Your life experiences are worth sharing with the world, and through book coaching, you can turn your story into a powerful tool to help others and yourself. In this episode of the podcast, we are joined by Kim O’Hara, the host of You Should Write a Book About That and the Book Coach to Best Sellers. With a two-decade career in Hollywood, Kim adds a special edge to storytelling and crafting a story that entertains and evokes emotion. Her coaching and guidance have helped countless clients illuminate and inspire readers through their narratives. Kim shares her insights on book writing and provides a foundational structure to execute their vision for a wider audience and clarity to hopeful authors about their purpose in writing. Kim also shares the process of writing her new book, No Longer Denying Sexual Abuse, and reveals some sneak peeks. Tune in to learn how you can turn your story into a book that makes a difference.
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You Should Write A Book About That
We have a wonderful guest. I’ll get to that in a few minutes. I want to remind you guys to go check out Author Traffic School. You can find it at AuthorTrafficSchool.com. We now have courses over there for building author platforms. Anywhere from $47 to $2,500 depending on what your needs are where you haven’t built a really great way to not only build that audience for your book. If you’re an entrepreneur, you’ll get a little bit clearer on building that audience for your business as well.
I am super excited about this episode. Our guest is Kim O’Hara. She is the host of a podcast called You Should Write A Book About That. I’m excited about it because I met Kim back in 2014 or 2015 at JVIC. We have been power partners pretty much ever since. I think there were 2 or 3 years where we were growing and where we weren’t. She’s a great book developer and we’re going to talk about her new book as well.
It’s been a real pleasure to get to know her and watch her grow personally and professionally. Kim O’Hara is the Book Coach to Best Sellers. She has countless examples of coach, leader, executive clients who, when writing about their journey, illuminated and inspired readers through their narrative. Called a book sherpa, ride and die, BFF, miracle worker, and guardian angel by her clients.
Kim provides clarity to hopeful authors about their purpose in book writing and a foundational structure to execute their vision to a wider audience. Her two-decade career in Hollywood as a movie producer and screenwriter adds that special edge of storytelling and crafting a story that entertains as well as evokes motion. She sees the greatest potential in anyone who is willing to voice that dream.
She has been a guest speaker for women’s leadership and empowerment conferences around the country. She is a publishing consultant at a state-run institute and teaches teleclasses for the International Coaching Federation on book writing. She has contributed articles to Biz Journal’s Biz Women, CEOWorld Magazine, and YouTube Channel Film Courage.
Her essays have been published in top literary magazines. She produces and hosts the popular podcast, You Should Write A Book About That, featuring authors and amazing people with a story to tell. Kim’s clients’ books have appeared on the Wall Street Journal, USA Today Top Ten List, as well as the number one non-fiction and business books in Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Stay tuned. This is going to be a fun interview as we talk about Kim’s new book. She developed her own book, and I can’t wait to hear the challenges around that.
Kim, welcome. I’m so excited to have you back. It’s been a while since you’ve been on.
It’s been a while. So much has happened, including a pandemic.
Yeah, which I think was good for our businesses at least, because people got serious about, “I could die. I need to write my book.” I’m really excited to talk about this because you bring such a unique skillset to your clients with book development. Talk a little bit about your time in Hollywood, screenwriting and producing because I feel like that is the essence of your storytelling ability.
I would disagree with that at this point. I would say now that I’ve been doing book coaching since 2015, I think that has almost surpassed what I did in Hollywood. Hollywood was the bones that got me feeling capable of being a book coach. Every book that I develop with a client, every relationship I have, and every way I take them from that, I have a dream of sending them to you to publish. That has enhanced my abilities to develop a book and see the vision for somebody. Now it’s been over 40 books. That’s way more movies than I made. I only made 11 movies and I’ve held 40 books, so I feel my experience now is from book coaching.
I love the way you said help because that’s one thing I really love about you and your clients. You’re not one of those who are totally in it for the money. You serve people very well.
