Nina Amir, author of the bestselling How to Blog a Book and the newly released The Author Training Manual: Develop Marketable Ideas, Craft Books That Sell, Become the Author Publishers Want, and Self-Publish Effectively, spends her time transforming writers into successful authors and writer-entrepreneurs. She made her reputation as a developmental and line editor with such books as Colin Tipping’s Radical Forgiveness and Doug Krug and Ed Oakley’s Englightened Leadership, both of which were initially self-published but later were picked up by traditional publishers and went on to enjoy six-figure sales.
Her clients have landed deals with major publishers and developed successful businesses around their books. She writes four blogs, has self-published 12 books, and founded National Nonfiction Writing Month, otherwise knows as the Write Nonfiction in November Challenge.
Congratulations on the release of your latest book. What was your inspiration for The Author Training Manual: Develop Marketable Ideas, Craft Books That Sell, Become the Author Publishers Want, and Self-Publish Effectively?
I first got the idea for this book while writing book proposals for my own nonfiction books. Later, I solidified the idea as I worked with clients on their book proposals. I realized that, no matter how they planned to publish or in what genre they chose to write, every author who bothered to go through all the steps producing a proposal, or business plan, for a book, developed a much more marketable idea. Additionally, in the process, the aspiring author learned to see himself and his idea through the lens of an acquisitions editor, which trained him to see his work in a much more business-like manner. Although the self-published authors with whom I worked didn’t need a formal proposal, the document served as a business plan, which they did need both for their new start-up publishing company and to help their book succeed.
Plus, the process of creating a business plan for a book prepares you to write. There’s a moment in the process when you’ve finished the majority of the sections and you suddenly can “see” the book. You are ready to write. And you know the book is viable. That’s a precious moment. Experiencing that moment inspired me to want to share it with other writers, to help them experience it.
What do you hope readers will get from your book?
I hope they will get a successful author training. By that I mean that they will discover the attitude they need to succeed, which includes willingness, optimism, objectivity, and tenacity. And I hope they will learn how to create a business plan for their books and to see themselves and their work through the lens of an acquisitions editor. I hope they will learn to produce marketable books—books that sell. That’s the end result of the process detailed in the book.
I want the readers of my book to become successful authors. Ultimately, that’s what I hope they will gain—the ability to become successful authors.
Do you have a writing schedule? Are you disciplined?
I don’t have a set writing schedule, yet I write almost every day. I have four blogs, and I have to produce a blog post Monday-Friday (five per week plus at least one or two more if possible). I also write 1-4 posts per months for other sites. I produce a book every year or so, and I blog short books each year. I write for magazines as well.
I would say I’m disciplined. I’m trained as a magazine journalist, so I’m known to claim that “deadlines are my friend.” I usually give myself deadlines, and I meet them. When I know I need to get something written, I open a new Word document, and I begin writing. I can produce 750-1,000 words in an hour or less. I usually write my blog posts early in the day, if not the night before. I wrote my most recent book in eight weeks as the text for my Author Training 101 course. I had a weekly deadline.
How do you celebrate the completion of a book?
I’m really not good about celebrating the completion of a book because I’m usually moving right on to something else, like a new book project. For me, that feels like a celebration: the chance to start on a new book!
However, the completion of a book usually means it’s time to start promoting, so I have to hunker down and get really serious. I think that’s actually a big mistake many new author’s make…to get so excited that the big job is done and to forget that the really hard work still lies ahead. Promotion.
That said, I’ve been known to have a bottle of champagne meant for celebrating a new book’s completion left in the fridge for…well…years. Don’t follow my example. It’s a good idea to at least take a night to celebrate.
How do you define success?
I define success by how many readers’ lives I touch. If readers write to me and tell me I’ve inspired them, changed their perspective or life, helped them, or in some way made it easier or possible for them to achieve their goals, that for me is success. I don’t have to sell thousands of books to do that. (Of course, it’s nice to sell lots of books, too.)
What do you love most about the writer’s life?
I love that I can impact people. I don’t mean that in an egotistical way. I mean it in a humble way.
We all have a story, a bit of wisdom, an experience that we can share that might inspire someone, give them hope, or help them in some way. We never know how sharing our stories or knowledge might impact a life, yet as writers we have such an amazing opportunity to do so.
As a blogger, I have that opportunity every day…and I reach more people with my blog than I ever might with even one book.
And I love taking the many thoughts that rumble around in my head and putting them into a form that makes sense (sometimes) and offering them to the world and seeing what response I get.
Do you have a website or blog where readers can find out more about your work?
I do! My main website is www.ninaamir.com, and readers can click through to my other sites from there. However, my primary blogs are: www.writenonfictionnow.com, www.howtoblogabook.com and www.asthespiritmovesme.com.
Where is your book available?
Writersdigestshop.com, Amazon.com, and Barnesandnoble.com. The ebook can be purchased for all devices. The easiest way to find my books is www.booksbyninaamir.com.
What is your advice for aspiring authors?
Realize that becoming a successful published author is not just about good ideas and good writing. It’s about being a good business person.
The publishing industry is the business of producing, distributing and selling books. To succeed, you have to come up with and write marketableideas—ideas with the potential to sell in a given target market—and help sell those books once published. If you indie publish, you also need to be able to produce and distribute your books.
Go into your career as an author knowing this and preparing for this. Be willing to do what it takes or to get the help you need to accomplish these jobs.