of the typical reader for a moment  while contemplating this insight:  

 The average reader these days has to work 40 or more hours each week for a living,  and therefore most of the reading they have the opportunity to pursue is “on the run.”  They get to read on coffee breaks and lunch breaks, or in those moments between turning  the oven on and having to baste what’s inside it. Most readers these days have to avail  themselves of 15 minutes of reading at a time.  

 Imagine yourself as a reader who has only 15 minutes to read, then imagine picking  up a book only to discover that the next chapter is 47 pages long! What do you think that  reader is going to do?  

 Since nobody likes to put a book down in the middle of a chapter, the chances that a  reader will even start to read such a chapter on a limited schedule are slim to none. A 10- page chapter, on the other hand, is just right for most modern schedules, and consider this  profitable thought: If a reader can read an entire chapter of your book at each sitting,  they’ll get through your book a lot faster… and will therefore need to buy your next book  a lot sooner. Without a doubt, the 10-page chapter is the most perfect user-friendly size  chapter of all.  

 You should also be aware of this little tidbit when it comes to best-selling writing:  The faster any reader reads a book, the more impressed they are with it. They can’t  believe it when they finish in less than two weeks. They may have never done that before  and they become so excited, they start telling their friends. Fortunes are made in the  publishing industry on “word of mouth” advertising.  


 Just in case you’re thinking, “Wow, if a reader will read my book quickly if every  chapter is 10 pages in length, imagine how much faster they’d read it if each chapter  averaged out to be only 3 pages!”  

 The truth is that it would take a reader three times longer to read a book composed of  3-page chapters. The reason is because most readers feel a sense of satisfaction over  every chapter they complete. If they’re used to reading only one chapter at a time, they’ll  place the book down when that chapter is over… regardless of how few pages they read.  After all, who needs to read more than one chapter per sitting!  

 The moral of this story is to design all your chapters to be approximately 10 pages in  length.  

 “How can I design a chapter to be 10 pages?”  

 The simple secret to that technique will be revealed in Process #4. In the mean time, I  want to enlighten you on how to determine HOW MANY 10-PAGE CHAPTERS YOU  SHOULD WRITE. The most successful writers do not play a guessing game when it  comes to the length of their book. They plan it out to be the length they know makes it  most marketable. Unfortunately, most authors write their book not having any idea how 

long the first draft will be when they’re done, and then spend months of tedious agony  trying to edit it down to the right size afterwards.  

 Until the publishing of this book, few writers (other than Jack London) have ever  known that you can write your book to BE THE RIGHT SIZE THE FIRST TIME.   Here’s one of the greatest writing secrets you’re ever going to hear: If you possess the  secret that allows you to crank out chapter after chapter that average out to be 10 pages,  IF YOU KNOW HOW MANY CHAPTERS YOU ARE GOING TO WRITE… YOU  KNOW THE EXACT PAGE-COUNT THAT YOUR FINISHED MANUSCRIPT WILL  BE!  



 “How do I know how many chapters I ought to write?”  

 The answer to that question is what this informative process is mainly about. The  answer entirely depends upon what sort of book you are writing. Many writers are  unaware that most genres have an average page count that their readers are most used to.  Therefore, if you write a story in that genre that is the right number of pages, you stand a  much better chance of being received well by the readers.  

 You also need to be aware of this: Publishers print certain categories of books  “around an average amount of pages” because they know that number sells best. If the  average sized Science Fiction novel was 300 pages in length, what do you supposed your  chances are of selling your first sci-fi manuscript that is 600 pages in length? As you  would have guessed, your odds would not be very good. For that reason, it would  behoove you to be aware of the optimum length of each genre.  

 What are those magical averages that make your manuscript most marketable?”   The following tabulation below shows you at a glance how many average pages are  found in the most popular (and best selling genres:  

 AV. Pages Chapters 

GREAT NOVEL = 400 Pgs = 40 Chptrs  

ROMANCE = 350 ” = 35 ”  

FANTASY = 350 ” = 35 ”  

HORROR = 350 ” = 35 ”  

SCIENCE FICTION = 300 ” = 30 ”  

DETECTIVE/MYSTERY = 280 ” = 28 ”  

ACTION/ ADVENTURE = 280 ” = 28 ”  

PULP ROMANCE = 240 ” = 24 ”  

WESTERN = 200 ” = 20 ”  

HOW-TO BOOK = 200 ” = 20 ”  

TEEN NOVEL = 200 ” = 20 ”  

AGE 9-12 AUDIENCE = 150 ” = 15 ”  

HOLLYWOOD SCRIPT = 120 ” = 12 ”  

CHILDREN’S BOOK = 100 ” = 10 ”  

 NOTE: Although I have listed “Pulp Romance Novels” (paperback romance novels)  to average at 240 pages in length, Harlequin Romance novels require a nearly exact page  count of 220.  

 “Why is there no average page size listed for autobiographies or biographies?” 

 In reviewing autobiographies and biographies, the number of pages varied so  radically that there was no true thing as an average. Why? Because there’s no such thing  as an “average” life. The more interesting things a person does, the longer their  autobiography or biography will be.  

Chapter 7  

The five steps to blueprinting your book,  start to finish, in a matter of hours The key to knowing what will be on every page of your  book… before you even begin!!  

I get into this conversation a lot with many of my friends and students. But the truth  has born itself out for me countless times. You must know what’s going to be on every  page of your book before you write even the first word!  

True, there are many authors who will tell you they just sat down and wrote their  book. The material just came out of their brains and onto the paper or the computer  screen. I’m not going to argue with them, but I don’t think they’re telling the whole truth.  

There are those authors who will tell you the book just wrote itself. If that were really  the case, then what these folks should do is simply put a ream of paper on the kitchen  table, with a couple of pens, and then go on vacation for a couple of weeks. When they  return, no only will the elves have made new shoes for them and the members of their  family, but the manuscript will also have been written.  

There are others who will say that the characters wrote the book. They took over the  whole process of writing. Frankly, I think these people have bigger problems than I can  help them with.  

The fact is, you’re going to have to write every single word that is your book. You’re  going to have to make it happen. And if you don’t then no one else will.  I should amend that last statement and say that ‘in most cases’ no one else will. The  recent surge in popularity for ‘chicken soup’ books and books of that genre, proves you  can get other people to write your book for you, while you dance all the way to the bank.  Nevertheless, in most cases, you will be the person who writes your book.  

Before you start, you’ve got to have one interesting thing to say for every  chapter!  

It’s not mandatory… but it helps. I want you to write a book that is simply  crackerjack full of quality, content and effort. I want people to hold your book up high as  an example of true writing genius and content capacity.  

So, you owe it to yourself, and to your readers, to put something significant into  every chapter.  

Many of my students will tell me that they can think of only three or four things to  put in their entire book. Only three or four significant ideas… That’s not a book, that’s a  magazine article. 

Others will tell me they simply can’t think of ANYTHING to put in their book. They  can’t come up with anything significant that would interest the readers. That’s a  newspaper article! And you should know the difference between the different types of  writing before you start.  

