Have you ever said to yourself, I want to write a book?
I know I have. And truthfully, I have written a fiction book that’s in the pre-published stage right now.
When I made the decision to become an author, first, I had to figure out how to write a book. Then, I had to decide if I wanted to use my voice to write a fiction or non-fiction. I chose fiction. The reason is so I could create the story I imagined in my head with no limitations. If I had chosen a non-fiction, I would have been held to writing the truth.
In a lot of instances, most can never get past the mere thought of writing that book, possibly because:
- You have no idea where to start
- You don’t think your story is good enough to put into words
- You don’t want your life displayed publicly
- You don’t want to rehash past pain
- You don’t think you have enough knowledge about a particular subject
- You don’t think you’re creative enough to write stories
- You don’t want to be ridiculed or judged
- You compare yourself to what others are doing and lose confidence
- And sometimes, it could be just plain fear
Whatever the reason, each of us have a story we could tell or information we can share that can help others. The truth is whatever you have gone through, you are not alone in that experience because so many more have gone through similar experiences. In fact, I would even say, there is a community of people who are struggling and looking for someone to shed light on their ordeal.
Of course, there are fiction stories, which are not true. The kind I plan to delve deeper into with my writing.
Then, you have non-fiction stories, that give “true” information about a person’s life or experiences. In those instances, if the story is put into words within a book, it could help the writer with what I call “interactive self-therapy writing.” Self-therapy writing is when the writing forces a person to be vulnerable enough to face their past or struggles, so they can begin the process towards healing. Finally, the writing could help others in some way. In addition, non-fiction books offer information from people who are considered to be authorities in their perspective fields or who want to share things based on their life’s knowledge.
Whatever the case, books are written everyday and if it’s your desire to write a book, then I think you should. That’s why I have invited, Nailah Harvey, a book editor and coach who specializes in helping first time authors use their voice to write that book. She will be sharing things you need to know to get started with writing, different aspects of publishing, and some things you can do to promote your book.
Nailah Harvey is a book editor, podcast host, and 10-times published author who seeks to introduce the community to the power and beauty of the English language. Nailah’s books opened the door for her to gain recognition as an authority on non-fiction book writing as she was mentioned in the New York Times in 2018. She launched NHARV.com to create an evergreen resource hub offering support to aspiring authors. Nailah is a book coach whose mission is to share her superpower by helping others to tell their story with clarity.
3WV: Tell us a little about yourself.
Nailah: My name is Nailah (pronounced Ny-ee-luh), and I’m a 10-times published author and book editor with a knack for words. I started blogging inconsistently in 2010 and publishing memoir-ish books in 2013, but everything changed when I found my voice, my niche, and my target audience in 2016. This was the year I took inventory of the ways the English language was being used and misused in everyday communication. With a desire to help remove the language barriers that often create blocks between landing jobs, writing books, and more, I started a writing guide series entitled Look Better In Writing to address the common misconceptions of Standard American English grammar. Look Better In Writing has since evolved into a personal brand highlighting English language competency overall…and it has also influenced my decision to become a book editor. Now, I seek to share with the world my superpower—the ability to tell one’s story with clarity.
3WV: For people who would love to write a book but don’t have a clue about where to start, what should they do to start?
Nailah: The very first thing I advise new authors to do when writing a book is to set a goal. By setting a goal, you’re preparing for the research and resources needed for your book journey. You’re deciding which publishing type makes sense for you according to your short-term and long-term desires. You’re considering your budget and deadlines, but most importantly when setting a book goal, you’re identifying who you want to serve.
3WV: Can anybody be an author?
Nailah: In the technical sense, anyone can go through the self-publishing process to become an author. However, that doesn’t mean that everyone is a skilled writer or an authority in their industry. On the bright side, there are tons of resources on the internet to help improve one’s writing skills and expertise as a thought leader in their field.
3WV: What are some pros and cons to being a published author?
Nailah: A pro of being a published author is having an organized piece of literature to solidify your expertise in a specific niche or industry. The title “published author” can show your dedication to sharing your transformative story. I guess the con would be sharing your words with the world, literally. When you share things with the world, you’re at the mercy of public criticism…and it’s not always constructive.
3WV: How important is it to self-promote your book?
