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The BookWorthy Show


How to Turn Your Blog into a Book with David Sanford

What if you’ve already written your book and just don’t know it yet? David Sanford says that just might be the case.

David has been writing books and coaching authors for years, and he’s seen a trend. Often, an aspiring author will feel overwhelmed by the prospect of writing tens of thousands of words. But that same writer has penned dozens of articles or blog posts—plenty of words to fill up multiple books.

What if all those articles or posts could be pulled together into your first book? What once felt like an insurmountable task could be completed in a few hours.

In this episode of the BookWorthy show, Aaron and Simon chat with David about outlining your book, the importance of having fun when you write, and the many advantages of self-publishing over traditional publishing.




Simon: Welcome to the podcast. Every week we bring inspiring interviews from incredible self-published authors just like you. My name is Simon Villeneuve, and I will be your host. Whether you realize it or not, your story is worth publishing. That’s why it’s our goal to help aspiring authors, storytellers, and entrepreneurs just like you learn how to write and publish a physical book that people will want to buy, they’ll want to read, and they’ll truly want to share. It’s great to have you with us, let’s get started.

All right, David. Welcome to the show, it’s so good to have you.

David Sanford: Well, it’s wonderful. I’ve been looking forward to it very much, and  I’m humbled and honored to be able to talk with you guys, and with your great audience.

Simon: Awesome, well it’s really great to have you. So, you’re a self-published author turned a self-published consultant, and we’re just stoked to hear about all of that. So just start, though, by telling us a little bit more about what life looks like. Give us some context into life and work and family, and all that.

David Sanford: Great! Well, again, my name is David Sanford. There are other David Sanfords out there that are authors, or that do speaking engagements, or media interviews. I’m not as smart as any of them, but I have had the privilege of over 35 years of working as a book editor for a major book publishing company that would regularly have four of the top-ten best-selling books in America. And then, working as a literary agent, representing over 300 books, and working with all the major publishers in New York, and elsewhere across the country.

But, frankly, my most enjoyable stretch of my career has been the last few years, really since December of 2009, helping new authors publish over 200 books. And so, again, for me, helping people to publish, sometimes with the traditional publisher, but more often self-publishing. And there’s so many reasons why. Even though I worked with Random House and all the other major publishers, I often advise my clients “Let’s go that self-publishing route.” And it sounds scary, it’s like “I don’t know what to do.”  But that’s why you guys are here.

Aaron: Yeah. Why do you nudge them in the direction of self publishing, what’s your main focus on that?

David Sanford: Well, you’ve got five options for publishing. You can go the traditional route, you can just go and pay somebody a ton of money, and do all the work, and then you have a garage full of books. And, boy, there’s some horror stories there, where the guy accidentally emailed a draft of his book, not the finished manuscript. Even though he had completely finished it. But all the charts were missing, a bunch of his best stories, and it just had placeholders. And he had a garage full of them, and his wife wanted to divorce him. So, I don’t usually recommend that route.

And then there is custom publishing. So, sometimes an executive from a Fortune 500 company will come to me, and he says it’s got to be hardcover. And in that route, I go the custom publishing route. Number of great companies out there to do that. But these are executives who the book is basically their business card, and so they want it hardcover. But most of us don’t need hardcover, at least for most of our books.

And then, the fourth route is self-publishing. My motto is experience is the best teacher, especially other people’s experience. And so, that’s why I love BookWorthy, because you can draw on all this experience of all these different individuals  . . .  I’m just one small piece of the pie  . . .  Who bring all this experience to bear, and can help you avoid the freshman mistakes.

And the fifth option, real quickly, is sometimes you self-publish, and then you turn around and license one of your books, say for two or three years, to a traditional publisher. You don’t give them all the rights forever and ever, amen. But, you license it. And so, sometimes that’s a really good approach. But it’s no secret in the world if you sign a contract with a major traditional publisher you say goodbye to your book. You may not even have a right to do excerpts in your own blog. So there are a lot of downsides and tremendous amount of upsides.

But it’s no secret in the world if you sign a contract with a major traditional publisher you say goodbye to your book.

Aaron: Yeah, it depends on how good of an agent you have, to work out that contract in the traditional publishing world, but you’re right, essentially, the contracted, you almost have no rights as the writer. So that’s why you nudge your authors that you consult with to the self-publishing, because they can start there and move past it.

