Over the next couple of weeks, we will be showcasing the courses, and creators, that are part of the #BossLady Boost to Best. These 11 hand-picked courses and mindset tools are designed to take each women to her next level of best.
Today, we interview Sarah Bullen, whose online ‘Write Your Book’ course, worth R1,790, is part of the Boost to Best.
Remember that you can get the full Boost to Best, including ‘Write your Book’ for just R395. Whether you may or may not think that you have a book inside of you, these writing skills will stand you in good stead at the office, on your blog, and when that book is itching to come out…
“I am currently actively looking on behalf of publishers for local writers for non-fiction books. This means identifying businesswomen who have an idea or a vision for a book and bringing it to reality” ~ Sarah Bullen of the Writing Room.
Here’s Sarah on the writing course that can turn ANYONE into a writer, her toughest life lessons and a student who quit work as a surgeon to launch a successful global book tour…
BL: How did you discover your passion for writing?
SB: Writing and books are in my blood. Straight after completing a Bachelor of Arts degree, I started out as a financial journalist working in London. And then worked my way up in magazines and newspapers. I was writing loads of stories for women’s and men’s glossy magazines when a publisher commissioned me to write my first book! It was a really lucky break. The publisher just said… ‘Sarah do you feel like writing a book, send me some ideas’. I sent off a two-page proposal and they loved it! The book sold modestly but it changed my life and catapulted me into the world of books.
As an already established magazine editor, that’s how I moved into books.
Over many years of writing books, *ghostwriting, and editing I started to work more with other writers on their projects. I found I loved that even more than writing myself. My small writing company has over the years grown into a large network of writers and publishers that is now global in its reach.
A ghostwriter is a writer who is hired to write literary or journalistic works, speeches or other texts that are officially credited to another person.
THE GOOD, BAD & UGLY
BL: What’s the weirdest / most interesting part of your job?
SB: This job is all about the weird and wonderful! Some of the writers sent to me by publishers have very strange books and my job is to make the book work. That can be a challenge!
Many years ago I was sent a manuscript to edit that was a bone-chilling account of a childhood murder. When I met the author for our first meeting I started to go through the book and my comments as to how to make the novel work better. He stopped me and told me it was a memoir of his life and not a novel. Both the publisher and I were absolutely shocked! I have worked on books about angels, lesbian golfers, drug smuggling, incest, sex addiction, how to make a million dollars and many quirky books in between – so you could say it is almost always interesting.
The most interesting part is seeing how almost anyone can write a publishable book with a bit of structure and lot of discipline.
BL: What’s the biggest complaint you hear from aspiring writers? How does your course respond to this?
SB: “I want to write a book but don’t know how to start’ or ‘I just can’t find the time.”
These are the two cries of most writers.It is so easy to get stuck on just the IDEA of your book.
So many possible stories swirling in your head…should it be about your life, or a novel? All writers have so many choices. This course tackles that on a very practical level and gets you to commit to a book and stick to it. Most often not knowing HOW to start is not knowing how to structure your book idea and move it into a plot or chapter outline. So once we have your structure worked out, writing becomes easier.
The second complaint is about time; I work with writers all over the world to help them get their books written and then published. And the one thing that published writers do that many unpublished writers don’t is that they schedule writing time. And I mean literally put it in the diary. Sometimes writing is a hard work. Sure, but sometimes it flows. You have to be prepared to do the work.
BL: Tell us about a period in your life where you saw your greatest learning?
SB: Late last year I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had been working so hard for so many years, pushing myself, taking on too much and putting myself somewhere at the bottom of the list behind my kids and making ends meet. The diagnosis was such a huge shock. Changing the way I worked and handled stress was a no-brainer. Taking on too many clients and choosing to totally change how my business and workshops were run was the next step. This meant saying no to more, yes to the things I love and focusing on creating a business of the heart. I now work with writers to make their dreams come true. This has led me to expand as a literary agent and I am placing more books with publishers locally and internationally.
BL: Please share 1 success story from your course and how that particular woman has used it to boost her life?
SB: Last year one of my writers – a highly skilled eye surgeon wrote a book. It’s titled ‘My Surgeon Talks to Angels’. She launched it this year in the UK and now Australia. She has quit her job as a surgeon. And is promoting her book full-time , working as a speaker and author.
From working 12-hour days, she is now traveling the world and promoting her book. It is a dream come true. And a testimony to the fact that a book behind your name can set your career on the right path for success.
I also have 28 published authors from my courses over the last 10 years. And so many have gone on to become career writers – which is so thrilling. Many writers use the courses to write a high-selling workbook or e-course.
BL: What’s the most exciting project you’re currently involved in?
SB: I am currently actively looking on behalf of publishers for local writers for non-fiction books. This means identifying businesswomen who have an idea or a vision for a book and bringing it to reality.
AND THE MONEY?
BL: Sounds awesome! Our readers would love to know: How much can one expect to make as a writer?
SB: One doesn’t write a book to make a fortune (unless they are JK Rowling). The reality is that book sales in South Africa are low. You are possibly going to make up to R20, 000. That’s if you sell a lot of copies through a traditional publisher. However, electronic publishing means you can make a lot more.
Placing your book on a platform like Amazon is more lucrative. You make either 50% or 70% of your listing price. So if your book is $10 you will make about $5 a book. Average if you sell 500 but very lucrative if you sell 10,000 copies.
THE BIGGER PICTURE
Finally – you need to see your book as being much bigger than the sale. It is a calling card to launch a larger career or brand for yourself. If you can leverage off that and sell a course or do a talk … you are opening a new career for yourself.
BL: How are you inspiring positive change today, in yourself and in others?
SB: Writing before having a publisher takes huge faith and courage. My job is to inspire writers to take that leap of faith and to follow their dreams. Working with writers and helping them put their life experiences into words. And watching personal stories of faith, loss or courage emerge is such a powerful and deeply rewarding journey to witness.
Have you dreamed of writing your own book, BossLady?
What’s been holding you back? Sarah’s Writing course is just the thing to fuel your writing dreams into fruition! Click here to get your ‘How to Write a Book’ course today as part of the #BossLady Boost to Best bundle!