February 7th, 2023
With Karen Rowe, the #1 international bestselling author and the owner of Front Rowe Seat, a full-service writing firm. Karen has worked on 145 books and counting in her nearly 14-year career as a professional writer. She is an expert in nonfiction and can help you position yourself as a Leading Authority in your niche. She is also known for helping elite professionals get their books written in three days or less in a signature program she calls Book at the Beach.
Karen develops professionally written and designed books, done-for-you. Her clients include an actor, a retired FBI Agent, a Reality TV star, entrepreneurs with online empires and some of the top self-help leaders in the industry. Her mission is to help you find your voice and uncover your own unique and powerful story to create an instant connection with your marketplace.
Join us for our exciting conversation as Karen shares everything you need to know if you want to write a book, which includes when you should do it, common mistakes you should avoid making, and some strategies and hacks to help you get started on your book.
Biggest takeaways (or quotes) you don’t want to miss:
- “The more clear and specific you can be, the more likely you are to attract that person.”
- Why is there a fear of putting your voice out into the world?
- “Writing a book is only 50%… the other 50% is in the marketing strategy.”
- What motivates people to work against a deadline?
- “If you really want to finish your book, you want to create a crisis for yourself (creating an external, non-negotiable deadline).”
“Everyone has stories to tell. No one’s going to know what that story is if you don’t write it down.”-Karen Rowe
Check out these highlights:
- 03:32 Karen shares how her love for writing began.
- 14:53 Why do people sit on problems for so long?
- 21:10 How did Karen transition from being a teacher to being an entrepreneur?
- 29:05 The most challenging thing for people with writing a book according to Karen.
- 32:13 What are the top mistakes that people make when writing a book?
- 36:59 When is the right time to write a book?
How to get in touch with Karen:
On social media:
Learn more about Karen, by visiting her website here.
Special gift for listeners: Get a free roadmap for your book using Karen Rowe’s Rapid Results Outline here.
Imperfect Show Notes
GGGB Intro 00:00
Coming up today on Guts, Grit and Great Business®…
Karen Rowe 00:04
I’ve heard people say like, Oh, my book is for everyone, which is kiss of death, right? Because the more I’m really a fan of Micronesian, so the more clear and specific you can be, the more likely you are to attract that person. And are you going to get people that fall on either side of that target? Absolutely. But you know, a book, especially a title, the joke is, you know, the title of a book says, Hey, you, and the subtitle says, Yes, you so that the people know like, Oh, this is the book for me.
GGGB Intro 00:40
The adventure of entrepreneurship and building a life and business you love, preferably at the same time is not for the faint of heart. That’s why Heather Pearce Campbell is bringing you a dose of guts, grit and great business stories that will inspire and motivate you to create what you want in your business and life. Welcome to the Guts, Grit and Great Business® podcast where endurance is required. Now, here’s your host, The Legal Website Warrior®, Heather Pearce Campbell.
Heather Pearce Campbell 01:12
Alrighty, welcome. I am Heather Pearce Campbell, The Legal Website Warrior®. I’m an attorney and legal coach based here in Seattle, Washington, serving information entrepreneurs throughout the US and the world. Welcome to another episode of Guts, Grit and Great Business®. I am super excited to bring you my friend, and a brilliant human being to you today, Karen Rowe. Welcome, Karen,
Karen Rowe 01:41
Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to talk to you today.
Heather Pearce Campbell 01:44
Oh, I’m so excited. I feel like this is like years in the making. I mean, I’ve known Karen a handful of years now. And we are on opposite in opposite corners of the United States. Right. So Karen is down in Florida, we were just talking about that big horrible storm that hit. But Karen is an amazing writer. And she helps other people write books. And like I just this is such an important topic. I think for so many of the expert based businesses that I serve, and I love writers, I’ve always been enamored by people that write books and and somehow, you know, especially if they’re doing other things like make time and figure out how to incorporate that into their business and their life as well. So Karen, I’m really looking forward to this. For those of you that don’t know Karen Rowe, Karen is an international best selling author. She has worked on 145 books and counting in her nearly 14 year career as a professional writer. She is an expert in nonfiction and can help you position yourself as a leading authority in your niche. Karen develops professionally written and designed books done for you. Her clients include an actor, a retired FBI agent, a reality TV star, entrepreneurs with online empires and some of the top self-help leaders in the industry. Her mission is to help you find your voice and uncover your own unique and powerful story to create an instant connection with your marketplace. Ah, Karen, I love that.
Karen Rowe 03:21
Thanks for having me.
Heather Pearce Campbell 03:22
Oh, yes, this will be so much fun. I would love to know talk to us where your love of writing began?
