JF1174: Writing a Book For Your Brand And Business #SkillSetSunday With Honorée Corder
Today’s guest has written several books. Honorée says that writing a book can separate you from the crowd, and you’ll become the go to expert in your field. She likes to help other entrepreneurs write and publish their own books. If you enjoyed today’s episode remember to subscribe in iTunes and leave us a review!
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Honorée Corder Background:
- Chief Writer and Author, TEDx Speaker – Honorée Enterprises Publishing, LLC.
- Hal Elrod’s business partner in The Miracle Morning book series
- Coaches business professionals, writers, and aspiring authors who want to publish their books to bestseller status
- Author of several books, including The Prosperous Writer book series and Vision to Reality
- Based in Austin, Texas
- Say hi to her at www.HonoreeCorder.com
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Joe Fairless: Best Ever listeners, how are you doing? Welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I’m Joe Fairless, and this is the world’s longest-running daily real estate investing podcast. We only talk about the best advice ever, we don’t get into any of that fluffy stuff.
Because it’s the weekend — so I hope you’re having a best ever weekend, first and foremost, and because today is Sunday, we’ve got a special segment for you, like we normally do on Sundays, called Skillset Sunday. We’re gonna talk about a specific skill, so that by the end of our conversation you will come away with a skill, or at least hone an existing skill related to this that you already have. The skill today is about writing a book for our own brand and to help us with our own platform, so that as real estate investors and entrepreneurs we can get the word out. I’m sure there’s lots of other benefits that today’s guest is gonna talk to us about – Honorée Corder, how are you doing?
Honorée Corder: I am fantastic, how are you?
Joe Fairless: I’m fantastic as well, nice to have you on the show. A little bit about Honorée – she is the Chief Writer and Author, she is a TEDx speaker of Honorée Enterprises Publishing. She is also Hal Elrod’s business partner in The Miracle Morning book series. Hal has been on the show as well, as I’m sure, Best Ever listeners, you remember our conversation with Hal. She is the author of several books; one of them is called “You Must Write a Book”, right?
Honorée Corder: Yes!
Joe Fairless: So very straightforward, not reading in between the lines there. Based in Austin, Texas… With that being said, do you wanna give the Best Ever listeners a little bit more about your background? Then we’ll get into the focus of our conversation.
Honorée Corder: Sure. I’m a serial entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and I have written – as of this morning – 27 books. 26 of them are published. Then I’ve done another dozen with Hal, and then I work with senior level professionals to help them to write and self-publish and launch their books, so that they can boost their brand, get more business, and become the go-to expert in their field.
Joe Fairless: So the focus of our conversation is writing a book – benefits, and how to do it. When you first engage with a client of yours, how do you approach it? What’s the conversation sound like?
Honorée Corder: Well, first I wanna make sure that they understand that it’s a commitment to write and publish a book, the expectations that I know that they need to have, helping them to set their own expectations, and then figuring out what the focus of the book could be, and it’s usually what they are finding their conversations with their ideal clients are centered around.
Joe Fairless: For example.
Honorée Corder: Okay, with real estate agents – everyone is a real estate agent… Almost everyone, right? And there are two different categories of real estate agents. There are professional realtors, and then there are hobbyists, people who have their license for one reason or another, and you’re frankly competing with all of those people.
When you’re talking to someone, you have to differentiate yourself from your competitors, so you would pick a topic as a real estate agent that would engender you as the expert to them. You could write a book on being a first-time homebuyer, or on being an expert in a particular neighborhood… Does that make sense?
Joe Fairless: It does, yeah.
Honorée Corder: So we just kind of drill down to what is the most logical topic for them to express their expertise in, and how is that going to fit into their business, how is that gonna position them.
Joe Fairless: Can you give maybe a case study of someone you’ve worked with and the book that they did, just so that we’ve got some context? And sorry for the background, that’s my dog… My fiancée just got home riding her bike, so he gets really excited.
Honorée Corder: What’s the dog’s name? You need to give it a shoutout.
Joe Fairless: Yeah, a shoutout to Jack. Well, now he’s quiet, even better.
Honorée Corder: Excellent. Jack is like, “Wait, dad’s on the phone. I had better be quiet.”
Joe Fairless: Exactly.
