Episode #7: Secrets of a Best-Selling Ghostwriter with Dr. Cindy Childress
The Fast-Track Woman Podcast: Episode #7
Secrets of a Best-Selling Ghostwriter with Dr. Cindy Childress
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Meet Podcast Guest, Dr. Cindy Childress.
Cindy Childress, Ph. D. is a ghostwriter and book editor for coaches and consultants that go on to achieve Amazon Bestseller status, book TEDx Talks, build caching businesses, and create nonprofits.
She developed her Write My Book BlueprintTM framework to create reading experiences that encourages reviews and word of mouth and turns readers into lifelong fans of the author. She’ll teach this curriculum at her Write Your Best Seller retreat in Paris.
Cindy holds a Ph.D. in English teaches creative writing classes at Writespace Houston and is a foster mom with Citizens for Animal Protection in Houston, TX.
About this Podcast Episode.
What does it really take to write a best-selling book that impacts others? Terra talks with Dr. Cindy Childress, The Expert's Ghostwriter, to break down how to pick the right book to write, how to get started and the difference between self-publishing and having a publisher.
If people tell you that you should write a book or if you have a yearning to write a book someday, you'll love this episode and the takeways to get you started on your journey.
Resources, Tools, and Links Mentioned in this Episode.
- To learn more about Cindy, visit www.childresscommunication.com.
- Click HERE to create your FREE 20 Seconds Power Sentence with Cindy.
- Apply for your complimentary Fast-Track Session with Terra HERE.
Read and Download the Transcript for this Episode.
Intro (00:02): Welcome to The Fast-Track Entrepreneur Podcast with your host Terra Bohlmann. You are about to get filled with business strategies, advice, and motivation to get you prepared to fast track your five year plan in less than one year. So buckle up and let's create your first class business with clarity and confidence.
Terra (00:27): So welcome to the Business Upgrade podcast. I am so excited for today's guest. You are going to be blown away by this brain child of book writing. I love, love, love this woman. Not only have I had the chance to work with her on the client side, I've also been a client of hers as well. So let me introduce you to Dr. Cindy Childress. She is a ghostwriter and book editor for coaches and consultants that go on to achieve Amazon bestseller status, book Ted talks, build catchy businesses and create nonprofits. She's developed her Write-My-Book blueprint framework to create reading experiences that encourages reviews and word of mouth and turns readers into lifelong fans of the author. She'll teach this curriculum at her Write Your Bestseller Retreat in Paris. Cindy holds a PhD in English, teaches creative writing classes at Writespace in Houston, Texas, and is a foster mom with citizens for animal protection in Houston as well.
Terra (01:36): So please join me in welcoming Dr. Cindy. Hi Cindy!
Cindy (01:42): Hello. Thank you, Terra. What a lovely introduction.
Terra (01:44): Oh yeah. Sometimes it's nice just to sit back and listen and take that all in, right? Like is that me? I love it. I love it. So first thing I want to start off with is where are you now when we're doing this interview? I'm just, I like to always find out, are you in a home office? Are you on vacation? Where are you?
Cindy (02:05): I'm at WeWork, in the small office that I rent here, it's a coworking space in Houston, in the Galleria area. It's also very dangerous because to get to the food court after walk by Chanel every day.
Terra (02:17): Right. I could put that also as a motivator for you to like work harder. I would imagine. So. I love that. That's something we definitely have in common. We have this probably very unhealthy likeness of Chanel, so yes, I love that. So cool. So we work for people who don't know. It is a coworking company that has these really great creative, super cool spaces all over the world. And you pay a monthly fee and you can either do the coworking, which is a great way to meet other entrepreneurs or you can have a dedicated office. So happy to no that that's where you are. So, alright, so let's, I want to just jump in. So you are a ghost writer. Can you explain to people like what does that mean? I mean they may have heard of it, but what does it really mean?
Cindy (03:04): Yes, I love this question because every now and then people think that means outright scary stories. But actually being a ghostwriter means that I write your book for you and then you publish it under your own name as the author. So I take your intellectual property, whether that's your experience, information, stories, ideas, and then I put it into the paragraphs and the chapters and all the neat bullet points and exercises that you want to include. And then I step away and you're on the spotlight as the author.
