Navigating the Nonfiction Author Journey

Navigating the Nonfiction Author Journey written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Honorée Corder

In today’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, we’re joined by Honorée Corder, an accomplished author, publishing consultant, and the founder of Indy Author University. With over 50 books to her name and a passion for turning aspiring nonfiction authors into best-selling and best-earning authors, Honoree brings an unparalleled perspective to the table. We discuss her recent book, Write Your First Nonfiction: A Primer for Aspiring Authors, and delve into the intricacies of authorship, focusing on the business benefits of publishing your own book.

Key Takeaway:

The decision to write a book shouldn’t be taken lightly, but it can be a powerful tool for business owners looking to boost their credibility and brand. Honorée emphasizes the need to start with clear goals and intentions, asking what you want the book to accomplish for you and your business. By answering key questions about the book’s purpose, target audience, and desired outcomes, aspiring authors can ensure that their book serves as a valuable asset for years to come. Whether you’re looking to clarify your message, attract clients, or establish expertise, a well-crafted book can set you apart in a competitive marketplace. .

Questions I ask Honorée Corder:

  • (01:59): What’s the first question someone should ask themselves if they’re contemplating writing a book?
  • (02:29): How do you approach the task of making a topic understandable to people?
  • (03:43): For aspiring authors, would you advise that writing a book could positively impact their business?
  • (04:36): Have your own publications contributed to the creation of your Author University and securing TEDx speaking opportunities?
  • (06:00): So if somebody came to you and said, I’m the best estate planning attorney and I want to write a book, where do you start with them?
  • (08:26): How do you guide someone in determining the appropriate length for their book?
  • (10:16): How do you assist in crafting a book structure that not only meets the author’s objectives but also keeps the audience engaged?
  • (14:11): Would you say that the more condensed you can make your first draft the better?

More About Honoree Corder:

  • Get your copy of You Must Write a Book: Boost Your Brand, Get More Business, and Become the Go-To Expert
  • Honoree’s website
  • Connect with Honorée on LinkedIn

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John Jantsch (00:05): Hey, this is John, and before we get started, I have a gift for you for being such an amazing listener. Everyone’s talking about AI these days, but most of it’s about tactics. We’ve created a series of prompts we use to create strategy, and you can have them for free. Just go to and grab yours. Now, let’s get started.

(00:37): Welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Honoree Corder. She’s author of more than 50 books, a publishing consultant, TEDx speaker, and the founder of Indie Author University Honoree Passionately Turns aspiring non-fiction authors into bestselling and best earning authors. I like that. Second part, she’s also runs the Empire Builder’s Mastermind, and we’re going to talk about her most recent book, write Your First Nonfiction, A Primer for Aspiring Authors. So welcome to the show.

Honoree Corder (01:13): I’m delighted to be with you. Thank you for having me.

John Jantsch (01:16): Awesome. So 50 books. Sometimes I tell people I’ve written seven in There’re so impressed, but 50 is crazy. When did you write your first book?

Honoree Corder (01:24): 2004.

John Jantsch (01:26): 2004. Do you remember the title?

Honoree Corder (01:28): Yes. Tall Order? I do. Yes. You never forget your first one, right?

John Jantsch (01:32): That’s right. That’s absolutely true. It’s funny, and I don’t know if you’ve experienced this on yours, but some of my books from writing, turning in a manuscript to publishing and being out there in the world and doing interviews like this might’ve been 18 months and somebody would ask me very specifically about something on page 27. I was like, I don’t know.

Honoree Corder (01:50): That does happen. Someone will say, what are the seven things? And I think, well, I don’t know what they were when I wrote the book, but I’ll give you seven things right now and let’s see how it goes.

John Jantsch (01:59): So let’s dive into, I mean there definitely are, as the title or subtitle mentions, there are many aspiring authors. What’s the first question somebody should ask themselves if they’re thinking I should write a book?

Honoree Corder (02:11): What’s in it for me? Really? Not me but them.

John Jantsch (02:14): Okay, yeah. Okay.

Honoree Corder (02:16): What’s in it for me? For them to write a book? Nothing. What is in it for them to become an author? What do they want the book to do for them, for their business, for their life, for their brand? So that’s the very first question.

John Jantsch (02:29): So there would be some people, and again, I know you have a little different take because the fact that you actually even said best earning authors, because I think there’s a lot of people that would suggest, oh, you have to have something important to say before you should write a book. What’s your take on helping people understand a topic?

Honoree Corder (02:45): Well, that’s such a great question. The reason I start with what’s in it for them is because sometimes it’s helping them to clarify their message or clarify their thoughts or crystallize what their places in the world about a particular topic.

