With Leon Nacson, Managing Director of Hay House Australia
In order to achieve anything in life, any dream that you have, I believe you have to do two things:
- Write it down and keep it safe
- Let it go
Yep. All that stuff about shouting your dreams from the rooftop and manifesting them by trying to force them into existence…I just don’t buy that. It’s always felt like too much pressure to me. If I declare to the world that I’m going to achieve this or do that then I suddenly feel like I have to do these things because if I don’t, then I’m letting YOU down. I’m going back on my word. I realise that’s the whole point of it but the rebel buried deep inside me goes, “but what if I change my mind? Maybe I don’t want that anymore! Stuff you guys, I don’t have to do anything!”
A beautiful friend of mine, Kaye Vlachos, put it in a very special way. She said, “Your dreams are very precious. Keep them safe. Only share them with people you absolutely trust will be as gentle and caring about your dream as you are.” Kaye has represented Australia for soccer and is an athlete empowerment coach. She sometimes comes into my courses for teen girls and shares her wisdom. When she shared that little nugget of wisdom with my students I was at the back of the room nodding and furiously writing it down.
And let it go? Why would I suggest letting go of a dream if it’s so important to you? Well I learnt a few years ago that we don’t have as much control as we like to think we do in this life. I’ve learnt to trust that everything works out exactly how it’s meant to. Good or bad, we aren’t dealt anything we can’t get through and it’s all here to teach us whatever it is we’re meant to learn. So I prefer to dream my dreams. Write them down. And then let go of any attachment to them. This requires a level of trust and faith that what you’re dreaming of will come to fruition…if it’s meant to.
So how does all of this relate to getting a book deal? Well I recently won the Hay House Writer’s Workshop Competition, following in the footsteps of my dear friend, the late Jess Ainscough and other incredible Australian self-help authors Megan Dalla-Camina and Cassie Mendoza-Jones. Winning this competition has given me an opportunity to publish a book that will help teen girls to truly shine from within, including the content and teachings from my Shine From Within courses.
I couldn’t believe I won and still can’t to tell you the truth! When someone asked me recently if I had been working away and dreaming of it for years, I said, “No, it just sorta happened.” And I felt a little embarrassed by that. Like I hadn’t really earned it because I hadn’t shouted from the rooftops that I wanted to write a book for the last few years and I didn’t spend my whole childhood wishing I could be a writer.
But I did dream it. I just totally forgot! As I cleaned up my office the other day I found a notebook that I had sitting by my bed for a few months last year. I would scribble in it before bed sometimes or if an idea came to me in meditation. And this is what I wrote:
“I want to write this book, with Hay House. It will be filled with Heaven’s grace and love. It will help lots of young women and girls. It will be passed down to siblings and nieces. It will just be out there in the world, doing its thing. I feel like this is supposed to happen. Thank you.”
Going back and finding that the other day was like discovering a little hidden treasure.
So how did this actually come about? I went to the Hay House writer’s workshop in Brisbane last year. Everyone who attended could put in a proposal. The thing was, at the writer’s workshop, the Managing Director of Hay House Australia, Leon Nacson and Reid Tracy, CEO and President of Hay House Inc. spoke about the benefits of self-publishing as well. So for the next few months I kept wondering if I should submit a proposal or just self-publish. Not long before the deadline I realised I was stuck in no-man’s-land by not doing anything at all. So I decided to write the book proposal and submit it and let fate decide if I should self-publish or not.
A winning proposal..
And the reason it was the winning book proposal? That I couldn’t tell you for sure but these are some of the factors that I believed helped me:
- I was super clear about who my audience is. Going to a publisher with a book ‘for everyone’ is too general.
- I explained why this book was needed and demonstrated I had researched the market by highlighting some of the other books out there that are similar, but different.
- I used facts and statistics about teen girls today and some of the common issues they are faced with to clearly show this book needs to be in the world.
- I explained exactly who would buy my book, which in the case of writing for young people is a different demographic to the readers – the parents, aunties, Godparents and friends.
- I demonstrated I know my readers well, speak their language and can speak to their issues.
- I shared my bio, story, media appearances and testimonials from girls and parents during my years of working with teen girls.
- I shared my connections and contacts in the wellness industry and media who I feel comfortable calling on to support the book when it launches.
- I laid out exactly how I was going to support the book when it came to life, such as a series of workshops that work alongside the content and an online program.
- I demonstrated how I’m already out in the world working on building a brand and an audience for this book. One thing I’ll always remember Leon Nacson saying is, “It’s the publisher’s job is to get your book into the bookstores. It’s the author’s job to get it out of the bookstore.”
- I clearly outlined each chapter but something that might surprise you is that this part of the book proposal was only a couple of pages long. It was direct and to-the-point. The business and marketing side of the proposal made up a big portion of it, as well as the why behind the book.
- It was just great timing. I happened to be writing to an audience that Hay House were keen to tap into when I submitted the proposal – young women and girls.
Whether you want to write a book proposal or dream another dream…I hope this helped in some way.
This article was originally written for the Wellspring Blog over at Endeavour College of Natural Health in 2016.