Beyond 1:1 Archives - Coaching Blueprint - marketing for life coaches
How to sell your book proposal

How to sell your book proposal

As many of you know, I have a book coming out (The Courage Habit) with a traditional publisher: New Harbinger Publications. I had dreamed of inking a book deal for several years, and had even submitted my proposal a few times, but I wasn’t gaining any traction. Before I sent my proposal in to New Harbinger, I had a session with the genius Debbie Reber who helped me polish an existing proposal that I had already written.

Write a Book Proposal That Sells

I recently reached out to Jennye Garibaldi, an acquisitions editor at New Harbinger, to ask her if she’d share more insight into the sorts of things that acquisitions editors are looking for.

1. What are some of the common mistakes that you see made in a book proposal?
Not doing your research is a common mistake. Some people put a great deal of work into their proposals, only to discover later that a book exactly like theirs already exists in the market. Spend some time on Amazon doing keyword searches. If a similar book is already out there, think of ways you can differentiate your content. Where are there gaps in the market? What unique perspective can you offer?

Another mistake that I can spot a mile away is a manuscript that hasn’t been read by anyone else. It’s important to get honest feedback from as many people as possible on your work. Don’t just give it to your mother, who is likely to tell you you’re a genius and you don’t need to change a thing. Give it to your friends. Give it to your ex-boyfriend. Give it to your former professor. Give it to your coworker. Ask for critical feedback. Would they buy this book? Would they even want to read this book? Why or why not? Be open to their feedback and then be ready to make changes to your manuscript.

Finally, I think the biggest mistake I see made most often is not knowing your audience. I can’t tell you how many people seem to think their book is “for everyone.” When you’re researching comparative titles on Amazon, take a look at the reviews. If you’re unsure who you’d like to target your book to, this will give you a good idea. Consider who these people are – their demographics, their interests, their buying habits. Look for patterns, and create a profile based on what you find: “This audience is predominantly 35-50 year-old women who enjoy cooking and yoga.” Having statistics and data on your audience also helps: “In 2015, 94% of millennials reported making personal improvement commitments.” (Just be sure to point to your sources, this one came from Field Agent.)

2. What are some things that make a book proposal particularly successful?

Aside from really nailing the points above (knowing your comps, getting eyes on your manuscript/proposal before sending it out and knowing your target market), the number one thing that makes for a successful proposal is a great hook. If you can’t give me an elevator pitch (summarizing your book in one or two sentences) and really draw me in right away, then chances are I’m not going to make it through the rest of the proposal. A great hook will tell me not only what the book is about, but how it’s unique from other books and what it promises to deliver. That’s not easy to do in one or two sentences, but it’s crucial to selling your idea.

3. These days, a writer’s platform/audience size is almost as important as a great idea and writing style. What sort of platform size do publishers look for?

It’s not a deal breaker if you don’t have one yet, but websites are very important for marketing yourself and at a certain point, you’ll need to build one out. On your website, you should have an opt-in to sign up for your email list, a blog, links to your social media accounts, links to purchase your book(s), media clips, etc. It’s worth spending some time (and yes, potentially some money if you aren’t tech savvy) to create a great website.

In terms of social media, there’s not a magic number that will get your foot in the door, but I typically look for well over a couple thousand followers on the main social media platforms. That said, followers aren’t everything. We’re looking for engagement as well. We want to see that you’re having conversations with your audience, that they’re actively “liking” your posts, commenting and asking questions. (This is also an easy way for us to tell that you haven’t just paid for followers.) So, if you’ve been hesitant to join Instagram or haven’t tweeted in 3 years, it’s time to dive in. Additionally, being a contributor on third party blogs always helps. If you’re trying to publish a book in the self-improvement category, writing for sites like Elephant Journal, Tiny Buddha or Mind Body Green will not only give you writing clips, it’ll help you grow your platform.

4. What’s your biggest encouragement to aspiring writers who want to be published with a traditional publisher?

Don’t shy away from constructive criticism, and don’t let rejection deter you. If a publisher comes back with suggested changes and tweaks to your original proposal, it just means that they see potential in your book and want to make sure it succeeds. If a rejection letter comes with specific reasons why they are turning it down, take that into consideration and apply it to future proposals. Rejection means you’re one step closer to success.

Also, feel free to pitch me! ????

Jennye Garibaldi is an acquisitions for New Harbinger Publications.

Honing your business’s message

Honing your business’s message


Most coaches don’t have a marketing problem.

They have a messaging problem. You’ve got to have clarity around your business message .

It isn’t enough to say to your potential clients, “I want to help you, and I can.”

In this free audio, I’m walking you through some essential questions that help you to clarify your business’s most basic message. It’s time to hone it in, refine, and define.