Honorée Corder: Alright. Well, I’ve worked with a lady named Beth Walker, and she wrote a book “Never Pay [00:05:03].14] For College.” We’ve been friends for a long time and she actually reached out to me and said “You’ve been saying for a number of years I need to write a book, I need to write a book, and I’m gonna write a book now. What do I put in the book?” So she put in her book the advice that she could give her ideal in client, in general brush strokes… Keeping in mind that obviously the advice that I give or that you give or that she would give to any individual set of parents would be specific to their situation.
When I wrote “You Must Write a Book”, I gave about 85%-90% of the advice that I would give to any person who wanted to write a book, and there’s that 10%-15% that I advise someone when I can get into their particular situation.
Joe Fairless: I love that. That right there is the approach – just write a book about advice you could give to your ideal client, and even if you don’t try to do general brush strokes, you have to, because everyone’s situation is somewhat different than your case; maybe it’s 10%-15% different across the board, but you can give the general advice, and then that ultimately would attract people to your ideal clients, and then they would engage you in whatever way that you’ve got set up.
Honorée Corder: Yes, and a book does so many wonderful things. If someone out there is considering, “Hm, I haven’t written a book… What should go in my book should I write a book?” A book differentiates you. It is the last thing that really differentiates someone in their field. If you hand someone a business card, you’re basically handing them a piece of paper and asking them to throw it away for you, but if you hand someone a book, I don’t know anyone who would actually throw a book away. They might donate, they would pass it on to someone, but they definitely aren’t gonna throw it away. So you are differentiating yourself, and I myself have gotten second and third and fourth-degree referrals.
I give my book to someone, they say “Oh, this is fantastic”, they hire men. Then they pass it on to their colleague or their friend or one of their strategic partners, and then that person calls me and says “Okay, you can’t help Joe and not help me… I want in on the gig.” So what happens is your book becomes an evergreen piece of marketing material which is unlike a flier or a brochure or a business card.
Joe Fairless: One thing that I do with my investors – so my main clients are my investors in my deals – is I send them a signed copy of my book with a little personal note to them, and you’re right, it differentiates… And I doubt people throw it away. They might not ever read it, and they might tuck it away or just stuff it in their junk drawer, but I personally couldn’t make myself throw a book away; there’s just something about it that I wouldn’t do.
Honorée Corder: Right. There’s something wired in us as people that books are in some way sacred, so we might give it away, or we might keep it forever in a box, but we definitely wouldn’t throw it in the trash. And at that time when it’s needed, they go “Wait a minute, I met that guy who was an expert in real estate investing…” or someone says “Do you know anyone who’s an expert in that particular field?” and they say “You know what, I do.” And they go in and find your book, and they pass your book on. It’s fantastic.
Joe Fairless: What are the common challenges and solutions to those challenges that someone has when writing a book?
Honorée Corder: Time is a big excuse that I hear… [laughs]
Joe Fairless: In legitimate reason, right?
Honorée Corder: No, I don’t think it’s legitimate at all, because when I have someone do an accounting of their time, most people spend an inordinate amount of time doing things that are not important, and failing to do the thing that they know that they need to do or that they want to do, something that’s important.
So when we do a time audit, I can find minutes every day, or an hour every day where they could write their book. I actually have a book called “The Nifty 15: Write Your Book In Just 15 Minutes a Day”, because you can write 100-250 words in 15 minutes, and a non-fiction book runs between 30,000 and 50,000 words, so you can do the math backwards and it’s only gonna take you a couple hundred days, even at 100-250 words a day to write an entire manuscript. So when someone says “I don’t have the time”, what they could be saying is “This is not a priority for me.” But when you make it a priority, then you carve out the time and it’s on your calendar, and you do it day in and day out, week in and week out until you have a finished product.
Joe Fairless: Did you write The Nifty 15 at 15 minutes a day?
Honorée Corder: I actually did. My goal was to write The Nifty 15 in 15 minutes a day over the course of 100 days to prove that it was possible, and my co-author in that book wrote a 70,000-word fiction book in 100 days, writing 15 minutes a day.
Joe Fairless: Wow! Was it your co-author’s first book? That sounds like that would be the job for someone who’s written at least a couple books to pull that off, the 70,000-word one.