Terra (03:44): I love that. I love that. That's so cool. So yeah, I mean, what percentage would you say of books out there like these bestselling books, like the ones that everyone's reading or everyone knows about, what percentage would you say have some ghostwriting element to it?
Cindy (03:59): No, I haven't seen it that statistic, but it's so big that it's just pretty much most of them. I mean you can generally expect that nonfiction, particularly a lot of like Stephen King writes his own stuff. So I don't want to misrepresent, you know, all bestselling authors, but definitely you know, you walk into Barnes and noble and you see the table and you know, some famous celebrity has a cookbook and some famous celebrity has, you know, an autobiography. They contributed to it. It's their ideas of, you know, I believe that there's integrity in the publishing world, but also, you know, they've probably had help cause it's not a good use of their time to learn how to write a book when they're too busy running their empires.
Terra (04:42): And I love that. And thank you for clarifying that. Cause that was something I know, you know, when just even as a business coach myself, it's like you know, that's something you struggle with is okay, if you hire someone to do it, what if it's not really your ideas and is it really like how does that play into what you said integrity. And it sounds like even if they're not the ones physically writing and copy in editing every word, like it's still their idea and concepts and a good ghost writer knows how to take their ideas and put it into their stories and they're just so that it does, it is them. So we're all busy. I get it. That's kind of what is so beautiful about ghostwriters and it's, it's such a hidden industry, right? Or it's like they're called a ghost for a reason and, but there's no shame in that.
Terra (05:35): It's actually a really smart business move to make. I would see that that way. So very, very cool. Thank you for clarifying that for us. For sure. One thing I wanted to ask you is what is the difference between people who come up to you? Cause as soon as you say, and I've, I've had the privilege, we live in the same town. So we go to some of the same events and I've seen this happen to you, right? As soon as you say, Oh, I'm a ghost writer and this is what I do, people will flood to you and say, tell you about how they want to write a book. They want to write a book. I, you know, I'm gonna, I'm gonna write a book, I want to, everyone tells me I should read a book. Like I've seen it a million different ways. And then what's the difference between that person versus the person that actually does publish a book and I'll say publish a book cause they don't have to write it. They just have to work through it on the publishing side. Right. So what's the difference between the person who says I'm gonna, everyone tells me or I want to versus actually having it beyond an Amazon bestseller.
Cindy (06:37): Yes. That was a super question. I think the biggest difference between people who are they saying they want to do it, but it's maybe someday or accept or not until there's something blocking them. That's, you know, sometimes they, there's something they actually need to learn. Maybe they feel ill-equipped to write an expert book on that topic because it interests them, but they don't feel like they're an expert. And maybe it's actually true that they should do some more educating of themselves and delve a little deeper into what's already written on that topic so that they are confident that they know where they can carve some space with their own ideas and their own little niche. So it's not always a bad thing to have your book on hold, but what's different between that and someone who is ready to go is, it all depends on being clear on the outcome that you want when you are an author.
Cindy (07:32): So if you know when you want to have your book in hand, and I'm working with a lady right now who has purchased a booth at a large medical conference in Dallas and she needs her book on her table. So she can sell it and you know, looking at that kind of deadline and that pressure, you know, it's immediate. She's met every single one of my deadlines to her way ahead of time so that we can move the project along as quickly as possible so she can have what she needs when she needs it. So it doesn't always have to be that soon. It's better if you can have a little more time. But the important thing is to know what you want as a result because that's going to motivate you to do the work. Even if you're working with a ghostwriter, you do have to make your appointments to give me your intellectual property. I do that through recorded interviews because I assume you want to work with me because you don't want to do more writing. You want to do less. Um, so we just have conversations and not take notes from those. But you know, if you're not willing to make the time to do those conversations, then the outcome of having your book is not as important to you now as it may be at some time in the future.
Terra (08:42): I love that. So, and, and just to, you know, I'm a very transparent person. It's like when I hired Cindy to help me get clarity on, on what book I wanted to write, cause I've written a book in the past that I was for sure thought was going to be on the New York best sellers list. And Oh my gosh, like you know, I went down the route where, you know, I didn't have any fear around publishing this book and this and this and that. But then, you know, launch day I sold like five copies, three went to my mom, one went to an aunt who I hadn't talked to. So it was like I didn't, you know, back then this was wow, like 12 years ago. I didn't know that really with a book like that, you had to have a business model around it and you know, you don't just always get super rich just selling your book.
