Simon: I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Change Guidebook: How to Align Your Heart, Truths, and Energy to Find Success in All Areas of Your Life. What was your inspiration for writing a guidebook?
Elizabeth: Thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed the book. My inspiration for writing this guidebook is to help create a new conversation around the topic of change. So many people fear change and I think this book will help people be more positive about change. My clients inspire me as well. I’ve worked with people worldwide to make transformative change and many of those stories are woven in the book.
Choosing a Target Audience or Not
Simon: Who is the primary target audience for The Change Guidebook? What did you learn that helped you to speak directly to this audience, provide value to them, and inspire them to change and find success?
Elizabeth: I didn’t set a primary target audience for the book, but rather wrote the guidebook so anyone could use it, including high school students and college age students. I’ve learned over the years of owning The Best Ever You Network, that our audience is varied, and it is important to be inclusive. I wanted to write a book that could be used to grow and change with you and could be used universally and I think I achieved that goal.
Structuring a Guidebook
Simon: The Change Guidebook consists of 10 chapters divided into three main parts. Each chapter represents a point of change. What inspired the idea of having each chapter represent a point of change?
Elizabeth: The structure of this book is something I really thought about and put time and energy into making sure it flowed and made sense. I tend to write with the title and tagline first and then think about what content goes where and why. I’ve been wanting to write about the ten points of change for many years now since my company was founded with them. I was inspired to put each point in a chapter so that I could elaborate on the point with my narrative and match up stories and exercises for each point. I felt this would create the master class that the book is. You can receive a certification from reading the book and completing the exercises.
Heart, Truths, and Energy
Simon: Which of the three parts of The Change Guidebook do you think will most resonate with readers, and why?
Elizabeth: The three parts are Heart, Truths, and Energy. I believe you must think with our heart, be authentic and understand you go where you place your energy. When these things align, anything is possible. I think readers will decide which one resonates with them the most based on what they need to learn or relearn. I really love all three so that is impossible to choose one since they all belong together as well.
How to Sharpen Writing Skills and Edit
Simon: The Change Guidebook is very well-written. Did you find that your writing and editing skills improved over the course of the project? If so, what helped you to sharpen your writing/editing skills?
Elizabeth: Thank you. I did find that once I got going with the project, my writing became clearer. I did get stuck a few times and had some go-to friends such as Dr. Harley Rotbart and Jennifer Vaughn to give me some ideas or guidance. I am not an editor, as my editor Allison Janse will confirm, LOL. An editor, or a few editors, is really important on a project like this because we tend to fix these mistakes on auto pilot and miss them because we become so used to the words and project.
Reading each word out loud is one of the best editing techniques to use. It’s hard to do and time consuming to some extent because you are wearing that editor hat and author hat while reading, but it really helps me. I also found narrating The Change Guidebook [audiobook] to be a wonderful three-day experience in Boston with Tantor Media.
Adding Exercises to your Book
Simon: Following each chapter, you incorporate two exercises to help people put into practice what they learned. How did you decide which exercises to include in The Change Guidebook?
Elizabeth: I wanted the reader to be guided while reading to be able to make actual change. I choose the exercises in the guidebook and completed them and had multiple friends complete them and make suggestions as well. When you complete all the exercises you do have an option to complete a final quiz to receive a Master Class Certification in change.
Simon: Can you say more about why you created the certification? Your vision for that?
Elizabeth: I believe a certification is important as it shows you have put in the work to have a mastery level understanding of the topic, which in this case is change. In life, since everything is always changing, who doesn’t want to have a better grasp of how to best maneuver through it? That’s why this book and the certification are a wonderful tool for you to have with you in your personal and professional development. I hope readers put this tool in their best life toolbox and can use it to navigate life.
I created a Master Class certification for the book that, I feel, is accessible to anyone and at a price point that people can afford. It’s the cost of the book and your time and energy to complete the work. I hope people put this tool in their best life toolbox and can use it to navigate life. Visit BestEverYou.com/
Choosing Success Stories to Include
Simon: You incorporate success stories of real people who changed their behavior. These stories are inspiring! How did you choose which success stories to include in The Change Guidebook?
