Book writing is as popular as ever. There are between 600,000 and 1,000,000 books published every year in the U.S. alone. Technology and the emergence of self-publishing have given the common everyday person the ability to write and publish their story, expertise, and message for the world to see.
The majority of authors today are not professional writers and they are not publishing books to amass riches. So why write a book if you aren’t going to be a New York Times Best-selling author or sell the rights to produce a movie about your story?
The benefits of writing a book do not have to be strictly money based to be a worthwhile endeavor. Surely the hundreds of thousands of people writing books every year do not have illusions that they will become one of a handful of millionaire authors. The answer comes from a passionate and brilliant author, Kytka Hilmar-Jezek.
Kytka Hilmar-Jezek is a renowned best-selling author, entrepreneur, international speaker, and an inspirational role model to many. Among her many talents are writing and sharing her expertise with others. I recently interviewed Kytka about her newest book, the benefits of writing a book, why entrepreneurs should be authors, and more.
Michael Luchies: You recently wrote an article; How to Inspire Your Child’s Creative Genius to Come Out and Play. Where does your passion for helping young people explore their creative side come from and why are you so passionate about it?
Kytka Hilmar-Jezek: Children are born with an amazing awareness and skill set of observation to the point of total immersion. It is wired into the human brain and is necessary for our survival and growth. To simplify this is to say that children are learning all of the time, they do not only learn in school. They learn from the moment they are born, and they learn through all of their senses. 55% of messages that are processed and received by our brains are based on body language. 38% are based on tone of voice and only 7% of the actual meaning will be based upon the words which are spoken. We create artificial processes to teach a child to read, yet I know that a child will read when ready if exposed to books. Are we there to teach our child to eat, or does the child know how to eat when ready? Are we there to teach a child to walk or does the child’s desire for movement make him stand upright and walk across the room? Children learn by watching and doing. When they are exposed to entrepreneurs and creative visionaries, they have an opportunity to watch and a natural inclination to do, to try out their ideas. Children have limitless thinking, bold ideas and incredible creativity. They are naturally optimistic and have no fear of failure. If given the opportunity to share their dreams, they surprise adults with their outlook, solutions and unique perceptions. Sadly, the school system places them into unnatural schedules, pattern interrupts and social segregation, forced to spend their days with only same age peers. We had greater growth and genius arise when classes were of mixed age and the older students would mentor the younger ones. There is a well-known Japanese Proverb that says “To teach is to learn.” We do not give children the opportunity to share what they bring to the world. By empowering them to write a book, I feel I am giving them a platform for their unique voices to be heard. Of course, Book Power also teaches them what to do after they write their book.
ML: You are credited as being a best-selling author, entrepreneur, international speaker, and parenting expert among many other things. Many entrepreneurially minded people have many different interests and passions and have a hard time focusing on a single profession or business venture. How are you able to balance your interests and how have you become successful in many different areas?
KHJ: I have learned to outsource and delegate the technical things that used to slow me down. Any successful person knows that the power of a team surpasses the power of an individual. None of us is as smart as the sum of us. I used to have a very difficult time trying to do it all myself and I think this is very common for entrepreneurs in general. We have all of these amazing ideas and creativity and yet physically we cannot learn all of the software, the processes, the applications and so forth. It’s best to understand what we bring to the world, which is vision, and formulate a team where that vision can be implemented.
ML: Why is it important for entrepreneurs to have author added to their title?
KHJ: It is an excellent marketing, branding and credibility building tool. With a book they have a platform from which to share their message in a way that attracts the people who are natural potential clients, investors or joint venture partners. A book presents their content in a well-structured and pre-framed way that gives the audience a deeper understanding of what they do, how they do it and why they do it. Additionally, if the entrepreneur shares why they do what they do, it adds value in terms of communicating their purpose. Leaders inspire us because of their “why” and when we are in alignment with the vision, we are more inclined to hop on board and show support. Author Simon Sinek best explains this in his book “Start with Why”, which I highly recommend.
ML: Book Power: A Platform for Writing, Branding, Positioning & Publishing is your newest book, which focuses on why and how to write a book. What benefits have you encountered from being a best-selling author?