Nevertheless, let us push onwards…  

Knowing the order of the chapters  

I’m assuming right now that if you have an idea for a work of fiction, you also have a  good idea of how the chapters will flow. You know what the story will be, so you know  what will be the main theme of each chapter. If you have no idea of what the story will  look like, don’t worry, I’ll take care of that for you in a coming chapter.  

Similarly, if you’re writing a non-fiction book, you also know the kind of information  you want to present, and in what order. That means you already know how you want to  present the information in chapter form.  

And, because I’m an equal opportunity writer, if you have an idea for a non-fiction  book but you don’t know what to write, that will be covered in an upcoming chapter as  well. My objective is to leave no stone unturned, no problem unsolved, to ensure you  succeed!  

Why we have to start with an outline, and why an outline will not help you!  Remember Miss Mavis, your grade 8 English teacher? Seems we all had her for  English. Lovely lady. She’s retired now. Seems the chalk dust got to her. When you were  in her class, she told you that before you write anything substantial, you really should  write an outline, so you know exactly where you’re going and how to get there.  Sounded logical to you at the time. So you did it. Did the technique help you in high  school? Not really. Did it help you in business? Again, not really. And if you’ve tried to  write a book by starting with an outline before you began writing, did you get very far?  Not really!  

In fact, about the only thing you can say after you’ve produced an outline for a book  is that, well, you’ve produced an outline for your book!  

So what do you do now? Well, you could write another outline, but that sort of  defeats the purpose, doesn’t it.  

That’s why I’m convinced that in order to write your book, you’ve got to blueprint  the entire book, from start to finish.  

You must know what happens on every page of your book, before you even begin to  think about writing it. On each page, without doubt, you know what will take place, what  plot developments will unfold, what piece of information will be divulged, what message  will be conveyed.  

At this point in my seminar, someone usually jumps up and accuses me of limiting  their creative ability. Nothing could be further from the truth. My objective is not to limit  your creativity-my objective is to eliminate the obstacles you find in your writing every  day!  

Okay, so let’s get started with the blueprinting process for your book.  First, the bad news-the blueprinting process starts with, an outline. I’m sorry, I know  I said some fairly derogatory things about the outline a few paragraphs ago, but the  outline is the place from which we must start and, if it’s any consolation, we’ll be done 

with it fairly quickly. And it will be instrumental to the overall success of our book  writing.  

The purpose of an outline  

The most important reason for an outline is to ensure that you follow the guidelines a  publisher requires.  

And almost as important is to ensure that you include all the information you want to  include in your book.  

You don’t want to be writing your book only to realize when you’re almost finished  that you’ve left out an important element. Nor do you want to be nearly half way through  and half to determine if you’ve covered an important point.  

An outline will tell you exactly what you’re going to cover and in which chapter.  Perhaps most important of all, the outline will save you literally months, if not longer,  on the writing of your book.  

The time you spend on your outline will be paid back to you in spades. No more  wondering what you want to write about, no more pondering if the plot should take a  twist now. It’s all laid out before you in black and white.  

The precise size of your book, and why you’ll pay dearly if you violate this rule  In the last chapter, I told you exactly how many chapters would be in your book.  After we’ve discovered this blueprinting method, I’ll tell you exactly which chapters  should be put in your book and which chapters are irrelevant.  

At this point I’m assuming you already have a great idea for a book, fiction or non  fiction, and you know what information or plot twists will be in each chapter.  If you don’t have that information, as I said, don’t worry, just stay tuned.  I’ve told you how many chapters are in a particular kind of book. No, you don’t have  to stick to those numbers if you don’t want to but I strongly suggest that you do.  I’ve had students tell me everything from “My book MUST be twice as long as you  suggest,” to “My book is different because it doesn’t HAVE any chapters.”  Okay, okay, your book is completely different from every book that’s ever been  written and you think that’s what makes it unique and different from everything that’s  ever been published.  

Newsflash. What makes your book new and different has nothing to do with the  format or the size of the chapters or the length of the book. What makes your book new  and different is the content of the book. The publisher has no interest in publishing  something that’s never appeared before. The publisher, if each had his or her own way,  would just as soon publish all of last year’s successful books all over again.  

So please, please, please. For the sake of your own sanity, write your first book with  the guidelines I’ve given you in mind. The second or third book you write can give rise to  your innovative ideas and creative abilities. But for now, my major concern is getting  your published and that means you have to do everything possible to make it happen.  

The battle is not always to the strong, nor the race to the swift… but that’s the way to  bet!  

The Chapter Outline 

 The following information I give you will be the information you need to create your  own chapter outline. Please realize that you’ll have to repeat this process for each chapter  you intend to write.  

The entire blueprinting process should be completed before you write the first word  of your book. I know you’re anxious to get started, but believe me when I say that your  success will have a lot better chance of occurring if you create the entire book blueprint  first.  

Remember, this is the information for creating one chapter outline. You’ll have to do  it for all the chapters you want to create.  

Step 1  

List the numbers, consecutively, from 1 to 18 down the side of your page. If you’re  working with a computer, do exactly the same.  

On each of those 18 lines list the thing (that’s the technical term) that you want to  convey to the reader of your book. The thing could be an idea, a concept, a plot  development, a piece of dialogue. But just put down a single word that will symbolize the  one thing you want to convey to the reader.  

Do this for all 18 lines. That means that for this particular chapter (and for any  particular chapter) you’ll have 18 things you want to talk about or tell the reader.  

I can think of more than 18  

Many of my students will tell me that they can think of far more than 18 things they  want to say to the reader about that single chapter.  

That’s nice. I don’t really care. All I want you to do is put down 18.  When someone tells me that they can think of 36 things they want to put in that  chapter, I’ll tell them that what they really have is two chapters! If you have more than 18  things you want to put into this chapter, then you’ll have to take the excess and put it into  another chapter. Remember, just 18 items.  

But I can’t think of 18  

That’s the lament I’m more likely to hear from my students. “I can’t think of 18. I can  think of only six or 12 or eight… but not 18.”  

Okay, here’s how you do it. It’s really so easy, it’s almost laughable.  First of all, I want to introduce you to a concept called the journalist’s 6 Ws. Here  they are:  

Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. 

For those readers who don’t believe that How begins with a W write it down on a  piece of paper, hold it up to a mirror and you’ll find it starts with a W every time.  Let’s suppose that you have 12 things you want to talk about in a particular chapter.  You’re short six. That’s how many you need to make up the 18 required for this chapter.  So ask yourself one who question, one what question, one where question, one when  question one why question and one how question (or several of one or more of those  variations  

If you’ve got only six items of the required 18, then ask yourself two who questions,  two what questions, etc. Or several of any of the variations. Four what’s, six who’s, and  so on until you’ve got the required 18.  

An Example

If you know exactly what we’re talking about, then you can skip down to the next  section. But usually alt this point there’s a request from an audience member to give an  example.  

So let’s do just that.  

You’re writing a book called Jack and the Bean stock. I’m not being childish; I just  want to use an example that will be familiar to the largest number of people  Most people know the story of jack and the Beanstalk.  