David Sanford: Well, and a lot of times they don’t want to move past it. Self-publishing has so many advantages. You lose all creative control of your book once you hit submit and send it in. Now again, hopefully you’re working with somebody who’s not just cashing the check, and sending the unread file off to be designed.

But I recommend top notch book editors, I recommend top notch book designers, left and right, simply because they can do a terrific job at a good price. Where with a traditional publisher you have almost no control, no matter how hard your agent fights for you, in what the title’s going to be, what’s going to be on the cover, what’s gonna be on the back cover, how your book’s marketed.

And since 2008, the size of the advances for traditional publishers have shrunk so much that there’s really not a huge incentive, because that advance is basically paying you pennies on the dollar. That’s not where you make money. And even if you have good royalty rates with a traditional publisher, you’re talking at best 50 cents to a dollar per book sold. Except for you’re not going to see that for 18 months, or ever, because you’ve got to earn out that advance  . . .  which was some glorious sum, probably somewhere between zero and maybe five or ten thousand dollars.

Since 2008, the size of the advances for traditional publishers have shrunk so much that there’s really not a huge incentive.

And I’ve had authors who have made more money in the first three weeks of self publishing than they had made in their absolutely best year ever, and that’s in the first three weeks. Which is a good problem to have. I haven’t had that problem too often. But it’s a great time to have. And so, you’re not waiting around forever and getting just a little slice of that. With the typical self published book, depending on your price point, you could be making five, 10, 12 or more dollars per book sold, and you’re getting paid now, not some distant future that you hope the company is still around and they honor the contracts, which doesn’t always happen.

And so, really, the advantages on the creative side on how soon your book comes out  . . .  when they find out, wow if my agent sells my book today, my book won’t be out for 12 to 24 months. I gotta finish writing it. They’ve got to edit it. They’ve got to design. But it goes through this cycle, and so when the acquisitions editor takes it to the editorial committee, or editorial marketing, and then takes it to the publishing board and they say yes, it’s like, “Oh great I get a contract.” But you basically are going to wait, and wait  . . .  after you’ve finished writing your book, and wait, and keep waiting, for your book to come out.

In self-publishing, you could have the book out within 30 days, with a professional designer, the whole bit. Now, you may not want to rush, but you can even do it faster than that. My most recent self-published book, I contacted my team on January 1, and by January 11 it was done. So, a week and a half.

Aaron: What was that book?

David Sanford: That book is called Loving Your Neighbor: Surprise! It’s Not What You Think. Which sounds like a whimsical title, but it’s actually looking at the serious subject that most of us wince when we think about— loving our neighbor. And then we go to the Gospels for inspiration from Jesus, and we wince at what Jesus is saying and doing, and we’re like, “I don’t think that I can love my neighbors like that.”

And so, what I’ve done, is go wait a second, let’s take a closer look. What is Jesus doing in these stories where we’re we’re looking at from a twenty-first century perspective, we’re going, “Oh man, you have just offended the person you’re talking to and everybody else who’s listening. Why in the world did Matthew or Mark or Luke or John put this in the Gospels?

But the reality is if we meditate on the stories and we see what Jesus is doing, we see this deep profound love. And as a result, we end up falling more in love with Jesus, and doing that makes us more in love with our neighbors. And so really it’s my own experience of how I go from wince to, “Wow. I didn’t realize how deep Jesus’ love was.” So that’s my story on that book.

Simon: Okay, so let’s go back. We were really jamming on traditional publishing and self publishing. Because, let’s be real. Self publishing is hard, right? You don’t have a team. You kind of can be doing it alone. So, as you’ve self published, and you’ve worked with other people who are self publishing books, how do you help them go through the process?

David Sanford: Well, when I first got into the publishing world 35 years ago  . . .   back when they were dinosaurs on the earth, the whole idea, and the culture at large, and particularly in any field like book publishing, was we’re not going to tell anybody how this world works. People have to guess, they have to crack the code.

And I thought, why don’t we just tell authors how this world works, and the ways to stack things in your favor? So, my philosophy is, I’ve taken 62 pages, and I just said okay, let me dump everything I know and put it out there. And that’s too much, to try to go from A to Z.

