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Friday, June 10, 2011

How a CEO Found Time to Write a Book

Today's post is by Michael Alexis, a writer, podcaster, interviewer, investor and philanthropist. Michael discusses a recent author interview he conducted, and sets out some lessons other writers may be able to learn from this.
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David H. Fater is author of Essentials of Corporate and Capital Formation, an accountant in four US states, and CEO of Vicor Technologies.
I interviewed David to find out how a busy CEO found the time to write a book.
This post includes specific strategies David used to overcome writer's block, get published, and write a corporate finance book that is reviewed as "easy to read".
Avoid Writer's Block with a Break Down
Like many writers, David had trouble starting his writing. He remembers, "I started with a table of contents, and I'd say, 'I'm going to devote the next two hours to writing the book', and I'd sit there and stare at the computer, and try to get off the dime so to speak, and what I found was I was having severe writer's block".
So, David took a step back. He says, "What I had to do, really, was take the table of contents and break it up into pieces". He notes this simplistic approach hadn't occurred to him, because he felt that he knew what he wanted to say about a lot of things, "but found it impossible to get the first words written". By breaking up his table of contents into chapters, then stories that went into those chapters, David "could take an hour while eating lunch, or an hour or two at night" to work productively on his writing. Nine months later, David's book was written.
Decide to Get Published
It wasn't until David met author Cynthia Cooper at a book signing that he realized he wanted to write a book of his own. A representative from Cooper's publishing company, Wiley & Sons, was there too.
David remembers, "I got talking to the publisher and said, 'I have this idea for a book, it's the idiot's guide to whatever', and he said, 'Well, we don't do the idiot's guide', and I said, 'Well, that's nice, but I've got this wealth of knowledge... and I think it would make a great book".
After making this contact, David pursued Wiley & Sons for the next year. The publisher eventually requested an outline, so David "prepared the table of contents, and they sent me back a contract".
Why pursue one publisher for a year? David says, "I happened to like the guy, and he said it was an interesting concept. I had to pursue to put some meat on the bones. I needed to use that time to flesh out the concept".
Use the KISS Concept
David writes about corporate finance, and yet reviews of his book on Amazon still say "easy to read" and "very accessible". David says, "I believe in the KISS principle - Keep It Simple, Stupid - so I tried to articulate it in a way that would be understandable". David then supplemented that with sections like "In the Real World" and "Tips and Techniques", with specific examples to help his readers understand the concepts.
Another feature of the book is the inclusion of downloadable forms and documents, so that readers can "with minimal effort, form a company and raise capital legally". David says with this content, "it's all there, and to me that's something that really added value to the book".
These are just a few of the many strategies David shared in the interview. Have you used any of these tactics in your own writing?
Byline: Michael Alexis
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Thank you to Michael for an interesting article.
It occurred to me that the approach David used to overcome writer's block and get his book written is very similar to the "outlining and blueprinting" method taught in my best-selling course Write Any Book in Under 28 Days. Just saying!
I agree as well that non-fiction books in particular can benefit from a linked website that includes additional materials, updates, and so on. This is particularly relevant when writing e-books, it seems to me. Because of the way such books are displayed, formatting has to be kept simple, so there is a good case for including links to web pages that include related videos, diagrams, quizzes, and other supplementary material. Even fiction writers could probably benefit from applying this approach.
As Michael says, if you have any other observations on the techniques used by David for writing his book, please do post them below!
Photo Credit: telmo32 on Flickr.

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Blogger E. L. Psomiadis said...

Very good tips on writing on a tight schedule. Thanks!

5:17 PM  
Anonymous Michael Alexis said...

Thanks for the feedback E.L. Psomiadis! Have you used any of these strategies in your work?

7:46 PM  
Anonymous Letter said...

Exceptional tips to get writing on the fast track. Thanks!

10:07 PM  

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