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The BookWorthy Show

AuthorTyler Smith

How to Write a Book That Will Impress Readers with Honoree Corder

Honoree Corder has written and published so many books she’s lost count.

“More than 30” is the closest she can come to an exact number. Thirteen years since she published her first book, Honoree is still cranking them out. And when she’s not writing, she’s coaching other writers and professionals on how they can transform their passions and expertise into writing careers.

Honoree Corder

Is there a secret to getting people to take you seriously as a writer?

It’s no secret: if you want to be seen as a professional, you have to act like a professional. And for writers, that means taking your time, doing good work, and putting your best foot forward. As Honoree likes to say, sometimes you need to “pump the brakes.” Slow down. Plan ahead. Hire an editor. And, by all means, do not create your book cover in Microsoft Paint.

In this episode of The BookWorthy Show, Aaron and Simon talk with Honoree about what it takes to put out quality work that will cause your readers to see you as trustworthy and professional. Watch, listen, or read below.

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Honoree Corder: Having a book that you’ve gone to all this work to produce and not doing it well is like going to a black-tie wedding wearing shorts and flip-flops.

Simon V.: Welcome to the BookWorthy.com 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 know 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, Honoree, welcome to the show, it’s so good to have you. How are you doing today?

Honoree Corder: I am great. Delighted to be with you. Thank you for having me.

Simon V.: Awesome. So, we’re really excited to talk to you today and hear about your story. You’re a self-published author. You’re a writing coach. You’ve written, like, dozens of books, right? You’re just a prolific writer, so we’re just really excited to hear how you’ve done it and how you’ve been able to tell your story.

To start, just give us context in your life. Where are you right now, what does life look like? Just so we can grasp who you are and what you do.

Honoree Corder: Let’s see. I’m a wife of nine years to my wonderful second husband. I have a senior in high school, my daughter Lexi, and they keep me pretty busy. But when I am not herding the cats, I write books, lots and lots of books. I write and publish myself between six and 12 books a year, and then I work with professionals to help them wrap their head around this process that we’re talking about today, taking an idea that you have in your head, some knowledge that you have, or an idea, and turning it into a business card, or a brochure, or a way to market your business, or even tell the story that you have rolling around in your head for a long time.

Aaron S.: How many books have you actually written?

Honoree Corder: I’d say, more than 30.

Aaron S.: More than 30. There’s no exact number, it’s just more than 30? Okay.

Honoree Corder: No, every time I count, it’s different, because I do foreign translations, and then companion guides and workbooks and stuff like that, so I think 30 is a nice, healthy, respectable number, don’t you think? I can just say more than 30.

Aaron S.:  Yeah, that sounds great.

Honoree Corder: Okay.

Aaron S.: Not very many people can say they’ve written 30 books and published 30 books, so . . .

Simon V.: Most people can’t even say they’ve done one, so that’s pretty good.

Aaron S.: Yeah.

Simon V.: When did you start writing?

Honoree Corder: Well, I think I’ve always been a writer, but I didn’t call myself a writer until I had seven books, because I didn’t have a degree in writing, I wasn’t a journalist, that sort of thing. I started writing books in 2004, and that’s when I met Mark Victor Hansen, who we would all know as the co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soup book series. I met him at conference, and I was in the back with the nerds, taking notes on my computer, and he came back and said, “Who are you?” And I said, “I’m Honoree.” And he said, “What do you do?” And I got very excited, I did a hair flip and said, “I’m a coach and a speaker!” And he said, “Oh, honey, everybody is a coach and a speaker. You have to write a book. You must write a book.”

And I’m a little sarcastic, as you might know at some point, and I said, “Oh, how hard could that possibly be? Ha, ha.” What could possibly go wrong? And so I started . . . I took his advice, and I took a speech that I had given multiple times which was specific advice he had given me, and I turned it into my first book.

Aaron S.: And was this five years ago, ten years ago?

Honoree Corder: 2004, so 13 years. Yeah.

Aaron S.: And that was a different world back then, because that was still heavy into the, if you wanted to be a writer, you had to have an agent, you had to go the traditional route. Not many people were self-publishing that long ago, so that’s pretty incredible that you stepped into it that early.

Honoree Corder: Well, I didn’t have that college degree. I wasn’t a writer. I wasn’t a capital W Writer. I was a lowercase W writer, and I didn’t think that any agents would be interested in me. I didn’t think a New York publishing house would be interested in me. Who am I? No one knows me, right? I didn’t have a platform, I didn’t have a following, no experience, and Mark Victor Hansen told me to write a book, so, okay. All right, I’m going to take that and go to Starbucks, and they’re still going to charge me, so certainly a publisher wouldn’t be interested.