Terra (09:28): You know, I had a lot to learn from myself. So when I knew I wanted to write the next book, it needed to be done. Right. So of course I hired Dr. Cindy and I was like, okay, help me flush out the ideas here cause there's a lot in my head and how do I get this out in a way that does have a very clear topic and has those outcomes that I, that I want, that I understand now that I understand marketing and, and serving and whatnot a lot better. So what was great about it is she just asked you questions and you just talk. So we'll talk a little bit about your process, which I think is, is genius. And it wasn't scary. It wasn't overwhelming. It was simply you asking me very pointed questions. I would answer them and then you would return it back to me in a way that sounded like even way better. Like it was really the coolest thing. And then she helped me put together an outline so that I can stay on track when I'm writing and whatnot. So, um, and in that case, you know, but when she's ghost writing for somebody like the lady she was saying, uh, in Dallas it's like, it's probably more of a, I would imagine the series of interviews.
Cindy (10:38): Yes. Well depending on how long your book is going to be, um, between 22 and 28 hours of recorded interviews in two hour chunks and I have the interview questions that are right based on the table of contents that we've agreed on from the beginning. And then in each session I'm able to ask questions that cover usually three to four of the chapters that we've planned. And so that's how we get through the content. So you're transferring your ideas to me and then I have a developmental edit process. So then I can take you through the editing processes of a book. And I think that's one thing that differentiates me from some ghostwriters that just take your ideas, get you a messy first draft and then hand you off to another book editor. Because with my background with the PhD in English, I'm perfectly capable of then editing your book. And since I'm so familiar with the topic, I'm the best person to do it because I remember that what's on page 80 matches up with what's on page 30. You know, someone new to the process would have to go in and relearn all of that. So, um, I do developmental, um, copy in line editing and then I have a peer from graduate school who does the proofreading because if I've made my own common mistakes on your draft, I'm not the best person to see them.
Terra (12:02): Right, exactly. Oh, I love that. So it's just a much more efficient process when you take it from concept to book cover published. Right. So like I love that. That's so cool. So one thing that comes to mind is a lot of, you know, I primarily work with women. This podcast is for women. Women have a pen if they're going to write a book, they have a lot of different ideas for all kinds of different books. Like, you know, based on it may be something that they want to share that was a child hood experience or a life experience, but they also maybe one of business and they think, Oh, I could have a book that helps market my business. Or maybe I just am it. I love writing mysteries and whatnot. So how do you, if someone has all these book ideas in their head, how do you help them hone in on picking one?
Cindy (12:55): Definitely. Well, the first thing I would do is just say, tell me about your ideas. And usually there's one that just, they brighten up and they're more passionate and excited about it. And then some of the other ones when they tell me about it, it's like they're pulling teeth. They're like, Oh yeah. And this one everybody tells me I wrote about that. But you can just tell they're excited about it. And then I'll take you through a process of thinking about, okay, for the audience that you already have now, what content are they consuming from you and what content do they want? Because those would be your first buyers when you were going to go to release your book. Yeah. And another thing we think about, um, I heard this Terra and I were at Traffic and Conversion last year that Brendon Burchard's talk. And one thing he also said about books is whatever topic you choose, you're going to have to talk about it for three years. Really love it.
Terra (13:52): Yes. And you know what is such an aha from that? And I say that with people who come to me for women who have, you know, their business model or they want to shift it because they may have created an entire business platform on, that's some traumatic experience that they're just sick of talking about. Like they're just over it. And I would imagine a book is the same way. So that's a great way to differentiate. Do you really want to write that book, you know, or do you want to write this book? That's good. That's good. Love that. So for the, for the people who are listening, which if they're listening, you have some, someone has told you you should write a book or you've just had that personal desire for me as a, you know, a high school or I always loved to read it started with my Sweet Valley Twins, you know, every collection.
Terra (14:40): I think it was was at Walden Books or wall, something at the mall. Yes. And it was, you know, every week when they would release a new Sweet Valley Twins, I had to have them in order and I would have these collections. Um, and I love that, the series and whatnot. And that's really what started my obsession with reading. And I really related more to Jessica than Elizabeth. I always felt so guilty because Elizabeth was like the nerdy one, but we wanted to live vicariously through Jessica driving her. And then when it went to Sweet Valley High, when they got into high school, then it was like she had the convertible and any doubt, it was like, I think it was brilliantly written now when you look back at it, because it was like, of course they were writing for the Elizabeth who were like us with our nose in a book, but because we really wanted to know what it was like to be the Jessica.
