Lisa Tener, founder of the Bring Your Book to Life program, was recently honored at the American Business Awards with a gold award in the marketing-media category and a bronze award in the executive of the year-media category. Her eight-week program was designed to help writers turn their ideas into published books. Tener holds an M.S. in management, with a concentration in marketing, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In addition to being a published author, she is a faculty member at Harvard Medical School’s continuing education program and regularly presents at the Ocean State Writer’s Conference.
PBN: What inspired you to create a book-writing program? Did any of your personal experiences contribute?
TENER: I co-authored my first book, “The Ultimate Guide to Transforming Anger,” and although [it was] ultimately published by a traditional publisher, it took me seven years to go from idea to published book. I wished I’d had someone to walk me through the process – I could have saved so much time. I also realized that other people could use support and expert guidance. Helping people write their books and get published also allowed me to marry several different skills and interests: writing, marketing, creativity, my business background and understanding of the publishing industry.
PBN: Aside from actually putting pen to paper, what other steps do writers need to take on the road to publication?
TENER: They need to first clarify their goals and vision – so they write the right book – develop the book’s concept by identifying its market, features, tone, content, etc. and then outline the book. Structure is crucial before writing. It may seem obvious, but you also need to create time in your schedule and be specific about when you’ll write. Create accountability and support. If you want a traditional publisher, you need a book proposal – essentially a business plan for your book: analyze markets, competition, provide a marketing plan and – most critical in a publisher’s eyes – include your platform – who you already reach and how.
PBN: What’s one important piece of advice most aspiring writers can benefit from?
TENER: Be clear on why you’re writing the book, so that you write the book that’s likely to meet your goals and attract the right audience. If you’re writing a book to affect the national discourse, it will be very different from if you’re using it to attract ideal clients – even if it’s based on the same ideas. •