Talkwriting is Changing the Way Non-Fiction Book Content is Produced
Talkwriting is the method used at Produce My Book to generate content for books where our clients never type a word of the manuscript. The term talkwriting was coined by Produce My Book founder, Marty Dickinson, a 20-year web services provider, internet marketer, author and speaker. His definition of talkwriting is this: The act of developing textual content by way of one person inciting drilled-down verbal responses by another person instead of physically writing words freehand on a page or typing.
What is the Problem Talkwriting Solves?
The main problem with traditional writing is that it just takes too long to product in this fast-paced day and age where we require, and have access to, immediate answers to our questions. To make matters worse, many people dislike traditional writing because they feel it is a tedious process or they do not feel confident in their writing skills. Most people spend two or three hours to hand write only a few hundred words. They then spend the next several days rewriting sentences and paragraphs attempting to achieve literally nirvana (perfection), which of course, is never attained. Some people enjoy writing and would write more if they could, but they never seem to find the time. Talkwriting eliminates all of the negative issues and roadblocks presented with traditional writing.
How Was Talkwriting Developed?
Marty Dickinson was the project manager for the development of more than 300 websites for clients around the world in a variety of industries over a 20-year span. Less than 10% of those clients knew what they wanted in a website. More than once, new clients would say, "I don't know what I want for my website. Just go make me a million bucks!" So, Marty had to devise a method for extracting information from the clients to produce content, visual branding, and a marketing outreach approach for those businesses. Converting his website content extraction process he used for so many years to work with developing non-fiction book content was a relatively simple crossover.
How is Talkwriting Different than Dictation?
One of our authors, Susan Lee, wrote her first book using dictation. Every day while driving to work, she would turn on her digital recorder in the car and start talking. When she got home, she transcribed what she talked about and eventually had enough content to produce a book. Talkwriting is far different than dictation because talkwriting requires another person to guide you through the content development process at the time of the recording. The result is a much more in-depth recording of content.
How is Talk Writing Different than Interviewing the Expert?
Another popular form of producing content is to be interviewed. The industry phrase is "interviewing the expert," a popular method of gathering content of value for membership websites. The best way to describe the difference between interviewing and talk writing is to consider a counselor versus a therapist. A typical counselor will ask questions to get you talking. But, most counselors are not really there to help you fix your problem. They are merely an outlet to listen. In fact, counselors are trained to identify clients with more severe mental issues than they are capable of handling as a counselor. A therapist, however, employs an industry-known term called talk therapy; used to dig deep into a person's habits, behaviors and history to identify the source and type of past trauma or mental illness causing undesired behavior. From there, a course of treatment is implemented. A therapist needs to acquire every ounce of detail about the problem so that a proper course of treatment can be provided. Good talkwriting requires a very similar approach to a therapist extracting information from his client rather than just active listening like a counselor would offer.
How is Using Talkwriting Different than Hiring a Ghost Writer?
Another popular way to produce a book is to hire a ghost writer. Marty has worked with ghost writers in the past to produce content for clients in the form of articles, reports, and website copy. He has also ghost written blog posts for clients. Talkwriting is very much different than hiring a ghost writer. A ghost writer's primary job is to spend as little time with the client as possible to produce the finished product. A good ghost writer can spend just 15 minutes on the phone with a client and churn out 2,500 words of content. Where does the rest of the content come from? The ghost writer researches 3rd party sources on his own. With talkwriting, every ounce of content is produced by the client. Authors who use ghost writers are often worried if the ghost writer will write the content in their own voice or the voice of the author. In talkwriting, the words ARE the words of the author. So, there is no other possible voice but the provided by the author's words.
What are the Benefits of Talkwriting Over Traditional Writing?
Of course, the big question is why anyone would want to use talkwriting instead of traditional writing? After all, there are many people who enjoy writing. Here are the most important benefits to talkwriting:
- Speed of Completion - Most writing coaches will suggest that if you want to write a book, you need to start getting up at 4:00 A.M. and write 2,000 words per day, five days a week. In six months to a year, your manuscript will be ready for shopping to the big publishers. That sounds exhausting just writing it! Talkwriting can generate all the content you need for a good quality non-fiction book in usually 6-10 hours. When working with clients, we setup appointments in 2-hour increments in non-consecutive days, usually between 9:00 a.m. and noon. Your talkwriting sessions very easily fit into your normal schedule. This structure makes content production a breeze in comparison to traditional writing practices.
- Depth of Content - If a friend of yours was to ask you what you remember about your earliest birthday party, what would you tell them? You might recall that your parents were in attendance and that you had a cake. Maybe you played a few games. The talkwriting method would dig much further. In fact, anyone who might read the content generated from such a session might believe you just experienced that birthday party yesterday in comparison because of the level of detail you were able to provide.
- Absense of Writer's Block - Writer's block simply does not exist when talkwriting is involved. The session leader's role is to supply the right questions to guide you through a discovery process. The talkwriting method we've developed starts each subject with a high level conversation and then drills down to the processes, steps, and minute details. There is no time or opportunity for writer's block to get in the way!
- Clarity of Details - In the non-fiction world, readers want steps they can employ immediately. They will read books from cover to cover to make sure they are able to digest each step and sub-step. Talkwriting provides a unique angle for uncovering steps and sub-steps that the author sometimes does not realize are even present in his own method.
