As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
On The Table Read Magazine, “the best book magazine in the UK“, author of Be Influential: Surefire Ways to Improve Your Presentation Skills, Shannon Alter, shares her inspiration and creative writing process.
Written by Shannon Alter
Be Influential: Surefire Ways to Improve Your Presentation Skills is my third book, and I have definitely invested more time and effort into this one.
It wasn’t my intention to write a third book from the start. I was simply going to update my second book which is also about presentation skills.
When I started to review it, I realized that I wanted to go into more detail and offer more examples that readers could use back in their own lives every day. I also wanted to give readers access to exercises that would help them along their journey, so I made the decision to go back to the drawing board and start from scratch. I now have 5 videos in the new book (available via QR code) along with exercises at the end of each chapter that readers can use on their own, or with their teams. And of course, I can help them with that in a tailored workshop or private leadership sessions.
It took about eight months to work on the book, from ideation to inception. I decided early on that my experience would be different this time around, so I chose to invest in as many excellent resources as possible; a book coach, publisher and editor, as well as a marketing manager and PR agency to help me promote the book and draw more eyeballs in.
With my second book, I wrote it, found a copy editor and waited for the sales to start rolling in. I didn’t even have my face on the cover! The world has changed since then and I had no idea that there was so much support out there for authors. I wrote my first book for an organization but they handled all of the publishing and promotion for the book. It’s been a completely different experience and feel with “Be Influential”, which I have enjoyed immensely! Along the way, I was also writing monthly columns for an industry magazine and feature articles for several other publications.
There’s always something new to learn when it comes to writing a book. I’m already considering what the fourth book will be about, so I’m definitely continuing the writing bug! As a communications expert, words and language are my jam, and for me, writing gives me a creative process that requires logical thinking.
My Creative Process
I mentioned this in my interview with The Table Read, but for me, the process starts with getting all my ideas down on paper (or in my case, a whiteboard). I make sure I’m armed with a stack of Post-It notes and a pen, and write every idea on a separate Post-It note. Once all the ideas are written down, I’ll then arrange them into sections, or themes and then stick them to the whiteboard so that I can take a step back and see how it looks. This is a great way to get all of your ideas (and I have a lot of them!) out of your head.
I’ll usually leave it on the whiteboard for a few days to give my brain a chance to breathe, then I’ll go back to it and start putting the topics into different chapters, depending on the journey I want to take the reader on.
It’s a great way to physically move through the journey, but also a great way to visualise the journey and make sure it makes sense. I’ll even get my husband and kids involved, because if they can understand the direction and flow then the readers certainly will!
Teamwork Makes The Dream Work!
Having access to an editor this time round was priceless, as she was able to help me steer the ship and make sure I avoided going down rabbit holes or taking wrong turns. Some days writing comes so naturally that the words seem to fire out of my fingertips with ease, but on the bad days it can feel tough. Words don’t come easily, it feels like a slog and you start to question everything. This is completely normal (so I’m told), but the best thing to do is get up and walk away from your desk, rather than forcing yourself to sit and write, because it can feel like your work will be substandard if you don’t. Sometimes, you just have to do it and get the words on the page.
This is one of the great things about modern technology, nothing is deleted forever! If you’re not happy with something, you can simply cut it out and paste it into a blank document. You may choose to use them later on, or even use them to create a blog post or social media posts. I rarely delete anything I write, even if it doesn’t make the final edit as it can be repurposed and used elsewhere. Doing this also stops you from feeling guilty for removing chunks of your hard work.
Keep Talking About It, Even When You’re Bored Of Hearing Your Own Voice
This can be the hard part!
By the time ‘Be Influential’ was published in June I started to feel like a broken record as I was talking about it so much! But it’s essential to continue spreading the word so that people know that you’re writing a book, what it’s about and when it’s due to be released.- so they can buy it! In a world where we’re bombarded with messages every single day, you need to be memorable and stand out. If you’ve been reiterating your message over and over again, it’s more likely to stick in the minds of your readers.
Having a book is a fantastic asset and I’d urge everyone to write one. As a business owner I’m only one person, so I’m limited with how many people I can meet and work with. The book gives me an opportunity to reach people I’d never normally meet. It also adds an additional layer of credibility to my expertise and also helps me to stand out in a sea of competition.
I’m already contemplating turning ‘Be Influential’ into an audiobook as people are often time poor and don’t have the luxury of putting their feet up and reading a good book. With an audiobook they can listen while they’re driving in the car, or while doing household chores.
We’re incredibly lucky to have access to so many platforms that allow us to connect and communicate with more people around the globe. And while modern technology continues to evolve, there’s still something magical about reading a book in print, it takes us back to our childhood when books allowed us to get caught up in a fantasy world and escape from reality.
About Shannon Alter
Shannon Alter is the author of three books. Her latest book “Be Influential, Surefire Ways to Improve Your Presentation Skills” was an Amazon bestseller.
Shannon has over 25 years of experience in hospitality and commercial real estate management and works with leaders and organizations to help them to communicate with clarity so that they learn exactly what to say and how to say it.
She’s also a Certified Property Manager® and a National Instructor for the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM®), the Institute of Organization Management (IOM) and the American Management Association (AMA) and has trained professionals in 10 countries, including Eastern Europe, Canada, China, South Korea, South Africa and Ghana.
Find more from Shannon Alter now:
We strive to keep The Table Read free for both our readers and our contributors. If you have enjoyed our work, please consider donating to help keep The Table Read going!
Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc, or its affiliates.