The Willpower Workaround: A Surprising Interview with Author Maureen Anderson

What if you could eat as much as you wanted, all day every day, and never gain weight? No gimmicks, nothing unsafe.

Radio personality Maureen Anderson (@DoingWhatWorks) did just that, and she wrote The Willpower Workaround to show just how to do it.

“The Plan” isn’t a big, complicated diet—it’s about a simple lifestyle change Maureen made that changed everything. When she first contacted me about editing her book, I have to admit I was a bit skeptical; I mean, you need willpower—and lots of it—to lose weight, right? Was I ever wrong!

Maureen is one of the most interesting, vivacious, and genuine people you’ll ever meet. Her personality shines through in her book, too, and if you’ve ever struggled with dieting (and who hasn’t?), you’ll love The Willpower Workaround.

Maureen was kind enough to answer some of my burning questions about the book and those sugar cookies she writes about to start the book:

I make the best sugar cookies you’ve ever tasted.

You don’t have to take my word for it. Talk to one of my childhood friends, who won’t share them with her grandchildren because they don’t appreciate the work that goes into them. Or talk to one of my daughter’s former teachers, who used to hide them in the freezer in a bag marked “for the dog” so she wouldn’t have to share them with her family.

Every year between Halloween and Christmas my husband and I used to bake two hundred dozen sugar cookies from scratch. You read that right. Two hundred dozen. Each one painstakingly rolled out really thin, cut, transferred to a baking pan, baked, cooled, frosted, dried, wrapped individually, packed with bubble wrap, and shipped all over the country to friends and family and people we did business with.

Every summer I used to lose the same ten or fifteen pounds a lot of people do because they’re more active, only to always gain them back by Thanksgiving. One year I wondered if it was the cookies. Darrell looked at me. Then he said, “Duh.”

That was all I had to read to know I wanted to work with Maureen, and it was an awesome experience. Recently she agreed to answer some of my burning questions; I found her answers thoughtful and relatable, and I hope you enjoy our conversation!

The Interview:

Candace Johnson: Why did you feel it was important to write The Willpower Workaround and share The Plan?

Maureen Anderson: Thanks for using them both in the same sentence! I think of The Willpower Workaround as the formal name for the way I eat, but it’s a mouthful. I can’t remember if it was my husband or daughter who started calling it The Plan right away—but it’s the perfect nickname, and it stuck.

I wrote The Willpower Workaround because it worked so well it felt irresponsible not to share. The first time I spoke of it publicly in a formal presentation, I did it next to a big poster with photos of everything I ate. When I saw someone taking a picture of the poster I thought, “All those people who told me I should write a book and then give talks were right. It would be great to have a little instruction manual, disguised as a short memoir, available for sale.”

When I decided to give up junk food in August of 2009, it was only going to be for a year. My motives had at least as much to do with wanting a writing project I could sink my teeth into as a diet. I’d been noticing “year in the life” experiments in bookstores. The Year of Living Biblically was a popular one. My book was going to be The Year I Didn’t Cheat. I even purchased that domain name, which inspired the guy taking our order for it to feel bad for my husband. (My husband, Darrell, interviewed me about my progress at the one-month point. Would you like to watch?)

I imagined rip-roaring stories about passing up chips and salsa for another spinach salad, for example, and the snappy comebacks I’d have at the ready for people who made fun of me. Can you imagine a weaker premise for a book? And you know what? I didn’t care! It got me started. I was doing the right thing for the wrong reason, but at least I was doing something. I think one secret to life is experimenting with it.

Candace Johnson: We learn in the book that your initial success with permanent weight loss was based on winning a challenge. Do you have any advice for men and women who need a reward to stay on the path toward changing the way they eat?

Continue reading “The Willpower Workaround: A Surprising Interview with Author Maureen Anderson”

Meet Indie Children’s Book Author Angel Krishna

I am an indie children’s book author, and I love it. My name is Angel Krishna, and I write children’s books. My latest release is Gabby’s Space Adventure, about a hippo who is determined to go into space.

Writing and publishing children’s books is a bit crazy and fun at the same time, if that makes sense. There is so much you have to consider when putting a book together, but most important is the word placement and grammar, punctuation, etc. … this is why I am so grateful for Candace Johnson. When she edited my children’s picture book she marked all errors with a note, stating the reason why something was incorrect so I could learn as well. Candace has been a huge help to indie authors! We all need a great editor, and she is it.