Terra (15:39): That's brilliant. That's brilliant. So yeah, so that's what started my love of books, right? And then, uh, you know, I did well in English and I just was one of those things that as a consumer, I love to always be learning just like everyone else, right? Um, and that desire to learn. So I'm always reading new books and now there's audio books and so many cool ways to get information. And so it just to me became like a thing of like, well, why couldn't I write a book? And, and I think for most people, there's either someone tells you that you're a great writer or you have a great story. You should write a book first. And the people who just have that, I want to be an author, I want to be able to say I wrote something, put it out in the world, and guess what, when I'm long and gone, my great, great grandkids someday can go to Amazon or whatever's, I'm sure the tech will be so different back then and just be able to have something and be like, man, that's cool.
Terra (16:34): That was something my great, great grandmother wrote, you know, to leave out in the world. So, so yeah, I just think it's um, it's good to understand probably the why you want to write a book, right? Um, as well as you know, how you're going to get it done. So for those people who just have that feeling like either want to write a book, someone tells me I should, I want to do it for my business. I want to serve the world. Whatever your, your why is, what's the, what's the best way that they should get started to write the book?
Cindy (17:04): I meet a lot of people who, because I'm a ghostwriter, they know that means I start and finish a lot of books. Right? Right. So, um, one thing that I'll offer is fairy godmother editing. I started doing that because I had a client, we did the table of contents and a lot of people just like Terra. They, once they have their ideas organized, they're ready to go. You know, they're already a talented writer of it. Just this is so much content to put together. They need some extra help there. Um, this lady, I did that for her. She did not want me to go strikes from wanting to write her own book, but she wouldn't get off the phone with me. So I was trying to finish the conversation and be like, so best of luck, you can do it. She just wouldn't hang up. And so then I said, here's an idea.
Cindy (17:50): What if I'm right? The questions is if I was going to interview you, but then you write your answer. So you are visibly writing your book, but you've got all that extra help. So, you know, ostensibly you should never have writer's block because you should be able to answer all the questions. So then you're just writing answers to questions and then I'll put in your meat has one to make everything pretty with the editing. She was like, wow, that is exactly what I want.
Terra (18:16): That's so cool. Yeah. And that's called fairy godmother editing. Right. I love that, she can come in and be that. That's so cool.
Cindy (18:25): And you know, the thing is you can do that for yourself too. And that was one of the ideas that I'd given to Terra when we finished her, um, table of contents process. And as I mentioned earlier, she had a plan. So what's the writing plan? Some of it was based on the word count that she was targeting for the book for the link that she would like it to be. So when she sells it and people have it in their hand, they feel like they got, you know, the 15.99 the values there. And then we reverse engineer that to think roughly how long each chapter should be. And then within each chapter there's some sections, so know your total book length by the word count and then you're dividing that by the chapters and then you can think, okay, so roughly each subsection to be let's say 300 words long. That's like as long as it's short blog, you've got that self discipline. So you know when you've got enough and you know when you don't have enough then you can really project manage your own book writing.
Terra (19:23): I love that. I love that. And that's so true because it's, as soon as you sit down, there isn't a writer's block because you are very clear with this is what I need to be writing about and here's the flow that I, it just, I've started writing it and I'll tell you, you have just been literally a fairy godmother in my life about that. So thank you for that. That's so good. So if you want to get started, I mean it's just a matter of getting really clear on, you know, what you want your, you have the topic of your book, you know, if you can't hire Cindy, right? Like, just start with that table of contents that's going to give you clarity. Uh, so that, that's huge. That's huge because you know, sometimes the blinking cursor of like, ah, I have to produce 300 pages?
Terra (20:06): Like how am I going to do that and where do I start? But, you know, step one, you know, table of contents. So it's really, really a great idea. Um, let me ask you a question. I'm gonna kind of segue a little bit here about, uh, sometimes when I meet people, especially clients or you know, just women who have just businesses, obviously I'm around a lot of women entrepreneurs. It's like they may have a book that they feel like they need to write for themselves. Like they need to write it for themselves, for healing, for what have you. Right. Versus writing for a reader what the reader wants to hear. What's your take on that?