In this chapter, we’ll call it chapter six for the sake of convenience, Jack meets the  chicken (hen, duck, goose, whatever) that lays golden eggs for the giant.  You’ve already thought of 12 things you want to mention in this chapter-clever  person that you are-but you need another six.  

Simple, use the journalist’s six W’s.  

Who is responsible for the chicken being where it is now?  

What is it about the chicken that makes it so special?  

When does the chicken lay gold eggs?  

Where does the chicken lay these eggs?  

Why does the chicken lay these eggs?  

How can Jack help the chicken free itself of this slavery?  

You see, it’s easy. Given a few minutes and the inclination, I could easily come up  with 50 or more items that could be included in this chapter.  

But you need only 18.  

Subtract three!  

Got 18 for the chapter? Great! Now go back and take a look at the 18 you have. Find  the three that you think are least interesting. The three that really don’t add anything to  the chapter. The three that you think your reader really could do without.  

They’ll be easy to spot. They’re usually the ones you felt forced to include because I  said you had to come up with 18 items.  

Once you’ve isolated those three, simply remove them from the 18 of the chapter.  Sounds like heresy, doesn’t it. You’ve worked so hard to get those 18 and now I’m  telling you to get rid of three. Don’t worry, your writing will be much tighter because of  it.  

Eighteen take away three is, well, it’s not calculus, but I think you’ve got the answer  already, don’t you. That’s right, it’s 15! You’ve got 15 items you’re going to write about  in this chapter. A little later in the book, I’ll explain to you why you need only 15. For  now, take my word for it.  

The most important ingredient! 

Now, this next step is probably the most important step in the whole process. If you  have any trouble writing your book, it’s probably because you’ve failed to take this step  seriously. Every time a student of mine has trouble with the actual writing of their book,  or trouble with how the finished manuscript reads, it can almost always be traced back to  this one element.  

Here’s the instruction.  

Take the 15 elements of this chapter and put them in the best order for you and the  reader. Put them in the order in which you want to present them to the reader.  First this, then this, then that, then that. 

It could be smallest to biggest, regional to international, chronologically (particularly  for fiction), or any other way you want. But if you were the reader, this would be the  order that would benefit you the most.  

Sounds remarkably simple doesn’t it. It is. The only trouble is that most writers  assume that they’ve already got the 15 in the right order. That may be the case, but it’s  worth taking a second look… even a third.  

Here are two examples  

of exactly what I mean  

Thought I’d just leave you stranded with a theoretical explanation of the process  didn’t you. Not a chance.  

Not only am I going to show you exactly what I mean, I’m going to show you how  it’s done with both fiction and non fiction.  

First, the fiction book. Back to Jack and the Beanstalk and the hen that lays the  golden eggs. That’s chapter six, by the way.  

I’ll do the chapter outline for this chapter and go through each process.  First, I’ve got to get 18 items to tell the reader about.  

Description of the room  

Why the hen lays golden eggs  

The hen’s appearance  

Jack sees a gold egg on the nest  

Giant has kidnapped the hen  

The hen’s feelings  

Important information from the hen  

Harsh living conditions for the hen  

The hen dreams of freedom  

Jack could use the gold from these eggs  

Jack is as selfish as the giant  

Jack gets to the hen’s room  

The giant is heard  

The giant’s schedule  

Then hen wants to accompany jack  

Jack narrowly escapes under a door  

The giant’s wife is kind to the hen  

Jack thinks about how he mistreated his own animals  

Okay, let’s not waste any time. Let’s get rid of three and be left with just 15. Please  realize that the three you decide to eliminate will probably be different from my choice.  That’s okay. That’s the nature of writing. There are no wrong or right answers.  

Description of the room  

Why the hen lays golden eggs  

The hen’s appearance  

Jack sees a gold egg on the nest  

Giant has kidnapped the hen  

The hen’s feelings 

Important information from the hen  

Harsh living conditions for the hen  

The hen dreams of freedom  

Jack could use the gold from these eggs  

Jack gets to the hen’s room  

The giant’s schedule  

Then hen wants to accompany jack  

Jack narrowly escapes under a door  

The giant’s wife is kind to the hen  

As I said, the 15 will probably not be the 15 that you would choose.  Now let’s put them in the right order for the book:  

Jack gets to the hen’s room  

Description of the room  

The hen’s appearance  

Jack sees a gold egg on the nest  

Why the hen lays golden eggs  

Giant has kidnapped the hen  

The hen’s feelings  

The giant’s wife is kind to the hen  

Important information from the hen  

Jack could use the gold from these eggs  

Harsh living conditions for the hen  

The hen dreams of freedom  

The giant’s schedule  

Then hen wants to accompany jack  

Jack narrowly escapes under a door  

It to me just a few minutes to create the outline for that chapter. It should take you  about the same time. You can see that there isn’t a lot of mental gymnastics that goes into  the process.  

“But,” I can practically hear someone shouting. “That might be well and good for  fiction, but non-fiction is an entirely different thing! Can you give me an example for  non-fiction?  

Of course. And it’s just as easy. To be frank, every time I hear someone say that they  can see how it can be done for fiction but not for non-fiction, I try to get that person to sit  beside a mirror image. Someone who sees how it can be done for non-fiction but not for  fiction.  

Believe me, it works no mater what kind of book you want to write. Here’s the non fiction example.  

This non-fiction is all about time management. Unique, don’t you think? This chapter  (chapter six, by the way) is all about time management and meetings. Ready? Here goes.  Agenda  

Necessary participants only  

Precise start time  

Participant expectations 

Dealing with non-participants  

Staying on track  

Avoiding the tangent  

Minute taking  

Follow-up meetings  

Concrete follow up results  

Tapes for non-participants  

Creating entrances and exits  

Establishing the rules  

Best time for meeting scheduling  

How to avoid meetings  

Why meetings take so much time  

Why meetings are so counterproductive  

The mini-meeting alternative  

And, just as we did for the fiction book, the next step is to find the three items that are  least important. Again, your choice will be different from mine.  


Necessary participants only  

Precise start time  

Participant expectations  

Staying on track  

Minute taking  

Concrete follow up results  

Tapes for non-participants  

Creating entrances and exits  

Establishing the rules  

Best time for meeting scheduling  

How to avoid meetings  

Why meetings take so much time  

Why meetings are so counterproductive  

The mini-meeting alternative  

I’m actually pretty impressed with my selection. But now let’s get even more serious  and put the 15 in the best order.  

Why meetings take so much time  

Why meetings are so counterproductive  


Minute taking  

Necessary participants only  

Tapes for non-participants  

Creating entrances and exits  

Precise start time  

Establishing the rules  

Participant expectations  

Staying on track 

Concrete follow up results  

Best time for meeting scheduling  

How to avoid meetings  

The mini-meeting alternative  

Now for the book!  

You’ve created an outstanding chapter outline. Well done! Now the task ahead of you  is pretty clear. Create a similarly effective chapter outline for each and every chapter in  your book.  

