504 Main by Holly Lefevre: So You Think You Can Write? I Didn't...But I Do!

11.08.2011

So You Think You Can Write? I Didn't...But I Do!

This is the post that appeared on my agents blog back in October 2010, and, partially, here in December of 2010, but it seem to be relevant again...so here goes!
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Over the last few months, I have seen a lot of posts about writing books and "how to" and "what to" and "why to" all over the Internet, facebook, and discussed at various conferences I have attended.

I have also had a number of people tell me (in person) or email me that they were surprised to see that I actually write books.
Me too!
I still am not sure I consider myself to be a writer -
it was never in  my plans, never even a thought,
but here I am, 7+ (non-fiction) books later,
and I am going with it.

Last year, my agent asked me to share the story of how I parlayed my area of expertise - wedding planning - into writing books.

While my area of expertise maybe in weddings at this particular time, I do have other projects in the works...but most importantly, the basic plan of how to write a non-fiction book is essentially the same, so this topic applies to many, many people.

I have thought about writing an ebook, but really it is easier to put this information I have in a blog post or multiple blog posts (and focus on finishing my own proposals).
If you all are interested I am happy to do a few more posts covering topics of:
Finding your niche
How to write a book proposal
How to find an agent
What to do after you sell it!
Or other various topics that I just may know something about.
Feel free to leave any questions of topic ideas in the comments.
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"Can You Write?"
I am a planner….that is what I do. I went to school and landed my dream job as a fashion designer…I was set…I had it planned out. I knew my path. Writing was NEVER a part of my plan. I never had any intention of writing anything. It found me.

In fact my first foray into the publishing world was an accident of sorts…a 7 am phone call from an acquaintance jolted me out of bed with the simple question  “Can you write?” To which I carefully replied…”I got an A in English.” Little did I know this phone call would send me down a path I never expected.

In an instant, I became an accidental author. My very first book deal was as co-author of a book titled “The 100 Careers in Fashion and Modeling,” and I solely got that gig because I was in fashion, was knowledgeable about the business…and could write. It did not happen because I was brilliant. It did not happen because I got that A in English. It happened because I parlayed my expertise in my career into a tangible idea.

Soon after this writing experience, I married and used my status as a recent bride to explore a new area of expertise. This led to a second book, one about wedding planning from a bride’s perspective.  Taking this all one step further, I veered off my plan again and switched careers. I was now a wedding planner. I embraced all things wedding and set out to parlay my experiences and knowledge of weddings into writing. I had already seen what happened when I presented my self as an expert in one field…this same idea could easily be parlayed into another field and into subsequent books.

So, how did I do this twice? First I established myself as an expert in my field…and yes, that meant volunteering for some things….I spoke at bridal seminars, I worked as the editor of a local bridal publication, I wrote small articles (for free), and I made myself available to professional organizations to speak and to be a part of their professional meetings. All of this helped spread my name and establish me as a go-to wedding gal. Not only did this help my “new” career as a wedding planner, but also it strengthened my role as a writer, and subsequently author of multiple wedding books.

Do I mean go out and volunteer and give your precious time away for free, not for the long haul…but you have to plan and work to establish yourself as an expert in any field and to gain the credentials you need to make the publishers believe you are the one who knows the most about your chosen subject. Find professional organizations that cater to the client, the reader you want to reach and offer your knowledge.

Of course you may not be the only looking for this route to authorship, so you also need to know who else is out there writing books in your market – what are there credentials? Are they better than yours? Do you need to improve yours? Continuing to educate yourself in your field, as well as making yourself available and accessible to those who can benefit from your particular field of expertise will establish you as an expert and just may lead to the many opportunities that are out there waiting for you.
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So, that's it...my story.
These are my books
(The links to the books are affiliate links with Amazon)


I am inspired, still, to write about weddings to reach out to brides and offer my expertise and insight. I am also inspired to write about what my daily life consists of now - kids, cooking, crafts, whatever! I truly want to dive into the fiction realm - that stretches my comfort zone, but it makes me question my talents - but I want to, need to, give it a shot.

So...have you ever considered writing a book?
Feel free to leave any questions of topic ideas in the comments.
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9 comments :

  1. This post is really in line with some things I have been thinking lately as a result of some marketing reading I have been doing. I feel like approaching my life as a writer first and foremost has been backwards, because the trend really is to write as an outgrowth of doing. Since we all "write what we know" whether we consider ourselves primarily writers or not, there should always a way to market the expertise and then let the writing "catch on." So I'm examining ways to do this...as one marketing blogger said "stop selling, and start teaching." It's a lot to think about. Thanks for your input!

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  2. You are just talented Holly.

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  3. I think you are amazing.

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  4. I agree with Jenny and Slamdunk! :)
    you're all that AND more! Not sure how you do it all.
    I have wanted to write an e-book for a long time. Sort of compile some of my more popular posts and a few unseen posts as well. I googled and looked, but it all seems to overwhelming for me.
    I'll just live vicariously through you!
    gail

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  5. Love your blog! You are such a wonderful write and so inspiring!

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  6. I would love to read more posts on the topics you mentioned above. It's so interesting to hear how people fall into writing. I actually went to school to do writing and now I'm working on parlaying that talent with my other talents into a book proposal. :)

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  7. I'm not surprised that you're a writer, Holly. You are extremely talented in everything you do.

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  8. This is great. Thank you. I'm not even interested in writing but I read the entire thing. I appreciate your attitude.

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  9. I love this story. Very inspiring. Since starting my blog, I am finally understanding the benefits of writing. Such great therapy.

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Thanks for stopping by! I read and appreciate all of your sweet words and the time you have spent on my blog. I try hard to respond to comments and visit your blogs... eventually, but I will be honest life is pretty crazy right now!

Thanks for swinging by my place. See ya soon!