Cindy (20:45): This is such a rich, because the first thing that I will usually say, and I have a client who came to me with a really complex, very personal story, and I told her, you know, why don't you just write it for yourself? Just, you know, put your ideas down onto paper so you can even see what you believe happened and what your perspective is on the events and how you feel and how it affected you later. So, and then we're going to look at that and decide, okay, so what are you comfortable or what do you think ought to be shared with the world and what do you think you just needed to put on paper for yourself? And when I think about these tell all memoir writers and there are plenty, one that comes to mind that's the best selling one on the shelf these days is Glenn and Doyle. And when you look at her writing, it's intensely personal and it feels like she's letting it all hang out. And I mean, I haven't talked to her personally. I didn't see her earlier drafts.
Cindy (21:52): But just knowing what I do about the nature of humanity and the English language for everything you choose to reveal, there's something that you choose not to reveal. When you even wrote a very shocking book, what you're choosing not to reveal is like your vulnerability or your sobs that you know you have to be. But when you think about writing for yourself versus publishing, publishing is about what do you feel needs to be shared with a larger audience and what are you comfortable sharing with that larger audience. And then writing for yourself is just purely self exploration and getting to know yourself better and seeing what you really think.
Terra (22:30): I love that. And that's so, so true. Like I mean one thing that comes to mind for me is like my stories in my first book were so different than they are in this one. And it had, if I wouldn't have, and I was, I started writing it on the train from New York city to Boston on my family vacation. We had like a four hour train ride. I had my laptop, the kids had their snacks and whatever. And I was like, I have time. What I, something about being in a moving, whether it's playing, I don't know if this is like a science, a scientific thing, but like my creativity when I'm on vacation is through the roof because I actually have some downtime to actually, you know, think creatively. So I started writing and it just was flowing and I was laughing out loud and I was showing things to my husband who was sitting next to me.
Terra (23:16): Like this was a hilarious story of growing up with my dad being a lead singer of a rock band and my mom being an entrepreneur and whatnot. And it was like, I feel so much more, I feel so much more comfortable now telling those personal stories than I would have, you know, 10 years ago. And if I wouldn't have done personal development work and had great communication with my family and whatever, you know, I would be very hesitant to put some of this stuff out there and I would, you know, so when you had talked earlier about you gotta be ready to write the book and you gotta have the timing, right, the difference between I want to write the book versus the person that actually does it, it's like timing is no accident, right? I couldn't have done that book 10 years ago without fear of my family being mad at me for sharing.
Terra (24:04): Like, who knows? Some, you know, not really, but yet, you know, funny ways of how I saw myself growing up. So, um, you know, that is something, you just have to do that work right before you're willing to put it all out there and really put, you know, a vulnerable book out there. So, but I realized, I gotta share my story in order for people to feel comfortable sharing theirs. And you know, sometimes you might make some people mad and sometimes it might be a little uncomfortable, but you know, at the end of the day nobody's going to die from it. So it's all for the greater good. And that's to me, writing for someone else, writing for my audience versus writing for me. And I think a lot of the times the people who want to write, and this is something that's also comes, I see this often in business and I'd love to hear your thoughts on it, is people who want to start a business for, or you know, write a book or a blog or this is, I work with a lot of speakers, they may, they want to speak about something on a topic that is really important to them.
Terra (25:16): And I always say like, that's cool, but guess what? People don't buy it when it's just about you. You have to make it about them. So if you're nervous to go give that talk and that speech and that, you know, whatever, it's like I instantly, before I go on a stage, I always say, this isn't about me. It's about them. So please download what I need in order to serve everyone in that audience today. And when I switched that mindset, it's just been a game changer. Right. So have you had any clients that you've had to kind of weave into? Yeah, that's a great story, but let's, how can we bring that back so that readers will actually get takeaways from that?
Cindy (26:00): Um, I have, well it's kind of about what's the purpose of your book? So what do you want as an author at the end and how you define success? And usually what we'll agree on for the answer to that question is what I can refer back to. Um, I have a client who is the executive director of a nonprofit. So the purpose of the book is to explain how, um, his upbringing and his business experience led him to make the amazing changes. He hasn't had the success that he's had, um, with this nonprofit. But the purpose ultimately is to get more people to donate, to get more people to volunteer and hopefully for other places to replicate the good things that doing.
