Nora Ephron: thoughts on one of my heroes

One of my favorite writers, Nora Ephron is dead at age 71. Best known for her screenplays, (Silkwood, Sleepless in Seattle, When Harry Met Sally, etc.) I loved her for her essays--her funny, vulnerable, honest, intimate essays. Ephron had the ability to share with us her insecurities and struggles while maintaining just enough objectivity to put it all in perspective, usually a humorous one. When I work with clients, I often refer to Ephron's essays as an example of what to do if you want to write about your own life.

When I got the news last night, I was pissed. Seventy one is too young. I want more Nora Ephron. I'm not done yet, so how can she be gone? I thought about her recent book, I Feel Bad About My Neck and how I've read excerpts. I've been meaning to read it all, but I haven't yet. I was waiting for, I don't know what, the perfect time, maybe the annual trip to the beach where I could read it without guilt or interruption. I just wanted to savor it, like a decadent dessert.

It struck me that now, when I do read it (and I will), it will be bittersweet. I won't wonder what she is doing at that moment and picture her having lunch with her friends. I will be pointedly aware that she is no longer with us. That this voice that makes me chuckle even at the hint of her rye cadence is forever forward silenced.

God, we think we have time, we think we can afford to wait, we can put it off, whatever 'it' is. Put of the dream, put off the relationship, put off spending time with the kids, put off reading a book, put off writing one.

What if Nora Ephron put off writing? What we all would have missed!

We think we have time, but we don't. Not that put-it-off-for-later kind of time.

The gift Nora Ephron leaves behind is her work. Even though she is gone from her body, her body of work lives on and remains accessible to us now and for generations to come.

It's the one reward writers get for the hours of isolation, self-doubt, and wrestling with words--immortality.

So, thank you Nora Ephron for the gifts you gave and left behind. And wherever you are, I hope there's pie.


How to Write a Book that Sells

I get asked all the time, "How do I sell more books?"  when the real question ought to be, "How do I write a book that sells?" Authors are frustrated, of course. With over four million new titles published in 2010 alone, competition for readers is beyond staggering, it's epic. Many authors complain that despite their promotion efforts and expenses, book sales remain anemic. Unfortunately, in most cases they come to me after the fact, after the book is published. When it's too late. I can see quickly what went wrong.

To write a book that sells, you must sell the book in the writing. What I mean by that is your book must stand out. It must communicate a clear, tangible benefit to a specific audience. You cannot write a book with some vague, willy-nilly benefit to "everyone" and expect to become a bestseller.

Your book needs a bestseller title, a vital component in getting people's interest and helping them understand what's in the book that they want. Example, a made-up title: Divine Awakening toward Enlightenment and an Empowered Life is loaded with sweeping  terms that most of us don't fully understand and points to the vague benefit of an "empowered life," whatever the heck that means. A book like this, I predict, would be chock full of platitudes and meditations with no particular reader in mind and no concrete solutions.

These days, you cannot overestimate how busy people's lives are, nor can you begin to imagine the amount of information they are asked to consume every day. No one has time to read a book unless they know upfront what they are going to get out of it.

So, if you want to write a book that sells, to start know  1) who your audience is and why they would read your book. 2) what you promise to deliver 3) go about delivering it as clearly as you can.



Humor and the Shadow

Last week, I did my first stand up comedy performance at the D-Note in Arvada, CO. Both nervous and excited, I stepped up to the mic and entered a world previously unknown where I got to be exposed, vulnerable, confident, uncertain, and most of all, present. What I love about comedy is its healing aspect. The way comedians help us see disowned parts of ourselves and, through laughter, come to own and accept who we are and how we feel.

Great comedians each have their own unique style, yet they all have one thing in common―they never fear their own shadow. In fact, the best comedians put their shadow side into the spotlight, holding it out for all to see.

"You know the hardest thing about having cerebral palsy and being a woman― it's plucking your eyebrows. That's how I originally got pierced ears."

Short and funny quote by Geri Jewell.

We all have aspects of ourselves that we feel the need to hide, things that have us feel ashamed, embarrassed, victimized, “less than”: a failed relationship, a physical handicap, an addiction, or a host of “mean” thoughts that, if known, would make us a “bad” person.