Karen Rowe 03:32
Well, I used to be a teacher. So in my past life I call it, I was teaching. And as I said, I’ve always loved languages. I’ve always loved humanities in general. But in my teaching career, I realized pretty early on about three or four years into my teaching that I wasn’t going to be a lifer. And in those days, this was in like, say around 2007. Blogging was quite big. And so I’d started my own blog and very naturally started writing more and more. And that started taking up more and more of my time. And there was absolutely nothing interesting on this blog, right. Like it was so innocuous. It was about my you know, here’s my Oscar predictions. Here’s my opinion about Rosie O’Donnell on the view. You know, and even before blogging, I was always going on vacation and sending emails to my friends and families about my adventures. And then that translated into this travel blog. And, you know, when I looked at what not wanting to be teaching anymore, I couldn’t think of what else to do and ended up just deciding I was going to be a writer, there’s a bit of a big story that I don’t necessarily want to go into the weeds around. But what happened was, I was suspended from my teaching career or blogging from a school computer. I was very naive in those days. If I didn’t understand what it meant to schedule a post, so I was writing them at night, but I didn’t want to have more than one post a day. So I wait till I got to school and then post it. And it’s ironically now logging is a tool used in schools to help engage students, but at that time, it constituted misuse of time and theft of equipment. And so I ended up, it ended up being a professional scandal, I was transferred to a different school. And I never got a chance to address my students about what had happened. It was veiled in secrecy, there was a gag order, they told my colleagues that I had been suspended for inappropriate internet use, which of course made it sound like I was running, cornering or something. And so just writing a blog.
Heather Pearce Campbell 05:52
Oh, my guys, Karen, there’s so many parts about this story that I’m like, why, why?
Karen Rowe 05:59
Yeah, and, you know, people were made, making decisions about me that had never set foot in my classroom or never assessed me as a teacher. There was a student involved in some parents involved that were both attorneys. And then on top of that, we had a brand new principal. So it was a bit of a perfect storm, I personally felt that the consequences didn’t match the crime, right. But they essentially determined that it was in breach of like a code of conduct of professional ethics. So they transferred me to a different school. And that was really the beginning of the end for me. And then what I realized out of that whole process, is that the thing I was most upset about was that they had asked me to delete my blog. So I was like, Oh, that’s a bread crumb, right? Like, that’s a clue about what is interesting and important to you. So I basically left teaching and started writing, or started blogging, then six months later, I had a publishing contract to write my first book. So you know, I mean, we could definitely talk about that, where it’s like, if you want to do something, just start doing it. And I would say everything really fell into place, I started blogging for free for a local newspaper. From there, I got, you know, I got reached out to to start doing articles. And then I got on retainer, and I did very well as a freelance writer, but there’s a lot of hustle, right? So I might get paid. You know, let’s say $300 for two hours of work, trying to find those next, the next, the next. The next. Yeah, there’s just a lot of hustle. So totally what, you know, my first book contract, they wanted it out for a specific deadline. So we had six weeks to write the book. And I did that. And then I met a business coach, who you and I both know, Jay Forset, who said, Hang on, you wrote a book in six weeks, that’s your business like that is what people will pay you for. So you know, I basically start, you know, started my business in about 2009. And the rest is history, I guess. I mean, I wasn’t initially writing books all the time, I was doing all kinds of writing, including freelance and blog writing and copywriting and, and what I realized is my love is really in nonfiction book, writing and memoirs. And then in 2015, I came up with what’s now my signature offering, which is known as book at the beach. And that was basically to solve a time problem versus an ideas and creativity problem, right? So I’m working with a lot of entrepreneurs and business owners. And you know, if you’ve written a book, you know that writing a book, you know, you don’t get billable hours for writing a book, right. So you either have to take time out of your billable hours and your week and running your business, or you have to take it out of evenings and weekends. And a lot of the authors that I work with are committed to families and kids, right? So they don’t want to do that either. But most of them can find three days to basically, you know, show up, we’re in a hotel room, and I’m essentially interviewing them and getting everything that I need from them over those three days, to basically just get the downdraft right, that initial draft.
Heather Pearce Campbell 09:35
Oh, my heavens, there’s so many parts of your story that so first of all, I know that we’ve known each other for a little bit, and I didn’t know some of the, you know, the pieces of your trail that led you here. You know, the first thing I want to say is I’m so sorry about the painful experience. And at the same time, it led you to write what you’re doing now. And so you know, anyway, There’s just always an irony of like, going through really hard stuff like that. But when it leads you to what’s supposed to come next, right? It’s sometimes and I don’t know how you feel about that, like you wouldn’t go back and necessarily change the path it launched you in a whole new direction. I love I love the aha moment of like, what? Delete the blog. So I have to ask you, did you actually delete the blog?