And I knew a few other authors that had gone in through the self-publishing route, and honestly back then, it was, I was going to write one book and only one book ever. I didn’t have this peek into the future of what my life would be like. I wasn’t looking at it from all the different angles that I now encourage and help people to look at their book from before they put pen to paper, if that makes sense.

Aaron S.: Yeah. Do you . . . I mean, because it’s easy to look back, and you’re like, oh, okay. But when you were there, what do you hold on to now from that moment of taking that first step, that keeps you going into the next book, and moves you forward?

Honoree Corder: Oh, that’s such a great question. No one’s ever asked me that. I didn’t think anyone would ever read my books, so I didn’t censor what I said. I wasn’t trying to make every page perfect, or try to find a study to backup my opinion. I just put pen to paper. Mark Victor Hansen said, “If you have a speech that you’ve given that people like, put that down on paper. Write your speech.” That didn’t seem so hard to me.

And then, I’m a linear thinker, so when I would talk, I’d say, “First you do this, and then you do this, and then you do that.” That is how I categorized my books, and so when I’m working with someone now and they ask me, “What do I do first, and what do I do second, and what do I talk about first?” I tell them to imagine they’re having a conversation with their ideal client, or the person they want to tell the story to, or their previous self, or their daughter, or their colleague, and what would they tell them, and in what order? And to think of their book as a written conversation that they’re having with their reader.

I write my book to one person, and one person only. I’m having a conversation with them.

Aaron S.: That’s really good.

Simon V.: Yeah.

Aaron S.: That’s how we’ve written all our books. I would tell my wife when I was kind of coaching her along through writing her first book, “Imagine you’re sitting with that reader right now. What would you tell that one person?” So, that’s really good.

Simon V.: Yeah, and it’s like, I feel like the instinct is to write to a mass, or to a group. You’re standing on stage talking to thousands, and then you don’t really speak to anyone. But it’s that trick of honing in, this is who I’m writing to.

Honoree Corder: Yes, and leave out the part where you feel like you have to be perfect, and the other thing was, I didn’t know that I had to have an editor in the beginning, which now I’m really … whoops. Like, I had tenth grade English. I speak English. Surely it’s fine. What would I need an editor for? So, I encourage people to write with reckless abandon, and not worry that they are writing perfect prose, because that does not exist, and all of these books later, when I get my book back from an editor, it still looks like a crime scene.

And I’ve gone through it, and gone through it, and gone through it, and they’re still, “What were you trying to say? Is this a sentence? Is this English? What are you doing?” And it’s a fun . . . If you can put your pride aside, and your ego aside, and allow the editor to do their job, because their job is to take what you write and turn it into a smooth and pleasurable ride. It’s supposed to be a very nice ride for the reader, a nice and pleasant read, where they don’t find missing punctuation, or words that are out of place, double words, missing words, those types of things, those are very jarring for the reader.

But allow the editor to do that. Your job is just to get what’s in your head down on paper, and let the editor help you to smooth that out once or twice, or three times, depending on how many times your book needs a pass. To be fair, in the beginning, it takes longer.

Aaron S.: I have a question about the editing process. In the beginning, you wrote your first book, and you’re like, “I don’t need an editor, I speak English.” Going back now, because we’re talking to that person, we’re talking to the 13-years-ago Honoree, how would you, A, convince Honoree from 13 years ago to get an editor, and, B, where would you send her? That’s a hard . . . The editing . . .  Someone could sit down and write, but do I have $3,500, or however much it’s going to cost me, 10 cents a word, to get an editor, or is there ways you would have done it back then that would have at least got you 75 percent there?

Honoree Corder: Sure.

Aaron S.: That’s something I want to walk through.

Honoree Corder: Yeah, so, I want to contextualize why you need an editor first, which is because your book is you in absentia. It is you being represented when you are not there, and you will be judged on the quality of the read of your book by the reader. If the book is meant to be written so that you can go to Kinko’s and take 100 copies to the family reunion, then you don’t need an editor. A book written for any other purpose needs the care of an editor, so let’s just start with that.

Your book is you in absentia. It is you being represented.