When you’ve done that, you’ll have a complete book outline. And a sense of real  accomplishment. Unlike other times when you’ve produced a book outline, you’re well  on your way to producing your book faster than you ever thought possible.  

How long should the creation of a book blue print take you? Frankly, it doesn’t really  matter. The faster you do it, the better. But even if it takes you longer than you expected,  you’re still far ahead of the game. While those other authors are still wondering what  they’re going to write about, you’re well on your way!  

Now we’re going to move to the next step. We’re going to take you from book  outline, to book blueprint!  

Here we go!  

Chapter 8  

Creating Your Book Blueprint  

This is it. This is the chapter you’ve been waiting for.  This  

is the oh-so-simple concept that has launched the  writing  

careers of thousands… and now you, too!Okay, let’s review  very quickly. Right now you have an outline for your book. You’ve got the number of  chapters that has been prescribed by publishers and with my recommendations.  

Each chapter has 15 items or topics that you want to convey to the reader. (You  started with 18, you chose the three that were least important and you removed them  from your outline. That left you with 15.)  

After that you put the 15 items into the best order for both you and the reader. This is  entirely up to you. It really depends on how you want to structure the book, and if the  book is fiction or non-fiction.  

If you’re still struggling with what should go into your book, I’ll be covering that in  the next chapter.  

And you’ve done this work for every chapter in your book. So far you’ve done  several hours of work and you haven’t written your first word.  

Once again, the work you do at this stage will dramatically reduce the work you have  to do when it comes time to actually write the book.  

All set? Then let’s get started with the creation of your book blue print. 

First step of your blue print creation  

I’m going to give you the instructions for completing a blue print for a single chapter.  You’re going to have to do it for all the chapters in your book.  

Go to your first chapter and take a look at what you’ve written. Fifteen items of  information you want to convey to the reader.  

Go to each of the 15 and ask yourself why that item is significant. And then write a  significant sentence about that single element.  

It doesn’t have to be profound; it doesn’t even have to be dynamic or even insightful.  Just a significant sentence. You’ve already said that the item was significant. Now write a  sentence that explains that.  

Again, I’ll use the examples for both fiction and non-fiction. We’ll start with the non fiction offering first. Time management, first  

Please understand that I’m well aware that my examples are very basic. But they’re  that way for a purpose. I want to ensure that you understand the concept. Once the  concept is in your mind, then you can use it for virtually any book you want to produce.  

Here’s our time-management book with the chapter outline on meetings.  Why meetings take so much time  

Why meetings are so counterproductive  


Minute taking  

Necessary participants only  

Tapes for non-participants  

Creating entrances and exits  

Precise start time  

Establishing the rules  

Participant expectations  

Staying on track  

Concrete follow up results  

Best time for meeting scheduling  

How to avoid meetings  

The mini-meeting alternative  

Let’s make a significant sentence for each of the elements.  

Meetings take too much time from your workday.  

Meetings are not productive, they’re counterproductive  

A meeting agenda is essential  

The value of specialized minutes  

Don’t have any unnecessary participants  

Create tapes for non-participants  

Create entrances and exits of several people  

Start on time  

Establish the rules of the meeting  

Participants should have expectations  

Staying on track is vital  

You must demand concrete follow up results 

Using the best time for meeting scheduling  

Avoid meetings whenever possible  

Using the mini-meeting alternative  

That’s the next step for the creation of your blue print. Simply change the important  element to a significant statement.  

In your own example, make sure you leave three lines after the significant statement  is written.  

Next step? That’s easy. I want you to change each of the 15 significant statements in  each of your chapters into a significant question.  

Not hard to do. You simply erase the period at the end of the statement and insert a  question mark. At the beginning of the statement, place an interrogative such as can,  who, when, should, how to, etc.  

There’s a very important reason for doing this. It simply has to do with the way our  brain thinks.  

I’ve discovered that it’s far easier to respond to a question than it is to respond to a  statement. If I said to you, please write about that chair in which you’re sitting, you’d  look at me with a blank stare on your face and wonder what I was talking about. You’d  certainly have no idea of what I wanted or what was expected of you.  

But if, instead, I asked you, “Why is that kind of chair being used in this  environment?” That you can respond to. You can answer the question easily.  It’s far easier to respond to a question than it is to respond to a statement.  After you have written the question you should leave three lines for your next task.  But before we go there, let’s take a look at our time management example.  I’m going to take the chapter outline, and I’m going for the next step in the  blueprinting process. Turning each statement into a question.  

Why do business meetings take so much time out of our workday?  

Why are most of the meetings we have, completely counterproductive?  Why is a meeting agent essential and what should be on the agenda?  Who takes the meeting minutes and why are they vital for your meeting success?  How to get the fewest number of participants for your meeting  

When is it best to simply hand a non-participant a tape of the meeting?  Should you have people coming and going as the meeting progresses?  Just how important is a precise start time?  

What are the meeting rules that are most effective and how do you establishing the  rules  

How do you get all participants to come to the meeting with actual expectations?  What are the three tips for staying on track?  

Should concrete follow up results be expected from every meeting?  What is the best time for meeting scheduling  

How can you avoid meetings?  

What is the mini-meeting alternative?  

So far, this whole process should strike you as being about as difficult as lying on  your back in the sun. 

I should also tell you that way back when you were creating your chapter outline, if  you used the journalist’s six W’s to come up with the items you wanted to discuss in your  chapter, you may already be at this point.  

You may already have the items in question form.  

But I’m not going to dwell on that because I see no point in making the process even  faster than it already is!  

And the next step…  

Remember, I asked you to leave three blank lines after each question. (Okay, if  you’re using a computer the ‘enter’ key or the ‘return’ key will take care of that for you.)  Now we’re going to find out why.  

Read each of the questions in your chapter. After you read a question, close your eyes  and picture the answer to that question. You’ll easily see it in your mind’s eye.  Now, open your eyes and write down the three words that best describe the answer to  that question. Notice that I did not say that you should write down the best three-word  answer to the question. I don’t want you to do that. I want you to write the three words  that best describe the answer to that question.  

It could be a sight, or a smell, a texture, flavor, color, emotion, a piece of furniture or  a living thing. It could be a plant or animal or something you’d find in your pocket, or  use every day, a weather pattern or your worst fear.  

The three words could be anything, really. But I will guarantee to you that none of the  words will be ‘it’ or ‘a’ or ‘the’. The words you’ll be choosing will be ‘power’ words, as  we discussed several chapters ago when we did our writing exercise.  

Remember, for each question, there must be three words that best describe the answer  to that question.  

Realize also that your answers to a question will likely be very different from the  answers given by someone else.  

Let’s go back to our time-management book with the chapter on meetings. You’ll get  a clearer idea of exactly what I mean.  

Why do business meetings take so much time out of our workday?  

a. Boring  

b. Unfocused  

c. Unnecessary  

Why are most of the meetings we have, completely counterproductive?  results  



Why is a meeting agent essential and what should be on the agenda?  time  



Who takes the meeting minutes and why are they vital for your meeting success? 




How to get the fewest number of participants for your meeting  




When is it best to simply hand a non-participant a tape of the meeting?  time  



Should you have people coming and going as the meeting progresses?  productivity  



Just how important is a precise start time?  