Karen Rowe 10:24
I did, I had to. However, I was able, nine months later, when I realized that that’s what was upsetting me most about the entire situation I was able to contact Blogspot is who it was. And they restored it within 24 hours. So I was able to get it. And you’re right, I will say I a lot of personal development, 10 years of it, I was eventually able to see that this was actually the best thing that’s ever happened to me, it really forced an outcome that I may never have made on my own. I mean, teaching in Canada is a sweet gig, I was well paid. I was teaching in a wonderful school, I had great students in subject matter that was, you know, I was trained to teach. And, you know, I had summers off, I traveled every summer we get paid. You know, over the summer, there was a lot about it, that worked. I liked that we got a fresh start at the start of every school year, we had autonomy within our own classrooms. And then in the summer, you’re on a real break, you don’t have work piling up, right, while you’re away. So there was a lot about it. That worked. And I think it would have been easy, just to put up with that and settle with that. And so this situation forced, you know, and if I had really been listening and attentive, I would have left on my own before creating this crisis, basically. Yeah, that took the decision out of my hands.
Heather Pearce Campbell 11:54
Yeah, well, and the, you know, the, what is the Oprah call it the brick in the face, right, the two by four in the face, right. So when we’re not doing the thing that we should be doing, we’re not following that little internal voice we live can just give us the brick in the face instead.
Karen Rowe 12:09
And I was also very young, like, I think now if that had situation were to happen again, I would have stood up for myself, I would have been a lot more vocal. But I was actually I had was someone who had always followed the rules, I was a real good girl. So like for me to be in trouble and get called to the principal’s office, literally. And then to go and, you know, defend my actions and everything. Like I just was not used to that. So I just thought if I do everything that they say, it will be fine. And I truly believe that they were, you know, they might put a you know, a note in my file or, you know, a disciplinary action in my file, but I never thought that I would get transferred. And I think for them, it felt like a good compromise. I kept my job. You know?
Heather Pearce Campbell 12:57
It’s still so weird. All the secrecy around it and being like, inappropriate online actually, like that. bugs me so bad. I just think like, sometimes human nature is just so weird, right? Humans are weird.
Karen Rowe 13:10
Yeah. So I mean, you know, if it were to happen, now, I’m a little bit older, and I know how to stand up for myself in a different way. But ultimately, I’m much more happy and much more fulfilled doing what I do. Now. I do feel like I was put on this earth to help people write books, and I really get fulfillment in helping other people achieve a result that they couldn’t achieve without me, right. Like, there’s legitimately people that have been, I’ve worked with that have been trying to write a book for 20 years, and then they get it published. And I’m like, yes.
Heather Pearce Campbell 13:42
Oh, I’m sure there, I made a difference. Totally. Sure. We’ve got some people listening, who have a book in them that are like, Oh, my gosh, I’m in that category of knowing for years that I want to write something but the whole process, right, it’s like, you know, and even for some people, I think like, you know, launching any new thing in the world starting a podcast, it feels I remember, before I even knew, really what it took at all to do a podcast, it felt like this outrageously big mountain to climb, right. And so yeah, without somebody’s help, I think that a lot of times, we just don’t even get started. I love Mr. J Forset, of course, and his ability to just be like, yeah, there’s your business, like solve the time problem for people that this present. Right. And it is a major time problem. I suspect, and I don’t know the answer to this question. But why do people sit on it for so long? Is it about like, they just think it’s gonna be a monumental amount of time and they just don’t see where they have that or is it something else?
Karen Rowe 14:49
I think there’s kind of three main problems that get in people’s way one, sometimes they’re not sure the content that they have is any good most of the time, what I was I’d say is that especially the people I work with, they’re very passionate about their subject matter. But for whatever reason, it just doesn’t translate onto the page. So they might sit down. And they don’t know where to start. They don’t know which stories to include which ones to leave out. So they just feel overwhelmed. So while they can easily to people about their subject matter, or their idea, it just they can’t get it written in a way that makes sense to another person. But like I said earlier, the biggest problem I solve is this time problem, most of them are just too busy or successful, to sit down and write on a regular basis. And it I mean, there’s, there’s a whole slew of problems fear is one
Heather Pearce Campbell 15:44
Yeah, I was gonna say, actually putting your voice out there into the world, right. And I think writing feels so close, like, at least, you know, I know that I’ve gone through periods of my life where I’ve been able to write and then others where I haven’t been able to write. And I think the you know, as I reflect on it, like the fear of like, this is the essence of who I am putting that out into the world feels really scary.
Karen Rowe 16:12
Well, it’s very vulnerable, right? A lot of times you’re sharing information about yourself or your business that you’ve never shared publicly before. So that can feel really scary. And just, you know, what, if no one reads it, what if it doesn’t make a difference? And then there’s a resource issue as well. Not just money, but time, right. Like, is this the highest and best use of my time?