I’m going to take 2017 tools and transport them back to 2004, and I’m going to say that you can purchase Grammarly, use a free version of Grammarly, but I recommend the professional version of something like Grammarly, and there’s another one that isn’t coming to me at the moment, but there’s another writing software where you can import your writing, and it will tell you where you have errors, and most of the time it’s right. Some of the time . . .

Aaron S.: Grammarly is a great tool.

Honoree Corder: Yeah, so, Grammarly is what can get you 75 or 80 percent of the way there. And then, there are editors, and we live in this wonderful age of self-publishing where anyone can write and publish a book, and the team of people that you need to do that professionally is standing by. So, we now live in a time where there are many New York-trained editors that are freelancers who are available, and ten cents a word, good God! No! You can get a great editor for much, much less than that, but they will—

Aaron S.: Yeah, I might be thinking of a different service, but it’s not usually cheap.

Honoree Corder: I think you’re thinking of content editing. It’s not inexpensive to publish your book, so if you don’t have . . . And I would say three to five cents a word is more reasonable, however, if you don’t have that, then there is no reason to rush getting your book into the world. And I have seen so many people, and I feel this way myself, I get 90 percent of the way into the book, and that last 10 percent feels like the last 50 percent.

And it’s where people are, it’s kind of like they’re pregnant, and you guys have not experienced this, but you might have children. So, there’s that last, you know, those last two weeks are kind of like, take a butter knife, get it out. I don’t care what you do. We’re done. We can’t go on with this anymore. That last 10 percent really feels like it’s an eternity and it’s very painful. I encourage people to pump the brakes, and to wait and do it correctly, because you can’t un-ring the bell, you can’t recall it.

I once had someone who just went and got a cover. The first cover was terrible, so they went and got another terrible cover and put the book out, and the book doesn’t sell. The number one reason people are attracted to your book is the book cover, but the thing that really sells the book is the book cover description, so the back cover or sales copy—it’s known as both because it functions as both. So, you have to make sure that you take the time to get those things done well, otherwise you will have gone through all of this, and get nothing, and it’s a horrible feeling to have boxes of books in your garage, or a book on Amazon that is falling further into obscurity every day as more books are released.

Editing is so important. You can find editors in all sorts of online communities. You can write to an author and find out who their editor is, or who they would recommend. I can throw a stone now and hit a dozen great editors, because I know them, and if someone comes to me, I can refer them out. And a good editor is going to be booked out several months in advance, so you want to get on their calendar, which is also a good accountability tool, because if you know you have to turn in a manuscript on November the 15th, that if you don’t turn it in, they will find someone to fill your spot, and then you will have to then wait again.

Simon V.: So, you are a writing coach, right?

Honoree Corder: Well, sort of. I picture, I’m more of a publish-your-book-professionally coach. I don’t teach people how to write, because I think I barely . . . I can write in my own voice, and I’m okay at that with a great editing team. I can tell people, write with abandon, get the ideas down on paper, here’s how you outline, but as far as how to write well, I’m not sure that that’s a great . . . I don’t want to mislead anybody. I don’t want to misrepresent.

Simon V.: I guess when I say you are, I mean like the process, right? And we’re talking about the process, talking about editing and what that looks like, and you even mentioned something earlier about writing messy, and not jumping in too early. Let’s go back a step from editing, and say if someone has an idea, a book idea, and they’re going to start, if you would coach them, where do they start, and what’s the process look like, and what do they need to do before they put pen to paper?

Aaron S.: Because a blank page is pretty intimidating.

Simon V.: It’s so intimidating.

Always start with what you want, and why you want it. Those are the two founding places.

Honoree Corder: Yes. So, I get people who come to me in all different pieces of the process, because they did just jump in without doing some pre-work. There are some pre-start questions that I have people ask, which is, what do you want from the book? What do you want from the book? Do you want a stream of income, or multiple streams of income via ebook, audiobook, paperback, hardcover, all of the sources of income, or do you want to give someone your book so that they hire you to do this other thing that you do that you’re writing about in the book?

What do you want from the book? Do you want notoriety? Do you want to become famous? Do you want to build your brand? Do you want to get more business? What is it that you want? Always start with what you want, and why you want it. Those are the two founding places.

And then when we talk about naming the book, the title of the book is what the book is about, and the subtitle is the premise of the book. What does the reader get from taking their time and energy to read the book? Okay, so to that end, what do you want the reader of the book to do, or not do, or both, from reading the book?