Honorée Corder: Yes, yes. [laughs] The 70,000-word book was not his first book, it was probably number six or seven. But it was a full fiction book, and he posted in [unintelligible [00:10:04].29] digital version, so people could read what a rough draft reads like also. So that leads us into what’s another problem – a lot of people want to write a perfect first draft. I would love to say that after so many books I sit down and just write this brilliant, shiny prose. And every time I turn my manuscript over to my editor I know it’s gonna come back to me looking like a crime scene.
It comes back with notes and corrections, and I’m fine with that. That’s the expectation, so that is the expectation I set for anyone who is writing a manuscript – know that you will use the advice of professionals, in this case professional editors and proofreaders, to make your book a lovely read for the reader.
Joe Fairless: How do you find the right editor and proofreader?
Honorée Corder: By recommendation. This is my acid test – someone who has “Editor” on their tax return.
Joe Fairless: Got it.
Honorée Corder: So you don’t want someone who is an English teacher or someone who does editing on the side. You want someone for whom editing is their full-time gig.
Joe Fairless: How much does that cost?
Honorée Corder: Editors usually charge by the page or by the word, so for one of my 30,000-word manuscripts I might pay between $800 and $1,000. For the longer non-fiction manuscripts of The Miracle Morning we’ve had manuscripts between 50,000 and 70,000 words, and that will cost around $2,000, $2,500 for the full edit and the proofreading.
Joe Fairless: Got it, okay.
Honorée Corder: Editing is gonna be one of your two major expenses. There are four main expenses of producing a book, and the most expensive one is going to be most likely your editing and proofreading.
Joe Fairless: Okay, please elaborate on the four.
Honorée Corder: So the second one is your book cover. When we say “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, well, we do. [laughs] You have to get a quality cover; you don’t wanna go to Fiverr… If someone says “I’ll do a cover for you for $100”, run screaming in the other direction. Don’t do it.
Find someone who is a graphic designer and does book covers, and have them do your book covers. I can recommend a couple people.
Joe Fairless: Roughly how much does that cost?
Honorée Corder: Between $1,000 and $2,000. If you have someone to do the front cover, full cover… So you have a front cover for your digital book, your full cover for your print version. If you choose to do hardcover, then that will be another version, and then your audiobook requires a square version of your cover. So there’s definitely three, possibly four different covers, and you need someone who understands the dimensions and all of the nuances of that.
Joe Fairless: Is that including the back cover, in the rough estimate that you said, between 1k to 2k?
Honorée Corder: Yeah, the full covers. When you do an eBook, the only thing you need is the front cover, but I would never tell a professional just to do an eBook, I would always advise that they do a paperback at the very least. So that’s the full cover, which is the front, the spine, and then the back cover, which includes the back cover copy, probably a mini bio… All sorts of fun things that make a book look professional.
Joe Fairless: So editor proofreading, one category; book cover is the second category. What are three and four?
Honorée Corder: Three and four are the interior design of your book. You’ll want someone who does professional interior design. You can get a very basic design for the inside of your book for a couple hundred dollars. You can pay between $500 and $1,000 for a custom interior design, which is fantastic… So that includes images, custom fonts, or specially designed fonts, front matter and back matter… Front matter is “Thank you for reading my book! Please join my e-mail list.” As professionals, we’re adding people to our newsletter lists. The back matter is your bio, and any invitations to things, whatever you would put in the back, and that varies by person.
The final thing – number four – is the copywriting. So writing is one skill, copywriting is a completely different skillset, and I don’t leave my book description/sales copy to chance. The wording that goes on the back cover is a very specifically written set of words that if you’re looking at a book on Amazon, that’s your sales copy; it’s the description of the book. So that a little bit edited is what goes on the back cover. So you hire someone to do that, and that will cost around $200 or $300. It doesn’t cost very much, but it sure makes a difference.
In fact, I’ve read statistics that say it’s the number one conversion. So if you get someone to look at your book cover and they think your book cover is great, if your copy is bad, they’ll pass. You’ve gotta have great copy.
Joe Fairless: So all-in, what would it cost?
Honorée Corder: All-in top number for those four things – it should cost $6,000 or less to have those elements included in your book. You just have to know the right people and the guidance to give them.
Joe Fairless: What are your thoughts on Amazon’s Create Spaces, and Book Baby, and other platforms like that?
