We were all sitting in Jack Canfield’s living room on a huge couch in his home in Santa Barbara surrounded by giant gems, crystals, artwork and views into the lush gardens reminiscent of Canfield’s beloved Hawaii. Canfield mentioned that he wanted a room where diplomats and leaders of countries as well as his family could feel comfortable. I love the idea that we were sitting on the same couch where those same leaders of countries had sat before us.
Each of us in his living room had won this mastermind day with Jack Canfield for being a top affiliate for his Bestseller Blueprint Program. In the room, brainstorming about our businesses, were some of the most successful Internet Marketers on the web today.
Bill and Steve Harrison led the discussion and asked us each to share something about our business that was working well that others could learn from. A fact about ourselves that no one knew. And then ask a question about our business to get feedback and help from Jack Canfield and the group. I’m going to share with you some of the things that happened in that room that will help make your book a best-seller.
1. Speak With Authority
“I’ve got one question, then I’ll tell you what to do,” one outspoken Internet Marketer said. We all laughed. And then we listened. He had already proven himself as someone who knew what he was talking about. Earlier he had kept us all in rapt attention with the measurement tools he employed to get the highest clicks to conversions as well as his mistakes that lead him to his success. Once you’ve proven that you have solid knowledge people trust what you have to impart. Best-selling books are written by voices who have proven methods and who can impart them in a simple and direct manner.
2. Talk the Language of Your Tribe
When one person in the room asked for advice about stopping slander many people offered solutions to help him let go of his resentment. But he would have none of it and got more and more red-faced and worked up over the unfairness of it all. He said he wanted justice as he filled the room with his fury. He wouldn’t accept anyone’s methods to make a shift until someone said about the slanderer, “F_ck him, then forgive him.”That worked.Why? He spoke the angry man’s language first. Then gave him what he needed to let it go. When you give advice speak the language of your audience so they can hear you. There’s a Sufi joke that goes like this: A tax collector fell in the river and couldn’t get out.. Many people gathered and tried to assist him. Even though was starting to drown he wouldn’t take anyone’s hand so they could pull him out. Mystified and alarmed the people rushed to get advice from the wise fool Nasrudin. He asked what the helpers were saying. “Give me your hand,” they said.
“Never ask a tax collector to “give” you anything,” said Nasrudin. Say, ‘take’ my hand,” which they did and got him safely out of the river.
The examples in a best-selling book need to address both the spoken and unspoken needs of their audience. Best-selling book authors understand the language of their tribe so they can tell them things that others can’t because they may be hard to hear or bear.
3. Tell Stories With Your Own Twist
When it was my turn to offer the factoid that no one knew about me to the group, I told a short story about an experience I had in college.When I was attending UC Berkeley I worked at Zellerbach Hall as an usher. One evening the great ballet dancer Rudolph Nureyev came to perform and, in my naivete, I thought it would be lovely to invite him to tea. After his performance I went back stage and approached him. When I asked him to tea he just stared at me. I thought, well, Russian is his first language, perhaps he didn’t understand. So I asked again. This time he smirked. Not a word, just a smirk. That was my answer. The typical saying goes: Always ask for what you want. The worst that can happen is you get a “No.”“But that’s not the worst thing that can happen,” I said. “The worst thing isn’t even a word. It’s a smirk.”Canfield said, “Good story!” This story didn’t have the same ending we’ve heard before. No one expected anything to come after the “perceived” ending: The worst that can happen is you get a “No.”
We’ve all heard tons of advice – mostly unoriginal – except in the telling and with a twist. That’s what makes you, the best-selling author a unique storyteller – and thought leader – the surprising twist.
4. Put Butt to Seat, Words to Page
“I’ll tell you a secret to working less. Work less,” said one coach. We all sat stunned. Huh? It’s a similar statement to what made the Nike brand truly famous. “Just do it.” But how, people ask. I don’t have the time, others moan.This coach claimed that he only worked three hours a day (Less than Tim Ferriss!) by just allowing himself that time to get his work done. He then had to manage his time around those three hours instead of letting the minutiae of his day frizzle away his time.
Here is my version of his statement on how to write a best-selling book.
Step one: But butt in seat.
Step two: Put pen to page.
Step three: Move pen without moving mind.
Step four: Don’t stop.
Step five: Rinse and repeat.
5. Write the Worst Sh_t in America.
Yes, give yourself permission to write the worst sh_t in America, advises best-selling author Anne Lamott, who told an audience recently that her sh_tty first drafts are just as sh_tty as yours. Believe it.You first have to write something in order to create a best-selling book. Editing comes later. I was talking to my client and colleague, Sharon Melnick, Ph.D. – business psychologist and stress resilience expert who has a new book out called Success Under Stress: Powerful Tools for Staying Calm, Confident, and Productive When the Pressure’s On, and she said that to try and write and edit at the same time is at cross purposes for your brain. These are two different functions that aren’t compatible when done simultaneously.
I know how hard it is to get words on a page so I’ll share a few secrets from my writing group.
First, we all follow Anne Lamott’s advice. So write without censoring yourself. When you don’t think you access the deep knowing that is available in the unconscious. This is the same process for creating sound bites. I advise my clients to just talk without pausing or thinking. I then search for the gold, mining the best phrases that come out naturally in the uncensored talking.
Then we follow Natalie Goldberg’s philosophy not to take your pen off the page. You keep moving your pen no matter what.
To do that you can write phrases like, “What I really want to say is….” What I don’t want to say is….” What I’ve hidden from you all along is….” “I am writing the worst sh_t in America….”
I learned these phrases and techniques from my dear friend and wonderful writing teacher Laurie Wagner in her Wild Writing Course, some of which come originally from Natalie Goldberg’s book, Writing Down the Bones. This book is till one of my all time favorite writing books, along with Anne Lamott’s Bird By Bird.
These phrases will keep your pen moving on the page. And yes, I suggest that you write by hand before typing your work into your computer. There is something that happens when you’re touching organic objects like paper that allows for a deeper connection to yourself and the world.
All of the brilliant Internet Marketers in that room had written the worst sh_t in America. Then they refined it and refined it again and again. But they weren’t afraid to do it. Or rather, their fear didn’t stop them. “Better done than perfect” is a good place to start.
Editing is not writing. Some of the best “writers” in this country are perceived as such because they have talented editors.
So write the worst sh_it in America – and then edit the heck out of it.
Question for you. What’s the biggest barrier to writing YOUR best-selling book?
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