Grab a pen and paper, click play, get started!


5 Steps to Take the Fear Out of Launching Your E-Course or Program

5 Steps to Take the Fear Out of Launching Your E-Course or Program


When you’re building your empire, one of the best ways to get buzz and gain sales is to launch that new product or service you’ve been working so hard on.

Launching is a coordination of all your marketing efforts to push your one new offer. If you don’t launch it, it will likely go unnoticed.

Even something as small as a blog post can be launched. Think about it: after you’ve written a blog post, you share it on various social media platforms, send it out to your newsletter, and reference it in online forums.

When you’re launching something big—like a new product, business, website, program or e-course—there is a lot more at stake. As a launch strategist, my clients often tell me that one of the biggest surprises about launching is how much fear they face.

Launching your e-course or program is scary, but it doesn’t have to be.

If just thinking about your next launch has you shaking in your shoes, here are 5 ways you can take the fear out of your launch.


For every 10 minutes spent planning your launch, you save an hour.

Start by creating a checklist for all of the little items that need to get done. Warning: As your checklist grows, you may feel fear and self-doubt creep in. Try to push past those feelings and keep going!

Next, create a calendar for all of the important dates, then give each checklist item its own due date. This will help you break down your checklist into manageable chunks.


No great idea was ever launched alone. Ask for help by creating a list of “champions”:

  • Who are the people who believe in you or your mission?
  • Who are the friends you can talk to, who won’t tell you that you’re crazy?
  • Who are the family members who will help you run errands, clean your house, or get groceries on launch day?

Put all of these people on one list and start assigning jobs to them. Reach out to them, tell them what you’re doing, and ask for their support. Communicate your appreciation and watch your champions line up to help make your dream possible.


In his book The War of Art, Steven Pressfield introduces the concept of “upleveling.” He explains that every time you reach beyond what you’ve done before, you’ll hit your “upper limit.” This is the point at which individuals get sick, sabotage their success, or just quit.

The way through this is to recognize that you’re breaking ground on what is possible for you and to be very kind to yourself in the process. Instead of pretending that you’re not afraid, take a moment to recognize all that you’re doing. Acknowledge the nagging doubt inside of you, then decide that all of this is possible and press forward.


When it comes to launching, something always goes wrong. And usually, multiple things will go wrong. This doesn’t mean your launch is not a success; it’s just the nature of launching.

The more you try to make your launch “perfect,” the more disastrous your launch will be. Keep the mantra “80% is good enough” in mind, and repeat it over and over to yourself. When you do this, your launch will 100% successful.


Launch with the fear. Your fear is not a sign of future failure! Don’t wait until you feel completely confident, because that day will never come. All successful people take action, even in the face of fear.

Take a look at your checklist, the champions who are helping you, and the self-imposed limitations you’re facing, then let go of your need to control the fear and make your launch happen.

Take Action Now

Use your launch as training to become an even better coach. While you face your fears, you’ll be able to continue to connect with your clients where they are now and help them to be courageous.

Farideh Ceaser is a musician turned launch strategist. After 15 years on the road touring as a musician, Farideh switched gears and now helps entrepreneurs launch their big ideas and online courses. She regularly delivers her wisdom in the form of a ukelele and a song here. Grab your copy of Farideh’s free 30-Day Launch Checklist & Calendar at

4 Ways To Customize Any Photo To Work With Your Brand

4 Ways To Customize Any Photo To Work With Your Brand

“I’d know that shade of yellow anywhere; I can tell you exactly where that image was published!”
“Brushy, handwritten font? Love it. Know where that came from!”
“I should send her a link to this; I know she’d love it because it’s all navy and stripes with a few gold details.”

In a perfect world, these are the things we want people to say about you, your site, and your brand. (Of course, we also want them to say things like “She changed my life!” and “You need to hire her, like, yesterday!” … but you understand what I’m saying.)

The branding of your site includes more than your writing voice and how you frame your offerings. Your branding reaches down to the studs and bolts – the colors, fonts, and even the types of images you chose.

And unless you have one of those rare money trees, you probably can’t hire a photographer to shoot new photos for every.single.thing you post. Good news! You can customize absolutely any image to make it match your branding + you.

Here are four ways you can do just that!

Opt for for a consistent ‘feeling’ in the images you use

If your site has a lovely, overexposed, afternoon-light sort of vibe, you probably want to stay away from supersaturated images with lots of bright reds or royal blues. If you’ve got a bright site with lots of primary colors, a pastel-y photo might look out of place.

