What puppy training taught me about writing books

What puppy training taught me about writing books

Deciding to get a puppy was a spontaneous decision. 

I’d been nagging my husband for years, but I never thought he’d actually say yes. Then last summer while housesitting in Queenstown, we all fell in love with the gorgeous 2 year-old lab x springer in our care. A quick glance at TradeMe revealed a fresh litter of pups of a similar breed, just about ready to go. In a moment of weakness, hubby caved and the deal was sealed: this must be our dog!   

I immediately searched online for puppy training guides, scanning the websites of experts from around the globe, looking for someone who could show me how to raise this puppy right. I selected a book  and sent it straight to my kindle, tossing the lightweight reads I had packed for the holiday back into my suitcase. I had two weeks to learn as much as I could about puppy training before we picked up our sweet pup and I would devour this book.  

But lo! This book made it seem so complicated. I waded through chapter after chapter on pack theory, wondering when I would get to the practical bits. The author waxed on about the importance of mastering the ‘easy’ command for several chapters before explaining what the command was, why it mattered, or how to do it. I frequently needed to search forward or backward in the book to find explanations for the concepts the author was trying to teach – a doubly frustrating task on an e-reader. 

By the end… actually I never made it to the end. I gave up. 

What I needed was a logical, step-by-step puppy training guide, that would break it down into simple steps that I could master one at a time. A book that would help me feel clear and confident in what I needed to do and make it easy to fit puppy training into our busy family life. A book that would take me on a logical transformation from a naive newbie to a confident pack leader. 
What I got was the musings of someone who was clearly very knowledgeable and experienced in the field, but rather than making puppy training feel simple and achievable, it felt complicated, messy and overwhelming.

What the author really needed was a great book coach. Someone who could help identify the needs and desires of the audience, and put those at the heart of the book. Someone who could take their knowledge and ideas, figure out what the reader needs to learn and shape those ideas into a logical, step-by-step flow.

Someone who could help define the book concept, keep the writing on track and ensure that ideas were shared in service of the reader. 

(Side note: In frustration with the book, I bought the author’s online course, hoping for a clearer pathway. NOPE. Working with a book coach would not only have helped the author write a better book, but it would also have helped map out their course in a much more logical way – something to think about if you’re working on both a course and a book).

Bring a book coach along for the ride would have made writing the book a heck of a lot easier too. 

If you’ve got a burning book idea (or a book + a course too), then I’d love to hear it. Book a call and let’s chat.

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