Opening New Possibilities With Books

Cathy Derksen, curator of multi author books, joins us to share her expertise in creating book collaborations and how participating in book collaborations is an easy way to build authority and become a bestselling author.

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Hi and welcome to The You World Order Showcase podcast. Today we have with us. Cathy Derksen. Cathy is a curator of multi author books. I'm really excited to talk to you about that. Cathy. Her mission is to support midlife women to rediscover their brilliance and step into new possibilities in their lives.


Welcome to this.


It's we'd love to hear about how you got started in this and what your story is so.


Thank you for having me here. Jill's always nice to connect with new communities and wonderful to meet you today and. And. Yeah. No, my my journey has definitely been an unusual one. I always love to people ask me that question of what got you into publishing. Was this something you've done for a long time?


I'd like to say that if you'd asked me that question five years ago, I would have laughed at you because there was no plan at that time that publishing was even something I was going to do.


And I had been in the middle of over the last decade. I have changed careers like completely changed my career twice. I've gone through divorce with two teenagers in tow.


Gone through all sorts of major upheaval in my life. I I described it like I threw my life up in the air and reinvented it all the way back down and.


I had been aware of some people locally here that were creating anthology projects, so book projects and they hadn't really.


Attracted me at the beginning and it wasn't until they had one of their books was called Emotional Intelligence, mental health matters, and that was, you know, I've gone through those major career changes in the divorce and come through the other end and it's just going to hit me that I have a story that needs to be.


In that book.


And and at that time I was working a job, I was in financial planning. So my whole purpose really in getting involved in books at that time was that I felt that my story was one that could help other women who were going through similar things. And I I would say it was really like a calling. Like, I felt this.


This inner thing say no, you need to go do this now and and so that's where it starts.




And I found it to be an amazing process of you don't realize when you actually put your story on paper and release it out into the world. It's a very almost therapeutic process to it and.


And I found that I really enjoyed it and part of it too. When you're working in a multi author book, there's usually 1520, sometimes 30 people involved in the project. So you think about it, you're suddenly LED it into this whole community, a new network of people that you didn't know.


For and, I found it to be a really great way of of connecting with new networks and people, and then I realized that it was also opening doors to opportunities that I had never even seen before.


Whether it's more writing opportunities, speaking opportunities, participating in different events, just opportunities that came out of nowhere.


Through being involved in these projects.


And so 20/19 was when I did my first one to date, I have contributed to 14 best selling books.


And now it is the main thing that I do in my business and I have about 5 more projects on the go right now in various states of completion. So it's really something that went from not even being on my radar to really one of the main things that I do every day.


So they they seem to be popping up and maybe it's just me and it's becoming more.


I'm I'm coming across it more often in my life, but this whole idea of anthologies or or collections of different authors all contributing to a single book. How how do you think that got started and what?


What kinds of people would be interested in that? And I would say it got started with the chicken soup for the soul series. That was really the first time that I was exposed to that model that I can think of and and I think how that one became so popular.




And people I know I've probably got half a dozen of them around my House of various themes. You know, the the original ones.


And then the chicken soup for the mother soul chicken soup for the, you know, there was everyone that was part of that. So I I think that's probably where it got started. But I think one of the main things that attracts people to it, they say that 92% of us have this dream of being a published author.


Everybody thought.


But only about 3% that actually ever really publish it.


Or become a best seller. And I think that participating in these multi author projects.


Is the fastest, simplest, least expensive way to fulfill that.


So by writing one chapter.


With the team you're working together.


You released that book. You are now an international bestseller. If those are the statuses that you, we always do the Amazon launch and international number one is always our goal and we've never had a problem reaching that. So I would definitely say that's a good part of it. So. So that dream to be an author, I think is a big part of that.


For people who are entrepreneurs, it is an an amazing way to be amplifying what you're doing. So for one thing, you're you're sharing your journey, you're sharing your wisdom. Depending on the theme of the book. With my books, I always like to focus on bringing in people who who their business aligns with that project.


So in a way, it is promoting their message, it's promoting their business as well as obviously sharing their tools and strategies and their story. So it really becomes a a massive.