Terra (26:44): And then he gives me a fishing story and a golf story and then cool stories that he enjoys telling about himself, but they don't refer back any way to how that helps the book's mission. And so I've been able to very delicately just refer in the way I just described and then he'll agree with me and be like, okay, it's a cool story. I'm glad that we brought it down. So I have it for my family, but it doesn't belong in the book on this topic. Let me think is there can be another book, you know, if you've got a story to tell that doesn't fit this book, don't feel like this is the only book you're ever going to write. I mean, with not with self publishing these days, there's no reason if you've got it in you, you shouldn't have three, five, 10 books.
Terra (27:29): Yes. That's so true. I love that. That's, I mean it's kind of like, it's having you most like a book purpose statement, you know? And when you got to constantly be reflecting that, like I did a lot of work, um, on my own promise like recently and it was like everything I'm doing, my business now is reflected on that promise that I put out there. But at the same thing needs to happen with the book. And that's kind of like you want to talk about the value of having a ghost writer in your pocket. Like that alone is going to help you connect those dots because we can get squirrely like when we get writing and get off on tangents and it's her job to go, yeah, that's a great story. Where next thing that you know, this, this and that. This makes more sense. Move it here and that's, that's beautiful. So I love that. No, you're fine.
Cindy (28:21): I was just going to quickly share another way that you can approach that. So I have a client who's a life coach and she has a specific set of stories about herself that she wanted to share. And what I did is help her break those stories down and then think of exercises that she could pair with them. And how those stories about herself were also teaching moments and to make those turns from storytelling to teaching moment and exercise so that it wasn't just a memoir that would just make people feel like, well, she's been through a lot. She's very motivational, but it would also make me think and she can help people like me.
Terra (28:59): Yes, and that is so key and that was for me as a teacher, as an online educator, whatever is something that was an aha for me that I would love our listeners to understand is if you want to share your gifts and and teach and put things out there in a book, a lot of the times is that to write essentially the nonfiction side. So it's like what you need to do is you have to share, so i.e. Teaching and sharing, but where the transformation comes is by giving some way for your reader to apply what you just shared to them. Because let's face it, like we live in a world where it's like, yeah, yeah, great story. What about me? Like, you know, I always say that with women who struggled in network, they're like, what do I say? I'm like, you introduce yourself and you let people talk about their favorite subject in the world themselves. And so you just flip it like, Oh great, I'm Tara, I'm a business coach. Tell me about what do you do? And then you can get things going from there. So it's just, um, you know, it's the nature of, of life these days and a book is no different. So when you can apply it and write it or you want to write it and allow them to apply your lessons and your stories to their personal life, they are not going to just love your book. They're going to become a raving fan around here book. So, and that's what you want. Yeah. Cool. Um, so segue here. We got, I know we have a, don't have much time left, but is, I would love to know your take on the difference between self publishing a book versus being published by a publisher.
Cindy (30:37): Sure. The biggest, you know, one thing that's not different between the two. For an average person might surprise the listeners, which is you still have to do a lot of your own marketing and set up your own events. If you want a speaking tour, you're going to have to do the bookings yourself. For the most part, if you are published by a publisher, you may get some kind of stipend but it probably will not cover all your expenses. If you want to do something and really do a lot of outreach, so you're going to have to learn marketing when you have a book and consider your book as your business. Whichever way you publish things of self publishing are, you can do it a lot faster. You're not in line behind a lot of other books. The publishers also working on your book is your product.
Cindy (31:22): Whereas with publishing, the book is the publisher's product and your brand is now part of their product as well. So that can get a little sticky too when you want to reuse the content from your book in other ways in your business, and then you can't because the publisher holds the rights. So I know some authors have been disappointed when they realized how that worked, so, but there are benefits of publishing with a big publisher. The main reason that a lot of people turn to self publishing is both the time factor. You can get it out quickly, you own your intellectual property, stills, you own your personal brand. And then the other reason is just that for most publishers, as I understand it, if you don't have at least 20,000 followers, but really half a million would be much more prefered, then you really don't have the proof of concept they're looking for for them to make a big return on the investment they would be making in your book. But that doesn't mean it's not a great idea for you because if you're selling a coaching business or an online course or you want more paid speaking engagements, then you can recoup your investment on your book, not in bails, $3-$5 a book and how many of those do you have to sell? But in your upsell and list building that you can do with that.
