How to Find Your Big Idea – In Just 7 Minutes with Jeff Goins

Check out episode
  • Learn why you shouldn’t just settle for a good idea rather than an interesting one
  • Understand why marketing happens as soon as you write the book and not after
  • Discover how you can write a book that can challenge the readers’ assumptions

Resources/Links:

Summary

Do you feel like your book has been pretty generic and needs a little bit of spice? Do you want to learn how to write a book that will challenge your readers and keep them hooked?

You shouldn’t be writing your book just because of a good idea, but it should be because of an interesting idea that will keep your readers wondering.

Jeff Goins is a writer, keynote speaker, and entrepreneur. He is the best-selling author of five books, including, The Art of Work and Real Artists Don’t Starve.

Jeff Goins shares how you can stop being boring and make your book interesting, mind-grappling and challenging that will keep your clients wanting for more.

Check out these episode highlights:

  • 00:39 – Jeff’s ideal client: Our ideal clients are any thought leader or aspiring thought leader who’s ready to pick a fight, who has something that they want to say about their industry or particular topic that is going to challenge the status quo.
  • 02:29 – The problem he helps solve: We help authors not write boring books. And it is really easy to write a boring book. Yeah, and boring isn’t necessarily bad, but it might as well be.
  • 03:16 – The symptoms of the problem: I think they’re tired. It’s actually really, really hard to write even a bad book. Imagine a continuum where 0 is “I haven’t written a book” and 100 is “I’ve written the perfect book”.
  • 04:47 – Clients’ common mistakes before consulting Jeff: I mentioned they try to do it all themselves. They settle for a good idea instead of an interesting one. And they think that editing is about fixing typos. Editing is not about fixing typos.
  • 05:41 – Jeff’s Valuable Free Action (VFA): Very simple. We take every client through this. It’s a formula. Everybody thinks X, but what’s actually true is Y. When people ask you what your book is about, that’s your answer.
  • 06:23 – Jeff’s Valuable Free Resource (VFR): Want more tips on how to not be boring? Click here: www.goinswriter.com
  • 07:14 – Q: What does fresh complaint mean? A: It means what it sounds like, which is that you know, we’ve named our writing and editing agency after a phrase that means if you don’t have something new to say that’s going to pick a fight, then don’t say it.

Tweetable Takeaways from this Episode:

“What makes people think and then talk about your book, and then even want to read it is that there's some interesting idea.” -Jeff Goins Share on X

Transcript
(Note, this was transcribed using a transcription software and may not reflect the exact words used in the podcast)

Tom Poland 00:10
Greetings, everyone, and a very warm welcome to yet another edition of Marketing the Invisible. I got a treat for you today, joined by Jeff Goins. Jeff, good day from Down Under. Where are you hanging out, sir?

Jeff Goins 00:21
I’m in Nashville, Tennessee, Tom.

Tom Poland 00:22
And a little birdie told me you’re a big music fan and you got there because you chased a girl.

Jeff Goins 00:28
I chased a girl.

Tom Poland 00:30
That’s often the reason, but you’re settled there now for 15 or 16 years. Is that right?

Jeff Goins 00:34
That’s right. 16 years.

Tom Poland 00:34
And feel like you’ve come home. So, for those of you who don’t know Jeff, Jeff has an impeccable touch to everything he does. He’s a wordsmith. He’s careful. And he constructs quality solutions to big problems. His background is he’s a writer. He’s a keynote speaker. And he’s an entrepreneur with multiple businesses. He’s also a best-selling author, which tells you he’s walking the talk of five books, including The Art of Work, and Real Artists Don’t Starve. And I just love the title for the session that Jeff nominated. It’s, “How to Find Your Big Idea”. And I’ve got a feeling we’re going to learn a little bit more than just that as well. Oh, that is, that’s a magnificent place to start. Jeff, welcome to the show! Our time starts now. Question number one, sir, who’s your ideal client?

Jeff Goins 00:39
Hey, Tom. Good to be here. Again, thank you! Our ideal clients are any thought leader or aspiring thought leader who’s ready to pick a fight, who has something that they want to say about their industry or particular topic that is going to challenge the status quo. Most of what I do is help people create books that are worth reading and talking about. And if you’re not going to pick a fight, if you’re going to settle for good instead of interesting, you’ve already lost, and we would rather refer you to one of our competitors.

Tom Poland 01:52
So, there’s a certain boldness about your mission, isn’t there? There’s a certain, you know, challenge of the status quo. Well, the expression of authenticity in the face of opposition. Is that right?

Jeff Goins 02:01
Yeah, I mean, look, in the past 10 years, the amount of books published each year has increased by 10 times. And as a reader, and as a person who loves words, I don’t think the world needs more boring books. And so, I care about that. I care about not putting more boring books out in the world. If you’re going to write a book, make it worth our while as readers.

Tom Poland 02:23
Thank you, sir. So, we’ve got just under six minutes left. What’s the problem you solve? How would you define that?