Thankfully, with some very, very basic photo editing you can make (almost) any photo match your branding. Turn up the saturation to make an image more colorful, turn up the ‘brightness’ to make it more dreamy and washed out, or just make it black and white so it won’t clash with your colors!

Choose images that match the colors in your branding

This tip isn’t so much about customizing photos as it is about customizing your photo search. When you designed your website, I’m sure you and your designer had a few conversations about colors and the feelings they conveyed, right? If the colors in your header and social media icons have been carefully chosen, why not carefully choose the colors in your photos?

I can see that Coaching Blueprint uses deep blue and marigold, so I would choose this image of a city
rather than this.
I might choose this image of a family
rather than this one.

Most image agencies will have a ‘search by color’ option which will make this a million times easier.

Add a wash of color that matches your branding

Braid Creative does a great job with this, adding a transparent corner of sunflower yellow to most of their images – which ties into the yellow in their header and their yellow ‘learn more’ buttons. Anytime you see an image with that yellow corner on Pinterest, you know exactly where it came from.

Always top your images with the same fonts

Adding text to your images makes them more Pinterest-friendly and a font that matches your header? Well, that’s polished as all get out. If you’re not sure which fonts are in use on your site, check out What The Font. Looking for a bit of font + image inspiration? Shauna Haider and Love Grows Design both do a great job.

See? Easy peasy! In no time people will be able to separate you and your images from everyone else.
Linda Laegreid Johannessen is the founder and CEO of YAY Images, a stock image agency that’s the Spotify version of affordable, licensed images. For just $9.90 a month, you have access to 5 million (!!!) images that are perfect for blog posts, newsletters, and social media. She’d love it if you took advantage of a free month of photos or followed along on Twitter.

5 Steps to Take the Fear Out of Launching Your E-Course or Program

3 things to know for a successful E-course launch


The creation of an e-course or group program is an important part of the evolution of your business. Hopefully, you see your practice expanding beyond 1:1 work and offering products and programs to generate passive income.

Before you invest hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars into an e-course, here are 3 things you MUST know for a successful e-course launch.


The biggest mistake I see coaches make again and again is launching an e-course that no one wants to buy. It’s easy to assume that if their paying clients enjoy the 1:1 program, they’ll be more than happy to pay for a group program or e-course. This isn’t always the case.

Begin your research by directly asking your clients what they want learn as well as how they want to learn it. You’ll want to gather up enough feedback to help yourself answer these questions:

  • Would they prefer PDF or video format? Or both?
  • Would they feel comfortable discussing in a group what you discuss together in private?
  • What would an e-course need to include to make it BETTER than your 1:1 program?
  • What would their hesitations be? Why WOULDN’T they buy an e-course (other than money)?

My favorite way to do this research is to have face-to-face conversations with existing and potential clients. Tip: I record our conversations so I can replay them later and identify the keywords they use when discussing their problems and desires.


While you may have a full practice of 1:1 sessions, you’ll need a much larger list to sell an e-course or a group program. Not only that, your list needs to be engaged and trust you.

There are millions of ways to grow your list. Facebook ads, webinars and speaking engagements are just a few. Choose what works with your natural strengths and ALWAYS be growing your list for your next launch.

If you notice your open rates are declining, consider “scrubbing” your list. This means removing duplicates and individuals who haven’t opened your email in a long time. While this will lower your list numbers, it will give you a far more accurate count of who is a possible buyer. It’s better to start with a smaller list of customers who will buy from you than a massive list of subscribers who won’t.


Know that no matter how big your list is or how great your research, there is no way to predict the success of your first group program or e-course.

With that in mind, keep an eye on your budget and sales goals. Go lean on your expenses in your first run and treat it as an opportunity to test. If you don’t see success right away, tweak and try again. Oftentimes, a failed program that sold zero spots only needs a few more tweaks, after which it sells out in no time flat.


If you’re itching to create a future e-course or group program, can you set up three face-to-face discussions to learn more about the needs of your clients?

If you need to grow your list, what is one list building activity you can pursue this month with ease?
Farideh Ceaser is a musician turned launch strategist. After 15 years on the road touring as a musician, Farideh switched gears and now helps entrepreneurs launch their big ideas and online courses. She regularly delivers her wisdom in the form of a ukelele and a song here. Grab your copy of Farideh’s free 30-Day Launch Checklist & Calendar at

Beyond 1:1 coaching – how to create an e-course that will stand out from the crowd

Beyond 1:1 coaching – how to create an e-course that will stand out from the crowd


Guuurl, you’ve been running your coaching practice for a while now, and I know you’re ready to take it up a notch and reach more people. You probably have a boatload of ideas for courses and programs but everywhere you turn, there’s a coach who’s already done something similar and you don’t want to be all same-same.