When we reject these aspects, we feel more safe but less alive. With parts of ourselves relegated to the shadow realm, we feel like imposters in our own life―half our true selves cast aside, unexpressed, and numb.

Comedians have made friends with their shadow, and the best comedians are in a full-blown love affair with the devil on their shoulder. They see their “dark side” and lovingly show it to us, laughing all the while, and then we see our own shadow and laugh too.

"Never play peekaboo with a child on a long plane trip. There's no end to the game. Finally I grabbed him by the bib and said, "Look, it's always gonna be me!" ~ Short Funny Quote by Rita Rudner.

This is the gift of humor. Laughter is a release, and not just a physical one. It is a release for the psyche. We are, at least temporarily, “off the hook.”

The comedian invites us to join him in a level of vulnerability and acceptance we rarely afford ourselves. Inside the vulnerability of showing off her “ugly” side, the comedian reminds us that we are not alone. And the saying, “one day, you’ll laugh at this” reminds us that nothing is funny without acceptance.



When we are caught up in the drama, the tragedy, the “wrongness” of the world, we take everything seriously. Sometimes, humor actually moves us into acceptance.

Humor allows us to let go of all our “shoulds” about the way the world should be, the way WE should be, and for that moment, we get to just BE. We can be in our messiness, our imperfection, our humanness, and not only enjoy it― we get to revel in it!

Exposing the shadow requires courage, exposing it with humor requires courage and love, which, perhaps, is why it is so healing and so valuable.


Book Concept, Part II: Your Book and Your Market

For a book to help your career, and be bestseller-worthy, it needs to solve a problem, answer a need, or provide a clear and present benefit to your target audience. Where your Book Concept meets the Market

The first five questions your inquiry into Book Concept were inside yourself. (See previous blog post).

These five questions look at where your book fits in the market, how other books compare to yours, and your unique position. When you answer these five questions thoroughly, it will do more than any other step to boost your confidence in your book and your material.

They are the same questions that a literary agent or a publisher would ask, so if you intend to be published by someone else, you will need to prepare compelling answers to get a book deal. Do this even if you plan to self-publish. Since the publisher is YOU, you probably want to make sure the publisher gets a good result for spending the publisher’s money.

Question 1: What’s the genre? What category is your book in? At the highest level, most books fall into one of three macro-genres: fiction (novels), mass market non-fiction (self-help, pop-culture, how to, and memoir) or reference (almanacs, cookbooks, travel guides, and textbooks). Most of the bestselling books written by experts are in one of these four sub-genres. How-to—teach the reader how to do something. Self-help—inspire, motivate, and aim to increase the reader's awareness.  Pop culture—books that contain investigative, observational, and interpretive information about our culture, behavior, and our world. Narrative—i.e. storytelling. When written by experts, these books appear as fable, memoir,  or an investigative piece or expose.

A book’s category describes the topic area that the book covers. Several genres can exist within a category. For example, in the Business category,  you can find a self-help book like Steven Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, a how-to book like Eric Reis’s The Lean Startup, and an investigative narrative like Michael Lewis’s, The Big Short.

Question 2: How does your book compare to other similar books in the market? Every time I introduce this question, someone becomes concerned that looking at this will deflate their confidence. Not so. In fact, it’s just the opposite. When you take a close look at the other books in your category, you can see clearly what makes yours unique, and thus why it’s so important that you write it. If you do not find that your book concept is unique, it’s a BIG hint to go back to the first five questions and create one that is. Go to or and your local bookstores to look and see what else is out there and how your book compares.

Question 3: What makes yours unique? Before you commit fully to your book concept, run one last test. This test is a “make or break” kind of marker, for if you have any ambitions of writing a bestseller, your concept must pass. If you want your book to enhance your image and raise your status to THE expert on your subject, you must be able to complete the following sentence, “This is the first book ever to…” and make sure it's a topic people find interesting. I borrowed this idea from Michael Larsen author of How to Write a Book Proposal. If you can’t fill in that blank, if it’s not the first book ever, why write it? As Larsen so deftly pointed out, who in the world wants to read the second book ever? No one, that’s who!

