Bestselling business author Dee Blick, shares her story of sharing her business experience by writing two (so far) bestselling business books.
Tell us a litttle about yourself…
I am 50, married with two children; or rather I should say young men – Steven who is 22, Mark who is 20 and my third boy, hubby Malcolm who is 53. I live in a lovely part of the world, Horsham in West Sussex but spend an awful lot of my time in the log cabin in the garden writing feverishly from early hours to late at night!
What prompted you to write your first book?
I was born a writer but became a marketer. Over many years people were asking when I was going to write a marketing book. If I’m honest, I was so afraid of failure that my burning desire to write was kept on the back burner until my dad died. I was very close to my Dad and my decision to write a book was based on the fact that if I could cope with the pain of losing him I could handle anything! I was also at that stage in my life, my mid 40s when it mattered less to me what other people thought about me. It was more important that I could put a tick beside my long cherished ambitions.
Given the fact that you now have two bestsellers without actually having ‘written a word’, what has been the greater challenge for you – the content or using the technology to enable you to write?
Both! Writing a book is very different to writing a blog or an article. It takes days, months of hard graft, of planning, scoping out your initial message and then submitting it to a series of what can often be tortuous edits! It also requires tenacity. You can’t give up even though you sometimes feel like hurling your laptop out of the window. I use Dragon speech recognition software which in the main is fantastic but, there are times when I yearn to clatter on the keyboard and I have to restrain myself, because if I do start typing I will pay for it afterwards.
Has it become a full-time career for you?
Writing has certainly become a lucrative career for me, but my main business is working with small businesses and helping them with their marketing. One feeds the other.
What new skills have you had to learn?
Diplomacy in handling what can sometimes be harsh feedback on your writing skills from your husband who also happens to be your editor! Other than that, because I have been writing all my life, writing a book was not such a huge leap. Although I didn’t have to learn new skills, I did have to accept that the process of writing a book is long-winded and it really is hard work if you want to create something that you’re proud of and that people want to buy.
What challenges did you initially face?
Time or rather a lack of it. I have a full-time marketing business which takes up my working week. Booking in time to write and then sticking to it has been essential.
The discipline needed to write a book
How disciplined have you had to be to write the books?
If you want to write a bestseller you have to be immensely disciplined from the moment you decide to write the book until it goes to the publisher. In the last few years I have willingly sacrificed many holidays, weekends and days off to write. I just don’t believe that you can produce something of great quality and value in the space of a few days or weeks. It takes me eight months to a year to write each one of my books.
What help did you need most and how easy was it to find?
The support of my family, especially my husband who is my editor and the head cook and bottle washer!
How supportive have friends and family been through the process?
Incredibly supportive. They listen to my progress with a smile, lots of questions and genuine interest. My brother Andrew has been amazing. He can’t get over the fact that his big sister has managed to write two bestsellers and has now landed a publishing deal. He’s genuinely pleased for me and always happy to chat about the latest stage in my writing endeavours.
What was your first personal ‘success’ as a writer?
There have been two notable successes that have been pivotal to me being accepted as a mainstream successful author, despite self publishing my first two books. The first success was with my first book. The Federation of Small Businesses reviewed it in their magazine in glowing terms. The second success was when the Chartered Institute of Marketing after much cajoling and persuasion (I don’t like to take no for an answer if I believe I am right!) promoted my second book to their members. It sold out twice and became their bestselling book of 2012.
Has your writing developed in the way you anticipated?
No, but the change has been for the better! Developing RSI meant that I had to learn to write in a different way by dictating into a microphone and seeing the words appear on the screen. This is very different to handwriting or typing. As a consequence of using speech recognition software, I have developed a conversational style, something my readers appreciate.
I found out last night that my second book is being launched in Australia in a big way in the next two months and in August of this year, my third book, the 15 Essential Marketing Masterclasses For Your Small Business is being launched worldwide. I will be embarking on book signings which I love!
I wish that my Dad could have seen my first book and shared in my successes.
What 3 tips would you give other women over 50 looking to do the same?
- If you want to write a book, start with an idea’s book, a place where you can jot your thoughts and ideas. Spend a few months on this. It will inspire those chapters and your content. Build a picture of your reader, why they need your book.
- Talk about your ideas with people that are supportive that can nurture and encourage you. I spoke at length about writing a book before I actually got down to writing. There’s something about verbalising your intent that leads to action.
- Suppress the nagging voices of fear or doubt. Have faith in yourself and your abilities and back yourself all the way. Don’t think that just because somebody has written a book on a similar subject means you can’t. You absolutely can.
Dee’s first book, Powerful Marketing on a Shoestring Budget for Small Businesses, was the number one reader review rated small business marketing book on Amazon UK for over 12 months and is regularly in the top five bestselling small business marketing books. The sequel, The Ultimate Small Business Marketing Book , was released in June 2011. It immediately became the best selling small business marketing book on Amazon and has already received 98 five-star reader reviews on that site.