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Secrets of writing success from Bob Burg's 1-hour interview

Business book author Bob Burg is not only a best-selling author, but one of America's most successful keynote speakers, corporate trainers, and workshop presenters.

His best-selling business books include Endless Referrals: Network Your Everyday Contacts into Sales, which is now in its 3rd edition, and The Go Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea.

In this excerpt from his one-hour exclusive Interview, Bob candidly shares many of his views on planning, writing, promoting, and profiting from a book.

Bob Burg's background

At the age of 25, Mr. Burg found his niche by starting a career in sales. "This field of all about people," he says, and he was written books on how to effectively use one's interpersonal skills to create an endless stream of business referrals. Early on, he became a public speaker and he decided that he wanted to write a book to position himself more professionally as a speaker. In 1994, he published Endless Referrals and it has been a hugely successful book ever since.

Mr. Burg has self-published some of his books and he has worked with traditional publishers for some of them. Every one of his publications has become a bestseller, and he very clearly understands the advantages and disadvantages of each approach. In this interview, he shares his experience and offers potential authors some meaningful advice.

Publishers want control of a project and that, he says, can be a disadvantage when you are publishing your work. He self-published one of his books because he felt emotionally attached to the material and did not want it changed.

After the success of Endless Referrals, he knew the audience he wanted to attract. He, in effect, published the book himself and sold it directly to his audience in bulk sales and various other direct marketing campaigns. But, again, he does clearly understand the added responsibilities (and limitations) an author can face by self-publishing a book. It all depends, according to Mr. Burg, on why you are writing the book in the first place and he presents some thought-provoking options to the listener.

Planning a successful book

He spends a good deal of time in the interview discussing the planning phases of a book and all its necessary elements. "The common wisdom today," he says, "is that the key to a successful book is not whether you can write it, but whether you can sell it." This has been true for many years, but it is most applicable to today's marketplace with the yearly onslaught of books. The "baseline," as he calls it, is that is must be well written.

The most innovative marketing campaign will still be overshadowed by a poorly written book.

Bob Burg's Steps to Writing Success

He employs an extremely straightforward approach to writing -- he uses what he calls a "formula," and it is one that is recommended by many professional editors.

He starts with the title of the book. Next, he writes out the description of the book. This second part is vital -- an author must be able to effectively describe his or her work before writing the content.

Next, he writes the chapter titles and, as every editor of nonfiction will attest, these are very important because they give potential readers a snapshot of exactly what they will learn by reading the book.

Next, he will write the first paragraph of each chapter to introduce the topic. Finally, he is ready to begin working on the content.

When he gets to the point when he is ready to write the content, he cautions not to get overwhelmed by the enormity of the task. "Do not try to eat the whole elephant in one bite," he says. "Eat each small piece at a time."


Bob Burg's writing process is excellent advice to all writers, especially those who easily get intimidated by the complexity of a project. Taking one small step at a time will eventually bring you to the successful end of your project.

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·  INTERVIEW: Bob Burg, secrets of Endless Referrals and success