John Jantsch (03:00): And I think it is probably healthy to have a conversation. I think a lot of people probably, I’m guessing people that come to you sometimes have a misconception about how hard the process is, how many books they could possibly sell. And so really tying that to what’s the end game? I mean, because a lot of work and so having an end game that seems appealing is probably a really good idea, isn’t it?

Honoree Corder (03:21): Yes. Start with why, and then understanding what the book will do for them, but then also understanding the job of the book because the book is an asset. It’s supposed to be an asset in one way or another, either it is something that gives you credibility, boosts your brand, or helps people to understand your process, how you think, and whether you’re the right person for them to hire.

John Jantsch (03:43): To that point, most nonfiction books are written by business owners who have something at stake in what they’re writing about. How do you help them? I mean, anybody walking down the street who fits that qualification, would you say to them, you should have a book because it can help your business?

Honoree Corder (03:59): So the offhanded answer that I give all the time when someone says, who should write a book? I say, if you perceive yourself as an expert and you would like others to perceive you as an expert, and there is anyone else out there who says, well, I do that. I’m an estate planning attorney. I’m the best c p a in the world. The one thing that will differentiate you more than anything else is having a book. So if there’s anyone else who does what you do and you want to be perceived as an expert and you have the miles and the hair, the silver and the credentials to back it up, then having a book is going to be the thing that will leave no doubt in their minds.

John Jantsch (04:36): Yeah, it’s interesting. Over the years I’ve had people that I’m absolutely certain did not read my book, but the fact that it was out there and it was on lists of things where that’s all that mattered, but certainly I’ve also had people that have said, I read your book and it makes total sense. When can we start working together? It really can lead to many avenues. Would you say your books that you’ve written have played a role in your developing your author university and your TEDx invitations?

Honoree Corder (05:05): I think all of the opportunities that have come to me in the past 19 years are in one way or another tied to a book that I have written

(05:14): And make anything that I attempt to do easier up to and including here’s what I do for a living. And someone will say, oh, I’d like to talk to you about that. Do you have a business card? And I say, well, I don’t actually now have a business card. I stop printing them. But I used to say, well, I do have a business card, but I also have a book, and I know you know this as being an author. When you tell someone you have a book, their face lights up, you become the coolest kid in the room and you go from being an introvert who wishes they stayed home to having the topic of a conversation built in and some common ground with someone because they will generally say, oh, I’d love to read your book because I want to know more about this topic. Or what’s it like to be an author? How do I become an author? Right. There’s some sort of instant connection that you have with someone when you are an author and it’s

John Jantsch (06:00): Great. No question. Let’s maybe get into what you teach in this particular book. And I guess I’ll start by saying if somebody came to you and because essentially this book is a little bit of a consulting roadmap for how to do their own book. So if somebody came to you and said, I’m the best estate planning attorney and I want to write a book, where do you start with them? Do you give them an assignment or I’m guessing most of ’em don’t come to you with a manuscript.

Honoree Corder (06:24): Most people do not come to me with a manuscript. They come to me with the knowing that they are author bound and they’re not sure. Do they take the train, the plane or the automobile to get there and what are the first steps? So I start them with initial questions, the first one you got, which is what’s in it for them? The second one is, what is the job of the book? And then we get into everything else. Question number three is, what do you want the reader to do as a result of reading your book? If they have no communication or conversation with you, this is not if they hire you, this is what’s their takeaway. In other words, don’t waste people’s time. In my humble opinion, don’t waste someone’s time just giving them a sales pitch for your estate planning, planning services. Tell them why they need an estate plan.

(07:07): Tell them how it’s going to protect them in their wealth and their heirs and give them some things they can do. If they never talk to you, how can they do some estate planning attorney’s going to send me an email and say, no, don’t have them Google how to write an estate plan, but what actions can they take on their own without you, there should be something in your book that allows someone to have their own transformation without the author involvement. Question number four is what do you want your reader to not do for this book? For write your first nonfiction book. I want aspiring authors to not write their book. I want them to write their book. I want them to fail to procrastinate. I want them to actually write their book. And then ultimately the fifth question is, what do you want the right reader to do? What do you want The person who reads your book and likes your message and likes what you have to say and likes your area of expertise? What’s the next step in their journey? What do you want them to do next? So those are the first five questions that I give them, and then I ask them to write down some of the common questions that they are asked as professionals.

John Jantsch (08:10): Do you immediately get into, because a book that like you just described, where maybe the ultimate goal is I want them to hire me as their estate planner since we started down that path. Yeah, let’s go. There probably doesn’t have to be a 400 page book, does it?

Honoree Corder (08:24): It does not, no.

John Jantsch (08:26): So how do you get them to start thinking about length, for example?

