I often give aspiring authors a button when I meet them for the first time. When I give it to them, I explain that it’s a magic button. Some laugh or smile nervously when I say that. “It really is a magic button,” I tell them, “but only when you wear it.”
The button says Ask Me About My Book!
The button truly is magical-and I have many clients that will now testify to that magic.
The first bit of magic happens when the author gathers the chutzpah to actually put on the button-and wear it in public, where others can see it (and not under a sweater, as one client tried to sneak past me). By wearing the button openly, you set an intention.
“I am writing a book,” you say by wearing the button. Even that’s pretty hard for some aspiring authors, since they really haven’t owned the fact that they are aspiring authors.
By wearing the button, you also create accountability with everyone who sees you wearing the button. It’s likely that once you wear the button, someone will later ask, “How’s the book coming along?” and you’ll have to provide an answer.
But perhaps the button’s best magic is its way of forcing you to fine-tune your thesis statement. When asked, “What is your book about?” you will have to state, time and time again, the whole compelling idea in just a sentence or two-in other words, your thesis statement. And you’ll get feedback from everyone you tell, whether it’s explicit in their words or implicit in their behavior and engagement.
Does the person lean in and ask more questions? Does the person suggest other stories or ideas? Or does the person suddenly need to excuse herself? If the latter is the reaction you receive, it probably means you have some work to do in reframing your thesis, since it’s not yet resonating with your readers.
If after 20 minutes or so you still can’t tell the listener exactly what your book is about-or if you understand what you’re saying but the listener seems not to-you have important work left to do. You should be able to tell people precisely what your book is about in 30 seconds, if not well under.
You’ll feel the magic when your listener wants to hear more once your 30 seconds are up.
Do you need a magic button?
Activity: If you have a magic button, wear it to discover its magic powers. You can also receive similar results if you place “Author of the Forthcoming Book . . .” on your email signature.
Note from Cathy: This post is excerpted from my new book,
Blog2Book:Repurposing Content to Discover the Book You’ve Already Written. For information on my book, drop me a note at Cathy@CathyFyock.com.