Thank you for saying that. It’s a deep relationship. I have relationships with all my clients long after they’re done working with me. I have a year program. I’m still talking to them a year and six months in. I celebrate them at their book launches. I talk to them about, “This thing came up that I need to do with this book. What do you think?” Definitely in the publishing process, which I do as a consultant, as part of my situation with them.
Some people come to me with finished books and they want to know consulting referrals for publishing. I send them to someone like you or depending on what they’re looking for. A lot of times, they’ll show me these proposals that are so exorbitantly expensive. They’re so out of touch. Each line item is jacked up financially and they’re so grateful that I’m able to help them see where they’re going to get rooked.
We do that a lot, too. We always recommend that people take it to an attorney, but I can pretty much identify where they’re hiding profit that they say they’re not inside of a contract. I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen some really bad ones. I had a client that came in and there were four line items that totaled $2,500 that these people were never going to deliver on. They were fluff items.
I don’t look at contracts like you. I say, “Go to an attorney.” I’m talking about proposals, not even the contract yet. This is where they’re saying it’s going to be X amount of dollars. To give you an example, I know what you charge for an Amazon bestseller campaign. I know what some of your bells and whistles are. I know what their fee is, and then I see these other fees and they’re triple.
I have so many different partners in this. I don’t want to sit here and bash other people. I want to talk about how amazing it is when they come to me and we work together. We get into this deep and long process of discovering why they’re writing the book and who they’re writing the book for. What’s the book hook? What’s going to make them unique, so they’re not 1 of 33 million books on Amazon to nowhere?
I want them to be those shining books that have a shot. Are you going to sell 10,000 books? That’s a lot of books. You might sell 5,000 books if you have the right strategy and you know who you are and you know why which is why I work with a lot of coaches because they’re driven to understand that they want a 10X out in the world beyond their one-on-one coaching.
I love that you work with coaches too, especially the coaches that work online. They already have a lot of the pieces in place for their author platform, which so many people don’t realize until they get there that they don’t have an audience to sell a book to. I like that audience because most people jump into that. You have a new book out. It’s very transparent. What was it like for you as a book developer to write your own book?
It’s an interesting story. I’ll try to cut to the chase. The book is called No Longer Denying Sexual Abuse: Making the Choices That Can Change Your Life. About 2017, this book was already a memoir and I needed to regurgitate it. I needed to put it down on paper. I found a publisher right away. I’m an excellent writer and that’s what makes me a coach.
I wasn’t ready to be that sexual abuse survivor and be the face of that. My book coaching business was only two years old. I didn’t know how to make that brand work with book coaching. I had to make a decision that my book coaching brand was going to be more important to me at the time than promoting that book, so I put it down.
I then helped a client of mine, Naomi Joseph, get her book to a publisher called WriteLife. She had this amazing experience with them. I don’t think at the time you were doing hybrid, you were still pretty much service. They were hybrid and they were going to have a different relationship with her and take her through the whole editing process.
When they put out her book, I happened to mention to the owner of that publishing company, “I happen to have this book. It’s about sexual abuse.” She was very understanding of that topic and said, “I’m going to take you under the wing.” They read the manuscript, came back to me, and said, “There is no book like this on the marketplace that helps people with sexual abuse denial or any abuse denial. We’re talking about violence, verbal abuse, narcissism, neglect, all of it. If you rewrite 75% of this book and turn it into a self-help book, we’ll publish you.” I said, “I’m going to do it.”
I knew the memoir wasn’t going to serve. When you put a memoir out in the world, you buy a memoir because it’s lyrical, the writing is evocative, and it’s amazing. This was actually a self-help book hiding behind a memoir. For them to see that and then the editor helped me turn it into a self-help book. This woman was amazing.People buy a memoir because it's lyrical, the writing is evocative, and it's amazing. Click To Tweet
Now I’m putting it on everything. I’m on a podcast. The book is everywhere. I don’t shirk when I see sexual abuse. My brand as a book coach is so solid that I don’t think in any way anyone is going to think that’s contrasting it. They see me as an author who’s willing to put my trauma out there for people to read. It’s such divine timing for this book to be out.