Business card lead magnet.


Call it what you will, but a great way to promote your business.


And really builds authority for you in the marketplace.




Yeah. So if if you look at different, let's use a coach as an example, there's, there's a lot of coaches out there in the world and there's finding those ways to differentiate yourself in the market. What makes you different from this coach and that coach, if there's a few different coaches in a line and looking at their profiles?


One is an author, one is a best selling author, one is an international best selling author, one is a five Times International Best selling author.


I think people do give that some weight.


And and these days it's almost gotten to the point. If you are not an author.


And you're in business. People wonder why.


Because it has become very common that a lot of people are authors. So if you're not.


What are you waiting?


For yeah, and and really being part of a a book publishing project is a great way to get started writing your. You may go on to write your own book, but if you can just tell the story.




In like 3 or 5000 words rather than 20,000 words or 30,000 words, which is like it just gets exponentially more complicated if you're trying to do it on your own to publish your own work rather than publishing as part of a collective with people that already know how to.


To make it a bestseller, I mean it's.


There's a lot of pieces to writing a.


Book yes. And publishing and promoting, launching and and I agree for a lot of people you know again people who start on this vision they're going to be an author. They get started on their book. I've talked to people who have been working on it for five years. 10 years even 20 years.


I've talked to people that have been working on their book for over 20 years, and I find that being in one of these multi author books where you just write that one chapter, it gets published released. You are now an international best selling author.


And often it sparks them to go back to their book and they actually get it published, you know, within months. So it's it is, I would say, one of the best ways to get started as an author. And once you've earned that title, that you are an international best selling author, you can now use that. You can put it right on the cover of every book you do.


From there on is that you are an international best selling author.


Yeah, and it's.


It's not, it's not.


Easy or inexpensive to publish on your own, and I'm sure that you get people that are like, well, why don't you just do this for?




Well, you can't do it for free. There's nothing in this world that's really free. And if you're, it's like people that are out there saying music should be free to everybody.




These people spent the musician spent years and lots of money on training and it's like hello and yeah.


Studio time and yes, yes, exactly for if you if you want to go do a solo book, depending on what level of help you need as far as the writing, editing, formatting, all of those things, you're looking at minimum. And of course, if you're going to publish a book, there's no point in my mind in doing it unless you are going to hit a bestseller.


It's just.




Status of some sort. So there's that marketing as well. So you're looking at a minimum of between 20 and probably 50,000.


Depending on those different support pieces, there is the old traditional model of publishing that I think people do get twisted into their mind of this idea. Well, they're going to give me a check to sit down and write my book, but what they don't tell you is usually that check is actually just a you're expected to pay that back with the sale of the books.


And also it's it's an advance exactly and.


It's an advance.


And what a lot of them don't tell you as well is that, yes, we're going to publish your book, but we're not going to market it.


That's up to you.


Now, and usually you need an agent so.


Just to get into the publishing.


Yeah, so now there's whatever percentage.


Community, yes.


Off of the advance that you're getting, so you better darn well do a really good job writing that book, and they're not going to take just anybody because you know, they're risking.


Yes, yeah, but my.


My other favorite though is the ones that say yes, we'll do this for free. You'll just have to buy some books.


What they don't realize is that you're expected to now buy 1000 copies of your book at full price.




So now actually you have just paid $20,000 to be in this book.


All right. So, but yes, when you're looking at the books we've got, there's the different kinds of editors, proofreaders, formatters, graphic designers for the cover. We've got a whole slew of different marketing people creating the posts, releasing things, creating different speaking opportunities. There's a whole team of people involved in creating and launching and.


Promoting a book.




So yes, it's just it's not something and and you're right. I do actually get quite a few people who are shocked.


That there would be some kind of investment and I do my best to keep my investments as low as possible. Right now my projects are all under $2000 and that includes everything.


That's phenomenal.


Well, exactly. So it covers everything from I work one-on-one with the authors helping them develop their chapter. Put it together, we go through drafts, then we've got the editing team like we were saying, editing, proofreading, formatting, marketing, and launch the whole team. So that's everything.