What are the meeting rules that are most effective and how do you establishing the  rules  




How do you get all participants to come to the meeting with actual expectations?  agenda  



What are the three tips for staying on track?  




Should concrete follow up results be expected from every meeting?  reviews  



What is the best time for meeting scheduling 




How can you avoid meetings?  




What is the mini-meeting alternative?  




I know, I know. You would have picked different words. If you show your blueprint  to your friend, they would come up with different power words, too.  It’s one of those little things that makes my book unique and your book different from  every other book that’s out there.  

Ready, Set… 

Create power words for every question in your chapter and you’ll have a chapter  blueprint. Do it for every chapter of our book, and you’ll have a book blueprint.  Now all you’ve got to do is write the book!  

No, I didn’t leave out the last step. You’ve already done it. But I’ll go through the  details if you’d like.  

Pick any chapter you’d like to start with. Pick any one of the 15 questions in that  chapter. Get yourself a timer of some sort. I use a time that came with my wristwatch  because it’s always with me and I never have to remember to carry it with me.  

All the time has to do is count down from the five-minute market and give you some  sort of alarm or beep when the five minutes are up.  

Any timer will do, with one exception. Don’t use one of those kitchen timers that  clicks relentlessly during the five minutes. It’s very disturbing and will ruin your  concentration while you’re writing.  

Got the question you want to start with? Great! Set your timer for five minutes. Read  the question. Can you see the answer in your mind’s eye? Good. See those three words?  Excellent.  

Start the timer. Start writing. You must begin your writing with one of the three  words. The other two must appear in the first paragraph. Write as fast as you possibly  can. Do not think. Do not edit yourself. Whatever comes into your mind should go  directly to the paper or the keyboard. The faster you write, the better your writing will  be…  

Does all this sound the tiniest bit familiar? It should! It’s the same as the writing  exercise you did a few chapters back!  

When the timer goes off, you MUST stop your writing for that question and, if you  want to, you can go on to the next question… or any other question in the book! 

Do this just a couple of times and-although I hate to personify the human brain-your  mind will be saying to you, “you’re serious about this five-minute thing, aren’t you.”  Yes, you’re very serious. Your brain must give you it’s best right up front and right  away because after five minutes, you’re moving on!  

Fluff Factor  

I’ve discovered in my classes that your mind will usually give you its best stuff  initially and after about five minutes it starts to peter out. Giving you little more than  fluff and padding.  

You want to avoid the fluff factor in your writing at all costs. It will only be removed  by a competent editor later on, and the resulting manuscript will look dismally small  afterwards. Remember, five minutes and then you’re moving on.  

Here’s the reason for 15 questions  

Before we go any further, let me tell you why each chapter ended up with 15  questions to be answered.  

If you remember the writing exercise, you’ll recall that if you write as quickly as you  can for five minutes, you’ll likely produce about two-thirds of a page. Perhaps a bit more,  perhaps a bit less. Two thirds on average.  

Two-thirds of a page times 15 is, you guessed it, 10 pages of writing. And that’s  precisely the length of your chapter. That’s also the length your publisher most prefers.  And because you write for only five minutes on each question, (10 questions), you’ll  be producing a 10-page chapter in just 75 minutes worth of writing.  

But I have more to say! 

Often, the biggest problem you’ll face is actually stopping yourself after just five  minutes of intense writing. You may find, on occasion, that you have so much more to  say. You’ve got more information, or an additional description of a place, or more plot  exposition. Can’t you take just an extra minute or two and complete the task?  

Frankly, I’m not there to watch you. You can do whatever you wish. But if I were  there, standing beside your desk as you produce your book, I’d be rapping your knuckles!  Five minutes means five minutes.  

If you’ve got more to say, you didn’t produce your blueprint correctly. Rather than  spending any more time writing, you might want to spend a few minutes and revise your  blue print!  

Do I hafta…  

Usually about this time, someone asks me if it’s really necessary to produce the entire  book blueprint before we start writing the book. I mean, couldn’t we start writing after  we’ve produced just a chapter blueprint?  

The answer is a resounding, NO!! You really should have a blueprint for your entire  book before you begin writing. You must know what’s going to happen on every page  before you write the first word of the book.  

This will prevent you from duplicating information later on. It’s far easier to see an  overview of the entire book when it’s in blueprint form, rather than in your mind, or  flipping back pages to see if you’ve already said that in a previous writing session. 

I should also tell you that once the blueprint has been created, it almost begs to be  written. It cries out for completion. It’s easy to stop writing your book when you’ve got  just two chapters done and you really don’t know what’s going to be in the remaining  chapters. But when the blueprint is ready, it’s right there before you, the entire book.  

Virtually no thought processes are involved. You’re just setting your timer, and write  as quickly as you can.  

Blueprint advantages  

There are several obvious advantages to using the blueprint method to writing your  book. The first and most satisfying is that this technique allows you to write your book  faster than you can imagine. Faster than any other method that’s out there.  There simply is no faster way of writing your book on the planet.  

Next, the blueprinting method takes all the anxiety out of the writing process. No  pressure, no wondering about what you’re going to write about, no writer’s block, no  hesitation, and no writing problems of any kind. Just pure productivity.  

By using the blueprinting method, writing becomes about as difficult as sitting down  and copying a page of text for five minutes.  

You can write anywhere and any time. No need for an office, no need to be in your  den. If you’ve got your blueprint, and a pen, you can start writing anywhere. While  you’re waiting for your spouse, the first five minutes of a day. Coffee break, cafeteria,  just before you go to bed at night.  

And you can write at any time. Most of my students like to use the first five minutes  of the day because they’ve convinced nothing substantial happens in those five minutes  anyway. Or it could be the five minutes you’d otherwise be spent waiting.  

All you need is five minutes and you’ll move your book ahead two-thirds of a page.  Just to clear up what could be a misunderstanding, you write in five-minute blocks.  But you’re NOT restricted to writing for just five minutes. You can write for as long as  you want. Just make sure that your writing session is divided into five-minute sessions.  Personally, I write 50 minutes at a time. That’s 10 five-minute segments done one  right after the other. After 10 sessions, I take a 10-minute break before I start again.  This allows me to write at the rate of 3,000 words per hour. A rate that most people  simply don’t believe is possible. But, as you now know it is.  

I also want to make sure you know that the 3,000 words usually needs very little  editing. Not because I’m an unusually powerful writer, but because I write quickly. If  you write quickly, you’ll write the way you talk and your ideas will be both concise and  understandable. If you achieve that, most editing becomes superfluous.  

Start anywhere! 

Here’s one of the most amazing elements of the blueprinting process. You don’t have  to start at the beginning of the book. You can start anywhere you want to. You can start  at the beginning of chapter six if you feel like it. Or how about the beginning of chapter  nine? Pick the chapter that excites you the most and start there.  

Heck, you don’t even have to start at the beginning of the chapter. You could start  right in the middle and work sideways. Or you could hop around from one chapter to the  next. Write a little bit of chapter seven, then write a little in chapter 22. You’ll always 

know exactly what you want to write because your blueprint is with you every step of the  way.  

