If you have been out of touch with what's happening in the book world over the past few weeks, Tim Ferriss' The 4-Hour Body was released and has already made it to the New York Times Bestseller list. My partner in my Everything You Should Know business, Mike Keonigs recently had an opportunity to interview Tim and I found a lot of great advice for authors in his answers.
As authors we have to use our passion for a subject, our skill as researchers and our desire not to keep all of our wonderful findings to ourselves to bring our best product to market. We also have to understand our competition. What is already on the market and how do we distinguish ourselves? Lastly, we have to anticipate our readers' needs. What might prevent them from succeeding and how can we proactively help them?
Here is an excerpt from the interview so you can see first-hand how Tim went about handling these issues.
Mike: You consulted a lot of PhDs and MDs. So first of all, how many of them and what types of people were you working with?
Tim Ferriss: It was well over a hundred experts in total and the objective was to be the explorer and the guide and the guinea pig, not the source of all knowledge because that's ridiculous. I went to the experts of the experts. For example, if I want to know about thermodynamics and how to use cold to accelerate fat loss 300 percent, I'm going to go find a scientist at NASA. That's all he does all day long is thermodynamics. Or if I want to talk about injury repair, I'm going to talk to a Harvard trained spine specialist who is the top of the top in that field. What everything in the book is based upon is a foundation of scientific references and then with the help of experts in various areas.
Mike: With so many diet books on the market, why did you even want to enter a market with so much competition? What did you have to offer that has not already been done before?
Tim Ferriss: The "how-to" of diet and exercise is not the most important part -- which is what a lot other books focus on. Most people know how to lose weight, what they don't know how to do is take the "how-to" and sequence it in a way that is failure proof. If you look at the thousand diets and exercise regimes only about 2%-3% produce 90+% of the results by far. The hard part is finding that 2%-3%. That's why this took me three years to write which is three times longer than the 4-Hour Work Week because I had to do all the experimentation.
Mike: So many of us have jumped on the latest and greatest diet plan and failed, or lost interest, or plateaued. As an author (and guinea pig), how did you anticipate and try to solve this problem for your reader?
Tim Ferriss: It is very common in diet books to paint a rosy picture and say that their diet is going to be the easiest and you'll never have to think about it. By following the Slow Carb Diet in my book you will have certain plateaus or challenges in week eight, for instance or you may have to overcome something else in months four or six. I let the reader know this upfront. I tell them, here is how you overcome that and when this happens, follow steps A, B and C.
I am transparent when I tell the reader to expect to hit these road blocks because it's happened across hundreds of people and then you won't be caught by surprise, you won't quit because you'll just say to yourself, "Okay on that week I'm hitting this challenge, okay. This makes perfect sense. This is how I overcome it." The perfect program that you quit after two weeks doesn't do any good. The really, really effective good program that you follow indefinitely, that has a huge impact.
In a follow-up blog Tim will be sharing why he included content about sex, insomnia and the connection between cell phones and fertility in his book.
Arielle Ford has launched the careers of many NY Times bestselling authors including Deepak Chopra, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Neale Donald Walsch & Debbie Ford. She is a former book publicist, literary agent and the author of seven books. To learn how to get started writing a book please visit: www.HowToWriteMyBook.com
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