Elizabeth: The stories in the book have such amazing energy and a back story of how I know the contributor and how they arrived at writing in this book. Each contributor was contacted specifically and everyone I had in mind, said yes immediately. I am so proud of our contributors and grateful to everyone who shared their stories with us. I also love the fact that the youngest contributor is 20 and the oldest is over 80.
Simon: Bringing us back to the theme of making the book inclusive!
No One Writes a Book Alone
Simon: You acknowledge your “support crew,” a trusted crew that listened to your ideas and helped bring your guidebook to fruition. What advice would you give to aspiring authors to make sure they have the support they need to write their book?
Elizabeth: It’s important to realize that no one writes a book alone. It may look like we do, but we really don’t. Sharing your work with a handful of trusted people with the skill set needed to guide you is very important. The one thing you do alone is write, so it is important to have that focused time to do that.
I tend to get up in the morning ahead of everyone and write then. My trusted support crew always consists of someone who is creative, someone who can edit and someone who can structure. I sense check ideas with my husband and a few close friends and my mom. This is before the book is even turned into the publisher.
You want to hand in as completed and edited of a manuscript as you can, and then plan for more editing and more changes after that. My editor at HCI, Allison Janse, is absolutely fabulous! I turned in more words that I should have, expecting cuts and she made some phenomenal changes to the book. It’s important to trust your editor as they have far more experience and have guided many others and their books.
Getting to Know the Book Industry
Simon: What is the most important lesson you learned from writing The Change Guidebook that you would apply to any future books or writing activities?
Elizabeth: I learned so much more about the actual book industry this time around. My first book was a Hay House book called PERCOLATE – Let Your Best Self Filter Through. I learned about writing that time but really didn’t know the industry well. I learned so much more about the publishing industry this time. I’ve loved conversations with the team at HCI. If I had to pick one thing I’ve learned this time around is that I listened to my heart, truths and energy on the cover. I was presented with several cover ideas and had input as to which one to choose. I absolutely love this cover and worked with the design team. That was really fun and something I’d love to do again if presented with the opportunity.
Simon: It’s a truly inspiring cover.
Stay Confident and Remember You Can Write a Book
Simon: At the time of this interview, The Change Guidebook is set to be published on March 8, 2022. Congratulations! What marketing activities did you engage in leading up to the publication date? What lessons did you learn leading up to the publication date that you can share with aspiring authors?
Elizabeth: Thank you! I’m very excited for The Change Guidebook to reach the world! My book has had a solid pre-order campaign in place and I’ve engaged heavily in social media to match readers to the book. This genre can be tricky and is very competitive with famous people or others who are highly visible and have written books.
It’s important to stay confident and remember you can. That’s the one bit of advice I would share with other authors over and over again. Don’t compare yourself to others. Be yourself and be confident. Your book will reach who it needs to reach. Do the work and grow your platform. Work with your publisher to help market the book. Expect to be a huge part of the marketing process.
Simon: What are some considerations that authors should think about when choosing a strategy for marketing their book?
Elizabeth: I think it is important to treat each book as a project and understand the project’s purpose. There are many reasons why people write books and it important to know how you want to use the book. This is also helpful to decide whether to self-publish, hybrid publish or aim for traditional publishing with an agent. Those are all different things and, in some cases, very different marketing, depending on the project.
I’ve seen business leaders, for example, use their book as a gift or calling card and not worry so much about sales, therefore self-publishing was a great route. I’ve seen others who want their book out soon or want control of their content and so forth, so self-publishing is a great option. If you are traditionally published, you will work with the marketing team to create a strategy. Whatever you choose, just continue to know that you, as the author, will be assisting heavily with marketing your book. Develop your platform.
Working with your Publisher
Simon: You Published The Change Guidebook with Health Communications Inc. What was your experience like during the publishing process?
Elizabeth: From day 1, I felt like everyone at HCI is family. They are courteous, kind and have my best interest in mind at every decision – big or small. They are all just fabulous and it is an honor to work with them.
About Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino
Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino is the author of eight books and host of the popular Best Ever You Show (click here for her interview with Book Coach Lisa Tener). Her new book is The Change Guidebook – How to Align Your Heart, Truths, and Energy to Find Success in All Areas of Your Life. Guarino is the Founder of The Best Ever You Network and Chief Executive Officer of Compliance4. You can also find her on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.