Question 4: Why are you the best/only person to write it? Your voice is essential, and there can be no substitute. If you believe that anyone else could author your book and do even half the job, it’s time to go back to the beginning and revisit the whole concept. Your unique signature book that the world wants and needs is inside of you. Don’t stop looking until you find it.

Question 5: What is missing that the market wants and your book brings? You now see your unique book concept that only you can write. Go a step further and discover what in your message brings the most value to your audience. What does your target market need, want, desire most that all the other books fail to address? What did they all miss? What did they all leave out that you plan to (or could decide to) include?

You’ll know you are ready for the next step when your book idea has grown into a concept that brings value to your audience, communicates a clear benefit, shares something new and unique that only you can deliver. Congratulations! You’re the #1 Expert!


What’s in a Book Concept?

Most first-time authors make the mistake of leaping from book idea to writing and self-publishing it without even considering the concept until after the fact―when book sales are lousy and they can’t even get their mother to read it. In my opinion, this is the number one reason why 80% of all books published sell fewer than 100 copies a year (Nielsen, 2004). The best way to ensure that this does not happen to you is to figure out your book’s concept first―before you get to writing it.   Your first question in all this might be “What’s the big deal? Isn’t a book concept the same as a book idea?” I can see how you might think that, but the answer is an unequivocal no.

A book idea comes in a bright and shiny flash of “Oooh! This would make a great book!” It’s exciting, and it’s also untested, so without further development, it is likely to lead to a dead end.

A book concept emerges out of a structured inquiry where you ask and answer ten specific questions about yourself, your book idea, your business, the market, and the results you want.

The first five questions

The first five questions focus on the internal relationship between you and your book. The last five focus on the external relationship between your book and the market. In this post, we will focus on the first five, and I will introduce the last five in another post on a later date.

These five questions will help you develop the book concept that feels authentic to you, supports your aims, connects to your audience and will make a difference in the world.  They are:

  1. Why you are writing this book?this question covers what I call Your Personal Why, what do you want your book to do for your career? It may seem obvious, but in my experience, most first-time authors don’t think this one through. They know what they want the book to do for others, but haven’t considered what it can do to help them achieve their own goals. Your goals for your book and the role it will play in your business and your life will determine the best focus for the book and the best course of action from the get-go, so it’s important that you consider this and get clear NOW, before you write it.
  2. What is the book about? What is the central idea? The main take-away? A viable book concept is focused. Rather than make the mistake of trying to cover too much in one book, answering this question will help you zero in on a clear, marketable concept that connects to a specific audience.
  3. Who will read it?—here you will dissect the psychological traits of your audience, identify their demographics, and calculate how many potential readers there are for your work.
  4. Why they will read it? Today, everyone is busy, so a book concept that will sell has clearly defined the benefits for those who read it.
  5. What difference do you want it to make in the world? I call this Your Big Why—the reason that’s bigger than you and your needs and wants. When you answer this, you will find out where writing your book becomes an act of service and a source of personal fulfillment.
What about you? Need help on your book concept? Ask me about it in the comments here or on my Ask Robin page.


Spicy Narrative

I like things spicy--spicy foods, spicy people, and especially spicy writing! Bland is boring.

Novelists, limited only by their imaginations, can add as much spice and color as they like, but what about the non-fiction writer? Can you tell a story with some kick to it, even though you're bound by the facts?

I say, yes! And here are some pointers to help you.

Just because it’s true doesn't mean it has to be boring. If you intend to write non-fiction narrative, be sure you are telling a story, not just reporting events. Don’t make the mistake of believing just because your story is true that it has to start at the beginning or follow chronology. Non-fiction that reads like fiction is fun and engaging. When you tell your story, make it a romp, not just reporting.

When I was a newspaper reporter, I always looked for the most compelling, engaging fact of the story and opened with that. I never began a story based on what happened first, but on what was most significant. Significance can mean a lot of things: importance, emotion, impact, anything that is likely to engage the reader and make them want to read more.

Open with a bang: Some writers grab us by opening at a compelling point in the middle and then flip all the way back to where the story begins. Maybe instead of beginning your narrative at the beginning, you open with a dramatic event, an intense moment, something that lets the reader know this story is going to be interesting.