And then when your book comes out and you're part of this really well put together.




Publication you're you're not subject to the massive typos that are. I'm a prolific reader and I've noticed over the last probably 20 years the number of typos in books has just like gone off the charts.


From, you know, little things like.


Typos and words. This never used to be a thing. I can tell you I've been reading for like, 60 years now. It never used to be a thing, but in the last it's gotten worse. Over the last 10 years with self-publishing. And yes, you can go to KDP. You can publish your own book. You can send that book out and.


Have people go through it.


But they're not editors. They're not real proofreaders. That. That's like their thing. There are people that are gifted that way. If you. It's not me either. And I just like, I'm getting ready to have a.


It's not.


A a contest for, you know, every time I send out an e-mail, go ahead, hit reply. Tell me which one I screwed up this time. I proofread it and I I make it. 18 point Font went out. Send out these emails and every single one is like see that.


It's getting to be kind of a.


Joke these days.


But with books, you know.


And to me.


I mean, people aren't paying me to send them.


My emails, but if people are paying me for my book, I would like to know that it doesn't have a bunch of typos in it.


Yes, typos and formatting issues. You want to make sure that when someone looks at your book, they go wow, this is amazing, yes.


Yeah, and. And you really need help with that, especially in the beginning, if people that are really they've been doing it for a long time, it's it's not the same as a low content like coloring book or or journal or something like that that you might put out there.


And and I've done a lot of those over the years, so I know it's.


I'm not going to say it's easy, but it's doable and it's doable fairly quickly if you get good at it. But when it comes to actually putting a book together and making it coherent and making it you.




Makes sense to the reader. You really need help. It's.




And and and I I just I I love too. When you're working with a group on a project like that, it's amazing. The connections and the collaborations and the other parts of relationships that come out of that with one of my books that I did last year, it was my original career was in science. And so I always have a special book for women.


That work in science and tech, and so one of the books I did last year was called Women transforming the landscape of science and tech.


And so as a group of women literally from around the world.


Who work in all sorts of different fields in science and tech, and a year later that group of authors, we've got a LinkedIn chat where we've always kept in touch with. They're still in a regular contact. They're still cheering each other on with different accomplishments. They're still supporting each other. If, hey, I need help with this or hey.


I'm going over here. You know, it's it's amazing, the community that it's created in these projects after working together and then releasing your baby out into the world together.


Yeah, you're like parents together this this project and and getting in communities with people that are kind of.


In your field, this is golden. It's it's one of the the really special things about the Internet and being global these days is you can.


Have relationships and their real relationships. It's it's more than just, you know, I I met you and we worked on this project like sometimes it is with in business you know you can work on a project with people and then you just like I really don't like you people and so we're never going to speak again but when you're you're doing something as personal as.


Sharing your story and and being real and and raw with.


With the other people that are in community with you, it there's something magical that happens.


Oh definitely, definitely. And and and that I would say is one of the big things that I love about these projects and that has got me going into so many different ones because everyone's got its own community and everyone's got its own theme. One of the books that I've got right now that's just almost getting close to being released is called Ripple effective impact.




And so that one has women all over the world, from Germany to Australia and all through the middle. And again, they're all sharing what they're doing to create impact in the world.


And so now they're all meeting each other and seeing what.


They're all up.


To and I I find there's so much support and encouragement.


When you're got a group of women together like that, who who are all these leaders and and inspiring people and women that are wanted to support each other and encourage each other and learn from each other that it is just amazing what comes out of these projects?


Yeah, and and they just.


They can touch.


So many other people, and when you're when you're marketing.


From a position of not just you by yourself out there trying to reach a bunch of people when you have and This is why network marketing works so well. It's like you have a whole bunch of the people together and they're all on the same trajectory. They want this book to.


To get out and to be distributed among the people.


Well, then you know that you have 30 authors. Each one has their own circle and they it just kind of ripples out that way. And so that's it makes it much more likely that you couldn't become a best selling author because.