Heather Pearce Campbell 16:35
Yeah, right. The trade offs of should I be doing this versus something else? Yeah. Yeah. You know, I going back to the piece of your story about like, you could have stayed doing the other thing. It’s so interesting, because I think about so many things in life. And it’s actually do you remember Jay’s presentation that he does about building a business that’s doing just well enough, you hang on, but never, and I can’t remember he has a whole name for like that model or that little exercise. But it’s not, it’s never like the thing that you really thought it was going to be right? It’s not really producing the kind of income or whatever. I feel like, it’s such a great analogy to other things in life. It’s like, you know, what came to mind is when you were talking about, you know, summers off and all these benefits, and it was just good enough that I probably would have talked myself into staying, like my first marriage total, like,
Karen Rowe 17:33
Well, I actually say I say I loved everything about teaching, except the teaching, right? Like, I actually loved the org days and the learning in the planning. And I actually did love the students as well. But the students weren’t actually my clients, right, like, more and the administration pander to the needs of the parents. And so I was hard headed enough that I might know I mean, the students are my clients, not you. But it’s more than that, like I have friends to this day that are still teaching at the same school that I taught at and on our spare time, you know, at dinners and evenings and weekends and stuff, we they would be talking about pedagogy. Like, you know, and I was like, oh, yeah, this is not what I’m interested in talking about, or, you know, how can they? How can they rejig assessments so that it’s more student focused and things like that? And I’m like, oh, okay, I am not, this is not where my thoughts are when I’m not in the school. So that’s another good indicator of where my passion and interest was that I didn’t necessarily see until much later.
Heather Pearce Campbell 18:43
Yeah, that’s so yeah, it’s so interesting to reflect on those, you know, different times where we could have stayed on this path or taken this turn, and instead, we did this one, right.
Heather Pearce Campbell 18:55
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Heather Pearce Campbell 20:45
When you were in the days of freelancing, I’d love to know like when did it shift for you from freelancing to you know, creating your own business around it right. You mentioned Jay Forset making a comment? I’d love to know those early days of how you began to actually set yourself up as an entrepreneur doing this in your own business?
Karen Rowe 21:10
Well, I mean, first of all, I couldn’t believe that I was getting paid to write. So that’s where I’m at what I say to people is like, what would you do for free? Or what are you already doing for free. And as I mentioned, I had been sending emails to my friends and family on vacation, and then that turn evolved into a travel blog. And then, you know, so like, when someone was paying me $300 to first like go to a movie, a concert, a festival, a show, and then free tickets for the show. And then I get to write about it, and get paid for it. And then they publish it. And then like, you know, I was like this is great. So that part was fun. But the thing is, like when the reality of like, okay, that $300 for two hours of work was great, but I have a more, you know, a rent to pay and bills like that, right? So big. So what I actually say to people is don’t do it the way I did it, because, you know, I left teaching, so I had no income. So I did take, I worked at a temp agency for a while. And that was actually great, because I didn’t have to bring work home with me. So I was going in working a nine to five I was doing some basic admin work. And, you know, I was working in the mailroom and an oil and guy, you’re scrapping it all together. Yeah. So I mean, the great thing about that is that that met my financial needs. And then I had bandwidth and energy to come home and write articles and go to these events and things like that on the weekends that were paying. And then when I got that book contract, I told you that they paid that it was that I only had six weeks to write it. And that was a flat fee for service. So you know, it was not commission or royalty based or anything. And I’ll just tell you that how much I got paid for that book was $4,000, which let me tell you, I was like I have arrived, I quit my temp job for six weeks, and I let I’m here. Like I was rocky bell bow on the top of…
Heather Pearce Campbell 23:16
Ring it, bring it.
Karen Rowe 23:18
I’m quitting my job. And then I got a second book deal from that same publisher, and it was the same $4,000 but they’re like, don’t worry, we’re gonna give you three months to write it. So at first I was relieved. But then I was like, Oh crap, like, I’m spending all of my time doing this research and writing for this book. And so then I had to, of course, get another temp job. And so then at one point, I was working two or three different jobs plus trying to write a book. Plus, I was faced with all kinds of like, I think the first book I had a fear of failure. But I didn’t have enough time to overthink it because I had a deadline, the second book that I was comparing myself to the first book, and I had like a fear of success. And so there was just a bunch of things that I had to confront in who I was, and am I really going to make a goal of this and all that sort of stuff. So out of that, you know, in desperation, I reached out to Jay, who was doing business coaching at the time and ended up joining one of his mastermind groups and so I was spending every weekend for a while they’re just learning how to build a business and things like that. Right. So and then just applying I mean, the good thing about publishing those first two books with the publisher was that I really got to cut my teeth in the process and learn how it worked and things like that. And then I was starting to apply that with with clients. You know and at first I kind of I kind of took every any you want me to write something I’ll take out do blogs I’ll do whatever. And that’s really how I got I start is that I was taking temp work and contract work and part time stuff to cover the rent until I could make a full go of my business, which wasn’t really until I moved to the United States in 2013. And again, interestingly, I created a situation where I wasn’t legally entitled to do any other work except for right. So like, I couldn’t then go get a job as a barista at Starbucks or anything like that. So it really forced me to be all in and I would have told you before that I was all in, but kind of creating that situation where it had no escape hatch, where it’s like, Listen, if this business can’t sustain me, it’s not viable. And the consequences were so big, that it forced me to confront some of the things that I hated doing, like making sales calls and asking for, you know, and closing the deal, like, you know, and then the I had to confront, like, the value that I bring to someone, and there was a lot of development work done around. Again, I told you, I would work for free, and I practically was for a lot of years versus understanding what I do is worth to somebody else, not what it’s worth to me. But it’s worth to somebody else. So that was the gift and moving to the United States is that, you know, if I didn’t make it, I wouldn’t have to get on a plane and move back to Canada, which I just didn’t want to do with that time.