When I wrote You Must Write A Book, I wanted my reader to write a book. I did not want them to write a crappy book. I didn’t want them to publish a crappy book, so I answered all these questions that I wanted me, Honoree, what did I want from the book, and then what do I want the reader to get as a result of reading that book? What do I want them to do, and also what do I want them not to do? That’s where I have people start, before they even think about what goes in the book. Is that helpful?

Aaron S.: That’s good, yeah. The premise, the promise. That’s what we like to the title and the subtitle, the premise and the promise. And it’s also a fun place to start, because it’s so big picture, and it’s the most important part, but it’s also easy to do, because you can get the emotion out really quick, and you can write 100 titles, and at least feel, or see how it’s going to feel.

Honoree Corder: Sure.

Aaron S.: So, that’s good. Starting with the, what is the purpose of the book, because that can even boil down to what you said, you just want to give this to friends and family, that answers tons of questions for you.

Simon V.: And that changes the direction of what you’re going to do next.

Aaron S.: Yeah, but if you want it to be for notoriety, or to get a job, or to start that business, or an extra form of income, yeah, you’ve got to think differently. Your steps expand with the premise of the book. That’s really good advice.

Simon V.: Yeah. So, what’s next? After you go through this kind of, you ask them questions, they kind of think through the big picture, the goals they’re trying to achieve, what do they do?

Honoree Corder: They do their avatar. Who is their ideal reader? Who is the absolute perfect person to pick up the book? So, you’re not writing for the masses as you said earlier, you’re writing for that one guy or gal. My one guy is Eric Negron, who is a former business coaching client of mine who still hasn’t written his book, so I’m going to send him this video so he can see my stern face. And he’s a younger guy, and very knowledgeable, and very on top of things, and he needs that book to give him, he doesn’t have gray hair, so it’s basically his credibility, right? Before he gets a pot belly and gray hair, he’s got to write a book, to kind of close the gap in people’s minds that he knows what he’s talking about.

I write my book to one person, and one person only. I’m having a conversation with them, and then the next step after that is to determine what I want to tell them in this conversation, and the conversation is also known as a book. It also helps people to understand that they don’t have to put everything in their book. Their book does not have to be 400,000 words. It’s not a tome, right? It is a conversation, and in this conversation, we’re going to talk about, “boop,” this particular subject.

And I might talk about another angle of this subject in another book, or I might go in a different direction, or take a different piece of the bigger picture in a different book, in a different conversation, but this book is about this conversation that I’m having with this person, on this topic, so that they do this, and they don’t do that. The end.

Aaron S.:  So, Honoree, how often, when you’re working with these many clients that you have, and yourself, is the avatar the client? Honoree, how many times have you written a book and you are the audience?

Honoree Corder: I wrote the Successful Single Mom book, and then that is a six-book series. I was writing to younger, single mom Honoree in those books. Now, everybody gives me books to write. You wouldn’t believe the nerve of people. They’re like, “I have a book idea, Honoree, you should write a book on this.” There’s always someone—

Aaron S.: We’ll send you our list next.

Honoree Corder: Will you? Okay. That’s so nice of you. It’s going to keep me on all the writing. I’m always writing to one person, but it’s not always to client that I have. I wrote You Must Write A Book because Amazon invited me to speak on a panel, and no one had a book on why someone would benefit from writing a book, and I was one of five self-published authors on the panel, so I said, “Would it be helpful if there was a book on why someone should write and self-publish a book?” And they said, “Yeah. That would be good. Why don’t you write that book? You have 12 weeks. Go.” So, I did.

Aaron S.: Well, let me backup a little bit. I mixed in the two questions. How often is your client, the avatar for your client, your client? Meaning, they’re coming to you and they need help, they want to write a book, and they’re writing a book to themselves? Is that often, or are they often writing to somebody else totally completely—

Honoree Corder: No, my clients are now people you would know. They’re famous people. They’re not writing to themselves, they’re writing to the people that are following behind them, because they want to give the gifts of what they’ve learned and their experience to people who are following behind them, or aspiring to be them, or wanting to be the best they can be in their own lives.

Aaron S.: Okay, so they’re maybe a little step ahead of the people we might be talking to. Okay, well, so, many of the books we’ve written, we wrote to people like us in our scenario, so when I’m thinking of avatar, I’m thinking, oh, it’s someone like me. Now, I would be in a place where now I’m going to be writing to the old me, or to people like me in the past, or where I was. So I get what you’re talking about. That’s good.

Honoree Corder: Yes.

Simon V.: So, at this point, they haven’t even put pen to paper in the process.