Oh definitely, definitely. And and part of you know, the whole thing about hitting bestseller with Amazon. I I like to describe it like it's a race with a bunch of different heats in it. And so really what Amazon's doing is throughout the day, they're having checkpoints where they're looking to see what position is everybody in in this race.


And so really, you're competing against the other books that are in that category at that moment?


And who's selling how many and how quickly, and what's the activity and so?




Really too, when you've got 20 or 30 different people in the book, you can hit a lot of different categories because you are including stories from a lot of different categories. So one one of our books we hit #1 and 14 different categories.


So that's always fun.


Yeah, that's really exciting. And it it just means that you're you're able to get this information out instead of just like 1 narrow channel. You've got a broad selection of channels that you can.


Disseminate into exactly and and a couple of things that we're kind of adding into it now too is we are.


Making it so that we can release each chapter independently as its own ebook.




So now, even though you first participated in this group project, now you can also spin off your chapter as a stand alone piece that you can now sell or give away as some promotional piece and and actually just before we got on this call, I was speaking with another group that does audio books.


So we're looking at stepping into doing audible versions of the books as well. So you know, again, looking for those opportunities, how can we hit more people? How can we get it out to bigger audiences? How can we diversify how we're releasing it?


Yeah. And if you have the authors reading their own chapter in those audio books that that would be really cool too that.


Would be fun. Obviously there's a lot of technical.


Challenges that might go into that with the equipment and timing and voices and.


All that kind of fun thing, but, but yeah, all of those things, we're just starting to look at now, whether those options and how do we bring them together. But. And and I think too that's one of the things why I've kind of stepped into doing this really as the main focus of my work is because I do find that every author now takes it in her own way.


And promotes it uses it like. Everyone's got their own style of doing their business or or maybe not even a business. So a lot of women. It's really just about sharing their story with that vision that you're going to be helping somebody else who needs to hear your story.


And so all those different kind of aspects of what are you going to do with this book, what's the value you want your chapter to have?


Every single author is coming at it from a different angle.


You could almost do pop up podcasts.


Yes, yes. And each for each book would be its own little mini podcast.


Only has 30 episodes. It's each individual author.


Reading their chapter.


And then the next episodes, the next chapter.




There you go.


Well, we'll have to talk about that.


Being interesting.


Yeah, I.


I think that might be a thing for you.






I know that you you do help people that are thinking that they are. Yeah. I really want to do a book. Really don't know what to do. To begin you you're willing to sit down and have a conversation with people about.


You know how.


Where do you start?


Exactly, exactly. And and like I mentioned, so far I've been involved in 14 different book projects. I work with nine different publishing groups. And so I've definitely got a lot of experience kind of around the industry and who's doing what and and so yes, that is one of the things I do as well is.


Help people at that beginning figuring out how do I make that next step and also clarifying a lot of these misunderstandings in the publishing industry that we were just talking about. And then I also do work with people one-on-one with their solo book.


So that's also something that I look after and I find that the multi author book projects are such a great way for everyone to jump in, but it is really my main focus. But but yes, I will help people sort out pretty much every level of this and and even people that are working on their own book and they just need an editor or they just need someone to help with the marketing.


Or, you know, people are on so many different stages of their books, and I've I've got something. Someone for everyone, depending on what you need.




That's awesome. And how do people get in touch with you if?


They want to ah the best way. So my website is the easiest way. LinkedIn is the main social media that I'm on. So if you're looking to find where I'm active, LinkedIn is definitely the best place to look and and I've always got my calendar.


Think is right there in several places on my website you can just book a call with me, jump on a zoom anytime. My calendar is always open.


As some as some and you do have some examples of books over on your website too, I just.


Yeah. So on my website you'll find I've got one page that's lists all the books that I've been in. You can click right on those pictures and it takes you to the Amazon page for purchasing them. I've got another section that I call it my gifts, and on there you can go and get some downloads of a few of my books in the PDF format and.


And one of the other things on my website, I've always got a page that lists the different projects I have on the go, right?




So I've always got several different opportunities to jump into books. The ones I've got at the moment. I've got things like passion, purpose and possibilities. I've got one focused on grief, helping people to cope and manage different types of grief.