So I like podcasts, I like articles where we can share specific things that will help people. But mostly, you do need a team. You’re absolutely right, Simon. You need a team. The first one on your team is at least one Barnabas, a son of encouragement who is going to be your champion through the whole process. On your worst day you can call up and say, “Man, I ran out of coffee. I can’t write. I’m sick of my book.”

That’s always a hint you might be writing a little too slow. It’s counter-intuitive, but writing faster is writing better if you’re prepared. But you need a Barnabas or two or three on your team and that’s what I do. Basically if you have a question, ask me. If I don’t know I can go out to my network and I can find the answer and come back.

My children remind me, “Dad, you’re not a designer just because you took design classes back with Michelangelo. He’s Michelangelo, and you can’t even draw a smiley face, so don’t even think about it.” And it’s true. So I have only certain ways that I’m gifted, but I know a lot of people who are gifted and the great thing that you’re doing is, of course, helping people connect and say, “Oh, here’s how I can get these services to help me do what I need to do.”

And one of my mottos is have fun. But if you know you will be successful, you write faster. And you finish the book. Because you know it’s going to be published, and you know you’re going to have parties, and you’re going to be just thrilled with this end result. It’s not quite like having your first child, or second, or third  . . .  but having a book hot off the press in your hands for the first time, that you wrote, or maybe co-authored, is a magical experience.

And I can say after more than 515 books, if all I did was I served as a Barnabas, and I encourage that person, I answer their questions. But mainly I was their champion. You can do it. Oh, I’m more excited actually about a lot of other people’s books than I am about my own, simply because I had the privilege to be part of that team.

Now there are other people that you want on your team, as well. You might have a critique group, or you might have an ad hoc group of people that live all over the place that can’t meet together physically who can help review your book and do different things. But eventually you are going to need a professional editor, and a professional designer  . . .  unless you are a professional designer. But even then, oftentimes it’s better to have a third party take your crack at your book.

But make it fun. And when it’s not fun, sit down and say why? It’s because I’m doubting that I’m going to be successful. I need more team members, or I need to talk to my team members. But what is it that I need to do to keep it fun? Even if the subject [inaudible] you could have writing book, and going through the whole process of it being polished, and launching it out there to the world. The world is full of books that have never been published.

And I remember one friend got this terrible disease and he was dying. He was only, he was less than 35. And I’m like, “Ed, you finished writing your book. Can you give me a copy? And you can just email me a copy. You don’t have to print it out obviously.” And he said, “Oh I can’t do that.” And I’m like, “Well that’s fear talking. Come on. You know we’ve been friends for all this time.”

The world is full of books that have never been published.

He would not give me a copy. He gave no one a copy of his book. He died. We all went to the memorial service, and he didn’t give anybody the password to his computer. No one on earth has read his book. We don’t even know what the title is. But this guy was one of the most gifted talented smart, when he talked, I want to listen, kind of guys and  . . .  in heaven I’ll read it, but that will be it. So, fear is a big issue.

And I find that even if somebody is super successful, maybe they were a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox and they went to the World Series, or they,whatever their field is, they’re super successful in that field. Or maybe they’re just a great gamer and they are just amazing, and I don’t try to compete with them. But, somehow, they get locked into fear when it comes to publishing their own books. And so that’s where Barnabas, or a coach, somebody needs to come alongside and help them in recognizing their fear, but overcoming it.

And those professional fears  . . .  and, really for me, there’s five of them. The fear of just being alone, silent, writing. I’ve got to sell the book by finish writing it and I publish it when actually that can be the most fun. You know, the fear of rejection, or failure, that people are going to say, “Oh my goodness, David, why did you ever think you could write a book?”

Now, some days I say that about my writing. That particular section of a chapter, and I realize how I just passive voice the whole way through. I’m not really telling the reader anything for three paragraphs and you. Yes, occasionally you do have to just delete and start over. But fear is just something that I don’t deal with very often. And when I do, I do the same thing that I tell my clients to do. Look at it, and say which of the five professional fears.

So, again, sometimes people have the fear, which is ironic of success.

Simon: We were just talking about this.

Aaron: We literally just talked about this.

