25th Trillium Award

Readers Write: Is there a book in you just crying to get out?

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Anne Milner

By Open Book reader Anne Miner, the founder and President of The Dunvegan Group Ltd. Anne's most recent book, The Bottom Line on Customer Retention: It Pays to Care!, was published in December 2012.

Have you dreamt of writing a novel, a children’s story, a mystery, a thriller, a biography, a point of view, business advice? Has anyone ever told you, “You should write a book”? Have you thought about it and perhaps dismissed the idea? Thoughts like, “I don’t know how”, “no one would read it”, “I’m not a good writer”, “where would I find a publisher” … can all be significant barriers.

Let me tell you that I believe every one of us has a story to tell. And every one of us can be an author! And, with the help of today’s technology, you can write and publish your own books — quickly and easily.

Here’s how I do it.

First of all, I think about what I want to communicate. Since I write business books, the topics I choose reflect my experience, perspective and expertise. Often the title for the book, or at least the main theme, emerges from a conversation I am having with a colleague.

I write down the key points I want to make — one per page. I use a binder style notebook so I can rearrange the pages.

Next, I write down the sub-points or support points for each of the key points. Add more notes as I think of them. This process may take days, weeks or months.

Can you see how this is taking shape?

I then organize the key points into a logical order (being able to rearrange the pages comes in handy here) and I may rearrange the pages several times before I am happy.

This where I move to my computer and start typing my content. Don’t worry about formatting — just use a standard one inch margin and start each new chapter on its own page. Avoid using bullet points or indents as these format elements can cause headaches when converting your book for e-readers.

Referring to the notes I have made, I begin writing. And, usually I continue for about an hour. At the end of the hour, I take a break and check in with myself, “Feel like doing more?” If the answer is “yes” I work for another hour and stop.

Sometimes I write in the morning, sometimes later in the day. If I don’t feel like writing, I don’t.

When I am satisfied with the content, I send it to be edited by several colleagues. And then, I make revisions as needed.

The book cover can be designed as soon as I have decided on the title.

The final product can be published as an ebook for sale on your own website, Amazon, iBooks, Google Play or Barnes & Noble. There are also options for self-publishing hard copy books using services like Amazon’s CreateSpace where books are printed and shipped, one at a time, as they are sold.

It’s easy — if I can do it, you can too!

Anne Miner is the founder and President of The Dunvegan Group Ltd. In operation since 1987, Anne’s company helps companies to keep satisfied customers, grow the business they do with satisfied customers and find more ideal customers.

Anne is an entrepreneur, a visionary leader and an acknowledged expert in the field of customer satisfaction measurement, customer care and customer retention. She holds a BA and an MBA from the University of Guelph and she was among the first researchers in Canada to be awarded the prestigious designation of "Certified Marketing Research Professional" by the Marketing Research & Intelligence Association. Anne is a certified trainer of the Platinum Rule® and she has successfully integrated its philosophy and practices into her own organization to help build strong bonds with employees and clients alike.

Anne’s most recent book, The Bottom Line on Customer Retention: It Pays to Care! was released in December 2012. Anne is also co-author of the Amazon best-seller, Succeeding In Spite of Everything! (July 2012) and the author of Measuring Up! A guide to success with customer satisfaction (September 2008).

Do you have a story to tell about your reading or writing? Send an email to [email protected]

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