Heather Pearce Campbell 26:32
Yeah. Well, yeah, it is so interesting that, you know, I love the language like here, you set yourself up for a circumstance that like literally forced your growth to the next level, right in your business and having to make a go of it. What like, as you look back, what is do you have a favorite part of your journey? Do you have a part of your journey that just is like one of the it could be a turning point, or something that just really stands out to you?
Karen Rowe 27:02
Well, I mean, for me, it was, I had multiple goals in the business. And around 2016, my goal was to be debt free, no, 2015, my goal was to be debt free in 2016, was my goal to hit six figures in the business. And I did both of those. And then just, you know, after that, it was like, I want to buy a house. And let me tell you buying a house in the United States when you’re not a citizen, or a permanent resident, and you’re self employed. Took something right. Yeah. So yeah, so for me, really, when, you know, now I basically work part time hours and have a full time income. So for me that you know, and I know that people like Jay are like, you know, you want to set up your business so that you can, you know, it runs without you sort of stuck right to like, I’m really happy doing what I do. And I don’t want to 10x my business and I go to well, you know.
Heather Pearce Campbell 28:04
That’s right, there are certain people who just really are service providers, right. They love doing the service. And I support a lot of those folks who come from like, the professional spaces and, and I’m one of those people too, right, that provides a service that requires my time. So I totally understand. And I love, you know, hearing the parts that were like the big step forwards and reaching certain milestones and like the meaning for that for you. Because now hearing about like your book at the beach, what you do on a weekend, right? And you sit down with somebody for what is it three days? Three days? Yeah, three days? Yeah. So talk to us about even how your services evolved to what you’re doing now. Right. Tell us about this part time schedule and what it is that you help folks with?
Karen Rowe 28:56
Well, I mean, I do still really like the client facing work. And I still really liked developing that first draft, right? Because I think the most challenging thing for people with writing a book is going from nothing to something like how you have on paper, what was in your head, so that for me is so deeply satisfying. I still do not I just I do less of it. Right? So like, the most books I’ve ever done at one time was 12. And it was too much. That sounds like a lot. It was a lot and I wasn’t you know, I’m not on my own. I do have a stable of editors. I have graphic designers that do the cover and the layout and things like that i I’ve had a variety of different assistants that helped me with transcripts, or I’ve had like a director of operations. So you know, just feeling out what works. And really when the pandemic hit my business was impacted quite a bit by people obviously, reassessing their own businesses and whether or not it worked for them to have a blog. that time. Yeah. So I really scaled back quite a bit and started doing the work more myself. I just do fewer books now. So like right now I think I have five. I was doing eight at the start of the year, and I was working weekends more often than I wanted to. So now I’ve just really learned to say no, or refer them to colleagues if I’m not an absolute hell yes. And we were talking about that before the podcast. Like, I feel like everyone says, like, Oh, if it’s not a Hell, yes, it’s a no, which seems really practical and straightforward. Except often, choosing to write a book or even running a business can be quite emotional, right, especially when there’s income wrapped up into it. And so it’s hard when I have a really viable author who has the, the money to hire us, for me to say no, because I’m already at capacity and the stress of it is not worth it to me. And I also know myself, I don’t take any project lightly like I jump in with both feet, I’m in there with you till the end. And it’s also not a short term engagement, like I’m working with my authors a minimum of nine months, but it’s often closer to a year or a year and a half. So like, I really do need to love them, love their idea be invested in them to get them over the finish line, right. And there’s so many X factors, there’s so many things that can happen in my life in my authors lives, you know, include pandemic is a good example. But there’s all kinds, you know, people are getting COVID, or oh, you know, whatever, there’s a hurricane, right? There’s so many things that can impact timelines and deadlines that I’ve just had to be more intentional and more mindful about how many projects I’m taking on.
Heather Pearce Campbell 31:48
So yeah, it’s such an important lesson. I feel like for so many people in their businesses, right. I’d love to, like shift a little bit to the author side and ask you a few questions for like business owners that are experts that are thinking about writing a book, what do you see what are some of the top mistakes that people make when they are trying to write a book?