Surprise: What information can you hold back and introduce at a strategic moment? How can you create “ah-ha!” moments? What information might you have known all along in the “real life” version, but you can withhold and reveal to the reader later to surprise or shock?

Significance: As I said before, write about the key elements, don’t feel like you have to share all the events just because they happened. Include only events and details that are essential to the readers’ understanding and moving the story to its conclusion. Think in terms of "plot points" or events in the story where change occurs, either in character or direction.

Create suspense: Are there events in the story that could have gone either way? Can you make readers wait, compel them to read further to see what actually happened? While a great strategy, it only works if you can make them care. Which brings me to my final tip for today.

Reveal character: More than events, it’s the characters that make stories interesting. Lucky for you, in non-fiction narrative, the characters are real people, so you don’t have to make them up. On the other hand, you do have to be observant and, most important, notice things about them that are interesting–quirky, external behaviors and features that reveal the person within as well as their deeper motivations.

Make it exciting, engaging, devastating, fun, heart-warming, heart-wrenching, whatever it needs to be, but never be boring.

Plan to Pitch

If you're ready for it, a good writer's conference can send you into warp speed toward your publishing goals. Faster than the query letter, you can pitch several agents at once, get valuable feedback, and even get an agent. Rather than sending out a query letter and hoping the agent is taking on new writers, you can be confident the ones at the conference are looking for new clients. Also, you can skip the picayune "pet" criteria that agents will demand if you query through their website, as long as you produce a solid pitch and standard-format book proposal.

Two of my favorite writer's conferences are coming up in early 2012, the San Diego State University Writer's Conference and Michael Larsen's San Francisco Writer's Conference. If you plan on attending either one of those, you'd better begin to prepare now.

To get your book proposal together, I recommend that you read Michael Larsen's How to Write a Book Proposal. If you want some more in-depth personalized help, visit my friend, the Literary Agent Undercover, Mark Malatesta for some great pointers and tips.

If you pitch your idea and get an agent's interest, chances are they will have some follow up questions. It's easy to forget about that part when you prepare. I don't want you to stand there and stumble, mumble and bumble through an unremarkable follow up conversation, so I've provided these five common questions agents are likely to ask when they are interested in your book.

Prepare and practice your answers to these, and agents will see you as a poised and polished professional.

The first question any agent will ask when you engage them in a conversation at a writer's conference is  some version of “What’s your book about?” which means, essentially, "tell me your book concept in about 10 seconds."

If you answer with a brilliant, compelling statement that leaves the agent wanting more, the agent probably will ask some or all of the following:

“How does it do that?” This is a logical follow up question to the statement you just made about what the book will do for its readers. Be ready to briefly explain the methodology or structure of the book and how it delivers on its promise. Keep your answers short and to the point.

“What genre?" or "What’s your category?” Basically, what they want to know is, if this book were to be published, where in the bookstore might one find it? Humor? Self-help? How-to? You get the idea. Agents need to know, because it will help them figure out if your book is a fit for the type of work they represent.

“What’s it like?” This question may be phrased in a number of ways, but they are really asking you to use two other books to give them the gist of the tone and overall approach of the book. It’s best to compare top-selling, notable books, because agents like to represent books that have a fresh twist on themes that have already done well. For example, a book on using the law of attraction to grow your business might be pitched as “It’s The Tipping Point meets The Secret.” One warning, while it's good to mention strong sellers, don't use examples that are likely to have been overused. For example, not every memoir is the next Eat Pray Love, and if you don't want agents to roll their eyes at you, neither is yours.

“Why are you the best person to write this book?” This question goes to your status as an expert. If an agent is interested in your idea, they are already thinking, How am I going to sell this author? So, help them out. Be prepared to explain why you are not only the BEST person to write the book, you are the ONLY one who could write it and why.

And MOST Important: It’s natural to be a little nervous when talking with agents for the first time, just don’t let your nervousness keep you chattering away, never giving the agent a chance to ask you more questions. Answer the question and shut up. Remember, the idea here is to generate a conversation, not a monologue.


Like a What?!