Honoree Corder: They have. They’re just doing pre-work. They’re just not . . . They’re failing to make mistakes later by doing the pre-work. And the pre-work isn’t sexy, it’s not exciting. Nobody knows about it. You can’t talk about the concept of your book yet. You can’t post on Facebook, “I’m writing my first book.” You can’t put it up for pre-order, and it’s going to save you time, money, and energy, and frustration, and maybe even a homicide later. You might not kill someone out of frustration, yes. You might be happier and not kill anybody if you do all the pre-work. Just a word of encouragement.

The pre-work isn’t sexy, it’s not exciting. Nobody knows about it. You can’t talk about the concept of your book yet. You can’t post on Facebook.

Aaron S.: No, pre-work is important.

Simon V.: It is.

Aaron S.: The more hard work you put into the pre-work, the more benefit you’re going to get out of the final work.

Honoree Corder: That’s right.

Simon V.: And writing, just the whole writing process, just comes a lot smoother, right?

Honoree Corder: It does. It does.

Simon V.: Because it’s so much more clear. You just know what you’re doing.

Honoree Corder: Yes. Exactly. Yes.

Simon V.: So, avatars, what’s next? Should we keep going?

Honoree Corder: Outline.

Simon V.: Outline?

Honoree Corder: Sure.

Aaron S.: Outline.

Honoree Corder: Yeah. So, now we get into, what are the contents of this conversation that you’re having with your avatar? What are you telling them in this conversation? What are the pieces, what comes first, what comes next, what comes after that? And then now we’re back in tenth-grade English, which I think I passed, and you are just breaking that outline down into smaller and smaller pieces.

I can throw in some strategic things, like when you’re writing a book, you want to write three, five, seven, eight, or ten pieces of information. So, if you have three solid pieces of information to include in your book, then you’ll do three chapters, or three sections and three subchapters, an introduction, and I call it the “vaya con dios,” the “kumbaya” at the end of the book. If you can do everything I just said, go do that.

Simon V.: Cool.

Aaron S.: It’s an easy way of breaking it down into bite-sized chunks.

Honoree Corder: Yes, because some people will write 40 chapters, because one more thing, oh, and there’s this one more thing I have to tell you, and one more thing. Keeping in mind that people like recipes, they like formulas to follow, they like it to be simple and not overwhelming, and there is this adiom, or axiom, idiom, that is “one, two, three, many.” So, I can give you three pieces of information, and after that, your brain explodes. And don’t do more than that. If you find you have a lot more to say, or that you want to extend your knowledge and let people go deeper, then write another book.

Aaron S.: Write another book, yep. Don’t make a novel.

Simon V.: Yeah.

Honoree Corder: Don’t make it so . . .When I see . . . It’s funny now, in the age of ebooks, you can’t always see how big something is. When I see a book that is so big, I know I can’t sit down in an afternoon and read it, I have to chunk it out, and sometimes that psyches me out.

Aaron S.:  Yeah, and there’s been a handful of times I’m reading a book, and it’s a thick book, and I’m trying to take it on, and like halfway through the book, I feel like the first four chapters could have been said in one chapter. I’m like, “You could have made this smaller.”

Simon V.: Yep.

Honoree Corder: Yeah. You don’t have to convince people why they should read your book. They picked . . . They bought it. You’re good. You’re good. Here’s what you’re going to get out of this book, let’s dive right in. Let’s get to the meat and potatoes so we can have the pie. Let’s skip—

Aaron S.: And I feel like, especially with self-publishing, because you’re not going through the whole traditional route where you have a team, not of just editors, but of content people that are like, “Well, it doesn’t need to be this big,” or “It needs more.”

Honoree Corder: Right.

Aaron S.: Where we think, “I need lots of words. I need to expand this idea over five chapters,” and in reality, at the end of it, you might take away from the content if you do that, right?

Honoree Corder: I can give you three sentences instead of fifty sentences, and we all save 47 sentences, that’s fantastic. Yes. You no longer have to justify $20 book price, right? Where traditional publishers come in, is they say, “We’re not going to be able to sell it for $17.99, or $19.99, or $27.99, if it’s not this thick, and this many pages.” And so a story doesn’t have to be 100,000 words.

I can give you three sentences instead of fifty sentences, and we all save 47 sentences.