Karen Rowe 32:12
I mean, I think the first mistake that they make, obviously, is trying to do it by themselves, especially to save money. The other thing is, I don’t think a lot of people unless you’ve written a book, have any idea how long it takes, how complex it is, how much editing is required, and just the different levels of it, especially now since we’re self publishing, right. So in the old days, when you had a publisher, you know, you would focus on the writing, but you had an editor, and it was a fairly straightforward back and forth. And then they would take on all the pre publication, meaning they would take on the cover design and the layout, they would often have final say, for picking the title and the cover. But now that we’re in the days of self publishing, not only are you focused on writing it, but you’re also focused on making the decisions for all of those things like title and cover, and you don’t know what you’re doing. Yeah, so it can be very overwhelming. There’s a lot of decision fatigue. Authors also don’t set aside enough time for it. And what I always say is, you know, writing the book is actually only 50%. The determining the success of a book, the other 50% is in the marketing. So strategy, marketing, yeah, people focus on the writing. And they get to the end, and they’re like, Oh, thank goodness, I’m done. Now what? And it’s like, well, actually, you need another, you know, six to nine months to start to market this book and set it up. So it’s kind of like you’re having a housewarming, and you invite a bunch of people over but you haven’t moved into the house yet. Like you have the house. But there’s a bunch of people at your door, and you’re like, oh, okay, I wasn’t ready. So that’s, that’s a mistake. And then just in terms of the writing, what I would say is one of the biggest mistakes is they don’t know who they’re writing to. And like, I’ve heard people say, like, Oh, my book is for everyone, which is kiss of death, right? Because the more I’m really a fan of Micronesian, so the more clear and specific you can be, the more likely you are to attract that person and are you gonna get people that fall on either side of that target? Absolutely. But you know, a book, especially a title, the joke is, you know, the title of a book says, Hey, you and the subtitle says, Yes, you know, that the people know like, Oh, this is the book for me.
Heather Pearce Campbell 34:49
I love it. Hey, you! Yes, you!
Karen Rowe 34:52
And like knowing who you’re writing to really helps inform your writing decisions. So not only the language and the tone. But what content to include? And what to leave out? Like, is my ideal reader already going to know this information? Are they going to feel like I’m talking down to them as I explain it? Or is this brand new concept to them that I need to explain?
Heather Pearce Campbell 35:16
So that’s good points. And especially in dealing with experts, right? It’s a little bit like I’ve had people on the podcast to help expert based businesses create a course right and consistently, one of the big mistakes I hear them say that folks make is trying to put everything they know into the course. Right? And maybe I don’t know if the same is true of the book writing process. But I would think that that process of learning what to filter out what to include, you know, one stays, what goes is really hard and really important.
Karen Rowe 35:48
Yeah. And then the other thing I would say, a mistake people make is that they focus too much on the data, like the facts and the research and things like that. But actually, humans are hardwired to remember stories. So if you can focus on like compelling stories that solve a pain point for your ideal reader, then that’s what’s going to have people not only trust you more, but create rapport with you. They’ll be you know, crawling across broken glass to work with you. And then the other great thing about having a book is that they self vet, right? They know if they read your book, right? They’ll either know for me or not for me, but if if you’re not for them, they’ll probably just stop reading. But the point is that you’re not spending your time vetting them and determining whether or not a fit, they’ll automatically do that, and then reach out to you for further relationship if they want it.
Heather Pearce Campbell 36:47
I love that relationship of the mean, tying that concept together the book helping to be one of the vetting mechanisms, right? Yes, yeah. Yeah. When is the right time for somebody to write a book?
Karen Rowe 37:01
Well, the first thing I’ll say is, if you’re a start up, entrepreneur, you shouldn’t be writing a book, right? Like in those early days of writing a business or running a business, you should be focused on revenue, and clients and building your client base. But once you’re established in your business, or if you’re a serial entrepreneur, and you know, this isn’t your first time, and you have proof of concept, that’s a good time to start reading a book, right? The other thing I say is the best time to start writing a book is right now. Because you’re never gonna feel like you have time and you’re never gonna feel ready to kind of like, when it’s a good time to have kids, right? Same thing. Never met, just do it now.
Heather Pearce Campbell 37:48
Oh, my God, it’s hilarious. Hopefully, it’s a little different on the scale of like, not knowing what you’re getting yourself into right kids versus, but yeah. Oh, that’s funny. And then what are some questions that people should be asking themselves before they start writing?
Karen Rowe 38:08
Well, first, I would say that question about who am I writing to? Right? So yeah, really clear and specific on your target reader, your avatar? Yeah. But I’d also ask like, how am I going to get a return on investment from this book, because it’s either going to cost you a lot of time, or a lot of money, or both. So one of the conversations I have with authors before we ever start writing is, what do you want this book to do for you? So how are you going to leverage it to build and grow your business or help you meet your goals? And so the thumb question there is, what are my goals with the business, first of all, the book, but with the business, and then ask yourself, is this book going to help me get to that goal?
Heather Pearce Campbell 38:54
So are you getting into all of this stuff with your clients? Like in the process of working with them? Is this where you’re starting with them is like, what is the goal for this? How does this relate to your overall business plan? All of that?
Karen Rowe 39:07
Yeah. So I start with defining our ideal reader, and that and then creating an avatar from that. So those are asking questions like what’s keeping your ideal reader up at night? What pain are they experience? And how do you solve that pain for them? And more specifically, how is the book going to solve that pain for them? So in real broad terms, a book is kind of broken up into three parts one, you identify their pain to you talk about why you can help them solve that pain, and usually it’s because you’ve experienced it and solve it for yourself, or you have, you know, a program or something that will help them solve it or guide them through it. And then you solve the problem for them.
