Not too long ago, I had the pleasure of working with UK-based Motown star, international singing sensation, speaker, and presentation skills coach Shola Kaye. She was kind enough to agree to an interview to help new authors understand the process of writing and publishing a book in light of her recent publication. Read this post and learn How to be a DIVA at Public Speaking: The step by step system to engage your audience and present with confidence.
Hello, Shola. Can you give our readers a quick overview of your book?
Gladly! My book is an engaging and fun, step-by-step guide to public speaking. I use pop singers such as Adele and Beyonce for inspiration and share the similarities between speeches or speech-writing and songs or songwriting. My goal is to make public speaking – which can often seem intimidating – more accessible and enjoyable. I work as a professional singer, so I leaned on my musical experiences to add stories and examples to the book.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Well, this is my first book. Most of the research came from my own experience as a singer and speaker. I also read quite a few other public speaking books to make sure I didn’t leave anything out.
How long did it take you to write your book?
This one took me about 10 weeks. I tried to write for 2-3 hours each morning. I’d say that the first draft was completed in 7 weeks and then I added bits and tried to streamline it after that.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
I found the discipline of having to sit down and create something each morning to be quite energizing. I definitely didn’t find I rushed to my desk every morning – there are many more things I’d rather do than write – but I love being a creator and it was the big picture that kept me going. The benefits the book would bring to my business and also the idea of having a repository of my ideas that I could dip into for writing articles and the like.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
I guess it can happen but you just have to keep pushing through it. My own book was non-fiction and I had a good idea of what I wanted to write. I’d imagine that writer’s block can be much more acute with fiction. I think you sometimes have to keep going, knowing what you’re writing is junk and will need some serious editing, but it’s the practice of continuing that builds discipline.
Everyone has their own process for approaching writing a book. What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
I’m quite a systematic person anyway so I enjoyed organising the content in such a way that it was easy to follow and made sense. I found the editing process quite hard work, though. By that time I was pretty sick of the book and wanted it done but realised that I had to keep reading it again and again to pick up any last bits and bobs that needed changing.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Don’t feel it needs to be perfect first time. That’s what the editing process is for. And don’t feel you have to find a publisher. I’m self-published but experienced some amazing opportunities once the book was out there. I also don’t like the idea of having to work with gatekeepers so if in doubt, get it out – self-publish! You can always look for a publisher later, but let your book live and breathe in the world, and attract opportunities to you.
Thank you for your time, Shola. It was a pleasure working with you and we wish you every success in your new adventures. 🙂
If you’d like a copy of Shola’s book, How to be a DIVA at Public Speaking: The step by step system to engage your audience and present with confidence, you can grab it here. Check out her amazing videos on Youtube or get in touch with her here if you’d like to book her for a speaking / singing gig.
And if you need help with transcription, proofreading, editing, illustration, cover design or self-publishing, don’t be afraid to get in touch. If we can’t help, we can put you in touch with someone who can.