Honoree Corder (08:29): Well, I have the lawyer answer. So we’re talking about estate planning attorneys, right? So I’ll do the lawyer answer and the answer is, how long should a book be? Let depend, right? It depends on how long is it going to take you to fulfill the job that you’ve given the book, tell them what they need to be told, nothing more, nothing less. You don’t need to add in all sorts of things to make people feel good about reading a 300 page book because they won’t. As a matter of fact, this is only a hundred pages. It’s 15. I think this one is 21,000 words. It’s a fast read designed to empower someone to take action, to get out of procrastination and into action. If I wrote a 300 page book, I’m writing your first nonfiction book, probably it would just sit there. People would say, oh, I want to write a book. I’ll get that book and then I’m going to lovingly place it on my bedside table where it will sit and collect dust and I will lovingly move it to the long-term bookshelf, and then the next time I move, I will lovingly donate it to the library having never read it. And so that factors in to how long should the book be? The book should be long enough so that the person solves their problem, feels empowered to take action and is ready to move on to the next step. Once they’ve read

John Jantsch (09:38): The book. Don’t most attorneys need about 125 pages to talk about who they are. I’m just kidding. Sorry. That was unfair.

Honoree Corder (09:45): I’m not an attorney. I’m not offended at all.

John Jantsch (09:47): In fact, there’s kind of a trend towards smallish books I think with the idea that they’re not so overwhelming. I could read this on one plane ride. I think I’ve heard somebody say it. That’s an ideal length for many books because I do think there is an intimidation factor if somebody looks at a book and goes, oh man, I don’t know when I would ever get through this.

Honoree Corder (10:05): Yes, because time is everyone’s most precious asset. And when you look at a book, I immediately say, how long is this going to take me to read? And when am I going to be able to allocate that

John Jantsch (10:16): Time? I want to ask this question. So your answer isn’t duh, but a book needs to be organized. Well, I’ve worked with many editors that have rearranged things in my writing really with the idea of that’s not everybody’s power skill. How do you work with somebody about getting the right structure for a book that’s going to accomplish their goals and not just drone on about some topic until they bore people to death?

Honoree Corder (10:41): Well, so I think you’re asking, you’re not asking a Doug question. It does need to be well organized. But I think that one of the reasons people who want to write a book don’t write a book is because they get overwhelmed with where does everything go. You start from the perspective of what are the questions that I need to answer in this book? And then you think if I were answering how do I get to the grocery store from my house? I’d say, you go to the end of the driveway, you’d make a right, you’d make another right. And you’d go until you see the grocery store on your right, everything’s on the right. Apparently. That’s the logical way to give directions. There is a logical way to explain to your reader the contents of your book. However, worrying too much about that in the aspiring author in writing can really paralyze someone.

(11:29): And that’s unfortunate. You do not want to publish your book without the aid of your village. You need the people that are going to help you publish it. And if it is your first book, you probably want to developmental editor. You probably might even want a book doctor, someone who’s going to get in there with you and say, but I think chapter two would be better in chapter seven because I’d like you to lay a little bit more groundwork before you dive right into where’s the binder when you die? Let’s get into what goes into the binder first. Right. Let’s have you die at the end of the book with your estate plan as opposed to in the beginning. Right? Yeah.

John Jantsch (12:02): Makes total sense. So

Honoree Corder (12:03): Having people wrap some arms around the process with other people is actually gives you some peace because then you can just say, I feel like writing about this right now. I’m going to worry about where it goes in the book specifically later.

John Jantsch (12:17): Yeah. Do you help people through, because again, I have lots of clients that I’ve asked to write a blog post, 500, 700 words, and they’re paralyzed. And actually even in my own writing over the years, I’m actually, I write from a outline subheads all the way through to where if I do that part, I can write a couple thousand words almost in my sleep because it’s outlined for me already. Is that a process you would recommend for the person who, I mean even 21,000 words, for some people it’s going to sound like a huge mountain.

Honoree Corder (12:49): So first let’s reduce it to the ridiculous and just say 21,000 words was written, 250, 500 and a thousand words at a time. So if you’ve written three emails today, you’ve probably written five words and you didn’t think how many words were in that email. You didn’t get wrapped around the tree about the word count until you were putting it into the perspective of a book. So sometimes a book feels big bigger than what we can wrap our minds around, and so therefore we’re paralyzed. So the first thing is focus on writing that next bullet point. And to your point, when I’m writing a book, I take the questions that I want to answer in my book and I put them in a logical or linear order and then I break it down what are the points that I need to write about in order to answer this question and what’s the next point and what’s the next point and what’s the next point?