Heather Pearce Campbell 39:52
It’s like a mini business plan, right? You’re walking people through essentially a micro business plan for the book.
Karen Rowe 39:58
Yeah, yeah. I mean, and that’s a little oversimplified, but just it’s a good place to start of like, you know, what’s the problem? How do you solve it? And why am I the best person to solve that problem?
Heather Pearce Campbell 40:09
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Is there a favorite tip or hack that you’d like to share with potential book writers?
Karen Rowe 40:18
Yes. I would say if you really want to finish your book, if you’re serious about it, you want to create a crisis for yourself, which is simply a fancy way of saying to create an external, non negotiable deadline. There’s no wiggle room. So I have had clients who have gotten a sponsor for their book. But then they have some external accountability to someone who has invested in them on theirs who booked a venue for their book launch and put dollars down or had their like I had a an author who was in insurance, and one of her major clients paid for the book launch. So I’ve had another author who had an event and sold 1500 tickets to their event, and the book had to be done before the event. So things like that, where you will get to a point in the book writing where you hit a wall or don’t want to continue or are bored of it or sick of your book or whatever. But having that deadline means that you power through that in whatever way that looks like. I mean, that varies. But the most successful authors have had this external non negotiable deadline, where they just don’t have the wiggle room, right?
Heather Pearce Campbell 41:46
Oh, my gosh, I love that so much. I mean, how many of us truthfully, if we are honest with ourselves work better against a deadline, right? Yeah. And it is true, because, like, if you even for anybody that’s familiar with the Colby test, like I just had a guy on Justin Breen, who is like, it’s so funny if he makes an introduction to another human being for you. He’s like, Heather, you know, whatever my numbers are 7364 Whatever. Right. Meet Rob, you know, 6491 Anyways, it’s hilarious. Like he lives for the Colby. But it does tell you what motivates people. Yeah. And it was really interesting, because I tend to think of myself as like a pretty consistent action taker, but when I look at my Colby stuff, know, what motivates me is deadlines. I’m very low on the follow through turns out, yeah, so I’m really high on Quickstart. Anyways, it is really interesting, but I love so much this concept of like, you know, create an external crisis or something that you’re responsible to that is a motivator, because it’s really like anything, whether it’s attending to, you know, I think of people who, like, teach others about like physical health. And just like, it doesn’t matter how you feel today, whether you want to workout or not, you just go do it. Right. It doesn’t matter then for people who are professional writers, doesn’t matter whether you feel like writing or not, you get up and you do it. Right.
Karen Rowe 43:18
Yeah, it’s interesting that you bring up those like personality tendencies and stuff like that. I’m not that familiar with the covey. But I’m a very big fan of Gretchen Rubin, she has the four tendencies. And so there is question or upholder, obliger and rebel, and I use this with my own clients. I’m an obliger. And what that means is I will never break an agreement or commitment to another person, but I break them to myself all the time. So knowing this means I need to have commitments of goals and deadlines. That means I need to have a personal trainer because I’m not going to work out on my own. If I was writing, it means that I have to be submitting chapters or writing to somebody else and have a call with them once a week. That sort of thing, right?
Heather Pearce Campbell 44:11
Karen Rowe 44:13
Upholders, on the other hand, are very good at being self-directed. So they don’t need that level of hand holding questioners. Once they understand the why behind something, they can become upholders, and rebels don’t they ignore their own rules and everyone else’s rules? So then there’s like up do you have to take a counter approach and say, Oh, don’t write your book then if you don’t want to and then there’s little reverse psychology there.
Heather Pearce Campbell 44:41
Like that gal on the insurance commercial, right? There’s a really funny one lately where the guy she’s like, gonna go get tacos. He’s like, net are here. Yeah, he says, whatever. I think she says you want to go get tacos. He’s like now tacos are messy. And she’s like, Yeah, right. And then she just like piles on and then by the end of He’s like, Yeah, let’s go get tacos. Yeah. That’s so funny. I think that my son is a questioner like, everything is opposite day, right? Yeah. Yeah, totally.
Karen Rowe 45:11
So, I mean, the point is whether it’s for tendencies, whether it’s, you know, there’s so many out there now, I find that it’s helpful because I think my internal dialogue before especially with like, for me, it’s not writing, it’s fitness. But I just had this whole story about myself that like, I’m terrible at working out, or I have no willpower, whatever that is. And it’s like, oh, no, I’m just an obliger. I just need to have a be accountable to another person. And then that takes it out of the morality. And this is a tendency. So knowing that what can I do to set myself up for success?