Jeff Goins 02:29
We help authors not write boring books. And it is really easy to write a boring book. Yeah, and boring isn’t necessarily bad, but it might as well be. People do not talk about ideas that are good or even great. They talk about ideas that are interesting. Ideas that are worth talking about that challenge an audience’s assumptions. And I mean, that’s the problem that we help people solve. Most people settle for good when what they really want is interesting.

Tom Poland 02:56
Do you find a lot of people homogenize their ideas and their voice so that it’s defensible, and so they don’t offend anyone? Is that part of the issue? Well, let’s talk about that. Question three is about the typical symptoms that people experience when they end up with a boring book. What would you say is going on that creates that? Or how does someone know that they’ve done that?

Jeff Goins 03:16
I think they’re tired. It’s actually really, really hard to write even a bad book. Imagine a continuum where 0 is “I haven’t written a book” and 100 is “I’ve written the perfect book”. If you get to 80%, you’ve written a bad book. But you went 80%, you wrote a book. And the gap between good and great is much smaller than the gap between no book and bad book. Between nothing and bad is a lot! It’s 80% of the way, and most people give up at 80% because it’s really, really hard and really exhausting. And so, the symptom is they’re tired. They’re trying to do it themselves. And they’ve gotten to this point, they think, “Well, you know, I’ve written a book. Now the real work begins. Now I can start marketing it.” That is false! The marketing begins as soon as you start writing the book.

Tom Poland 04:06
Yeah, that’s a really key point, folks. The marketing begins the moment you start writing the book because you got to figure out what the marketplace needs to hear from you, your gift, and so on.

Jeff Goins 04:16
Yeah, and what I mean by that is great marketing makes a bad product fail faster. David Ogilvy said that many years ago. It’s true. And if you write a book that’s based on an “okay” idea, and try to sell it, it’s going to flop.

Tom Poland 04:33
Right. So that’s definitely, I mean, clearly, as you’ve articulated, one of the big mistakes that people make. But are there any other? Question four, over three minutes left, what would you say are a couple of the other big mistakes people make when they’re trying to get that book written?

Jeff Goins 04:47
I mentioned they try to do it all themselves. They settle for a good idea instead of an interesting one. And they think that editing is about fixing typos. Editing is not about fixing typos. Editing is the process of making your book work. It’s helping you realize the vision.

Tom Poland 05:05
You know, what I’m hearing here is that a lot of us have ideas. It’s not uncommon, hopefully. We are good at something that we do, but putting a book out that’s interesting and engaging can, as I say, feed a starving crowd that can generate demand, that’s a whole science in itself. And, let’s recognize that right now. And say, folks, you’re probably going to want a hand with this. But question five is, let’s give folks one valuable free action like a top tip. It’s not going to solve the whole problem; they probably need to reach out for you to have that conversation. But just a step, heads them off in the right direction.

Jeff Goins 05:41
Very simple. We take every client through this. It’s a formula. Everybody thinks X, but what’s actually true is Y. When people ask you what your book is about, that’s your answer. Not, “It’s a book about marketing.” Everybody thinks this about a given subject, but what’s actually true is something you’ve never heard of before. Because what makes people think and then talk about your book, and then even want to read it is that there’s some interesting idea. And it might be something old set in a new way, but you’re challenging their assumptions about a given topic. So, write that down. Email that to me, if you want. Everybody thinks X but what’s actually true is Y. And I’d be happy to tell you if you have an interesting idea.

Tom Poland 06:20
Email address?

Jeff Goins 06:21
Jeff@goinswriter.com.

Tom Poland 06:23
J-E, double F, at G-O-I-N-S, writer.com. Thank you for that, sir. Question six, for the sake of time, I’m going to answer this one. One valuable free resource. Folks, you want to go to www.goinswriter.com, G-O-I-N-S writer.com. And the other URL I want to give you, and we don’t normally give too, but I think this one’s an excellent example. And again, a point of contact and free resources is freshcomplaint.com. You heard that right it’s fresh as in just out of the oven, complaint as in criticism.com. What are people going to find out that first one, goinswriter, real quick, 10 seconds?

Jeff Goins 07:02
A treasure trove of writing resources and free downloadable eBooks and all kinds of other things.

Tom Poland 07:07
Fantastic! Goinswriter.com. Question seven, last question, Jeff. You have 30 seconds left. What’s the one question I should have asked you, but didn’t?

Jeff Goins 07:14
What does fresh complaint mean? It means what it sounds like, which is that you know, we’ve named our writing and editing agency after a phrase that means if you don’t have something new to say that’s going to pick a fight, then don’t say it.

Tom Poland 07:30
Perfect! Jeff Goins, thanks so much for the wisdom and the richness of your insights, which surely is coming out of many years of doing this well. Thanks, Jeff.

Jeff Goins 07:40
It’s my pleasure.

Tom Poland 08:13
Thanks for checking out our Marketing The Invisible podcast. If you like what we’re doing here please head over to iTunes to subscribe, rate us, and leave us a review. It’s very much appreciated. And if you want to generate five fresh leads in just five hours then check out www.fivehourchallenge.com.

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