Honorée Corder: I don’t know Book Baby, that is not an Amazon platform, but Create Space is where you can get your print books if you’re not buying in quantity, so up to 250 books. So you can go to a traditional printer and get a perfect bound document, which is what we call a paperback book, if you’re going in quantities of 250 and up. But I use Create Space for all of my books. I was the queen of the third car garage, it was full of all of my different boxes of books, and I was delighted when Amazon introduced Create Space and I could get a quality book, and then if I wanted ten copies, I could order ten copies. I need 400 for a speaking engagement I’m giving in a couple of months, so I’m ordering 400 books and shipping them right to the hotel; I don’t have to do anything, it’s fantastic.
Joe Fairless: Yeah, I used Create Space for my second book, and I liked that a lot better than what I mentioned earlier, Book Baby, which basically would be their competitor; most people, I imagine, buy books via Amazon (that’s the number one way), so you might as well get them with the Amazon publishing platform, because I’m sure there are other residual benefits as well.
Honorée Corder: Sure. If you’re publishing on Amazon specifically – and this is more of a tactical decision, but if you’re exclusive to Amazon in terms of your online sales, then you enroll in KDP Select, which is the marital partner, if you will, of Kindle Unlimited, where people pay to read for free books, but they’re paying the $10/months and the authors get paid for the pages that are read. You get more promotion kick from that.
Joe Fairless: What haven’t we talked about that you wanna mention as it relates to getting the book published and why we should write a book?
Honorée Corder: Well, I think it’s important for everyone to consider what they want out of their business and what their goals are in terms of their business and their life, and one of the fastest ways to move the needle is to have a book to market their business with, to pass that out and to create conversations and to create relationships and to referral partnerships with other professionals. So if you’re on the fence in terms of “Should I write a book or shouldn’t I write a book?”, I highly encourage you to write a book.
I wrote my first book because Mark Victor Hansen, when I met him, he said “What do you do?” and I said “Oh, I’m a business coach and a speaker”, and he said “Haha… Everybody’s a coach and a speaker. You must write a book.” I had no idea what any of that entailed, but I took the advice, I sat down and took another piece of his advice, which was to take a popular presentation that I had and turn it into a book, and I did that.
Then I had a book, and then I was an author, so when someone would ask me for a business card, I would say “I don’t have a business card, but I do have a book” and they went “Oh, you’re an author…!” and there was just something about that that made a difference. It’s still a big deal, and this was 2004 for me, so 13 years ago was when I published my first book, and since then being able to say I’m author, entrepreneur, speaker, coach – I go down the line, but I always start with author, because that’s the thing that differentiates you from your competitors.
So if your goals are to double your revenue, you need a book. If your goals are to work less and make more, you probably need a book, because it can be marketing on your behalf, while you’re not there.
Joe Fairless: Honorée, where can the Best Ever listeners get in touch with you, or how can they get involved?
Honorée Corder: Sure, so I am at HonoreeCorder.com, and I am @Honoree on every social media platform known to [unintelligible [00:19:03].14] except Snapchat; I’ve drawn the line.
Joe Fairless: Oh, forget Snapchat, yeah.
Honorée Corder: I’m not doing the Snapchat, but everywhere else I’m @Honoree.
Joe Fairless: Sweet. Alright, well thank you for being on the show. Thanks for talking about why we’ve gotta write a book and the benefits to it, as well as some very tactical examples for what costs are involved, and then getting into the details there. So the four major expenses – editor and proofreading, the book cover, interior design, the copywriting… All-in about 6k. The advice for approaching writing a book – I loved this, and that is that we should write a book that gives advice to our ideal client in general brush strokes. So you must write a book that has about 90% of the advice anyone can use; 10% obviously needs to be personalized to that individual, so it’d be impossible to do that.
And then The Nifty 15, for any Best Ever listener who is looking to write a book, but doesn’t think that they have enough time, then as you mentioned, it’s about priorities. We spend our time the way that we prioritize our time. We all have the same amount of time to spend during a day, so what are our priorities? When we prioritize it, then we can knock out a book in 15-minute increments a day, and The Nifty 15 is an example of that. And then lastly, forget the business card, and give out a book.
Thanks a lot, Honorée, for being on the show. I hope you have a best ever weekend, and we’ll talk to you soon.