Heather Pearce Campbell 45:51
Hmm, that’s so good. Yeah, well, and even understanding that like, for so many of us about our clients, right, it’s really helpful. Karen, I love this, this has been so fun to hear about your journey, and about, you know, the ways that you support your clients, but also for people that are wanting to write a book, that have had it on their list for a while, some things that they should be thinking about, because all of this, I think is really important to understand even before you get started. Yeah, for folks that want to connect with you, where would you send them?
Karen Rowe 46:25
Well, I mean, I would say you can find me just about anywhere on social media, right? LinkedIn, Instagram, if it you know, that’s the best way to connect with me really, probably Instagram.
Heather Pearce Campbell 46:39
Awesome. So you are a social media person, some people I asked, and they’re like, oh, just my website, which I totally respect as well.
Karen Rowe 46:46
if you’re gonna go to my website to its karenrowe.com. I will say, though, that it, you know, we didn’t talk about this, but I don’t really like marketing. And so I don’t do marketing. So my Instagram, as well, it is a business Instagram, it’s really mostly about what I’m doing in my life. So if you want to see my plants and our yard renovations in our…
Heather Pearce Campbell 47:07
Right. Your cute little house.
Karen Rowe 47:12
Then you could and you know, when I have a book launch, or I do talk about writing and some of the challenges and things like that, but it’s really whatever I’m interested in, and people are in a relationship with me. So to know that, if we aren’t going to be working together for 12 months, you’ve got to decide whether or not that’s a fit for you.
Heather Pearce Campbell 47:34
Yeah, love it. Well, and I know you’ve also got some other resources, like I think you’ve got a rapid results outline tool, or something you want to share just for a minute about that. And then I know you also have a course that will walk people through some of the I mean, I think all of the things you teach your clients, it’s just they could go through it on their own right. Will you share about those?
Karen Rowe 47:56
Sure. So yeah, I have an online course. And it’s, you can find it at bookwritingmaster.com. And the rapid results outline that’s there, as well.
Heather Pearce Campbell 48:08
And I’ll share the links. Yeah, so you so I know the rapid results is a little bit longer of a link, but we’ll share those in the show notes page for folks that are interested, you can find those at legalwebsitewarrior.com/podcast, just find Karen’s episode. So yeah, she shares for just a minute, Karen about those resources.
Karen Rowe 48:29
Yeah, so the rapid results outline I have a lot of people say that, you know, I don’t know what to write about, or I don’t have time to write a book, the rapid results outline, especially if you just mentioned being a Quickstart. I’m a Quickstart, too. And it’s intended to get your book outline written in 20 minutes, it’s basically going to cut your excuses if you’re in any kind of analysis paralysis. It’s a timed exercise that will basically stop you from overthinking or your inner listening to your inner critic, and it basically just pulls your book right out of you. And then you can use that as the roadmap to get started in your writing. And if you go to bookwritingmaster.com and click on old courses, you’ll see that rapid results outline is listed as a course that is no charge. But it gives you an idea of that quick win of what it would be like to actually get started on your book and have a result instead of just reading a bunch of stuff and deciding that you might start it tomorrow. And then the book writing masterclass is a continuation once you have the rapid results outline. It’s everything that I do with my clients in the book at the beach, to get your book written in six weeks. Now, I say that with a caveat that you can’t work on anything else if you want a first draft done in six weeks, but it’s also designed that you can do you know, work it into your schedule so that you actually have a realistic way of accomplishing that goal.
Heather Pearce Campbell 49:59
That’s amazing. I love these resources that give people a place to start and a way to create that quick win like that rapid results. Resource sounds awesome. So if you are listening, hop over and check that out again at the show notes page, legalwebsitewarrior.com/podcast. Karen, such a joy to hear a little bit more about your story. What final tip would you like to leave people with?
Karen Rowe 50:25
I mean, I just say I think everyone has stories to tell. So and, you know, no one’s going to know what that story is if you don’t write it down. So I would encourage you to just take the first step, get that rapid results outline and see what comes up. Because you might not think it’s very interesting, but I promise you, there’s someone out there that wishes that they had the information that you have in your head. So that’s what I would say.
Heather Pearce Campbell 50:54
I love it. Well, I know I mean, I’m one of the folks I will readily admit, I feel like I probably have more than one book in me. And I remember when we first met you talking about this, I need to just go do it. So yeah, I’m gonna be one of the folks on the list that goes and checks out that resource. Karen, it’s such a joy to see you. I’m so glad. Yes, I’m so glad that we were able to connect.
Karen Rowe 51:17
Yeah, me too. Take care.
GGGB Outro 51:21
Thank you for joining us today on the Guts, Grit and Great Business® podcast. We hope that we’ve added a little fuel to your tank, some coffee to your cup and pep in your step to keep you moving forward in your own great adventures. For key takeaways, links to any resources mentioned in today’s show and more, see the show notes which can be found at www.legalwebsitewarrior.com/podcast. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast and if you enjoyed today’s conversation, please give us some stars and a review on Apple podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcast so others will find us too. Keep up the great work you are doing in the world and we’ll see you next week.