Last night, I was exhausted in that way that only single working mothers can understand. Thursday night, the tail end of a week of getting my teen-aged kids off to school, after-school activities and attending my own business meetings and events, cooking (most nights), cleaning (just enough that if I did get a visit from social services they wouldn't take my children), and I was driving home from my daughter's creative writing class's performance. She was talking to me, trying to tell me something, and I said, "I'm sorry honey; I'm so tired, I'm not processing...I'm not...I just can't think..." "It's okay, Mom." she said with that 'rolling-my-eyes-at-you' tone of voice only teenage girls can master.

Feeling I've let her down, and wanting to be fully present, as all good mom's are, I continued to drive using my automatic brain while coaxing my cognitive brain, "Come on, damnit! Work! Work!"

And then it hit me, "Oh God, when I'm old, it's going to be like this all the time!"

It's interesting when in our forties, we begin to get glimpses of what is to come. It's hard to imagine the feeling of knowing your brain used to work, and noticing it no longer is cooperating, until you've been there.

Earlier this week, we went out for frozen yogurt at one of those yogurt bars with rows and rows of decadent toppings. While we were there, some carolers from the local high school came in and began to sing us a regalia of Christmas songs.

For one of their last numbers, they sang Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and I happily listened as they wrapped it up with, "You'll go down in history!" and one member of the chorale shouted, "Like a walnut!"

"Like a walnut?" I mused aloud, yet to myself. "What an interesting choice, walnut. I wonder why they'd say walnut..."

I looked up to see my children's faces twisted in confusion and horror.

"What are you talking about?" my daughter demanded.

"They said like a walnut." I replied, incredulous that they would think it normal to include a walnut, as fine a nut as it is, in the annuls of history.

"They said 'like OBAMA'!" my children chimed in unison.

"Ahh...yes, well that makes sense..." I conceded, and back to muttering, "My God, I'm turning into my grandmother."

Terror? Not quite. No, the terror came when my daughter later informed me as we left the yogurt bar and got in the car, "You know, when you're old and senile, you're not going to come and live with me. I'm going to have my own life!"

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"I mean, I'm not going to be having arguments with my husband about you and how much longer you are going to stay and when you're leaving."

"Yeah, Mom, we're just going to put you in a home." My 16-year-old son concurred.

"You are?" I saw the resolve on their faces, "Well then, go ahead and kill me."

"Mom, how could you ask me to do that? To kill my own mother?" my son protested.

"Well, you'd put me in a home, so apparently you'd subject me to torture. I'd prefer you just kill me." And next thought to myself, "when did I have a Jewish grandma?"

The future suddenly looks bleak. When is that moment? When does the shift happen when you go from eagerly anticipating the next milestone, first kiss, driver's license, college diploma, to terror and dread?

Sure, I could look forward to grandchildren, and...ah...great grandchildren who, it appears, will be visiting me at the nursing home. But who are we kidding? There's no beauty product for hearing loss and brain malfunction.

No, the days of looking eagerly ahead are gone.  I'm just now sitting in the theater watching the previews. The full-length feature version is a few years out, "Night of the Living Senile Mother! Coming soon to a theater near you!"

Ooh, goody!


Self-Publish or Be Published?

Make the decision of whether to go for a deal with a major publishing house or to self-publish based upon your goals, your end-game, and your material, not on what you perceive to be outer obstacles. It’s true the publishing industry is going through some big changes, but I wouldn’t let that discourage you from going after what you really want. The most important question for you to ask is: What do you want your book to do for your business and your career? For some objectives, self-publishing is the clear choice to get you there, while for others, the best strategy is to hold out for the book deal.

Self-publishing is usually the best route under the following five circumstances:

Small Niche Market: If you have a particular specialty in a very small, niche market, or a small geographic region, you can self-publish and tap that market to the point where you are THE expert in your area and may not only have the best book on your topic, you may have the ONLY book. I have a friend, Kenn Amdahl, who self-published a book on electronics. He’s sold enough copies to pay his mortgage every year for the past 20 years!

Face-to-Face Distribution: If you are a professional speaker, and your main intention is to sell books and other products in the back of the room, self-publishing will give you higher profit margins and total creative control.