(13:39): And I take it one, I write in Pomodoro’s, 25 minute writing sprints. I write in Pomodoro’s. I’m not worried about 21,000 words or 50,000 words or 70,000 words I’m just focused on today and this 25 minutes that I have to write and this Pomodoro. And then I look, how many words did I write? 300, 500, a thousand. Okay, great. I’ll come back tomorrow and write some more. If you can reduce it to the ridiculous and not get so overwhelmed by it’s going to be a book, it’s going to be a big deal. It’s easier to get through it.

John Jantsch (14:11): Again, this is probably going to fall into the depends category because there isn’t any one way, but I could see some people going, oh yeah, I’m going to work on that when I have time here and I have time there. And next thing they know, six months have gone by and they’re still not through the book. Would you say that the most condensed you can make your at least first pass the better?

Honoree Corder (14:31): Yes. Give yourself a deadline and just work on it a little bit every day. You are not ever going to not to get a sabbatical to a beautiful island where I get to just write my manuscript, I have to fit it in. It’s my job, but it is my job to make sure that I carve out that time every day to put words up on the page. That’s the only way I get the books written.

John Jantsch (14:53): And I know a lot of people that give themselves like a thousand words a day and stop, that kind of thing. I wrote my first book, the bulk of my first book over three day weekends. I just locked. In fact, I did actually go to someplace where there was nobody there, a house that my in-laws owned. There was nobody there and locked myself away for three day weekends. But then I wrote the Self-Reliant Entrepreneur over, it’s a whole different type of book, but I would write a couple hundred words a day and I’m not sure which. I think the actual couple hundred words a day was more painful just

Honoree Corder (15:27): By a thousand paper cuts kind of thing.

John Jantsch (15:30): Exactly. As opposed to just go trudge through it. But everybody has to make it work for they. That’s right. So there are obviously many ways to get the book published once it is written. Do you find that going a traditional route is still a legitimate avenue for many people, particularly since self-publishing and hybrid publishing has become so much more flexible and so much more acceptable?

Honoree Corder (15:51): I think that all three paths are fantastic, and it just depends on the author and what their desired outcome is. Some people want to go the traditional route, they want someone else to handle all of the details. They want that validation. They want to know that they have climbed that mountain and someone who has a position at a publishing company and said, give you that stamp of approval. I think it’s becoming more and more challenging as publishing is changing. The hybrid model is not my favorite, so we’ll skip right over that. And I am a hundred percent indie published except I have many foreign translations, and those have all been brokered through traditional agency to other countries because I don’t have a line of sight. I don’t speak Lithuanian or Russian or German or French or Italian. So I’m very grateful that there is someone to handle that side of the business.

(16:40): And just as we record this, I’ve released an audio book traditionally with Podium Publishing, and they are the world’s largest producer of audio books, and they came to me and they published the bestselling book Formula and they’re publishing, write your first nonfiction book in audio, but I have a little traditional experience myself. We’ll see how it goes. I don’t have any objection to any one of those. My hope is that whichever way someone chooses, they think about the book as an asset that could work for them for 10 years and is published as professionally and profoundly as possible so that it does what they want it to do in their head. The most frustrating thing for me is hearing someone who’s bummed out or disappointed in what their book is, either because of how quickly they publish it and they didn’t know which boxes to check or they thought, oh, I’m just going to let an expert handle it. And then the expert didn’t do a great job for them, and so they’re just disappointed in the results of the book or the sales of the book, or the book isn’t doing what they wanted it to do.

John Jantsch (17:40): Yeah, so I’m glad you mentioned audiobook again, it’s become easier to do as well, and I would certainly think that you encourage people to go that route as well.

Honoree Corder (17:48): I do. It’s the fastest growing segment of publishing. It is so easy for someone to find the time to read a book because they can do it while they’re driving to and from work on the treadmill, walking their dog, cleaning their house. When you’re physically reading a book, that’s all you can do. You have to focus. But when you’re reading a book in audio form, the possibilities are endless on how you can consume that content

John Jantsch (18:12): At two times speed even.

Honoree Corder (18:14): Oh yes, two and three times.

John Jantsch (18:16): Some people need speed to sped up actually. It’s not efficiency, it’s just they should read faster. They should read. Enunciation

Honoree Corder (18:23): Is hard at speed.

John Jantsch (18:25): It is. Right. But I know certainly on my older books, there’s more audio books sold than the print books by far now for that edition. Anyway, so honor, I appreciate you taking a moment to stop by. Talk about your first nonfiction. You want to tell people where they could connect with you or find your work and your books.

Honoree Corder (18:42): Yeah, so my books are everywhere books are sold and my website is And I’m just delighted to meet you and have a conversation with you about books.

John Jantsch (18:51): Absolute pleasure. Appreciate you taking the time. Hopefully we’ll run into you one of these days out there on the road. I would love it.

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