I've got another one that's focused on helping women that are going through career transitions, so different skills and tools that they might.


Need for that.


So always got different things on the go and there'll be more to come always looking for other ideas too. One of the things I do as well is go into communities.


And so create book projects that are part of the community and that way we can use the book to both promote the community. So be branded and titled around the community and then filled with members from the community. So it becomes a great way.


For leaders of communities to really be spotlighting both their whole community as well as the members in it, so lots of different opportunities like that too.


That sounds really fun. I'd be a.


Yeah, yeah.


Considered that that's a that's a great idea.


So how does working with you look? If somebody said, yeah, Kathy, this is what I want to do. What? What are the nuts and bolts of?




That this really look like.




Well, it it really looks like we jump on a chat like this and just clarify, you know, which project would be the best fit for you as far as timing goes and that sort of thing is always a big part of it. Then once you decide you're in, yes, there is an investment, but I keep it as low as possible. And then from there basically.


I open up my calendar or however you need to move forward, so some authors like to get do some chatting at the beginning. To really clarify what they're going to write about, what their focus is.


Others like to just go do some writing and then send me drafts, and I give them feedback, so I really leave that up, flexible to how each author prefers to move forward, and I'm always available through messaging and emails and that sort of thing for questions as well. So as a group, we are each working on our chapters.


When we've got them ready to add a good draft, then we go to the editing team, they get all the edits finalized. You always have final approval on what gets printed. Then as a group, we go through the publishing end. So that involves.


The marketing team creates posts for each one of us that are personalized with the the book cover and our picture and a little quote. We are each involved as much as we feel we'd like to be as far as promoting it on social media, promoting it through e-mail on launch day, we always have different opportunities for interviews.


And we've also got some of the opportunities that come up.


Throughout the whole process, I'm always bringing in also guest speakers, so helping people learning different skills, whether it's how to be a good podcast guest, whether it's around speaking skills, whether it's social media marketing. So those kind of tools that I think a lot of women who are entrepreneurs would really get some value from those skills.


So bringing all that together is in.


One big package.


The book gets released through Amazon. Like I said, we do the whole Amazon Launch Campaign international #1 bestseller is always where we've hit. They tell me not to say I guarantee that, but.


I say I wouldn't quit promoting it until we hit it, so I say I guarantee it.


Pattern recognition.


And and and so that's kind of how it looks. And then we also stay in touch like I mentioned, the books that I had at last year, those groups were still in touch. I'm still inviting them to these different training workshops that I do and other opportunities like that. So it really can become this ongoing community of authors.


That you're involved in.


When it comes down to the actual writing of it, do you have like a platform that you prefer people write on? And how many words are you looking at for, like a chapter?


What does that look?


Like, well, the writing generally is just through either word documents or Google Docs, and then we just do the editing through that format. Most of my books are 2500 words, which is about 5 pages, 4 to 5 pages on a typical paperback book.


Well, that's not bad. It's like a really long blog post, yeah.


Very doable. It's all very doable.




Most people do blogs that are probably longer than that in.


A lot of cases.


Yeah, like 3015 hundred to 3000 is pretty standard these days. I think with blogging, but.


Exactly. Yeah, that sounds really exciting.


I it is.


So I'm like.


Yeah, I'm warming up to the idea.


So, Kathy, what's the one thing that you hope the audience takes away from this conversation?


Well, definitely a huge part of it is that becoming a published author is doable and something that's accessible to everyone. So don't don't let you the voice in your head tell you that you're not ready or you can't do it, or there is all the supports in place that you would need to jump.




And and as we kind of mentioned at the beginning of the talk.


The bigger vision of what I'm working on and doing is really helping women to see that there are all these possibilities and that they are all opportunities that are available to them.


And the world needs people. They need us to step out into our unique skills and tell our stories and each other.


One one of my favorite quotes is don't ask what the world needs, ask what makes you come alive and go do that because what the world needs is more people who have.


I'm alive.


And to me, that just sums it all up. We need to come alive.


Yes, leave it with that. Thanks for joining me, Kathy.


All of it.


Thanks for having me.

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