Terra (32:48): I love that. That was such a great, I learned so much and just you sharing that like I really had, I never had thought, but you don't necessarily own the content like and you know, and yeah. That's brilliant. Okay. Love it. Thank you. Thank you for sharing. Um, one last question. I'm curious, like you have a PhD in English, right? And you're also a creative writer yourself and I know you do poetry and I mean, Dr. Cindy is multifaceted. What got you into ghost writing specifically?
Cindy (33:21): Yeah. Well, I'm glad you brought up poetry because um, I have a poetry collection that was just named as a finalist in the, um, Washington prize, um, from word works. So that is, that makes me happy. When I became a ghostwriter is I started out in technical writing after taking a seven year hiatus and going with my husband overseas. So with the seven year work gap we were in Malaysia and Indonesia, pretty much my academic career was, you know, just not, again, not a starter fund, something else to do. And it's really cool because when I reflect on it, I remember in graduate school my classmates would say things like, Oh, I don't think I would ever survive outside academia. Um, and I've never really felt that way. And so here I am proving it.
Terra (34:17): Yay. That's awesome. That is so cool. I love it. So we'll talk about something more lighthearted and then I want to make sure that everyone knows how to get in touch with you. And I want to talk about this amazing Paris retreat that you have coming up. Oh, Paris, love it. But before we do that, I know you're a huge animal lover. And when we were talking actually, Cindy and I and our husbands, we wanted to introduce them. They're both in oil and gas business. And so we went to dinner the other day and we got talking about, you know, her rescues and, and what she does. Um, and the rescue fails. We were talking about how she had just moved and she has a guest room that is dedicated to animals. And so do you have any dogs or cats or in your, in your rescue room right now?
Cindy (35:06): Well, my rescue is open for business. We did just move houses. So we have the little cat tree in there and the little dog kennel and it's got a special door that opens to a private courtyard. So when we have a dog in there and they'll be able to move themselves without having to walk through the house and meet my dog, which did not go well in our previous house, so we don't have any right now. But we recently had some foster fails. So foster fails, big wins for the animals. Um, that was 10 kittens from a litter of five that I hand reared from four weeks old. They were, um, their mother was killed in a car and then they needed somebody. So I took care of them, um, and gave them baths with Johnson's baby soap every day for three weeks. So they were big enough to groom themselves. And then two of them I just kept, their names are Orlando and Prince of Pesa and they now way over five pounds times the size they were when they came to me and they made me so happy.
Terra (36:15): Oh, those are rescue fails. Like, like you said, it's great for the animals, but it's got to make it hard when you, when you rescue. I mean, we have a rescue, well, both our, our dog and our cat are rescues and it's like, I swear there's something about, they just know that you rescued them and they just, there's a gratefulness that just when they look at you, you know, you're just like, Oh. So yeah. It's funny how especially with our rescue cat that she had been in I think three or four shelters before she even came to our house. And now she's the queen of the house and it's very, she very much has forgotten, you know what life was like on the streets before she came to her, uh, her palace. And so she just sits there like I'm not going back. Yeah, I love it. So very, very cool. So tell us about, I want to hear about, you have a writing retreat in Paris coming up. Tell us about that.
Cindy (37:10): Yes, it's going to be three full days with a welcome meet and greet the night before it starts. So you can meet the other people at the event. It's going to be in Paris on Champs-Elysee, which is the eighth arrondissement. And um, we're going to be taking you from idea to table of contents. You're going to write several chapters for your book. We'll teach you some editing tools as well. And we're going to end with an author debut when you're going to do a reading from what you have written and reveal your ideas.
Terra (37:46): Oh my gosh, it sounds so dreamy. What's, so what's the real like benefit to travel to write versus, you know, trying to do it.
Cindy (37:54): in your home office or in bed at night? Yes, well first of all just getting out of your normal environment forces your brain to think differently. Maybe some ideas that you would kill, you give them a little bit more pause for thought and I particularly love to write in places where English is not what I hear the most stuff because when you hear mostly like I was just in Italy for 9 days this summer to do some writing myself and when we were just immersed in a foreign environment things become crisper and more focused and you're actually more free to be creative and expressive and you can also do a lot more in the, in a smaller amount of time because you don't have all the distractions that you would at home. So three days off work it stayed at home and thought you would get the same amount. It will be very difficult.
