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Get the Word Out

Get the Word Out

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Get the Word Out

199 pagine
3 ore
Nov 10, 2020


Get the ideas out of your head and into the world.


Get the Word Out is a guide to writing a nonfiction book or memoir grounded in a sense of purpose.


This practical and inspiring book offers advice for every phase of the journey, from clarifying your concept and owning your authority to drafting the manuscript and doing the important work after publication.


Whether you're an industry thought leader seeking to expand your impact or someone with a tiny following and a big idea, this book will help you approach your book project with clarity, confidence, and commitment:

  • Clarity about your message, your audience, and your vision for the book
  • Confidence in your expertise, authority, and ability to write the book
  • Commitment to see the book through to publication and spread the word beyond

If you're looking for a quick-and-easy recipe or a promise of a best-seller, you won't find it here. You will find suggested exercises, original research from a survey of hundreds of nonfiction authors, and stories and advice from other authors who write difference-making books.


Many authors report that they wish they'd written their books sooner. What are you waiting for?


Read this book and start spreading your word.

Nov 10, 2020

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Anteprima del libro

Get the Word Out - Anne Janzer



The typical nonfiction book opens with a story to grab your interest and entice you into the pages that follow. You’ll find many stories in this book. But right now, let’s focus on the story that only you can tell: yours.

Why did you pick up this book? Maybe you want to write a book for business reasons. You’ve seen the impact that a book has on someone else’s career. Perhaps you want to contribute to your field, to be a thought leader and to make a difference by sharing ideas that are important to you. Perhaps your life experiences could offer important insights for others.

Many of us live on the cusp of doing something meaningful, without ever taking action. We wait or deflect responsibility, assuming that someone more expert than us will speak up. You’re reading this book because you don’t want to wait any longer.

Why not act on that desire now?

This book is about using a sense of a purpose—the difference you want to make—to inspire, guide, and inform the process of writing a book at every step. It’s about starting with the positive impact you want to have for your readers, and then working your way to that point. Your purpose can be large or small, global or unique to your industry or interests. The key is to focus on the value your book delivers to its readers. By doing that, you will discover the lasting value of writing a book.

Servant Authorship

You may have heard of the term servant leadership—a philosophy whose main goal is for leaders to serve those they lead. Not all leaders are servant leaders, of course. But wouldn’t you rather work for someone who embraced that principle?

This book is about servant authorship—serving the needs of your core readers.

Not all authors are servant authors. But wouldn’t you rather read a nonfiction book or memoir by an author who follows this principle? Who puts your needs, as a reader, ahead of their needs for career advancement?

Yep, me too.

Writing to serve others sounds altruistic, but as I worked on this book I discovered that it was an effective strategy, not only for myself, but for others. A sense of purpose gives you a guidepost for making difficult decisions, like what to include and what to leave out. It keeps you going when the work is arduous or the end seems far away. And it supports your actions during the long phase of authorship that extend beyond publication day—everything you do to get the ideas out into the world.

Don’t just take my word for this. Throughout these pages you’ll find insights from dozens of authors of books ranging from business-oriented topics to highly personal ones and everything in between. In every case, these writers focused throughout on the difference they could make for their readers through their writing and related work.

I don’t want to imply that the authors I interviewed have no ambition for their books or their careers. On the contrary, they understand that the more value they provide the world, the more value they create in their own lives. Many are well-known in their specific fields but are far from being household names. I wanted to share stories that you may not have heard of, and to highlight achievements on a scale that doesn’t seem out of reach for someone still hoping to write a first book.

In addition to those interviews, more than four hundred nonfiction authors responded to a short survey about why they wrote, or planned to write, and whether the results of publishing a book lived up to their expectations.

To understand motivations for writing a book, the survey asked people to choose all their reasons from a list I supplied. These were the options:

Personal goal: I’ve always wanted to write a book

Business goal: I want to build my business

Career goal: I want to make myself more marketable

Fame and fortune: I’d like to be a best-selling author

Personal fulfillment: I really want to share this story/idea

Purpose: I want to serve others with what I know


Then, it asked them to pick one, with the thought that having already sorted through all of them made them think more carefully.

Nearly half of the respondents had written books about business or career advice, so you might think that business goals would top the list. But the most common reason was that of Purpose I want to serve others… More than three-quarters (78 percent) chose purpose as one of their motivators, and about 40 percent picked it as their primary reason for writing. (The next-highest primary reason was Personal fulfillment at 18 percent.) Many of the write-in entries in the other" category aligned with a sense of purpose, so the actual percentage in that category is higher.

The Purpose of This Book

I’m writing this book with the hope of inspiring people like you—people who have an idea they want to share, who have valuable experiences and insights, or who have a contribution to make through writing.

Maybe writing a book has been a lifelong goal. That’s part of my author story. Growing up in a home filled with books and reading, becoming an author seemed like a dream career. Yet I spent decades not acting on this dream.

Even though I was a professional writer, I didn’t have a large platform or a well-known name. I spent most of my career writing in other people’s voices: the voice of the brand or of corporate executives. My clients valued me, but to the rest of the world I was unknown.