Book as an Entrée: Are you a high-end consultant? You may benefit from having a book you can give away to prospective clients as a way to build credibility and rapport. You don’t need a publisher for this. You will use the book as a loss-leader to land the five, six, or seven-figure consulting gig.

Timely Material: Big publishing houses move slowly, which is part of the reason they seem to be headed for the same fate as the dinosaurs (but I wouldn't write them off yet, see below). If you are a first-time author and decide to go for a deal with a big house, you are looking at two to three years (or more) before you will get an agent, land a  publishing contract, and see it out in print. When your book idea is news-worthy or a commentary on a hot, new fad, you have a small window of opportunity to make a big profit, so self-publishing is the way to go. A great example is a small publisher who happened to have a biography of Sarah Palin in the can when she was selected as the Vice Presidential candidate in 2008. They cranked out their Palin biography first and sold about 500,000 copies in a couple of months.

For Friends and Family: Let’s face it, some books are really just for you and those who love you, and that’s perfectly okay, self-publish, get it out of your system, and move on.

Now, on to a look at seeking a publisher...

“Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated!”

First of all, despite all rumors and speculation about the turmoil in the publishing industry today, the big publishing houses are still the major players. They still have the strongest distribution channels, they still publish 98% of all New York Times bestsellers, and they have the most influence and credibility when it comes to launching a new author. So, let us remember the immortal words of Mark Twain and refrain from posting obituaries for the Six Sisters just yet.

For many authors, self-publishing or going with a vanity press may serve  just fine, but certain circumstances will dictate that you hold out for a book contract with a big publishing  house (or one of the few important mid-sized presses).

You have built (or intend to build) a national celebrity platform: National celebrities have no business spending their time on the phone with a printer or settling for a no-name publisher. If you are already a celebrity, this may be obvious to you. For the up-and-coming, my advice is this: plan for the long haul and put 90% of your energy into building your author platform (credibility, exposure, following, reach) and 10% into developing your writing and your idea until you land a book deal.

If you see yourself as a future brand-name author/expert, such as Deepak Chopra, Jack Canfield, Wayne Dyer, Marianne Williamson, etc., invest your time and energy in creating yourself as the expert. Expand your audience and market reach. Develop a demand for your work, do a lot of public speaking, and generate a track-record of sales.

Taking these steps before you seek a publisher will give you leverage. Lisa Nichols, author of No Matter What! built her celebrity platform so solid before she sought a publisher, she got a $1 million advance as a first-time author!

Big message, big market: Authors with a fresh message who write in popular genres have a better chance of being picked up. Relationships, money, health and happiness are traditionally strong sellers in the non-fiction market. Young Adult, both fiction and non-fiction, is a huge market that is presently under-served, so opportunities abound!

Controversy and credibility: If your topic is controversial, political, or contains thinking that is way outside the box, having a big publisher behind you will automatically and instantly grant you a level of credibility that is impossible to attain as a self-publisher or through a small press.

Exceptional writing or content: Believe it or not, even with all the angst big publishers are feeling over the changes in the marketplace, there is still a place for the “great American novel,” the exceptional narrative, artful poetry, or the latest, greatest solution. The catch here is you can’t be the judge. To see if your work qualifies, have it reviewed by a professional editor, a credible book coach, or a literary agent,  preferably one with experience working with the big publishing houses who specializes in your genre.

Top 10 List of Books to Help Make You a Successful Author

Top 10 List of Books to Help Make You a Successful Author 

The books on this list have made a BIG difference for me. They have inspired me, motivated me and guided me to take the right actions and get results. The only path to mastery is to keep educating yourself, learn new strategies, and try them out for yourself. Stay inspired and grow faster when you read top-notch books.

Of all the books I've read on writing, publishing and doing what it takes to get big projects done, the books on this list have helped me the most. I could have given you a list of a 100 books, but these are a good start. You should have every one in your library.


Here they are...

cover_my book#1 How to Write a Book that Sells You

By Robin Colucci (I just had to include my book now that it's out!)

