(A quick note before we dive in: registration for Nonfiction Book School closes August 5! Let’s write your book together: https://nonfictionbookschool.com/. OK, with that note, let’s get to the story!)
Back in February of 2017, I sent my friend and colleague, Kelly, a 64-page document with the content plan and curriculum for what I called “Book School.” I had actually drafted this back in January of that year, and the document I sent Kelly was a whopping 20,000 words. And that was just the content I planned to deliver verbally! I hadn’t even created the slides, worksheets, and other documents I’d need to make my course a reality.
Kelly and I started working together and decided a mini-course would be a good first step. For many months, we worked on Finish that book!, an online writing productivity and planning course. I was proud when the course launched later that year. And since then, more than 100 students have gone through my course—without me ever really launching it.
Meanwhile I got pulled in other directions professionally and personally, and my dream of launching Book School never seemed within reach. Big milestones: I delivered a TEDx talk; published Growing Influence, coauthored with Ron Price; ghostwrote many more books; coached and trained authors, both one-on-one and in groups; cofounded a women’s leadership training company; and traveled all over the world delivering company trainings and keynotes on leadership and inclusion. Oh, and moved to Thailand. And then Portugal.
So while I kept making notes and forming my ideas around what I wanted Book School to be, I never had time to execute. I was treading water in my personal life, adjusting to not just one but two new countries—settling in with my family, making friends, living through a pandemic.
Right, the pandemic. That’s when everything changed.
Suddenly, in late February, I was stationary. For so long, I haven’t had a full six weeks at home, in which I wasn’t flying from place to place, usually internationally. My upcoming keynote was cancelled and no more requests came in. While client work stayed steady, I suddenly had time to breathe—and get creative within my business—for the first time in years.
So with my newfound time came a renewed commitment to creating an accessible, affordable, meaningful course to authors. But not just a typical course. I wanted to bring a live, personal experience to aspiring authors, because that’s what I needed myself back when I wrote my first book. I began building the program again with sticky notes on my wall. I tracked conversations and personal realizations as I ghostwrote a book. I paid attention to incoming emails and questions on social media. I did surveys and asked aspiring authors to share their challenges.
They shared that their biggest challenges were: knowledge (understanding the process), making time, and accountability. Yes! I thought. I can solve all those problems! I decided to make my course live and create a workshop-style format to allow people to actually do some of their work during our trainings. I added QA sessions and a Facebook group.
As I reimagined the new version of my original idea, Nonfiction Book School was born.
And something magical happened: I heard from MORE aspiring authors than normal. Like me, they suddenly had the space and time to get creative and intentional. (And like me, many of them also had other demands, like kids at home.)
But there was a core problem I needed to solve: I really couldn’t help them all in my current business model. Not only am I just one person, but I have such a huge demand on my work that I’m only able to work with about 1% of the people who reach out to me to engage. Suddenly, launching my course felt urgent.
And then the United States erupted. Greater awareness around Black Lives Matter and racial equality. Protests against racism and police violence (which are, of course, still happening). So I paused and waited. Wrote, read, contemplated. I still worked on my course, but I allowed myself time to personally engage in what was happening in my country. I wanted to create space for these movements and not draw attention or energy my way. I’m still engaging.
It is now nearly August 2020. Nearly three and a half years since I began this journey to create a program for aspiring authors, one that is exactly what I would have needed back when I wrote my first book, and even my second and third books.
And finally, finally the doors are open to my live book coaching program for aspiring authors!
Nonfiction Book School is a dream for me, and I deeply believe it will help aspiring authors achieve their dream of writing a book. It is designed specifically for leaders, entrepreneurs, big idea people, changemakers, experts, storytellers, and inspiring individuals who have an uplifting or social-good message. If that’s you, I hope you’ll join me in the course—and finally achieve your dream of writing a book.
While I’m still connected with Kelly (she will always be important to me), now I’m supported by an incredible person, Catherine, who has helped make Nonfiction Book School a reality. I worked with the team at Full Swing PR to build out the main website. I got help from a sound and video editor named Daniel to edit videos inside the program (he also edits my podcast). Basically, this program was wrapped in love and work by a team of people who are a lot smarter than me in their areas of expertise. I got to focus (mostly!) on building the content. On teaching. On helping authors achieve their dream of writing a book. On supporting them as they emerge from this uncertain period stronger and better than before—with the greater influence, scaled impact, and increased income that authorhood can bring.
This is a big deal for me and for so many future authors. I can’t wait to support them. I can’t wait to support you.
If you are ready to achieve your dream of writing a book, I’ll see you in Nonfiction Book School. Registration closes August 5 and won’t reopen this year. If you want to publish in 2021, now is the time to write your book.
What is one big dream you’re working toward right now? Please share with me in the comments!