David Sanford: I remember one author realized that David Sanford wasn’t lying, and his book was going to be a bestseller. It was going to be in the New York Times. It was going to win awards. And he started shaking at his desk. And he just is like, is he gonna have a nervous breakdown? “This is like this is going to ruin my life.” And I’m like, “What is going to ruin your life?”

“All that money.” And I’m like Gary, you don’t know anybody you could give money to? There are no charitable causes? There’s nothing that you want to champion out there. Good grief, you’ve got a sister who’s a missionary in Asia, send her some money. You’re not going to mess up your friendship with your own sister by  . . .  And, as a result, he’s given away hundreds of thousands of dollars. And it’s like, Gary, this did not ruin your life. But he was so afraid of the potential of success.

So, again, whether it’s my fear of silence  . . .  just taking the time to write. And some people talk about writing a book, but they never actually write it. So, we have to sit down and overcome the fear that I’m going to have to sell this book. Again, think party, author parties, lots of different creative, fun ways that you can sell your book without selling your soul.

You have the fear of rejection or failure, and then the fear of success. We have to recognize those. Now, for some people the fear of success is just not there. Success, what are my options? Failure or mediocrity. Well, I’ll take success. And it doesn’t mean we never fail, or we’re never mediocre. But we want to excite us. But believe me, again, being as old as a dinosaur I’ve had my failures. But it doesn’t keep me from the drive and the excitement, and being jazzed about working on my own projects and helping other people.

Just because you occasionally have failure does not  . . .  it just means well, that project, that was not the right time. And then five years later, boom! God opens the door. And, all if a sudden, this project was a failure is now your biggest success. And my wife and I have seen it over and over as we work with people. Sometimes you’re just a little ahead of the curve, and that’s a great place to be. And just wait, but don’t [inaudible] the hard drive and wish that nobody would ever ask me about it again. You just don’t know.

Aaron: Yeah I’d like to highlight. You said so many good things, we were just listening and I forget we’re in an interview, I’m like, “This is so good.”

I want to highlight a couple of things, I know you can sneak in too, Simon. You mentioned Barnabas, and maybe some of our listeners don’t know what you’re talking about, but he’s a Bible character and his name means encourager. And how in the course, we talk about this idea of creating for yourself a network of encouragement, a support network.

And then you also mentioned these fears, which is very ironic and apt, because we were literally just discussing the fears that authors go through. And you hit on every single one of them.

Simon: Yup.

Aaron: And lead into a little bit of that of just highlighting what he was talking about because it’s so good.

Simon: Yeah. What in particular?

Aaron: So, in the course so we started off with that encouragement because beginning there. And then getting to those fears, and—

Simon: Yeah, in the course we talk about building a support team. And we talk about that being  . . .  it could be editors, or designers, or agents, but it also could just be that encourager.

David Sanford: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. And it doesn’t matter what you call them. I happened to grow up in a long line of atheists, so remember reading the Bible for the first time when I was 13, and nobody told me to read it slowly so I read it like a novel. And I finished it, and it was like wow I didn’t get all that.

Well one of the things I got my second, third, fifth time reading through the Bible is, oh there’s this guy named Barnabas, I really like when he shows up the story. When I looked into him and it’s like oh his name means “encourage” or “suffering to purge out.” It’s like that’s my fear. I mean except for God and Jesus that’s my favorite character there.

But it doesn’t matter how happy you wake up every morning. We all need one or two or more Barnabases in our life. People who are going to champion us and believe in us, even when we have to when we don’t believe in ourselves. So, which is again why it’s so exciting you guys are putting this course together, and helping people really practically do what we’re talking about here.

Simon: Earlier you said this, you said, “Writing is super quick. You can write super fast. If you’ve prepared properly.” Let’s talk a little bit more about that. What do you mean prepare properly? What does someone have to prepare?

David Sanford: Well, I wrote a book called If God Disappears, and it came out of my own experience. When I decided to read the Bible and become a Christian, I found out that my family, who were all atheists for four generations, that I was kicked out at age 13, which was a little bizarre. We don’t think about that happening legally. My parents could kick me out of the house. But the hunting trips. Everything else was gone. Seeing my grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, that all lived within 20 minutes growing up in Seattle, gone.

