(Write Your Success Story as it appeared in the TSV News Mag, July 2006)
Marilyn Joyce/Augusta, GA: Are you a speaker who has survived abuse, tragedy, layoff, crisis, or setbacks? You are a survivor with a success story! Your experiences have shaped your views and perspectives. No one else is capable of sharing your story with the unique set of concepts and insights you’ve gained from those experiences. We all have a story; but how you got through your personal crisis might be the desperate solution someone else needs. What’s more, your struggle to survive was not about you; it was for all who would need a roadmap to follow on the road you’ve already traveled.
When I talk about domestic violence, I weave statistical facts about domestic violence around my personal story of survival after homelessness, abuse, and scandal. Because of the unique details of my life, I often receive letters from people in prominent public positions who can relate to what I’ve gone through. In other words, people are looking for answers that make sense. So, don’t underestimate how much good you can do for others when you find the courage to write about what you’ve been through. Bad things do happen to good people, misguided people do change their lives, and struggling people do become successful. And many of those same people say they would have done it all sooner if they had known how.
Testimonial books: All you’ll do here is share your story along with whatever it took to get you through that time in your life; quotes, specific scriptures, words of encouragement from friends, relatives, clergy, or total strangers. Your purpose is to simply tell your story with the hope of helping someone else. People grow tired of hearing the same rhetoric over and over. If your books and speeches are putting people to sleep, it’s time to make some changes. How you survived, bounced back, and got on with life adds a deeper dimension to your speeches and books. Personal experience pieces (stories, books) tend to be the most interesting to the general public. In fact, ‘how to’ or self-help books (which include religious books) are the most popular categories in book sales – bringing in more than 1.5 billion dollars each year.
Just keep in mind that what worked for you will not work for everyone. Even those you help may not benefit in exactly the same way that it worked for you. Focus on your victorious results and prayerfully share your story.
The Combo: Then there’s the combination of your personal story intertwined with historical facts. This will include statistical data, scriptural references, historical facts, and word studies. Once explored, explained, and expanded the data relating to your supportive references will help establish your credibility. It will show that you have thoroughly researched your subject and will give you the opportunity to share deeper, and more meaningful, life-changing nuggets. The references may be more appealing to more educated readers. Since more books are purchased by people with college degrees, these are readers you want to reach.
Don’t underestimate how much good you may do for others when you find the courage to write about what you know about. For some reason, many believers make the big mistake of thinking that religious topics are all their books should address. But in reality, the answers people are looking for are not necessarily found in religious publications. Most believers work in industries in which they do extremely well. Yet, many of their writing, speaking or other business endeavors ignore the very topics about which they are the most knowledgeable. Training manuals, management guides, money saving strategies, gardening secrets, physical fitness, fashion design tips, and organizational strategies are just a few of the thousands of subjects you might be qualified to write (or speak) about.
I published my first book while serving in the US Army. In addition to being an author, I’m a retired Army nurse and a disabled Veteran. My life has many dimensions as a Certified Domestic Violence Counselor, professional speaker, minister, and radio talk show host. You’re sure to agree that I have a lot to talk and write about and so do you. Don’t limit your horizons. Take advantage of other opportunities to spread your wings and distinguish yourself as an expert by writing about what you know about in your realm of knowledge and in your field.
Ownership Thinking Tips: Before you write your success story, there are you should practice:
- Copyright your manuscript or book yourself. As of 1 July 2006, the cost of copyrighting your book increased from $30 to $45.
- Protect your IP rights. Your books, tapes, CD/DVDs, manuscripts, voice, and image belong to you as Intellectual Property. This property can be left to your loved ones in your will, but can only be protected if you do the legal (copyright) paperwork. Protect what you got.
- You own your story. If you’re going to write a book, (especially the story of your life) make sure that you legally own the rights to it. Contact the Library of Congress and file copyright Form TX yourself. Fill it out, make a copy for your files and mail it in. Don’t let someone else offer to do it for you for free or a fee. That’s just taking the lazy way out and it allows someone else the opportunity to legally declare ownership of your book. Contact the Library of Congress by phone: (202) 707-3000 or on the internet at: www.LOC.com/copyright.
- The same rule applies for those of you who are self-publishing. Make sure that you purchase your ISBN catalogue of numbers yourself. Whoever owns the ISBN numbers, owns the book. If you don’t buy it, you don’t own it. In today’s market, it’s simply too easy to ensure that you own the rights to your own materials.
Is there a Book Inside you? Lucinda Clark (706-855-8920) and I (877-650-2141) will be hosting an ‘Is There a Book Inside of You’ seminar on Saturday, September 30 from 2-4:45 pm at the new Columbia County Library. Learn how to write your book in 15 minutes and so much more. Keep reading ‘The Spiritual Voice’ for the details.
Are you a speaker, writer or coach who has a story of survival from abuse, tragedy, layoff, crisis, or setbacks? Join me “In The Purpose Zone with Marilyn Joyce” where straight talk about abuse collides with success strategies to survive, get a life and Do Your Destiny!