I put my nonfiction books right around 30-50,000. 70,000 on the outside. When we do the Miracle Morning books, they’re a little bit longer, because they have some original Miracle Morning content, and then we add on original content for whatever the vertical is, whatever subject we’re writing in, parents, or network marketing, or whatever, so we add in that particular piece of content. When I’m talking about something in a book, I’m talking about that subject, and I’m going to give you everything I possibly can in as few words as possible.

Aaron S.: Yeah, especially in the social media age.

Honoree Corder: Yes. I’m still going to charge you for it, because it’s valuable. Nonfiction, you can charge for. And we both want to be in and out as quickly as possible. You want to get into the book, learn what you need to learn, and get on with your day as quickly as possible. I don’t need to fluff it up or make it longer so that you feel better about spending a few dollars on the book, anymore. Those days are gone. Now, all you have to tell people is exactly what they need to know.

Aaron S.: Which is some of the beauty of this age of self-publishing, and pretty much self-anything, is we don’t have to follow the same rules. Some of the same rules, because people are expecting a certain quality, because if you don’t have something good to say, they’re not going to read it. But at the same time, we don’t need to fulfill those old rules of publishing, because we’re not filling . . . We’re not trying to pay for many people’s paychecks, we’re just trying to pay for our own.

Honoree Corder: Right. That’s true.

Aaron S.: And just give a quality product. So, there’s a question we like to ask all of the people we’re interviewing. Going back to 2004 Honoree, how would you encourage, from who you are now and who you were then, how would you encourage yourself? What would you remind yourself, or that one piece of advice to get you to the next level quicker?

Honoree Corder: There’s no day like today. There’s never going to be a perfect time. Make time to write every day. I wrote a book called The Nifty 15: Write Your Book in 15 Minutes a Day because nobody can tell me they don’t have 15 minutes. Everybody—

Aaron S.: Yeah, and the problem is because we’re busy, and so all of our 15 minutes are scrolling. So you’re right, that’s good advice.

Honoree Corder: Start as soon as possible.

Aaron S.: And then keep going.

Honoree Corder: Figure out what the steps are, and then don’t quit. Don’t go more than three days in a row without doing it. If you go more than three days in a row, remember why it was important for you to do it. That’s what I would tell . . . My 2004 self was a rockstar when it came to taking the advice and actually producing the book, but I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and so you have to be very careful who you take advice from, and that you are producing a quality product, because there are some people who say, write your book and publish it in a weekend, or four hours, or you don’t even have to write the book! You can outsource it!

And there are certain dangers that go along with that, and at the end of the day, it’s your name, it’s your reputation, it’s your knowledge, and even if you don’t fancy yourself a writer, you can get a ghost writer. That will cost you money. You have to be very careful who you hire for that. So, pumping the brakes, quality would be what I would talk to 2004 Honoree about, knowing that you need an editor, that you need a proofreader, that you need a graphic designer that isn’t your boyfriend who thinks he’s a graphic designer.

Aaron S.: Unless you have a really excellent boyfriend that’s good at graphic design, I mean. Which is possible. Lots of people …

Honoree Corder: Yeah, so, we’re going to say no first logo on that first book, okay?

Aaron S.: Well, I’d like to . . . I love what you said, I want to just reword it. You talked about quality. I would like to say, produce something that’s going to represent who you are well, because what you said, it’s representing them when they’re not around. I’ve never heard it put that way, and that’s such a good . . . If you’re going to put something out, does it represent you well? Does it represent the way you want to be represented?

Honoree Corder: Yes, yes. And people don’t know that you did it fast, or you didn’t have the right . . . You weren’t rich yet, right? They don’t know any of those things. They just judge you based on how you represent yourself. You’ll notice in real world, go to the grocery store in pajamas and your hair in a scrunchie. Neither of you, but go show up somewhere not dressed well, and then show up somewhere dressed like you mean it, and people perceive you and judge you differently based on how you’re presenting yourself, good, bad, right, or wrong, or indifferent, really.

It’s so interesting, I always travel dressed, and I have the most interesting conversations with people who are also well-presented. They wouldn’t talk to me if I wasn’t . . .If I didn’t . . . If I wasn’t doing the full Honoree, if that makes sense, right? When I’m just running around in sweats . . . I don’t actually go to the grocery store in my pajamas, although we do see that. It is the same as not having a great book cover, not having great formatting. Full justify your text on the inside of your book, everybody.

These are very simple things, and if you want to know how to do it, go to a bookstore and buy a traditionally published book, and look at the cover. Look at the first page on the inside. Look at the title page. Look at the copyright, and all of the disclaimers on the insides.