And so, there was quite a cost for me to make that decision. And I realize, wow, this is not what I was expecting. I thought becoming a Christian would make my life better. And so I studied under a German existentialist philosopher and all of that. But if you’d asked me in my 20s, “Do you ever envision a time in your life when you couldn’t even read one verse of the Bible, you can pray over a meal, that you were just so upset with God that your Christianity was essentially wiped out?” And I would have looked at you and said “No, you don’t understand my story. There’s no way that could ever happen.” Well it did.

In the aftermath of that, I interviewed other people because I realized I’m not the only one that’s gone through this experience, and what I learned in my own experience, and what I learned interviewing a lot of people, was that we don’t come back to faith through the same door that we left it. We come back to a much more robust, much more healthy and truthful faith. Basically what I had was a bad theology of God, and a bad theology of how life works. And in six weeks my old faith was destroyed, and then in time it came back, much more robust than before.

But my interviewing process took course over 12 years, of listening to lots of stories. And then walking with people to see what helps you, whether you decide to go back to faith, or you decide no. That’s it. And I’m going out my life, and I’m happy. And I don’t need to go back to faith.

And so it took 12 years to walk through scores of other people’s stories and experiences, just listening humbly learning. And then I was ready to write the book out in the book I did it 18 days.

Simon: 18 days.

Aaron: With years of preparation.

David Sanford:Yeah, but I had all these massive stories. If I told all 40 stories I would have written 40 books. But I told different parts of different stories and the writing of the book came really naturally, because it’s like “Wow, here is what I’ve learned from all these individuals telling me their stories.” So, my book wasn’t my story but it helped me process my story, and discover this is helpful, and this is not.

So I really benefited the whole 12 years. But the writing of the book was 18 days. Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Next week Tuesday, Thursday. The next week Monday, Wednesday, Friday. 18 days I went from the sample chapter, to finished manuscript, and published by Tyndale. That’s what I mean about writing fast, is that yes, it’s possible to write extremely quickly.

I remember one individual, Dr. Shannon Simmons, very popular professor at Korban University. I worked there for five years, and worked with a lot of the different faculty. And after she finished her doctorate, she came to me, and she said, this was over coffee 9:00 in the morning, she’s like, “David, I’m under so much pressure now that I’ve finished my doctorate. I’ve got to write a book.” And she just went on and on about all this heavy load, and I’m doing all this graduate research and with all my students and how in the world and how the time to write a book?

And so I would let her go for about 10 minutes, and hand-wringing, and how am I going to do this. And I started laughing at her, which is not polite. Yeah, she’s forgiven me, but I started laughing at her, I’m like, “Dr. Simmons. You’ve been writing for 11 years. Your word bank of all of these articles that you have written for 11 years would fill up a huge bookshelf full of books.” I said, “Write a one-page or two-page outline of your book. And then just grab your favorite articles under each chapter and just have all of these posts.” Then I said, “But you could write this table of contents in 45 minutes. Just drink a lot of coffee and then you can write quickly.”

Five o’clock the same exact day, she sends me an email, and I think, naively, oh she’s saying that she didn’t have time to work on her outline. It was a 275 page finished manuscript, ready to publish. She had marshaled her content, and it was beautifully outlined. It was fantastic, she had a to-die-for title for the book. I’m like you did this all in one day. Well, less than a hundred days later, her book is published she is doing author parties here and there and having the time of her life.

Now, this is the same semester that she’s sitting there in September going up. But in November she’s having December, she is having all these parties lined up, because the fact is she’d already written, in a sense the content of many books. Pick the one you want to write the most and add. And so for a lot of people it’s not writing the book, it’s assessing your word bank. What is everything that you have recorded or written teaching notes? You know everything that you have.

And so whether I’m speaking to a small group or I’m speaking at UC Berkeley, it’s like, I want to record whatever I’m doing  . . .  not so much I could hear myself, but the students are asking these brilliant questions that I want to capture them all. So you get them recorded. And that’s priceless. It’s like wow, these are 15 amazing questions that the students asked during my presentation, and that’s much more valuable than anything I could have said there.

But, again, if we think about our word bank, if I’ve been blogging for the last three years once a week, or three times a week, whatever my pattern is  . . .  and I have a lot of friends who, they blog on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday, or whatever three days or two days or one day. But they do it almost religiously. If you look back they took a break once because their dog got sick.