Nailah: It’s important to promote anything you create because it models the expectation of support you desire from others. You can’t expect people to do what you don’t. Social media is a great way to promote your book by way of posts, live streams, pre-recorded videos, etc. There are many ways to be creative in your digital storytelling a.k.a. social media promotion. The more you invite people into your book’s content and present how it helps them, the more they will feel included. Don’t sell, invite.
3WV: What is a big mistake you see new authors make when writing their book and promoting themselves?
Nailah: One mistake I see new authors make when writing their first book is focusing on the book and not the overall brand. In my opinion, the book is only the beginning of serving your audience. It’s something tangible that you can give them, but the message within the book should be in alignment with your brand—or your story—and that’s going to be the gift that keeps on giving.
3WV: What is a mistake you see seasoned authors make when promoting their book?
Nailah: One mistake I see seasoned authors make when promoting their book is heavily relying on their initial target audience—or tribe—to support them. There’s nothing wrong with this, but sometimes it’s good to grow your audience and target more (niche) people. The more the merrier.
3WV: What are some expenses authors should be prepared to pay when wanting to be an author?
Nailah: Authors should always be prepared to pay for cover designers, interior formatters, and book editors.
3WV: What’s the difference between being self-published, indie published, hybrid published, and being traditionally published? What are the advantages and disadvantage for each?
Nailah: The following are the differences in the types of publishers:
- Traditional publisher – requires a process before reaching them. You need a literary agent and a query letter in order to find the right publisher, and even then, it can be a challenging journey. Traditional publishers offer monetary advances, in-house editing and designing, and various distribution options; but authors have more deadlines, less creative control of their work, and less royalties.
- Hybrid publisher – is somewhere in the middle of a traditional publisher and a self-publisher. Hybrid publishers also offer a little in-house editing and a few distribution options; but authors have more relaxed deadlines, more creative control, and a greater percentage of their royalties.
- Indie publisher – is a micro publisher that outsources a team for editing, designing, etc. or seeks help through companies offering said services. Indie publishers’ roles and responsibilities range depending on the indie publishing company.
- Self-publisher, or a self-published author – takes on all the responsibility and publishes independently of a publishing house. Self-published authors, however, have creative control of their work and access to all of their royalties.
3WV: Should a new writer get a writing coach?
Nailah: If new writers are struggling with the development of their book idea and/or need accountability and a writing schedule, then I think it’s wise to invest in a writing coach. If not, there are plenty of alternative resources to help new authors jumpstart the book-writing process. (Shameless plug for my How To Write Your First Book workbook. LOL)
3WV: Tell everyone about your company, how you help people write books, and what they can expect from you when helping them? What’s been the most rewarding for you?
Nailah: N.HARV is the name of my business, and I help aspiring authors put ideas to paper by way of book coaching and book editing. Under the N.HARV umbrella is the “Look Better In Writing” brand where I share resources (e.g., blog posts, podcast episodes, books, etc.) on the importance of grammar and writing. These resources help new authors build their writing confidence to successfully write books.
I am proud of my approach to written communication as someone who can easily code-switch between formal and informal settings. My ability to connect with students as well as small business owners, corporate professionals, and clergymen—sets me apart from others. In addition, I have experience working with colleges, universities, corporations, conferences, and churches. Staying versatile has been rewarding for me.
3WV: Why is it important for an author trying to list their book on buying platforms like Amazon to know their genre and how to classify their book?
Nailah: It’s important to know your genre to help buyers and supporters find your work, and to increase your chances of ranking on the Amazon Best Sellers list, or any best sellers list. Rankings depend on categories and/or genres.
3WV: Do you think it’s a good idea for a new author to only sell their book on their own website? Why or why not?
Nailah: I think limiting your book sells to your website depends on your book goals. For instance, if your goal is to simply offer your book to your existing audience and site viewers, then sure…stick to your website. It’s less hassle, especially if you’re only offering the digital version of your book. But if you want to expand your audience and make your book visible to people who haven’t heard of you, then solely selling on your website may not be the best idea.
3WV: Give some last words of empowerment to people who want to write a book, or to help women in their lives.
Nailah: Someone else can be changed, healed, or transformed with your words…so stop sitting on them. Write your book!
Her Contact Information:
Find her on All Social Media Platforms:
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin: @nharvdotcom
Link to Her Book – “How to Write Your First Book”
Article Written & Interview by: Debbie Stokes (Writer, Editor & Publisher)
⇒⇒ To be featured in the blog or to be a guest writer – contact: Debbie3wv@gmail.com
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