The following article originally appeared in a LinkedIn post by Chris Benguhe, an author, columnist, editor, publishing consultant, and speaker who is part of the Gotham Ghosts writer network.
Last month one of my repeat clients asked me to describe what I do. Since “What’s this about?” is one of the first questions I ask the CEOs and thought leaders I help to answer right out of the gate, I must admit I was a little flustered when the question was turned on me.
I didn’t quite know how to answer. That’s because it’s kind of a magical process. But thank God my client forced me to describe it.
Each week my clients and I brainstorm together with me asking them probing, provocative and practical questions based on my 20 years of interviewing and journalism experience at high level media organizations and a decade of experience interviewing celebrities (If you can get a celebrity to say something meaningful, you can get anyone to!), plus a decade as a publishing consultant and editor helping CEOs and others write their books.
I guide them through their initial answers and thoughts to higher level questions and assignments then I send them away to think about it on their own, and then we repeat the process.
But it’s how I sift through their answers—that’s the REAL magic, and the part that’s really hard to describe.
Why? Because I see things that aren’t necessarily there—actually they are there but others just can’t see them.
They are what I call “thought gems” that shine like diamonds to me but often get lost in the shuffle to the client and others. Kind of like the main character in the movie A Beautiful Mind would see mathematical patterns and numbers that others could not—that’s how words, phrases and ideas shine through to me like the sun brilliantly poking its head through the clouds on a winter’s day.
And once I see them, I am able to reach into the author’s psyche to draw them out and help them to refine, polish and build off of them. It’s such a fluid and magical process that the best way I can think of describing it in a few words would be Words Whisperer because it really is like whispering into the minds and hearts of my authors.
One by one, and little by little, we collect and build these thought gems into a shining showcase of the author’s best ideas, their greatest words, and eventually into a book that no other author could write.
It’s a pretty extensive, dynamic and downright exciting process that I developed over the last 10 years in which I work directly with the thought leader to start with those single ideas and brainstorm and develop out the core themes, ideas, audience, market as well as distribution and publishing goals from.
In addition to highlighting the winning ideas, I help them to filter out the duds quickly and effectively. Often authors who haven’t worked with me come to me with dozens of ineffective ideas that they have wasted months and sometimes years developing even though they weren’t worth it. How much that wasted time cost them is inestimable.
One of the greatest additional attributes of this system is that the thought leader is the author with my help, as opposed to hiring a ghostwriter who is never truly able to capture the author’s voice. And the process of actually writing the book in this way brings out and develops ideas that much of the time the leader didn’t even fully realize previously.
In other words writing a book about their business with my help actually helps to grow and develop their actual business ideas as well.
Now I am not going to mislead you. The process takes time and effort—usually it’s about a year from start to finish. But ultimately, if you want to write a book that highlights all the wisdom and experiences that you and ONLY you have inside of you and sets you apart as a thought leader in your industry, you can and will accomplish that.
That is if you have a guide to get you there—a Words Whisperer!
About the Author
Internationally published author, columnist, editor, publishing consultant, and speaker Chris Benguhe is a former People Magazine writer and tabloid editor for the National Enquirer, the Globe and the National Examiner. Chris interviewed everyone from the famous to the felonious and chronicled the world’s most provocative stories. Then a life changing experience while covering the Columbine story inspired him to give up the limelight to help people find their inner light. He is the author of five inspirational non-fiction titles and a former columnist for the Catholic Sun and the Saturday Evening Post Chris Benguhe has worked at every level of the editorial process, including editor-in-chief and publisher. As an editor-at-large for Greenleaf Book Group as well as the owner of his own company Executive Book Development he now helps CEOs and other high level thought leaders conceive, develop, write and publish their own inspiring books. www.WordsWhisperer.com
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