You know and that’s it. You know. And so you go wow three years, and say you’ve done it twice a week? You’ve got 200 articles. Well, most books don’t have 200 chapters and then maybe your articles are small enough that you want to marshal a few together around the same topic and make it a singular chapter. But most people are going to have already written their books that they have overwritten it so many times they just need to write a table of contents and organize what they’ve done. And then for other people like me interviewing people for 12 years. It was just because these stories were so fascinating you can’t hurry ‘em up.

And I kept meeting more and more people, so it was like I had all 52 of them lined up the first day. I kept adding through the networking that I did. And by the end I realized wow, I just have too much content. And the first draft of my book was six hundred and eighty seven pages. Now this is the book I wrote in 18 days, first draft 687. The publisher, Tyndale, wanted 160. So I had to cut, and cut, and cut to get it down to 160.

And so, again, for most people if you are writing on a consistent basis, whether a columnist for publication, or blog, or whatever you’re doing, or maybe you just journal a lot or you do what my wife did early in her career. She just wrote articles, and outlines for books, and chapters for books. But it just sat in her computer, and I finally realized one day, if I just get on her computer, I know her password. I started submitting this stuff, she started getting published, and she did. And she started getting all these magazines with her articles in them, and checks to boot.

And she realized that yes, she would forgive me for hacking into her computer and doing that. But, she went from no confidence to extreme confidence. And she’s published far more articles than I have. We have weird races in our home. Who’s been on radio more? Who’s been on television more? Well, I’m never going to catch her on articles. But she hasn’t needed me for 30 some years. She’s been doing a great job of it herself. And so, again, those are basic principles, but that’s how you write fast.

Aaron: No, that’s a great tip.

I think of Michael Hyatt’s bestseller book bestselling book Platform. It was a compilation of his best blog posts over the years that had the most traction, organized in a way that was readable. It was a great reference book. My wife and I, that was one of the first books we read when we started our platform.

Yeah but, I like thinking about that idea of a lot of these are listeners and viewers probably already have their books sitting around on their computer, in their journal, on their blog. And for these potential authors, future authors, to be thinking through that they don’t have to  . . .  it might not be something new. It might be something old.

As in my wife. She started writing our book that we didn’t publish for a few years, it was written years prior, as you know she just wanted to tell a story. She wasn’t planning on publishing it, but she had most of it written. She just had to go back through, rewrite lots of it, organize it.

And then the other thing, when we wrote Wife After God, the devotional. That came out of a Bible study group she started. She was writing these lessons for these wives. And what she didn’t do it for was the plan of publishing a book. Yeah but she had already had all of this content, like, well, they loved it. Let’s turn that into a book. And that’s been like our bestselling book for a long time now.

David Sanford: Yes, you’re doing it exactly right. You don’t delete stuff you’ve done in the past. You don’t let your blog, or your contents online, and you just let it expire and disappear. It’s like, no that’s a gold mine. And it doesn’t mean you use everything that you blog, and it doesn’t mean use it in the same exact way but if you’ve discovered you’ve already written 92% of your book, and you just have to do a table of contents and 8% more work and you’ve got a finished manuscript, that is doable.

And so that’s why you know for a lot of people they can do their book. You know maybe not like Dr. Simmons where she does it one day by 5:00, but you can do it quickly. And even if you know my case, obviously, I was transcribing conversations and interviews with people and all the rest of it. But really, the hardest part wasn’t the writing of it. It was the cutting it from 687 pages down to 160. And that’s a great problem to have, because then you get to the best of the best and all the rest of that content. So I end turned around and used it on my blog. And so but—

Simon: You’re always find something to do with that content, right?

Aaron: Nothing wrong with writing a book.

David Sanford: But the key thing was, even if only five people bought the book I had benefited so much. I wanted to share it but I wasn’t going to share it just in a book. The book is a golden key. It opens all these other doors. So, with radio, with television  . . .  of course my kids say growing this beard for being Santa Claus this year for my grandkids, but my kids are like, you know dad your face  . . .  keep the beard long, it hides it you know. No, but you know they my kids like saying, “Dad, you’ve got a face for radio, and you’ve got a voice for print. And mom is a better writer.”

