Can you tell me a bit about yourself and how long you have been writing and working with writers?
I’ve been reading almost as long as I’ve been alive, since I was about 2, and the love of writing grew out of the love of reading. I’ve been working with book authors specifically for about 4 years. That got started in part through just finding out about being location independent, running my own business, making my own schedule, and then recognizing that I wanted to do THAT. The other part was early on in that time of discovery, when I was doing freelance article writing and content creation, and I had a friend who had just written his book hire me to edit that book. That’s when it all came together and I knew that book editing and coaching for business authors was what I wanted to do.
Your book is called Don’t Write a Crappy Book! 17 Mistakes That Will Kill Your Business Book (And How Savvy Authorpreneurs Avoid Them). Why is this the book you had to write?
Since I started this 4-year-and-counting journey as a book professional, I have run into so many authors who are making mistakes that they don’t even know they’re making, and then wondering why their books don’t do well. I’ve also run into so many book “gurus,” for lack of a better word, who don’t actually teach authors to avoid those mistakes. Instead they teach them to write a book as quickly as possible, as cheaply as possible, and to market it in particular ways that aren’t particularly helpful, like trying to become an Amazon bestseller when that label won’t mean anything two weeks later. And so there are so many authors who are incredibly good at what they do and can provide so much amazing value to their audiences, but their books are not living up to the potential that they could and are not actually helping their businesses the way that the authors want them to. And I really am sick of that. I want these amazing authors to have the amazing books they deserve. And that’s why I had to write this book.
Tell me a little bit about what the process of writing this book was like for you.
This book actually started with interviewing 26 other book professionals. I knew what MY opinions were on this topic. And I knew, from my experience, what authors wanted from me. But I also wanted to make sure that I gave as much value as possible to my audience in this book, and I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t just me and my own opinion. So I talked to these 26 other people, and it was amazing to see how directionally right what I was thinking about actually was. And I was able to expand a lot of what I wanted to say with these insights from other people who had been doing this kind of work for as long or longer than I have, and with much larger audiences than I have. From there, I turned to finding the best insights within all the interviews and figuring out how I could talk about them in my voice and from my own experience, using the interviews to support the value I wanted to give from myself. It actually started out with just putting a bunch of quotes into an outline and then gradually turning those quotes into my voice, and keeping some of the ones that would best support my voice. Then, of course, working with a great editor to make sure that it all sounded really good.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
I tend to get up on the early side of mid-morning, like 8:00 or 9:00. I’ll go to the gym or go for a walk, have some breakfast and some tea, and start the day without doing a whole lot of work. On some days I’ll read or scroll Facebook or something for a while. Mornings are more relaxed for me. Then normally around lunchtime-ish, between 11:00 and 1:00, sometime in that range, I’ll sit down and start working, and I’ll work through the afternoon. That might be writing, client work, calls, any combination of whatever different things that need to happen. I usually finish up around 5 or 6 o’clock, and I try not to work in the evenings if I can avoid it. That’s time that I’ll spend with my partner, and we’ll go for a walk if I haven’t yet, and just kind of unwind from the day.
Have you read any books other than your own recently?
Plenty! I read quite a bit. I’m actually housesitting for some friends right now and they have the whole Chronicles of Narnia, which I haven’t read since I was 11. So I’m rereading it for fun, which is pretty cool. I tend to divide my reading between fun, fantasy and sci-fi books and business and personal development books. So I’m reading Chronicles of Narnia and then I’m also reading Show Your Work by Austin Kleon, and I recently read Decisive by Chip and Dan Heath, which is excellent. And I’m also reading Mastery by Robert Greene. So, I have a number of different books going.
What wisdom would you like to impart to the aspiring writers and authorpreneurs who will read this interview?
There are really only 3 things that you need to do to write a really good book that is actually going to help your business for years to come. The first thing is to write a book that you’re really proud of. The second thing is making sure that the book is connected to your audience specifically and to what they need from you. And the third thing is to get the best and the right kind of professional help so you’re not trying to do everything all by yourself. If you do those three things to the best of your ability, you will have a good book that you can rely on for years.
Book Title: Don’t Write a Crappy Book by James M. Ranson
Category: Adult Non- Fiction, 210 pages
Genre: Business, Authorpreneurship
Publisher: Master Wordsmith Media, in association with Thanet House Books
Release date: Oct 1, 2018
Tour dates: Oct 8 to 31, 2018
Content Rating: PG for occasional mild swearing (hell and damn, mostly, one instance of “shitty”)
A great book can launch your business into the stratosphere. Unfortunately, most self-published business books rank somewhere between “meh” and “flaming pile of crap.” But your book doesn’t have to suck!
In “Don’t Write a Crappy Book,” editor and entrepreneur James Ranson unpacks the most common–and toxic–mistakes that first-time nonfiction authors make. Peppered with wisdom from a panel of industry experts, this book debunks the dangerous myths that can torpedo your text and offers clear, practical guidance for writing a book you’re proud of. This is the resource for the aspiring authorpreneur who wants to write and publish a book with minimum hassle and maximum results.
This book will teach you:
– How a self-published book can make or break your business (and the THREE factors that determine which it does)
– The biggest blind spots no one tells authors about (and how to look for them BEFORE it’s too late)
– How to write a first book that will get positive reviews on Amazon (and why that’s a better goal than becoming a bestseller)
– When writing a business book is the right move for you (and when you should NEVER write one)
– How to self-publish on Amazon to actually get good results for your business (a lot of it happens before you even start writing!)
– What NOT to do when you’re looking for an editor (and how to find a great one)
– Why trying to write and publish a book in 90 days or less is a recipe for disaster (and why no one tells you that!)
– How to avoid do-overs, sunk costs, and other self-publishing headaches (and how to get out of them if they sneak up on you)
Stay out of the crap pile! Discover the secrets to creating a highly valuable book that will expand your influence and grow your business for years to come.
To read interviews and guest posts, please visit James M. Ranson’s page on iRead Book Tours.
Meet the Author:
James Ranson, The Master Wordsmith(TM), is a Wall-Street-Journal-bestselling editor, ghostwriter and book coach who has helped over 200 consultants, coaches, speakers and other thought leaders create high-quality books. Clients of his have gone on to sell thousands of books, receive book deals from publishing houses, and be featured in regional and national media outlets. In addition to his own clients, James is a writer and book doctor for Thanet House Books, and is on recommended professional lists for Scribe Media(formerly Book in a Box), My Word Publishing, BrightFlame Books and Authors Unite. His second book, Don’t Write A Crappy Book!, will be published on October 1, 2018. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, James lives in Atlanta, GA, with his fiancée and a very needy cat.