Aaron S.: That’s one of the tips we give in our course, is go pick out a book.

Honoree Corder: It’s when you take these little things and you add them to your work that makes a difference, and will cause people to take you seriously. It is like . . . Having a book that you’ve gone to all this work to produce and not doing it well is like going to a black tie wedding wearing shorts and flip-flops. You’re still dressed . ..

Aaron S.: Not for that occasion.

Simon V.: Not well.

Honoree Corder: But not for that occasion, and you want your book . . . And because self-publishing is so easy, there are a lot of people who are just throwing stuff out there and then saying, “Yay, I published my first book!” And I go and look, I’ll do the “look inside” feature on Amazon, and I just kind of put my head in my hands and say, “Oh gosh, if you just did a few things, it would look so much better.” And it’s not even the writing, I don’t even get to the writing. But when I see a book that’s really well-done, I’m impressed, I’m excited, and then I’m interested. I want to read the book.

You want people . . . It’s like when you introduce yourself, and someone says, “What do you do?” And you say, “I’m an accountant.” They’re like, “Okay, next.” When someone looks at your book, you want them to want to read it. You want them to want to buy it. You want them to want to talk about it to other people. The number one way people hear about a book is by recommendation, so do yourself the favor of producing a quality book, to give your book a fighting chance in this world where there are so many books.

Aaron S.: When we were doing research for our course, we were looking up all these self-published authors on Amazon, and we’re not going to say any names, but they would have mixed reviews, and they would have a four or five star review, and the person would say, “The story is excellent, the grammar is terrible.”

Simon V.: Oh, man.

Aaron S.: So, going back to the editing thing, just how detrimental having one thing off, if you don’t just take the time to do it, could hurt your reviews in the future, could hurt your word of mouth. Like, “Oh yeah, you know, it’s great, if only . . . ” And we want to avoid the “If only.”

Honoree Corder: Right, we do, yes. And again, if you can’t afford it right now, the time will pass. Open up a fund, and put money away for it. Plan to spend . . . And maybe you want me to make money recommendations for windows of how much it’s going to cost for things, but put money away so that you can afford the very best person you can afford at the time of your book. Don’t plan on going back and doing it again later.

Simon V.: One of the other things that I think would be awesome to talk about is how you used your writing in your books to get clients, because you said, I mean, your clients are big names. You have a booming business here, where you have clients, but you’re also a writer. So, tell us a little more about how you’ve used your books to grow your business.

Honoree Corder: Well, 2004 Honoree sold 11,000 copies of the first book that I wrote while it was still at the printers. Before I ever received the first copy, I was selling copies of my book, and once someone hears that you are an author, it makes everything else not quite as important. I think it’s the last bastion of coolness, if I may say. It is the final . . . You can be . . .

Aaron S.: That’s what we’re selling, here, is coolness, yeah.

Honoree Corder: We’re selling coolness. Ultimately it’s the cool factor. Well, being an author is a cool thing.

Aaron S.: It’s really cool.

Honoree Corder: Yes. When I run into someone and I don’t want to have a conversation with them, I tell them I’m a stay at home mom. “What do you do?” “Oh, I just look amazing. I just stay home. I don’t do anything.” If I want to have a conversation with someone, then I tell them I’m a writer or an author.

Aaron S.: Which, still, moms are awesome, by the way.

Honoree Corder: They are, yes, but people don’t want to hear about how [inaudible], because I also am a stay at home mom. I’m at home, I stayed at home today. You can’t see the laundry that’s on the counter, but there’s some stay at home mom action that’s going on, but I also do these other things as well. When I want to have a conversation with someone, I will just say I write books.

I use the books to market my coaching and speaking business. So, I was a coach and I used speaking to market my coaching business, and then I used books to market my coaching and speaking business. And it was . . . I just took them with me whenever I went networking, and someone would say, “Do you have a business card?” And I would say, “No, I don’t have a business card, but I did write this book. If you would like a copy, I’d be happy to give it to you.” And the book was an interesting way for someone to hear my voice and know my style, and my approach, and my philosophy. They already knew by the time they read the book that they wanted to hire me, so I was—

Aaron S.: Well, and there’s also reciprocity happening, where you’ve just given them something of value. It’s not just a card that you pay two cents for, it’s a book that costs 15 to 18 bucks, 20 bucks. They’re like, “Whoa, thank you.”