The book is a golden key. It opens all these other doors.

And you know they think that’s funny and it’s true. But the fact is that our content, if we believe in it maybe it’s just as positive goals. Man, this is an amazing recipe. Whatever it is, we can turn around and repurpose it in so many different ways. And so my friend Dalys Johnson loves to cook.

She loves doing recipes, and you know she was doing cooking shows on television for years and then finally realized, “Maybe I should do a cookbook.” Well, the cookbook she had very quickly because she had a ton of recipes and she picked out her favorite ones. And you know, it is immediately a very popular book. And so that concept of what I call word bank  . . .  and there’s a better word you guys can come up with that to evaluate what I have, and then to not see the book as the end of the line. It’s a golden key that opens other doors. And not everybody wants to do television or radio.

But my point is if I can do it, then anybody can do it. And so for my clients, it’s like you can’t say no to television. It’s if I’m passionate about it if I’m having fun doing it why not do television nationwide?

And yet nothing bad is going to happen that I can’t overcome with two years of counseling. So no. But it’s that adventure you know. It’s like why not try it and see? You know my first interview on live TV, I made the mistake of putting my arm around my wife but the couch has soft cushions. We immediately slumped. It’s like “Note to self, never put your arm around your wife in that interview again.”

You make mistakes, and you laugh at it, and you keep going. But you know, it doesn’t sound deep—it certainly doesn’t sound theological—but having fun is important even if the subject is something really serious and sober. It’s important to have fun because if it’s not fun, we lose energy, and we won’t finish, and if we don’t have a team no matter how much energy we have. We’re not going to finish. So again that’s why I’m so excited. But what you guys are doing with the course and everything else will help people avoid those freshman mistakes and really accomplish what most of us just a dream of having a book published.

We did not create the rules of our culture, but notice how people are introduced on television and radio, you know, they founded this company or organization, and they’re the author of . . . You know, that is the formula that’s used 50 percent of the time. And again, we didn’t create that. That just is amazing you just go, “Wow, I didn’t know I could go through all of these stories.” Thanks to doing the book that frankly I wrote in a few days.

Simon: You have to talk about that.

Aaron: Yes, you have to talk about that.

David Sanford: The picture that we have is of an old poet on a Smith Corona, a manual typewriter. Sitting there for five minutes, trying to think of the next word  . . .  you know that is not how to write a book. How to write anything, not even a poll.

Now I go back to the second draft and sit there for five minutes trying to think of the right word but the first draft I’m just getting it out and not letting my internal editor take over. And believe me, it’s like I’m writing about. I’ve got to cut and cut and cut. But that’s the next time. Right. That’s my warm up for an hour and then I write for the rest of the day.

Simon: Awesome, David, this has been really good and I love your quote. Like you said “If you have fun writing it people are going to have fun reading it.” And we take that with us. I mean that is a huge lesson that I take with me that I hope a reader or listeners take with them. I mean that was huge. Thank you.

If you have fun writing it people are going to have fun reading it.

Aaron: Thank you for all the insights, this actually was a really fun interview. I’ve been loving interviewing authors like yourself because you’re confirming things that we’re . . . because we’re sitting here we have the curse of knowledge. We know what we know and we’re like returning to writing this course and we’re filming this course and you just said everything that has been coming out of our minds and hearts like this is. That means we’re on the right track.

David Sanford: Oh absolutely. And finish. Get it out there for the world. Yeah. There are a lot of great books.

Simon:You bet. Hey before you go tell us where we can find you if any of our listeners want to grab your books or work with you anyway or just check out more about what you are doing where we find you on.

David Sanford: Yeah the fastest way is just to go to, and yeah that’s the fastest way to get ahold of me. And I’m right there on LinkedIn and I’ve got my contact information. You don’t have to join my network. But sometimes if I’m coaching and mentoring somebody I will encourage them to join it, because that way it can introduce them to other people.

Believe me, as soon as you guys are rocking and rolling with your course I’m gonna be sending a lot of people there. And again, just very much appreciate it. Oh also email just send it to platform risers, Think of a great choir behind U2 in a concert. You know, [email protected], and I’ll get right back to you.

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