Jennifer Harshman of Your Book Bakery is Making it Easy for Pastors to Write a BookApr 04, 2023
Have you wanted to write a book, or wondered if you could, but the process of writing just seemed too complicated and confusing, so you never got started, or you started but never finished?
Maybe you're a pastor wondering if you could turn a sermon series into a book? Or perhaps you have a message or passion that you feel called to share, but you’re just not sure the best way to get started, or if it’ll be worth the effort?
Well what if writing a book could be as simple as following a recipe to bake a cake? Jennifer Harshman of Your Book Bakery says that it is! And she's here to show us how in this episode of the More Than a Pastor Show!
Links for Today's Show
Your Book Bakery: http://www.yourbookbakery.com
- Harshman Services: https://www.harshmanservices.com/
Watch this Episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/nCDTa6OQn74
Read my Last Post: Tom Bump on How a Blindside Clarified His Mission to Help Other Pastors
Why Pastors and Other Ministry Leaders Should Write a Book
If you've been a pastor, missionary, or ministry leader for any length of time, you've already written a book...you just might not realize it yet!
Think of all the sermons and devotionals you've written over the years. Did you know you could easily turn each sermon series into a book, which you could make available to your congregation, or sell on Amazon or even your local bookstore? This is a great example of passive income: You create something one time and it can make money for you over and over and over again.
And beyond the church ministry realm, if you’re looking to launch your own message-based online platform, or even a service-based or brick and mortar business, a book can really open doors for you and help you grow your audience and build your authority, which in turn will help you grow your income.
Introducing Jennifer Harshman of Your Book Bakery
I’ve wanted to write a book for a couple of years, sharing lessons I’ve learned from my More Than a Pastor journey, and observations on where I think the future of the church is headed, but I put it off a long time. And then eventually I got started, but stalled out, because I didn't have a clear framework to keep me moving forward.
Then recently, a couple of my friends released their new books, and I discovered that Jennifer Harshman of Your Book Bakery played a key role in getting them published.
Jen is the author of Your Book Bakery: Making it Easy to Write a Book. And She believes that if you can follow a recipe to bake a cake, you can write a helpful non-fiction book.
I met Jennifer through John Stange’s Platform Launchers community. But then I realized later that she and I are also members of Dan Miller’s 48 Days Eagles community for entrepreneurs.
And I’ve been amazed at how many people just in those communities that Jennifer has worked with, let alone hundreds of other clients Jen has helped to write, edit, or publish their books, since 1992
In addition to her new book, Jen offers a 12-week book writing boot camp, one-on-one coaching, and even ghostwriting, to help you get your book out of your head and into the world. You’ll find her online at www.yourbookbakery.com.
And now let’s get to our conversation with Jennifer Harshman!
Highlights from the Full Interview
How Jennifer Harshman Got Started as a Book Coach
Jen has been helping people with their writing and editing professionally since 1992. Her first editing-related business was called Harshman Services. Your Book Bakery launched off from that, because she was starting to help a lot of new authors, and helping people who wanted to become authors who had never written anything before. And they were really scared about the whole process. Jen believes writing a book is really a replicable process. “Success leaves clues,” as Tony Robbins says, “So you watch someone look at someone who has done what it is that you want to do, figure out how they did it. And then you repeat that process.” Jen came up with the metaphor that writing a nonfiction book is like baking a cake. If you can follow a recipe to bake a cake, then you can write a book. And that’s how Your Book Bakery was born.
Why Did you Write the Book, Your Book Bakery?
Jen was teaching a group of new authors in her Book Writing Boot Camp, where she shows them step-by-step how to write their book from a blank piece of paper to a finished manuscript. She had written a how-to manual for the course, which she would lead the group through each week. But one of her students asked if she could write them a book too, which would go beyond the manual. She thought about it a minute, and realized that if she wrote a book, she could help so many more people. So she took her manual as a starting point and expanded the content from into what is now the Your Book Bakery book.
From Children’s Pastor to Book Coach
Jen’s college degree is in elementary education. She had a friend whose father was a lead pastor in a church, and the friend thought Jen and her husband would be perfect for the children’s pastor role that was open in the church. They were hired, got married, and moved to the church. They served there for three years. During that time, they had two kids 18 months apart, and Jen began to look for ways she could earn extra money for the family, so she began editing books. And that's how she got started in book editing, coaching, and ghostwriting.
Pastors Have Already Written a Book, Whether They Realize it or Not
Jen believes that every pastor, missionary, or ministry leader has already written a book, whether they realize it or not. Just think about all the sermons that you've written over your career as a pastor, you probably have more than enough material to pull together and organize into a book.
Writing a Book Helps You Grow Your Audience and Build Your Authority
If you’re looking to launch your own online platform, or even a service-based or brick and mortar business, a book can really open doors for you and help you grow your audience and build your authority, which in turn will help you grow your income. Jen has seen pastors who are also coaches or counselors write a book that will attract the type of people they want to work with. They'll write a book on their topic, explain what they do, what their philosophy is, etc. And it becomes a calling card for attracting new clients.
You Don't have to be a Famous to Write a Book People Would be Interested In
Jen says you don't have to be a big-name person in order to write a book that others are willing to buy. Our mutual friend, John Stange, pastors an average-sized church, but his influence spreads far outside his congregation and community because of the platform he has built through his podcast, devotional books, and other resources he's created. And he just published an anthology with 11 other pastors, reflecting on their first years of ministry, and lessons they learned and they advice they would give to pastors.
How Easy is it to Self-Publish and Put Your Book on Amazon?
You can absolutely write and publish a book yourself. First, get Jen's book so you can follow the step-by-step framework she has created. Once your manuscript is finished and edited, Amazon makes it easy to publish your book. In fact, if you can answer emails and do anything else on the internet, then you can follow the process: Click here, type these words in here, click Save and Continue. You could have your book uploaded in just 30-minutes. Then your book goes through a review process, which takes a couple of days before your book is available on Amazon. There are no up-front costs, but Amazon does take a royalty of each sale in addition to the cost of printing the book.
What if You Want a Book but Don't Want to Write it Yourself?
Many people want to have a book but don't want to write it themselves. That's why Jen offers book coaching and ghostwriting services, to help them get published even if they don't want to do much or any of the work themselves. Jen offers a variety of services from do-it-yourself to done-for-you.
Overcoming Book Writing Myths
There are a lot of myths when it comes to writing a book, like you've got to take a whole year off to write it. Jen says she's written a book in a week. Or that you have to drop everything else in your life to get your book done. Jen says she's homeschooled three special needs children while writing her book.
Jen believes anyone who wants to write a book can write a book:
If you have the right attitude, and the right resources, you can do amazing things. And if you'll choose the first, you will find the second.
Connecting with Jen
You'll find Jen online at www.yourbookbakery.com and www.harshmanservices.com.
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