No more thinking about  

what you want to write  

“Oh, my,” says the writer, holding his head in his hands. “What shall write about  today? What information should I convey? Where will the story lead us now?” Sorry, but  the blueprint does away with all this indecision. You know exactly what you’re going to  write about. The blueprint will tell you every step of the way!  

This isn’t something that robs you of creativity. It’s something that robs you of the  tedium of writing. You simply sit down, you know what you’re going to say, and you  write it. Nothing could be simpler.  

No do you have to read what you wrote yesterday to discover what you’re going to  say today-you know, to refresh your memory. Your blueprint is your memory.  Let me tell you that you can’t win when you read what you’ve read yesterday. If you  read it and it was very bad, you’ll give up saying, “You see, I’m not a good writer. I’ll  stop now and become a truck driver.”  

If you read what you wrote yesterday and it is very good, you’ll give up saying, “You  see, I could never write that well again. I’ll stop now and become a truck driver.”  You can’t win.  

Reading what you wrote yesterday isn’t necessary when you have your blueprint by  your side  

Take a break for months  

I don’t recommend it and I really don’t know why you would-writing is so much fun but you may decide to put your writing aside for a longer period of time. Maybe you have  to focus on another project, or you become ill, or, well, there are all kinds of reasons for a  lengthy delay in getting back to your writing.  

(I’m hopeful that procrastination won’t be one of the reasons because you have your  blueprint.)  

In any case, there’s something magical that happens when you use a blueprint for  your writing and you take an extended break.  

When you come back to your writing, you’ll be able to pick up exactly where you left  off, almost as if you’d never left the writing project.  

Here’s why.  

When you write the question and write down the three power words that best describe  the answer to the question, you mind visualizes a scene. You ‘see’ the answer and you’re  able to write effectively.  

Come back after a few months, read the question, look at the power words and that  very scene will jump right back into your mind’s eye. You’ll know exactly what you  want to say and how you want to say it. It’s almost scary when this happens. It’s almost  as if the passage of time did not exist. You’re instantly right back into the writing mode  and you didn’t have to re-read a single paragraph of your book to get ‘back into the  swing’ of writing. Just set your timer and go!  

Three words of advice for perfectionists 

GET OVER IT! Perfectionism may be important to your workday, it may be  necessary for your profession, and it may even be a hobby for you. But when it comes to  writing, the last thing you want to be is a perfectionist.  

Have you ever encountered those writers who re-write the same page, over and over?  Spending months and never getting past the first chapter. They want their writing to be  ‘perfect.’  

Newsflash. It never will be perfect, so write as well as you can and keep moving.  Write quickly and you’ll write well. Don’t even think about rewriting until the book is  complete. You can’t perfect something unless it already exists. Your number-one priority  should be to get the book written. Perfectionism will not help you with that.  

Now you’re going to hear some real writing heresy on my part. Writing the book is  far more important than outstanding content. The published book with reasonable content  is far superior to the unwritten book with superior content.  

The power of Transitions  

When your book is written, read it over. If it’s a non-fiction book, it should read very  well. That’s because a non-fiction book is simply the presentation of information,  presentation of information, presentation of information.  

If your book is fiction, however, there may be a problem. You may find that the book  reads a bit choppy.  

If it’s really choppy, I suggest you had a problem with putting the 15 items into the  most appropriate order for the reader. (Remember I told you how important that was?)  The ideas should have flowed smoothly. If it reads like the author has written two  thirds of a page, then two thirds of a page, then another two-thirds of a page, we have a  transition problem.  

We must bring the reader from one idea to the next idea very smoothly. In the mind  of the reader, there should be no conscious thought that there was a break in the writing  process, let alone the writer’s thinking process.  

But if that does happen, you’ll have to create a transition.  

This is a tool that has been used effectively by every great writer of our time, and all  times before.  

Here’s how it’s done  

In your chapter you have 15 items you want to convey to the reader. Let’s suppose we  need a transition between the sixth and seventh item.  

In the sixth item we talk about cars. In the seventh item we talk all about a castle.  Well, it might not make any sense to you, but if this was your book and you’d worked  hard on the blueprint, this would make perfect sense to you.  

Okay, you read all about a car and then you read about a castle.  

Too big a transition. We have to bring your reader from a car to the castle smoothly.  In your book, what is the one word that connects car with castle? I don’t mean  literally. The connecting word will depend on your story, of course. So it could be  anything.  

Let’s pick the word ‘dress.’ Again, if this was your book and this was your choice of  transition word it would make complete sense to you. Naturally the connection between  the car and the castle is ‘dress.’ 

Set your timer for one minute, no more. When the timer starts, you must write a one  or two sentence paragraph that uses the word ‘dress’ (no, you don’t have to start with that  word) the brings the reader from on topic-the car-to the next topic-the castle.  

“She felt clumsy as she shifted herself and her dress out of the car and wondered if  this was anything close to the right attire for Kreighoff’s castle. A castle that now loomed  large before her.”  

Okay, it ain’t great, but it was spur of the moment. Notice how I’ve shifted the  reader’s attention from the car to the castle via the dress.  

If you do it correctly, your reader will be unconsciously thinking, ‘of course! This is a  natural and inevitable transition.’ Now your reader feels quite comfortable with the two  pieces of writing about the car and the castle.  

You won’t have to write a transition between every section of your writing. As you  get better (faster) you’ll notice that the transitions appear naturally.  

Sometimes as I’m writing, I’ll glance over to see what’s coming next in the blueprint  and I’ll purposely end one section of writing with a transition to the next. It becomes  quite easy after a while.  

Remember, most of the time you won’t need a transition. You’ll be writing 15  sections for every chapter so at the very most you’ll have to write only 14 bridges, or  transition paragraphs. But if you’re writing that many transitions, you really should be  doing more work on your blueprint to ensure the 15 parts are in the right order.  

Creating the irresistible lead  

You want the start of your book to be so powerful, so dynamic that it picks the agent  off the floor by the lapels and throws them into the story with such enthusiasm that they  simply cannot take their eyes from the manuscript.  

If you don’t quite know what I mean by that, then go out and rent the movie “Raiders  of the Lost Ark.” This movie starts on a high point and soars straight up from there.  You want your book (fiction or non-fiction) to do exactly the same.  I can’t stress how important this element is. You have just a few seconds to make a  great impression on an agent with your writing. The agent is not going to wait 100 pages,  10 pages or even 10 seconds to be intrigued by what you’ve produced. She wants it  immediately! And that’s why your lead is so very important!  

An agent gets anywhere from 25 to 250 proposals every day. The only way to  separate yours from the garbage is the lead.  

It has to be pure magic!  

Start by realizing that in your book there will be several exciting moments-and this is  true for both fiction and non-fiction. Pick the spot that is most exciting and start your  book there. There’s no reward for tucking this element deep into the book, never to be  seen until after 125 pages have gone by.  

The most exciting point is where you should be starting your book.  