Terra (38:52): Right? Yeah, I know you'll be wanting to like you have to do the laundry and then all these things and distractions and emails and so that is a thing like it just wasn't a hot for me of like when I am traveling or on a train or on a plane, I, I literally think differently. So I think the value of going to Paris is huge. When is the Paris retreat?
Cindy (39:12): It's September 30th, that's the meet and greet the night before and then the days of October 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Ooh, okay.
Terra (39:20): So perfect Paris in the fall like wow. Okay, perfect timing. Do you have any spots or is it sold out?
Cindy (39:29): At this time, I have two spots, so if anyone is interested I would love for you to apply. I'd like to hear more about your book idea and hopefully we will be a fit. And the website you can go to is www.bestsellerinparis.com
Terra (39:54): www.bestsellerinparis.com. Perfect. Now I have all kinds of good, awesome information for you to find out all the details and be able to find out, you know, like let Cindy know, what your book ideas about. And so if there are still spots available, you know, I'm sure she'll get you information on that. So bestsellerinparis.com love that. So what if our listeners just want to get in touch with you. So this is going to be recorded, so they might be listening to this and it's 2022 and Paris has long since been over. But how can our listeners get in touch with you?
Cindy (40:30): Sure. You can always go to my website, which is www.childresscommunication.com and on social media. I make it super easy. My handle is @CindychildressPhD and you can find me there on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.
Terra (40:50): Awesome. Well Dr. Cindy, I mean it's, it's been a pleasure and she's a source of a ridiculous amount of information. So if you've even had an inkling to want to write a book, do not miss out on learning more from her blog, which is beyond or signing up for her newsletter and getting in touch. And just having a conversation like so many people these days as their business grows and Cindy's blessed to have a great business, but as your business grows, like less people want to have conversations with people and Dr. Cindy is not that person. Like she will have a conversation with you, which is pretty cool and unheard of. So definitely check out, uh right your best. Tell me the website again, bestsellerinparis.com go check that out. If you want to go to Paris and make this about you and have your time to get that book out there, the first step is exactly what she said.
Terra (41:45): And to be able to have an expert like her hold your hand and help you create that table of contents and flush out the ideas. I mean there's no better kickstart to writing your book that you've been talking about writing for a long time. So Dr. Cindy is your woman on that for sure. So before we wrap up, is there, I'd love for you to share what's the, what's the one thing you wish people knew about writing a book that they think they know but they really don't. And if you could share that secret, but if, if they just knew it, it might make a big difference in their lives.
Cindy (42:19): Sure, I think people have the idea that their first thought is the best thought. So then they're reluctant to edit or delete what's already written and then they feel like, but what they want to continue writing does it match what they had and they really get stuck there. A lot of times what you first wrote when you were first starting, your book does not go in the final copy at all. So I can't tell you how many people I meet that tell me they started writing a book and their stuff and I'll say, Oh well tell me about it.
Cindy (42:50): How much have you written? And it's like three, four pages. That's really common. And it's just because they're so stuck on what they already have. They can't think past it. And I think being able to think past it is really going to open up a lot for anybody who's trying to run a book, what you call that, like their messy first draft kind of thing. Like just, you know, it doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to be and you don't have to be tied to that. So that's really a good idea.
Terra (43:18): I probably in hindsight should have done that with the Boss In Bunny Slippers, my first book and just saw it as that and then held off and to write the book that I was really meant to write. So it's all good. It's all good. So anyway, so Dr. Cindy, it's been an absolute joy. So again, Dr. Cindy Childress visit her website, all of her on social media, childresscommunication.com and if you can make Paris happen and there's still a spot left for you, definitely go to bestsellerinparis.com and check it out. So thank you dr Cindy. It's been a pleasure.
Cindy (43:53): Thank you Tara.
Terra (43:55): All right, then take care.
Outro (43:59): There you have it. Another episode, packed full of strategies and motivation that you can use every day to put your business on the fast track for a podcast recap and more resources. Visit Terrabohlmann.com don't forget, subscribe to the podcast and get what you need to help fast track your five year business plan.
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