Fair point.

So how do you create a unique and high-value experience for people that stands out? How do you pick a topic that people really need help with and that’s distinct enough for people to associate with your name? (Think Danielle LaPorte and her Desire Map)

Here’s my two-step approach:

1) Make a list of everything that your clients struggle with – every single little darn falootin’ thing. No matter what type of coaching practice you have, you’ll have noticed trends in the niggly issues that your clients come to you with.

Think of the negative thought spirals they find themselves in time and again.

What are they waking up sweaty thinking about? What’s preventing them from moving forward? List every thought or emotion (or lie!) you can think of. Get into their brain.

2) Now look at the list from Step 1 and circle every issue your clients struggle with that’s actually super no-brainer easy for you to manage/deal with/overcome.

THAT’s your sweet spot. That’s your area of genius.

An example of this was when I noticed a streak of “comparison-itis” flaring up with many of my clients. It was really holding them back and on the one hand, I could sympathize because everyone else’s life looks so glamorous on the interwebs. But on the other hand, it had been a long time since I’d felt the effects of “comparison-itis” myself and I knew that’s where I could add huge value. I created an e-course called Kick Comparisonitis to teach people the tools they need to thrive in a glossy online world. It was a huge hit!

Next is how to put it all together. This part can be a little daunting as well, but if you take a step-wise approach, you’ll have an outline and plan in no time.

Here are some key points you’ll want to consider when creating an e-course:

1) Will it be self-directed or guided by you? This is a key piece because not only does that latter require more of your time investment, but also because depending on the subject matter, some people need more of a hands-on approach. Your subject and how you structure the learning will largely inform whether people can purchase and go at their own pace, or if there’s a set timeline for taking the course and you guide them through it.

2) Will it take place during specific dates or will it always be available as an evergreen product to begin at any time? Very similar to Question 1, this is a question you need to ask yourself in terms of how you want this course to fit in to your overall business model. If it takes place during specific dates, you’ll need to launch, and re-launch every time you run the course. On the other hand, an evergreen course will just be available on your site and you’ll be responsible for regular promotion to be sure it’s getting in front of fresh eyeballs. What feels right for you?

3) What’s the launch plan? It’s always good to start launch leaking a good 3-4 months in advance (check out for loads of launch resources). Start looking at what time of year is a good time to launch (Pro Tip: the middle of summer and Christmas are not ideal) and then work backward to ensure your content is ready on time, but also that you’ve mentioned it enough in your newsletter and on social media so that it’s on lots of people’s radars when the cart opens.

4) How will the content be structured? Are there videos? (and where are they hosted?) Downloadable PDF’s? Pre-recorded guided visualizations? External resources for reference?

5) Based on the content you’re trying to deliver, how many modules do you need? Is it one module per week? How much content will people need to get at one time, to make progress?

6) What bonuses are you offering? Will you have some additional theme-based downloads or guides, some expert interviews, or some other cool freebies that you’ll offer to sweeten the pot? It’s also worth considering if these would be available only to those who sign up during Early Bird pricing, or to everyone. It’s important to have a strategy for getting people excited about all the value they’ll receive.

7) Price point – is there only one? Or will you have 2-3 tiers based on different levels of access (to more robust content or perhaps access to you via 1:1 or group sessions)

8) How many people do you want to cap the course at? This depends on whether it’s live – on certain dates – or evergreen. You’ll want different numbers depending on how you plan to format the course and how much personalized interaction people will get from you.

9) What kind of activities or action items do you plan to include? Adult learning principles show that people learn best when they’re given homework or tasks to take action on. Think about a simple but powerful activity you can include at the end of each section or module to drive home the learning.

10) Is it going to be a downloadable course that people can go through on their own or one that participants have to log in to access learning modules? If the course is going to be more than a PDF and you’ll have modules that participants can access online, there are loads of great platforms out there to host your e-course. You have options from self-hosted software like Wishlist Member which integrates directly into your WordPress website (and which you have complete control over) as well as externally hosted and run platforms (Examples: Journal Engine, Udemy or Ruzuku).

Yes, there are a lot of working pieces. But start with a great concept where you know you can add value, then work through the list above to fine tune what it will all look like. In no time, you’ll create an e-course that is unique and powerful that you can run over and over again, and this takes your business beyond the one-on-one client session.

Heather Thorkelson is an small business strategist for location independent entrepreneurs over at the Republic of Freedom. She’s a firm believer that it’s entirely possible to live as we dream, and spends her days proving it. Currently slow traveling through Europe, Heather can often be found in Sweden and sometimes in the Polar Regions. Get on her newsletter or say howdy over on Instagram or Pinterest.