If your book is fiction and the most exciting point is well into the story, then where it  begins should be the chapter you send to the agent. And that chapter should start with this  very exciting point. But that’s second best. Best is starting the book at this point or a  point very similar to it.  

If we’re talking about fiction, I strongly suggest you start by describing all the  benefits the reader is going to get after they’ve mastered the content of your book. Take a 

magic wand and set before the reader a scene where they are complete masters and are  harvesting all the rewards.  

Once you’ve chosen the scene you want to describe, I want you to close your eyes  and imagine the scene. Close your eyes and visualize the entire process. See the scene  that your reader will see. See the scene you WANT your reader to see.  

What are the three words that best describe the scene? Note that I did not say what is  the best three-word description of the scene. I said what three words best describe the  scene.  

Jot those words down.  

Set your timer for five minutes.  

Start your writing with one of the three words, the other two must appear in the first  paragraph. Write as fast as you possibly can. Do not think. Do not edit yourself. The  faster you write, the better your writing will be.  

When you finish this process, you’ll have a lead that will be magical. It will leave the  reader hungry for more.  

As I’ve mentioned previously, every time I do this exercise with my writing students,  both they and I are amazed by the results!  

You will be, too.  

Ending your book with pure poetry  

Frankly, you can end the book anyway you want to. Your book is not going to be  rejected or accepted based on how you end it.  

If you end it elegantly, people will say you’re a marvelous writer. If you end your  book inelegantly, or abruptly, people will say that’s just your writing style.  If you really screw it up, the editor will help you fix it by making some suggestions.  Still, if only for your own peace of mind, it’s nice if you can end your book as  beautifully and as powerfully as you began it.  

Here’s the trick. Every book is about something. And you can usually sum up that  something in a single word.  

No, I can’t give you that word. Every book is different. Every summarizing word is  different. But if I asked you to summarize your book in a single word, chances are good  that you could do it.  

Now, I’m going to use a typewriter metaphor because you’ll be able to understand  what I’m talking about if I do.  

Those of you who don’t know what a typewriter is, well, you’ll just have to muddle  through.  

If you’ve got your summary word, imagine inserting a piece of paper into a  typewriter and rolling it down to the very last line. At the right hand side of that line (so  you’re writing the last word on that blank page) type the single word that summarizes  your entire book.  

It could be ‘love,’ or ‘beauty’ or ‘success,’ or whatever is appropriate for your book.  Go back to the top of the page.  

Set your timer for five minutes and write to that last word. Write so the final word  you write will be the last word on that page.  

You’ll end up with a poetic ending you never thought you were capable of. 

An example  

Have you ever seen the movie Casablanca’? Just about everyone has. I use this  example because of the popularity of this movie.  

If I asked you what was the final word in that movie, would you be able to remember  it? Most people can after just a few moments. The word is ‘friendship.’  “Louis, this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”  

The whole movie is about friendships. Friendships that are genuine friendships.  Friendships that are friendships of convenience. Friendships that are business  relationships. Friendships that are love affairs. And so on.  

By ending on that word, the movie ends in a way that is incredibly appropriate for  that story. It ends on friendship.  

Try this yourself. Your ending will be pure poetry.  

Get ready, I’m about to show you how to write a best-selling fiction or non-fiction  book…  

Chapter 9  

How to Write A Best-selling Fiction or  Non-fiction Book  

(or, how to buy a best-selling plot for 25 cents!)  

I have a lot of conversations with literary agents. They call me all the time asking the  cliché question, “Read any good books lately?”  

They’re not joking. They know I spend a lot of time talking to my students and  reading their manuscripts. (I hope to read yours very shortly, by the way.) They know  I’m a great source of new material for their publishing mill. I’m quick to recommend any  student’s work that I can.  

During our conversations, I’m likely to ask these agent friends of mine a question that  just about everyone would like to have the answer to.  

When I’ve got them on the telephone, I’ll ask them just why so many would-be  writers can’t get an agent.  

I hear this all the time. I can’t get an agent, I can’t get an agent, I can’t get an agent.  “My gosh,” I’ll ask them, “Is their writing that bad? Can they really not put a few words  together to create a sentence?”  

And almost universally, the response is identical. Writers are not rejected because  their writing is bad. In some cases it’s very good. In many cases it’s at least adequate.  And even in those rare instances where the writing is below par an editor could easily  take on the task of making the writing better than it is.  

Rejections, in the majority of cases, have nothing to do with how well the writer  writes. When it comes to fiction, the agents are painfully blunt-at least with me.  “The plots are terrible. The story simply sucks.”  

And when it comes to non-fiction, which is simply the presentation of information  repeated over and over again for 20 chapters, the problem is equally frustrating.  Again, it has nothing to do with the writer’s writing ability. 

“But,” say the agents, “the book that writer wants to write has already been written  and there’s nothing new or innovative that the writer can offer to the publisher. If the  publisher already has a book on time management, he doesn’t want a second one that will  compete with the book he’s already got thousands of dollars devoted to.”  

So if you want to write a best-selling fiction, you’ve got to come up with a best  selling plot. If you’re going to create a best-selling non-fiction, you’ve got to come up  with something that isn’t already on the market!  

Let’s deal with fiction, first.  

Creating Your Fiction Best Seller  

If you’ve already got a great fiction swimming around in your head, or if you’re  already several chapters into the fiction story you’ve always wanted to write, I can  appreciate that. I know what it must mean to you. I know how many hors, weeks, perhaps  even years you’ve devoted to this project.  

Unfortunately, I’ve got to tell you the truth. The chances of your book becoming a  bestseller are pretty slim (and even that’s an overstatement) unless you’re willing to  follow some guidelines.  

The most useful guideline is that you should consider shelving that book until you’ve  created and published one or two books in that genre.  

I say that only because it’s unlikely that the plot you’ve constructed will be a plot that  will amaze a traditional publisher.  

If you’re starting from scratch, so much the better.  

First of all, in order to write a best-selling fiction, you need to have a certifiable best selling plot. Most people don’t have one lying around their office, nor do they have one  swimming around in their head. They might ‘think’ they do, but there’s no guarantee that  the plot they’re considering is a best seller.  

Don’t take chances  

Get yourself down to the local plot shop, and buy a best-selling plot!  No, I haven’t taken leave of my senses. The local plot shop is also known as the  ‘used-book store.’  

You’re looking for a particular kind of book. There are two criteria and the book you  buy must have both of them. If it’s short on one, then the book you’re looking at just isn’t  the right one.  

First of al, genre, or what the book is about, doesn’t matter at all. Just make sure it’s  fiction.  

Now to the first criteria. The book must be three to nine years of age. At least three  years so the plot is old enough to be out of current memory. But no more than nine years  because you want it to still be relatively current.  

The next criteria, the book must have the banner on the front cover that says  “National Best Seller.”  

Not, “By the best-selling author of…” some other book. You want this book that you  buy to be a national best seller.  

What does that banner tell you about the plot in that book?  

It tells you that the plot is a best-selling plot. It’s not a best-selling plot because the  author thought it was, or the agent thought it was or the publisher thought it was. 