More than eighty percent of Americans believe they should write and publish a book, but less than one percent actually does so. In How to Write a Book That Sells You, author Robin Colucci guides coaches, consultants, and entrepreneurs in writing and publishing a book that can become a power tool in their businesses. The steps presented in this guide seek to help you avoid or handle most of the blocks, distractions, and misunderstandings that prevent people from becoming authors. It teaches you how to excavate your most radical, leading-edge ideas and write a book that excites your audience and expands your impact. - See more



#2  How to Write a Book Proposal

By Michael Larsen

This newly revised edition of the Writer's Digest Books classic outlines how to create an effective, nonfiction book proposal in a clear, step-by-step manner. A book proposal is like a business plan for your book, so whether you intend to self-publish or seek a publisher, How to Write a Book Proposal is THE fundamental book for every aspiring author who wants to sell books.


#3 How To Get A Literary Agent

By Michael Larsen

Written by a top literary agent who gives writers an insider's view of how to find and work with an agent throughout the process of getting published. If you want to know what agents want and how best to communicate with them, this book is a must read.



#4 Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual

By Dan Poynter

Book publishing is changing. The Self-Publishing Manual, Volume 2 describes how to use new techniques to write your book even faster, use new technology to publish it for less, and how to use social media for promotion.




#5  Joy Writing

By Kenn Amdahl

This book will make you want to write. It will also entertain, inspire, and cheer you as it nudges and teases you toward mastery of language. Novices and experienced writers alike will discover useful tips.



#6  The Elements of Style

By William Strunk & E. B. White

You know the authors' names. You recognize the title. You've probably used this book yourself. This is the classic style manual, now in a fourth edition. Use it to make a big impact you’re your writing.






#7  The Millionaire Messenger

By Brendon Bruchard

In The Millionaire Messenger, Brendon Burchard reveals the  "expert industry" secrets and shows how to become an influential and highly paid advice expert through websites, books, speeches, seminars, coaching, consulting, and online programs.  If you’ve ever wondered how thought leaders spread their message, serve others, and build a real business, it's here in this book.


#8 On Writing

By Stephen King

A revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999—and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it.


Author You J Briles#9 Author You: Creating and Building the Author and Book Platforms

By Dr. Judith Briles

An extraordinary and interactive guidebook. Judith Briles, The Book Shepherd and author and publishing expert, will share insider strategies on how she created multiple bestsellers and award-winning books for herself and hundreds of clients. Discover how to: Create a successful book plan; 22 Activities that will captivate your author and book development; Identify which publishing venue is right for you; Use simple ways to get to the core of your book; Carve out the time and space to craft your masterpiece; ID which Internet and social media features will work for your book; Steer clear of the publishing predators;Learn the components of creating a successful book launch; Cloud funding ... and much more.


#10  Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them

By Francine Prose

Prose invites you to sit by her side and take a guided tour of the tools and the tricks of the masters. She reads the work of the very best writers—Dostoyevsky, Flaubert, Kafka, Austen, Dickens, Woolf, Chekhov—and discovers why their work has endured. She cautions readers to slow down and pay attention to words, the raw material out of which literature is crafted.



Ask Robin

Robin I"From One to the Many"

Ask Your Question Below

Robin knows that people who have similar interests and goals often face similar challenges, so she created "From One to Many...Answers for Aspiring Authors" a weekly column where you can ask Robin absolutely any question about writing, publishing, or promoting your book. This is a powerful way to get some guidance for yourself and to contribute to the community. When one person asks a question, many may benefit from the answer.

Here's how it works...

  • Each week, Robin will select a question out of the ones submitted on the form below.
  • Every Saturday, Robin will select one question and write her answer and deliver it via email to her subscribers, and post the answer on her Blog, so that everyone may benefit.
  • Be sure to tell us if you wish to remain anonymous.

Not sure what to ask?

You can ask Robin anything about how to write a book and get it published. Any question, any step. Take a look at the benefits of being a published author in your industry.

Go to this link to Ask Robin: http://localhost:29836/ask_robin




3 Ways to Get Help 1-on-1

Stop Guessing!

Did you know that you can get help to write your book and get published so you can reach more people and raise your status and clout in your industry? In other words... stand out from the crowd; get more exposure; increase your credibility; have more customers, clients, and/or raving fans; increase your income; and make a greater difference in the world? All you need is someone to show you exactly what to do... so you can reach your goals.