KHJ: The most obvious benefit is that it positions you as an expert in your field. You gain instant credibility and this opens many doors to opportunities which did not exist before. Getting access to media and interviews becomes simple because you now have the book, which positions you as “the voice” on your particular subject. Media channels are constantly seeking expert and professional opinion on various topics and are eager to have you share your knowledge. In addition, you may be asked to speak professionally at workshops, seminars, conferences and offering keynote addresses. You gain respect from your colleagues and peers. You attract a higher amount of clients and they are more valuable clients because they are already familiar with your business, product or message so they come to you ready to move forward. Writing a book is not the end, it is the beginning of building a brand and a platform for maximum marketing in today’s social oriented marketplace.
ML: Can anyone write a book? If so, should they?
KHJ: Absolutely. It is certain that someone will benefit from your information. The creation of a book is a discipline where you create an outline and a framework for your message or what you do. Not only does the finished book provide insight, guidance or inspiration for the reader, it gives the author more clarity and awareness of their own message. I meet hundreds of entrepreneurs that are brilliant, yet they do not recognize their own gifts. They measure themselves based on what they have produced and many can share what they do when consulting or speaking on their subject manner, but when it comes time to try to summarize what they do in writing, they get stuck. Their vision and creativity is simply too great. They get overwhelmed when they try to sit and write and that is what shuts them down. Author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi , in his brilliant book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience discusses that place of consciousness where creativity flows forth, and it comes quickly. I would interview people and when we had to pause for me to take notes; they would lose their train of thought or go off on a completely different subject. Writing was too slow a process to capture their information. That is when I began recording them and I share a funny story in the book where a restaurateur who also does marketing shared some information with me in a moment of flow that I later had transcribed and shared with him. He did not recognize his own work as his own. His comments were “This guy is awesome, brilliant” and when I told him that it was a direct transcribe of the conversation we had earlier, he was in complete disbelief. He was surprised because he had invested so much time in convincing himself “I am not a writer.” What people do not realize is that most authors today do not even write.
ML: Is there a certain level of expertise that someone needs to have on a subject to write a book?
KHJ: My philosophy, as I shared briefly before, is that we are born to learn and learn our entire lives. Whether you are 20, 40 or 60, you have had experience, insight and perspective. With over 7 billion people on earth and as many online, how many could benefit from your unique experience? There is no one size fits all version of success. I can guarantee that there are others who are walking a similar path you have walked. Would your story inspire them to continue? Would knowing which pitfalls to avoid, which tools to use, which steps to take make their journey easier? Of course. We are all experts in the life we have crafted. How can that ever be measured? Does the Harvard professor who spent his life in the library know about living? It’s all relative. We are all experts and gurus in doing what we do, and as long as we present our version in an authentic manner, someone out there will benefit from our sharing. If you’ve written a book, it shows you have the determination, discipline and perseverance to accomplish the goals you set your mind to. In today’s world where there is so much noise and distraction, that is often enough. Traditional publishers sought to keep it an elite group who were to represent culture and society, but it was all artificially structured. Today, with self-publishing, we are seeing new viewpoints and visionaries, thought leaders and entrepreneurs are breaking the old molds assisting us in moving forward faster. Today it is the people that decide whose voices need to be heard. So everyone should write a book, it will highly influence and impress those in your current circle, and if your message and mission is grander, it will naturally gain momentum and can grow virally.
ML: What is your best piece of advice for an aspiring author?
KHJ: Take action and commit to writing it now. Don’t put it off until you have more time, more information, more of anything. You have what you need now. You can revise your editions or add more titles later. Set the goal and then go about taking the necessary steps to get it done. In Book Power I teach capturing the flow with a recording device. You can edit and structure later to fit your outline. The important thing is to capture your information as it comes and it usually comes at rapid speed. When you sit down to write, your brain tends to over think, analyze and judge what you write and oftentimes the feeling of being stuck or writers block is just not being able to type as quickly as it comes. When you record, the content is pure and authentic. It is the essence of your message and that is what is most powerful and most unique to you. Record yourself, get your recordings transcribed and then put the pieces together like a puzzle. You’ll have your book written in no time this way and it will be the very best of what you have to offer.
Kytka Hilmar-Jezek is a passionate supporter of entrepreneurship and a talented entrepreneur and author. Her message is one that I completely agree with, “Take action and commit to writing it now.” Too often we think of great things that we want to accomplish and set lofty goals, but forget to get off of the couch and start working on it. We were born to learn and have the capability to accomplish great things, so get started now!
Thank you to Kytka for the great interview and I look forward to reading Book Power, which isavailable now on Amazon.