It’s a best-selling plot because the book went out into the market and the ‘market’  thought it was a best-selling plot.  

This isn’t whimsy. This is incontrovertible truth that what you’re holding is a best selling plot.  

Now, here is something you should know about the publishing world. Major  publishers, the folks who bring you the blockbuster best sellers are a pretty conservative  bunch. If they had their ‘druthers,’ they’d just as soon publish the books they published  last year-minus the losers, of course.  

If they could get away with it, they’d love to simply give the buying public the same  book with a different cover.  

And you know what, they’d have another best seller on their hands.  In the publishing industry (hey, let’s be frank, in the whole world) there’s no money  in being unique, special, innovative or creative. The kinds of books that will sell this year  are the same books that sold last year… and the year before that.  

If you’ve got a book in your hand that says ‘national bestseller’ on the front cover,  you’re holding more than just a book. You’re holding your key to publishing success.  And all the riches that go along with it.  

Buy that best seller. If you can’t afford it, take a look at the many garage sales that  spring up every week near your home. You can pick up these best sellers for about 25  cents.  

If that’s still too costly, get yourself to the local library and knock yourself out. All  their books are at least three years old.  

However you get hold of the book, take it home and read it.  

You already know how to create a blueprint for a book; so do something I call reverse  engineering. Rather than creating a book from a blueprint, create the blueprint from the  best-selling book!  

What you’ll have, after only a few hours work, is a best-selling plot and a best-selling  blueprint for a best-selling book  

What comes next is pretty obvious. Simply re-write the best-selling book  Now, before you mail this manual back to me accusing me of plagiarism or copyright  infringement, I’m not saying that you should literally write the same book. I’m saying  that you should use this blue print and write your own book.  

But change everything you can possibly change. Change the names, change the  places, change the time.  

If it’s a western, make it a romance. If it’s a romance, make it a murder. If it’s a  science fiction make it a modern-day adventure. Change everything you possibly can  change. If it takes place under the sea, make it take place in space. If all the weapons are  bows and arrows, make them use phasers. If all the characters are men, make all your  character women.  

Everything you can possibly change, change. But keep the story, the plot and the  blueprint!  

Does this sort of thing happen in the real publishing world? Only every day. Ever  read a harlequin romance. Ever read two Harlequin romances. Notice any similarities in  plot? 

Harold Robbins, one of the most successful writers of the 20th century, a man who  got million dollar advances, was repeatedly accused of writing the same book over and  over again.  

Accused, no doubt, but poor critics and writers who kept wondering how he did it.  Do you remember a television program called The Honeymooners? Animate that  television show and you have the Flintstones.  

Remember the television program my Favorite Martian? Make the Martian hilarious  and you’ve got Mork and Mindy. Make Mork a puppet and you’ve got Alf. Put them all  together and you’ve got Third rock From the Sun.  

Not too long ago I was watching a movie called “Independence Day” with Will  Smith. I’m watching this moving with my wife. And we’re both enjoying it. I can see  why it was so successful.  

But I’m also an old-movie buff. I’m half way through this movie when I begin to  conclude that this is exactly the same plot as the movie, “War of the Worlds,” based on  H.G. Wells story by the same name.  

In Wells’ story, the Martians invade the world. In the newer movie, we have to  update things to be politically correct (we don’t want to offend the Martians) so we call  them ‘aliens.’  

In Wells’ story, humanity tries atom bombs. They don’t work. We try hydrogen  bombs. They don’t work. Finally the Martians die because they cannot defend against a  common earth bacteria.  

In “Independence Day,” we try atom bombs. They don’t work. We try hydrogen  bombs. They don’t work. My gosh, I’m thinking, is it going to be a blatant rip off. Are  the aliens going to die because they cannot defend against a computer virus!  

All this is simply prologue to make you understand that it is folly to go out and try to  create something new and innovative… particularly when a successful plot is so close at  hand.  

“I never intentionally set out to compose anything original.”  

–Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  

Let’s be honest. Unless you’ve already written several best sellers, you really have no  idea what is needed in a plot to make it sell big. You may ‘think’ you know, but you  really don’t  

Don’t try to recreate the wheel. Just use the plot that the market has already said is a  winner.  

Outstanding methods for creating your own plot  

I could give you all sorts of ways for creating your own plot. And if you wander into  your local bookstore, you’ll see them lining the shelves. How to create this sort of plot.  How to create that sort of plot. A romance, a thriller, a murder mystery, a western. Go  ahead. Buy them. Use their suggestions. At the end of the process, you will not have a  plot at all. You won’t be any closer to a best-selling plot than you are right now.  

Don’t hurt yourself with this sort of stuff. Go out and get a best-selling plot and  simply use it. It’s that simple!  

Creating your non-fiction bestseller!  

Most of my students will say they can certainly see that not recreating the wheel is  the most effective method of writing a fiction. But where does that leave them if they 

want to write non-fiction. I still haven’t told them which chapters they should have in  their book!  

Okay, I’ll do that right now!  

In most cases, the non-fiction book you want to write has already been written. At the  very least there are several other books that, to a greater or lesser degree, cover the same  topic you want to write about. Then you’ve got an even bigger headache. Computer  technology notwithstanding, there’s nothing new under the sun.  

Your task is to create a book that is as good as any book out there, but has new and  innovative information packaged and presented in a way that makes it very exciting for  the book buyer.  

At first you might think this is difficult. Actually, nothing could be further from the  truth. It’s dead easy. In fact, give me a book topic that has been ‘done to death’ and I’ll  be able to create a new tact on that subject in about 30 seconds. I’ll show you how in a  few moments.  

Collect similar non-fiction books  

Your first job is to collect various books that have covered the same topics that you  want to cover. Don’t go back too far. Ten years at most. That should give you a great  number of books to look at.  

If you have a topic that you KNOW has never been covered before, then you should  look at similar books.  

One of my students was writing a book about how to effectively domesticate barn  owls. Okay, I’m willing to agree that there aren’t too many books on that subject at all.  So I suggested that he round up similar books. Books that talk about the care and feeding  of wild animals.  

You can find these books in used bookstores, libraries, specialized clubs, the Internet.  Keep looking and try to find similar books. You’ll need them. You want to use the  information in these books to create the blueprint for your own book.  

Find the chapters that are necessary  

Read these books over and you’ll notice that there is something intriguing about the  chapters. All the books have several chapters that cover some of the topic.  If you’re reading books about time management, you’ll always see a chapter about  time management in the office, or time management in meetings, or the idea of  delegating responsibilities and so on.  

Well, guess which chapters you should definitely have in your book? That’s right,  those same chapters.  

If every other book on your topic has chapters on X, Y and Z, you can bet your  bottom dollar that the publisher will expect at least these chapters to be in your book as  well.  

It does no good to argue. You can explain, until you’re blue in the face, that your  strategies are different and that your strategies do away with all this X, Y, Z stuff. That  doesn’t matter.  

You can certainly explain your new concepts, but you have to be able to explain them  in terms of X, Y, and Z.  

This should give you chapters for at least half of your book, and perhaps much more. 

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