Want to be an Author… But Don’t Know Where to Start?
What do you do when you want to write a book, but daily life seems to get in the way? This was the question facing accountant and speaker, Peter Margaritis. As a CPA, Peter worked for companies like Price Waterhouse and Gap. He belonged to several professional organizations, and was chair of the board for the Ohio Society of CPAs.
But his love for stand-up comedy led Peter in a new direction. His business now includes speaking, consulting, and training for a range of clients from Fortune 500 companies to accounting firms and CPA associations. As a comedian, speaking came naturally to Peter. But reaction to his keynote topic, Embrace Your Inner Superhero, opened his eyes to the benefits of writing a book.
Peter tells the story of one woman who approached him after he finished speaking at a conference. “She said, ‘Thank you very much. I really needed that’. Her eyes began to well up. She told me she was close to divorce. Then, she said, ‘After what you said, I realize it’s not him. It’s me. I’m not listening. I’m going to try to save my marriage.’ I knew then and there I was changing people’s lives. But I needed to get this message on paper.”
However, like most professionals, Peter put off writing a book because his days were full. As he says, “I know I wouldn’t have a book today if I had to do it myself.” Fortunately, Peter attended a National Speakers Conference where he saw a presentation by Adam Witty, CEO of Advantage Media Group. And that changed everything.
In his presentation, Adam featured Advantage’s unique Talk Your Book™ program. He described how an editor captures and writes your book after talking with you over several phone interviews. As he listened, Peter realized this was the way he could finally get his book done. “It felt like it was the right time, and I’m so glad that I followed up.”
The Easy Way to Write – Even When You Think You Can’t
Peter’s process began with an outline and scheduled phone calls with Bob, his editor. “I would send Bob the information I wanted to talk about. Then, we’d have our scheduled phone call. We would talk for about an hour and a half. The way Bob approached it, we were just two guys sitting in a bar, talking.”
However, as they progressed through the outline, the book evolved. “Bob was able to pull stuff out of my head that I didn’t even know was there. He would ask questions to take me down a new path, to make me think about things just a little bit differently. So, the whole book came together organically, as Bob says. It was a great process from start to finish.” And Peter was even more pleased with a benefit he didn’t expect.
An Unexpected Benefit Solves a Long-time Dilemma
The Talk Your Book™ process includes an author immersion day at Advantage’s headquarters in Charleston, South Carolina. It was here that Peter had a major breakthrough on an issue that had vexed him for years. Since he loves stand-up comedy, Peter has team building programs that focus on improvisation. But he wasn’t getting a lot of bookings. “I think a lot of people were thinking, ‘Oh yeah, that’s Drew Carey’. It wasn’t something they needed for business.” However, as he talked with his editors during author immersion day, Peter made a breakthrough. “I realized my program is not about making jokes. It’s about adapting and using very few words so you can listen.”
After realizing this, Peter knew how to position his book to break through the “brick wall” of using improvisation in business. As a result, Peter’s book, Improv is No Joke: Using Improvisation to Create Positive Results in Leadership and Life, was published in April, 2015. Yet, the benefit to Peter in clarifying his message goes beyond book positioning. “I feel I’ve got a stronger foundation when I’m in front of anybody, whether it’s one on one, or I’m talking to 100 people in a room. I feel my message is now on a very solid foundation.”
While a clear message is a great business benefit in itself, Peter plans to leverage his book to grow his speaking and consulting business. In just the first two months after publishing, Peter had used his book in several ways to generate interest in his services. Some of his strategies included:
- Featuring his book in presentations, including a picture of the cover in his slides,
- Selling books at the back of the room after speaking,
- Giving copies to potential business prospects at conferences,
- Mailing copies to companies and associations that might be interested in his services, and
- Sending press releases on his book to business periodicals in his home state of Ohio.
And while Peter is just getting started with marketing, his increased credibility as an author has been instantaneous. “As soon as I say I’ve written a book – to friends, family, fellow CPAs – their demeanor changes. They tend to look at me with just that little extra bit of credibility. I’ve always been told that when you write a book you become much more credible. And they’re definitely right.”
This is why Peter feels that every member of the National Speakers Association should publish a book. And he recommends only one company to help you do it: Advantage Media Group. “Advantage did it right. Even the little things were important. When my book was done, they sent me a bottle of champagne with the cover of my book as the label. Little things like that make a huge difference. I felt I was the only author they were dealing with. I know customer service and I give Advantage a big plus, plus!”