Previously I was with a publisher, but trust me, it’s not all that! I felt they didn’t work hard at all to promote me and my books. Really nothing was done! I was like, “This is crazy!” A huge percentage of my earnings were going to them, and they did not do a thing to market me. I know that as the author I have to promote myself, and I did and still do, but I got zero feedback and acknowledgment. So needless to say I went indie, and I love it.

I am currently with Bublish—they are pretty great! They have many tools to help you promote your brand. They also have many free webinars to build your knowledge. Bublish offers many services that may come in handy to help you with selling, tracking reader engagement, building your brand, improving discoverability, and learn social marketing—what a list! I hope you’ll check them out.

About that editing …

Wow! What a pleasure it is working with Candace Johnson. It’s always a bit nerve-racking giving your work to an editor, but Candace makes you feel so at ease and proud of what you’ve accomplished. I was so happy when my friend Christa Wojo introduced me to Candace. Now I have a new friend and a fantastic editor.

I’m so happy to be a part of Candace’s life and tell you how great she is and a little about myself. I hope to keep going forward in my venture and passion. As you know, writing and book promotion are hard and exhausting at times, but I usually take a breather and plop on the sofa with a big exhale, lol! Thanks for checking out my books, and I hope see you on social media!

*****

Thanks for the kudos, Angel. I loved working with you on the text for Gabby’s Space Adventure, and I wish you much success with all your projects!

If you’d like to learn more about Angel’s writing journey, check out her Client Spotlight at ChristaWojo.com

 

Angel Krishna is the author of Gu-Glee-Goos of ChristmasMonkeys and Crocodiles Play BaseballGabby’s Space Adventure, and the Genius Kid App. You can find her on FacebookTwitter, and Bublish 

 *****

Candace Johnson is a professional freelance editor, proofreader, writer, ghostwriter, and writing coach who has worked with traditional publishers, self-published authors, and independent book packagers on nonfiction subjects ranging from memoirs to alternative medical treatments to self-help and on fiction ranging from romance to paranormal. As an editorial specialist, Candace is passionate about offering her clients the opportunity to take their work to the next level. She believes in maintaining an author’s unique voice while helping him or her create and polish every sentence to make it the best it can be. Learn more here, and follow her on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

Celebrate the 3rd Anniversary of THE MEMORY BOX with a $0.99 ebook and More Great News!

I’m squealing with excitement over here!

Three years ago writer Eva Lesko Natiello contacted me about editing her first novel. I took one look at the manuscript and I was IN!

I’ve written about The Memory Box here and here and here, and I hope you’ve had the opportunity to read it … but if you haven’t yet, here’s your chance: in celebration of the third anniversary of its debut you can get The Memory Box for just $0.99! And you’ll want to read it soon because  Continue reading “Celebrate the 3rd Anniversary of THE MEMORY BOX with a $0.99 ebook and More Great News!”

The Story Behind Alien Kid: Guest post by Kristen Otte

 

Today marks the long-awaited release of Alien Kid, the first book in Kristen Otte’s new series for middle-grade readers. I’ve invited Kristen (who also happens to be one of my favorite clients), to share a bit about how she came to write a series about an alien teenager.

Learn more about Kristen and her book at the end of the post.

I stumbled into writing kids’ books a few years ago, and I discovered a love for creating books that made kids laugh.

When I published the final book in The Adventures of Zelda series, I knew I wanted to write another kids’ book series, but I didn’t know what.

In the fall of 2016, amid a job transition with my husband and caring for a new little guy in our house, I felt the itch to start a new writing project. Without the time or bandwidth to write quite yet, I decided to do some research on the kids’ book market. I went to the local library, talked with the children’s librarian, and checked out the books she said were the most popular. For the most part, I knew many of those books and series.

Over the next few weeks, I read through the books and found myself disappointed in what I was reading. The books were funny, but often at the expense of a kid in the story. I often didn’t like the main characters in these books because of their bad attitudes or disrespect toward teachers, siblings, and even parents. Continue reading “The Story Behind Alien Kid: Guest post by Kristen Otte”

Have You Tried HARO, the Easy Author Platform-Building Technique?