When I finally got up the courage to undertake writing a book, it was partly because I had a message to get out into the world about my industry (marketing, at that time), and partly to fulfill that lifelong dream. The experience was transformative. I discovered that I enjoyed writing books, and most of all loved the fact that the books had an impact on people—that they made a difference. That’s a powerful realization.

Like many of the authors I interviewed for this book, I had no grand plan. I made plenty of mistakes, experimented, and let my interests draw me into writing more books. It’s been incredibly fun. But I waited all those years, awash in misconceptions about being an author. I wish I’d known years ago what I know now—and will share with you in this book.

Back to your story. You may have many reasons for wanting to write a book, including the simple one of fulfilling a life-long dream. I suggest you also tap into the larger sense of purpose. Using the exercises and approaches in the chapters that follow, try servant authorship and see if it takes you to the finish line and beyond.

Using This Book to Develop Your Book

This book offers a guide to the entire process, from crystallizing your concept and envisioning the end result to expanding your message beyond the book. It is divided into four parts reflecting the major phases of the author journey.

Part One: The Difference You Make: Before you write a single word of your draft, you’ll need to get past your inner gatekeepers. As you decide on your larger purpose, you will clarify your objectives, explore your expertise, and gain confidence in your authority as a writer. Even if you are farther along in your own story, visit the chapters in Part One to guide the rest of your path.

Part Two: Make Your Plan: As you plan, research, and prepare to write, revisit your broader purpose to guide decisions about what belongs in the book and what doesn’t, and where to extend your expertise through research.

Part Three, Get the Words Out: Writing and revising the book takes significant effort; serving others gives you the motivation to keep going. These chapters also cover the critical phases of revising the book, seeking feedback, and approaching publication day.

Part Four, Spread the Word: Once the book is out in the world, your audience’s needs will guide you as you begin the seemingly never-ending task of spreading the word about the book. Even as you work to serve others, you will discover that the benefits ripple back to you. Books written from a deep sense of purpose tend to be life-changing, though not always in the ways you anticipate.

The nonfiction author survey I conducted included questions about how well the experience of publishing a book met their expectations. Nearly all the published authors reported that publishing a book met or exceeded both personal and professional goals and expectations.

I have never met any authors who were sorry they wrote their book. I have only met authors who were sorry they didn’t write it sooner.

Sam Horn

Are you waiting for a clear sign, the perfectly formed book idea, or the ideal time to get started? That’s not usually how it works with writing books. People often write despite their situations, not because of them. The clarity, confidence, and commitment you need emerges from the work rather than preceding it.

Let’s begin now.


The Difference You Make

What’s the difference you want to make with your book? The chapters in this part will help you identify and articulate both your purpose and your authority and expertise as an author. You’ll also find advice for getting around the inner gatekeeper. The concepts here are valuable no matter where you are in your author story.


Clarify Your Purpose

If you lost the ability to read due to illness, writing a book probably would not be the first thing on your to-do list. That’s why Kelly Fitzsimmons’s author story is such a powerful illustration of servant authorship.

As a serial entrepreneur, Kelly has experienced her fair share of pain and discomfort. In the startup world, failures far outnumber the survivors, and the pressure can take an enormous physical and mental toll. Kelly has been involved in six startups, jumping from one to the next with little respite. When her voice-interface startup struggled, Kelly was overtaken with an unidentified illness. She lost her ability to read and was temporarily bedridden. That’s when she started writing a book, which eventually became Lost in Startuplandia.

At first, she could only dictate into her phone. As difficult as it was, writing the book gave her a way to process her experience. She says she started writing for herself, to understand her own journey and create her narrative. Why was I an entrepreneur? Why was I doing this? Writing the book was an act of slowly peeling apart my persona and getting underneath it.

When her editor returned the first draft, she was surprised by how garbled and unclear it was. She started again. (Kelly is clearly resilient.) This time, she realized what she wanted to do with the book: I’m trying to help people. I don’t want anyone else to feel the pain I’m feeling now. 

Newly informed by her desire to serve others, she rewrote the book from scratch. She says, Suddenly I had a narrative thread I could pull through it. I knew who I needed to talk to. I knew what kind of advice was helpful and what wasn’t, at least on my own journey. I tried very hard to write from that point of view. The result is a book of solid advice for entrepreneurs about both the business and mental health challenges of the startup experience, illustrated by her personal story and buttressed by research.

Kelly eventually found the purpose that shaped her book. The sooner you identify your purpose, the smoother your path to a book.

Clarify the Difference You Want to Make

A strong sense of purpose guides many of the critical decisions you’ll make about audience and genre, what to include and what to leave out, what kind of research to do, the tone and style of your prose, and more.

More than that, a sense of purpose powers you through the tough patches. Even if you love writing, completing a book is a major endeavor, and promoting and supporting it afterward consumes a great deal of time and energy. The external rewards are few and far between, so we must feed our inner (intrinsic) motivation. Psychologists suggest that purpose or meaning is a

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