3 Ways You Can Get Help...


1. Submit a question by clicking here.

This is a special area on this website where you can ask me absolutely anything about strategies to help you bring your book idea to fruition and take it as far as you need to so you can reach your business goals. This is one of the ways that I "give back," so I don’t charge anything for this, and I answer every question personally.

You'll also learn a lot from my responses to other people's questions. Plus, you’ll have a chance to win one of my Top 10 Books to Make You A Bestselling Author. Every week I select a new winner (at random) from those who left a question or comment the previous week.


2. Request a 1-on-1 consulting call by clicking here.

The more serious you are about writing and publishing your book, the more questions you'll have... and they'll be more important (even urgent). Asking a question (and getting a reply) on my blog won't always be enough (or be fast enough).

At some point (maybe now) you’ll want and/or need to have a real conversation with me... so you can provide more background about your past and current situation, tell me about your goals, and get answers to lots of questions in a short period of time.

Obviously I can’t do this for free, but I want everyone to be able to take advantage of this offer... so, for a limited time, I'm letting everyone who’s part of my Get Published Coach community have a full 45-minute intensive consulting session with me by phone for just $97 (normally $497).

After you secure your spot, you'll get an email from me asking questions about you and your goals. I'll also take a look at your website and working book content (if you have it) before the call. That way I'll be able to give you more valuable strategies during the call, instead of using the time to cover the basics.

Reserve your space now by clicking here. And make sure you get your spot now because space is limited... and phone consultating sessions are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.

Only one $97 phone consultation allowed, per person!


3. Apply for a coaching program or Private Writer's Retreat day.

If you don't want to leave anything to chance, this is the best option for you. You'll get the results you want… because I won’t take you on as a client unless I believe you can succeed. That's why you have to apply.

I'll help you see what you can't see, and overcome the things you can see (but don't know how to fix). You'll save time, headaches, and money... because you're going to have access to insider information, valuable resources, and shortcuts.

We’ll spend time together by phone, email, and/or face-to-face... and I'm not going to put you through a one-size-fits-all program, but a completely customized plan that’s tailored to your unique wants and needs. And, you'll be able to go as fast (or slow) as you want, so our work together fits in with the rest of your life.

To apply for consulting, you must first request a 1-on-1 consulting call (above). That will allow me to demonstrate the value of my expertise and give you insight into your book and your business, but it will also allow me to see if we'll be good fit for each other in a more committed program.

Coaching programs and Private Writing Retreats start at $2,497.

If you have questions about any of the options above, contact me using the comment form below. If it's confidential, feel free to send me a private email by clicking here. I look forward to helping YOU become a published author and a PREMIER expert in your field.

Robin Colucci 

Your Get Published Coach

Do You Need to Write a Book?

Can you build a successful business before you have a book? Of course you can. Lots of people have and do, including myself. But to go to that next level, to take it up a notch, to move from being just another coach, consultant and especially speaker, at some point in your career development, writing your book is the inevitable step. Here are some of the many benefits:

  • Gain more trust and respect from prospects and peers—No matter how many books are out there, author is still the root of authority. When you have a book, you get more respect. Heck, just being committed to having a book grants you more respect, as long as you follow through.
  • Get interviewed in the media—yes, social media is an alternative to traditional media to gain exposure, but premier experts still set themselves apart by being featured in traditional media channels including magazines, TV, and radio. You can get interviewed as an expert in local markets without a book, but it’s very tough to move into the national media outlets without that book on your mantle as a testament to your expertise.
  • Stand out from other experts in your field—as I said earlier, anyone can say they’re an expert. Even today, only a handful have written and published their book.
  • Sell more of your products and services—a book is a terrific entrée to inspire others to get more involved with you and check out your programs and higher end products. When done properly, it helps to establish trust and rapport.
  • Charge higher prices—when you become a published author, your stock goes up, you move into designer-expert status, so you may command higher rates than an off-the-rack expert.
  • Get more invitations to speak and get paid for it—If you’ve ever sought opportunities to speak and get paid for your efforts, you will learn quickly that one of the first questions you will be asked is “do you have a book”? Speakers need a book. If you doubt me, just try and get signed to a speaker’s bureau without one.