 

Any writer building an author platform knows it takes time, effort, and patience. Sadly, too many first-time authors publish a book without building a strong platform and then wonder why their book doesn’t sell. Too many authors who hope to interest a traditional publisher are shocked when they receive rejection after rejection because they lack a professional network or public presence.

A strong platform is especially important for nonfiction writers who write as subject-matter experts. But how does a writer build a platform from scratch or continue to grow one before and after publishing a book? Continue reading “Have You Tried HARO, the Easy Author Platform-Building Technique?”

Crossing Over: Making Peace with Self-Publishing/ Guest Post by Maureen Anderson

“If you knew the world was going to end in two days, what would you do?” the writer Sara Davidson was once asked. “Take notes,” she said without hesitating.

That’s me. The world as I knew it had ended, with a painful divorce I hadn’t seen coming, and I’d done what I’d always done to make sense of things. I took notes.

Many years later, perusing those notes, I could never pull myself away. “What a great story,” I kept thinking. “What an interesting way of putting a life back together from scratch.” By then I’d become a radio journalist, interviewing experts on career change. What struck me, thinking of my own career transition, was how much I’d accidentally done right.

Do-Over: An Accidental Template for Scaling the Abyss is that story. But I wasn’t a licensed career counselor or a celebrity. Getting an agent or a publisher interested in Do-Over would be a haul. Continue reading “Crossing Over: Making Peace with Self-Publishing/ Guest Post by Maureen Anderson”

4 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your NaNoWriMo Manuscript

November is history, and so is NaNoWriMo 2016. If you’re like most NaNoWriMo participants, you’re pretty excited about ending November with 50,000 words—maybe you have the first draft of a novel, maybe only a third of a longer manuscript. Nevertheless, you’ve written a bodacious number of words in thirty days, and you’ve accomplished something pretty spectacular.

For thousands of would-be novelists, December means it’s time to start down the path to publishing.

Please don’t be one of those writers who rushes to publication. Instead, try these four ideas: Continue reading “4 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your NaNoWriMo Manuscript”

5 Tips for Getting a Book Published in Your 50s, 60s, or Beyond

Publishing contract

Is writing a memoir, novel, or self-help book on your bucket list? Does the thought of writing your story fill you with excitement? Whether you’ve been writing for years or are just beginning to nurture that kernel of creativity, your dream of seeing your name on the cover of a published book can become a reality.

Over 50 and wondering how to get a book published? Check out these 5 tips! Click To Tweet

Today it is easier than ever to make your publishing dream a reality. Whether you self publish or pursue traditional publishing, you need to think about more than just writing your story if you hope to be a successful published author.

Here are five tips for what you can and should do—beginning today—to build a following of loyal readers in the future.

1. Read. A lot.

The more you read, the more you’ll learn about the mechanics of writing, about story structure, about the standard conventions and what makes a compelling read in your genre.

If your heart is set on penning your own story, read some of the amazing memoirs that are currently on the market. Love a good romance novel? This is one of the bestselling genres today, but readers expect certain things to happen and will not be pleased if you don’t follow the “rules.”

If you plan to share your expertise in a subject you know like the back of your hand, your book will need to offer something unique. Read a variety of genres, but become an authority in the type of book you plan to write.

2. Create a Strong Author Platform

Your platform is everything you do as a writer that makes you attractive to a publisher. If you wait until your book is finished to begin building your platform, you’ll be too late. Publishing is a business, and unless your only goal for writing a book is to put it in a drawer when it’s finished, you need to approach your writing as a business too. A publisher wants to see evidence that you have the ability to sell books; a strong author platform is the ammunition you’ll need.

Begin building your platform now, so you’ll have an audience in place when your book is published. Think of platform building as a marathon, and spend a little time every week on platform-building activities in addition to writing your book.

Two surefire ways to jumpstart your author platform are to start a blog and engage in social media.

Blogging is an inexpensive way to connect with potential readers, improve your writing skills, and even test book concepts. Regardless of whether you write fiction or nonfiction, blogging is a powerful way to connect you with potential fans while experimenting with writing styles.

Engage in social media to connect with other writers, readers, and ultimately publishers. Choose the media you’ll actually use and enjoy; you don’t have to master every social media option out there. Remember that the key word is social, so focus on engagement and sharing, not just on self-promotion.