Honoree Corder: Right. They don’t know that we pay the friends and family, their price for it. And we don’t have to tell them that. But yes, a business card is like handing someone a piece of trash and saying, “Hi, would you throw this away for me?” And a business card . . . And a book is not ever going to be a piece of trash, asterisk, unless it’s a really poorly-done book and you mail it to me, then I have to throw it away, because I can’t, I’m not going to read it, and I’m not going to give it to somebody. So, it’s going to go away.

Well, a book, if I get it, and I read it, and I love it, I’m going to post it on Facebook, and Instagram, and I’m going to say, “You have to read this book, you’re really going to love it.” Someone comes into my home or my office and they see this book and then they borrow it, or I get a book I really like and then I buy copies of it for everyone . . . A book has a lot of possibilities that a business card does not, and can go places that you cannot go. Your books will find themselves in countries, states, cities, places, and people that you would never otherwise meet.

Aaron S.: But I love the way you’re talking about the book, instead of it being a business card, that you’re actually handing a piece of yourself that is valuable, that you put time into, that you put energy into, and they feel like it’s an insight into who you are, your character, the way you speak, the way you talk, so that’s another direction that we haven’t even taken with, that our listeners can think, for building my credibility. Because they don’t need to know it’s not traditionally published. Most people don’t even know the publishing houses’ names.

Honoree Corder: They don’t know that it’s done self-publish, indie-publish, if it’s done well. If it’s done well enough, they can’t tell.

Aaron S.: Well, and they won’t care. They’ll actually be more interested. They’ll be like, “You did this on your own?”

Simon V.: And while not all of our listeners want to do that, I mean, there are definitely some who are looking to self-publish a book to help get them somewhere else. To grow their business, to build trust, and that’s great.

Aaron S.: Well, and this might be the thing they never thought of.

Simon V.: Yeah, exactly.

Honoree Corder: Absolutely. Well, that’s why I wrote You Must Write A Book, and I have a whole book series for writers, it’s the Prosperous Writer book series. It’s all the different nuances of that same topic, of how to think, and how to find readers, and how to understand you data, and how to write a book in 15 minutes. And I wrote those books because I can’t have one-on-one conversations with every person who wants to say, “Oh, I’d love to have lunch with you and pick your brain.” I would weigh four million pounds, and I would only ever be eating lunch. So, I have the book that someone can go get for a few dollars, and they can learn everything that I know on that particular subject in a few hours.

Aaron S.: No, that’s great. That’s why we love this idea of self-publishing. It’s been what my wife and I built our careers off of now, and now we’re trying to teach people that they can do the same, or even just to have the fulfillment of being called a published author, which is a good feeling. Like you said, it’s cool.

Honoree Corder: We’re cool. We’re the cool kids.

Aaron S.: It’s very cool.

Honoree Corder: Yes, come to the light. Come be a cool kid. We’re all, we’re the nerds that are the cool kids now.

Aaron S.: Yeah.

Simon V.: Exactly.

Aaron S.: There you go. And it takes a little bit of time and investment, but everything in life that’s good does.

Simon V.: Well, Honoree, thank you so much for your time. This has been a great conversation.

Aaron S.: It’s an awesome conversation.

Simon V.: I know our audience is going to learn a ton from this. I learned from you, and this is just fantastic.

Aaron S.: We’ll make sure to get links to all your stuff in the description of this, and if you wanted to send us some of those resources that you have, if you’re willing to share them.

Honoree Corder: Sure. Absolutely.

Simon V.: And you can tell us, too, where can we find out about you online? Where can we get You Must Write A Book or where can our audience follow you to learn more about what you’re doing?

Honoree Corder: Thank you. Thank you for asking. HonoreeCorder.com, which you can’t spell, so it’s in the notes, it’s in the show notes. I’m on Amazon. All of my books are on Amazon. You Must Write A Book is on Amazon, and I have a workbook, too, that’s I Must Write My Book, which is the companion workbook, so it’s where to do all the work that we talked about earlier, all the pre-work and all of that is in that workbook. And all of the books for writers are on Amazon, and then I have a newsletter that they can sign up for. All of the things . . . I’m on every social media outlet known to God and man except Snapchat, because you have to draw a line somewhere. Not doing Snapchat.

Simon V.: Cool. Well, thank you so much. This has been great.

Aaron S.: Thank you, Honoree.

Honoree Corder: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Show notes:

  • HonoreeCorder.com
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About the Author

Tyler Smith

Tyler Smith is a copywriter, content strategist, and author who is passionate about helping his fellow writers tell life-changing stories.

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