- Authenticity - Talkwriting allows your writing to be authentically you from the first word to the last. Why is this the case with every book that uses the talkwriting method? The content is produced from your voice and the words that get printed are the words you actually used in the talkwriting sessions. Of course, minor changes are made to sentences during the editing process to make the spoken sentences readable. But, talkwriting definitely makes the book sound like you—because it is you!
- Less Fluff, More Stuff - People today are busy and have very short attention spans. They want the facts without the fluff. Gone are the days when the only books of value had to be 250 pages in length. Today, a quality book can be 20,000-30,000 words (about 65-100 pages). A Facebook discussion post recently revealed most people are willing to pay more for books that have less fluff and get to the point. Talkwriting eliminates the fluff.
- Spontaneity - New book project clients are surprised to find that they need absolutely no preparation for our talkwriting sessions. We have had a few authors in the past bring notes to the sessions only to discover they never once had to refer to those notes. In fact, the details we are able to uncover and extract from the client are usually more in-depth and detailed than the notes they could produce on their own.
- Feedback - When using the talkwriting method, you get immediate feedback from your guide if something does not sound right. So, he or she will ask you to elaborate on a point or process while you are in-the-moment discussing the topic. This immediate feedback produces a higher quality of content early in the book development process that you might not have attained until proofing the book near the end of the production process.
How is Talkwriting Used to Write a Book?
When considering getting started with talkwriting, one essential item to understand is that people read printed text differently than they listen to a person's voice. Talkwriting content needs to be slightly altered and reorganized so that the spoken words can be easily digested by readers. How this happens, and techniques to use, is beyond the scope of this blog post. But, realize too, that anyone can get started with talkwriting. You just need to start small and work your way up to producing complete books using this method.
How to Get Started with Talkwriting
In a writing project that uses the talkwriting method, two people need to be present. There is a source (the person providing the expert content) and a guide (the person leading the talkwriting session). As a source, you can get started with talkwriting by asking someone you trust to serve as your guide, even if they do not know what that means yet. The key is to find someone you trust and has a genuine interest in the outcome of your project.
How to Become a Good Talkwriting Guide
The best way to become skilled as a talkwriting guide is to be a talkwriting source first. Get your non-fiction book done using a qualified talkwriting guide. Of course, we suggest hiring Produce My Book to get your book done, but, you can take a slower route to becoming a qualified talk writing guide by working on smaller projects before attempting to produce someone's book with this method.
Can Talkwriting be Used for More than Books?
Not only can talkwriting be used for more than books, we strongly urge you to only use talkwriting to produce your book after you have applied its concept to several smaller projects first. Here are a few ways you can get started to build your talkwriting skills.
- Talkwriting for Blog Posts - This is the first place for new talkwriters to start, whether you are the source or the guide. Blog posts are typically short, 400-800 words in length, and cover one specific topic. Here is a list of blogging best practices for 2018 if you are new to blogging. Start with a very basic topic and ask your guide to grill you for content. Record the conversation. Transcribe the recording to text. You will quickly notice how even a simple topic, through talkwriting, can generate enough detail for an extensive blog post—far more detailed than what you would have written on your own.
- Talkwriting for White Papers - A white paper is a more lengthy version of what originally could be a blog post. For example, our primary opt-in offer for Produce My Book is a white paper guiding readers through finding their Genuine Expert Method (G.E.M.), which is the first essential step in writing a successful non-fiction book. It has enough content of value that we could choose to sell it. But we offer it for free as incentive to get introduced to how we work with clients. This particular white paper started off as a blog post introducing the definition of a Genuine Expert Method. After introducing its concept during speaking gigs, the need was seen to expand on its original idea in the form of an instructional white paper.
- Talkwriting for Replies to Interviews - This is a form of learning talkwriting without actually doing it, but it is an essential component to improving your talkwriting skills. Listen to podcasts in your industry of expertise and make notes of questions you would have asked if you were the interviewer. These questions should be expansion questions; meaning, if you were the interviewer asking the expansion questions, the interviewee would need to go more in-depth in the answers.
- Talkwriting for Speeches - Every budding author should be active in a Toastmasters club that meets weekly. If you write a good enough book, you will eventually be asked to speak on your topic. So, you might as well start now to improve your public speaking skills. But, Toastmasters is also a great venue for practicing your talkwriting skills while developing your speaking skills. One of the exercises Toastmasters provides is a section of the meeting called Table Topics. One of the members calls you up to the front of the room and asks you a question without your prior knowledge of the topic. Your task is to reply to the question for 1-2 minutes. Produce My Book's, Marty Dickinson, has been an active member of Toastmasters for 15 years and acknowledges Toastmasters for helping to develop his talkwriting skills as both a source and guide.
Get Your Book D.O.N.E. Using the Talkwriting Method
Talk writing is the method used to generate book content for Produce My Book clients. But, the talkwriting method is only one step in a 4-part sequence we call the D.O.N.E. System. To get introduced to the D.O.N.E. System, we invite you to review our white paper, The Method in You: How to Define Your Topic, Develop Your Genuine Expert Method (G.E.M.), and Get Your Book Started. Just enter your name and email address to get immediate access.
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