3. Join a Writers’ Group

Writing can be a lonely business, and joining a writers’ group—either in-person or online—is one way to combat isolation. New writers can find inspiration and feedback from more seasoned writers. There’s also a great deal of incentive to write when you’re expected to present each week—sometimes that’s just the push you need to sit down and write when you might not be in the mood.

4. Attend a Writers’ Conference

Writers’ conferences are crucial to your writing and publishing education. Not only will you learn more about the craft of writing, but you may also have a chance to meet and interact with agents, editors, and other publishing professionals, learn about trends in the publishing world, and be inspired by the speakers and workshop leaders who share their knowledge.

You’ll come away with a greater understanding for how to market yourself and your book, and you’ll meet other writers who can potentially become critique partners.

5. Get the Best Professional Help

Writers are often too close to their own work to be objective about what they’ve written; even the most seasoned writers have editors to help them polish their writing. If you want to convey your message in the most powerful way possible, establish a relationship with a professional freelance editor.

Whether helping you organize your ideas (before or during writing), or fine-tuning details such as spelling, punctuation, syntax, and word choice, a good editor will not only help you polish your writing (while preserving your voice) but will also help you strengthen your writing.

A good professional editor will provide a sample edit to show you how he or she can help you, and to see if they’re the right person for you. You might even consider hiring an editor for your blog posts as a way to find one who “gets” you, and establish that professional relationship.

Seeing your name on a book is a thrilling experience! Set yourself up for success by learning all you can about writing and publishing, and I look forward to reading your book one day!

Do you have a book inside you waiting to be written? Which of these five tips do you personally plan to focus on? Which will you put to use right away? Please share your thoughts—and let me know if I can help you achieve your dream!

(This article originally appeared at SixtyandMe.com)


Candace Johnson 11 400dpiCandace Johnson
 is a professional freelance editor, proofreader, writer, ghostwriter, and writing coach who has worked with traditional publishers, self-published authors, and independent book packagers on nonfiction subjects ranging from memoirs to alternative medical treatments to self-help and on fiction ranging from romance to paranormal. As an editorial specialist, Candace is passionate about offering her clients the opportunity to take their work to the next level. She believes in maintaining an author’s unique voice while helping him or her create and polish every sentence to make it the best it can be. Learn more here, and follow her on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover: Guest Post by Brigitte Nioche

book coverThe self-publishing authors I work with understand that a professional team of editors and designers are needed to create a quality book that can stand out in a competitive marketplace.

But what happens when the cover you choose hurts instead of helps your book? Do you stick with the cover you and your designer worked so hard to create, or do you go back to the drawing board?

Brigitte Nioche, author of Getting Over Growing Older: A Humorous Memoir of Discovering the Challenges of Aging, faced that dilemma several weeks after her book was published. In celebration of the re-release of her book, she’s agreed to share her story with you:

What happens when the cover you choose hurts instead of helps your book? #bookcovers #selfpub #indiepub Click To Tweet

I believe we all judge a book by its cover! Viewing a book’s cover is like getting a first impression when meeting a new person—that first impression tells us if we want to see more or not.

It is the same when we browse in a bookstore, or even when we scan the pages of Amazon. A cover or title either catches our interest, or we pass over that book.

Several weeks after its debut, I decided to change the cover of my recently getting-over-originalpublished book, Getting Over Growing Older. If you saw it on Facebook, Twitter, or on my blog, you will remember that it prominently featured a picture of me.

The Reaction Wasn’t What I Expected

And the reaction I always got was “Oh, that’s a nice photo of you,” but that was not the message I wanted to convey. By putting my picture on the cover I wanted to show readers Continue reading “Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover: Guest Post by Brigitte Nioche”

Four Years of Putting Myself Out There in Cyberspace: Happy Blogging Anniversary to Me!

If you’ve been blogging for a year or more, you’ve received this notification:

blogging anniversary

In my case, it’s been four years since I began sharing on WordPress. Like many bloggers, I had great intentions and planned to blog frequently … and those great intentions often went out the window when life got in the way. For some people, blogging slows down because they run out of things to write about. Anyone who has worked with me and has received one of my epistles will tell you that finding something to write about isn’t usually a problem for me. 😉 Continue reading “Four Years of Putting Myself Out There in Cyberspace: Happy Blogging Anniversary to Me!”