What prompted you to write it? Did you find that writing about your experience helped heal? I know so many people do. Would you mind sharing that?
The reason why I have clients write 3 or 4 drafts with me is because that first draft is dumb. It’s that regurgitation like, “What is in here?” By the second draft, we can start to go, “Is that serving the reader?” We start to get into more of a super professional mindset. For me, it was really important to write about what I had been through.
Not so much the acts of the abuse, but what had happened to me over the 40 years that I had suppressed and denied as part of who I am. My finances, my romantic relationships, my spirituality, everything that had the abuse that tainted everything. It was important for me as I started to become who I was supposed to be. At 42 years old, I was like, “Who am I? I didn’t even know.”
That felt like it needed to be documented for me to then be able to turn it around and go, “I understand. Here’s where I was telling people and finding my inner child. Here’s where I was starting to make some money. Here’s where God showed up and see it as a self-help book to help so many people.” If someone pops up and says, “I’ve just realized I’ve been abused. I don’t know where to turn.” Instead of going, “Read my memoir,” I could go, “I’ve got a self-help book that’s going to take you from A to B.” It feels clean and clear.
I talk to people a lot about when they get writer’s block. Don’t get upset. It’s God or the universe or whoever your higher power is saying, “You can do this, but in return, I need you to heal something.” People don’t understand how cathartic and healing writing a book is with all of my mystery novels, because they were fiction. Everybody knows I killed my ex-husband in my first book. He was my first and last. How cathartic was that? My second book was family, so there’s some family stuff in there. In my third book, there’s a lot.
It really becomes that point for you to grow and heal as a human being. You know what’s so funny about you saying, “Who am I?” I remember I was online dating. The first thing out of this guy’s mouth on a phone call was, “Tell me who Juliet Clark is.” I literally hung up and I wanted to cry. I was like, “I don’t know who that is.”
Dating is one of the most spiritual experiences ever. I have found so much about myself in dating. I didn’t even want to do it. Even the bad dates, you learn so much about yourself and empathy for other people. I didn’t know you’d written three books.Dating is one of the most spiritual experiences ever, even the bad dates. You learn so much about yourself and gain empathy for other people. Click To Tweet
I’ve written seven. I started as a mystery novelist. I made a decent amount of money on some fairly crappy mystery novels.
That is amazing. I had no idea.
That’s where I started. I was going through a really bad divorce and I just wanted to kill somebody, so I killed him in the book.
I love that. I am going to use that when people are like, “I want to write a book, but I’m going through a hard time.” I’ll be like, “Kill him in the book.”
The amazing part is, he’s one of my golf buddies now and he knows. He tells people all the time, “Don’t cross her. She’ll pull out her typewriter and erase you from the Earth.”
Isn’t that amazing? That’s proof in the pudding that because you did write about it, even though it was shrouded in a fictional template, you killed him and were able to heal and evolve versus holding onto it, which is so beautiful.
It is. It’s so funny. I call myself the accidental publisher because I self-published that first book. I’d been a part of traditional publishing. When I saw that self-publishing model, I was like, “This is awful. This doesn’t help authors at all,” which I think back at the time period, that’s what they were trying to do. They didn’t want self-publishing to become a thing.
I didn’t know that about you. That’s very cool.
What was your wake-up call like, “I have to write this. I have to get it down?” Did you expect it to be healing?
I 100% did, but here’s the thing. When I rewrote the book, I did it in three and a half months, which is unheard of that I rewrote 75%. That’s when I knew that I was an exceptional writer because revisions are really what make or break writers. Many people can regurgitate a book. It’s when you go into that 2nd or 3rd draft and you become a revisionist.Revisions are what make or break writers. Many people can regurgitate a book. It's when you go into that second or third draft, and you become a revisionist. Click To Tweet
They’ll say this on a lot of panels that you’ll listen to with agents and editors in the traditional houses. Revisions are what make or break a book. I know that in the process of rewriting it, I had to go through it all over again. I had a lot of new feelings that I hadn’t thought about in a long time. Some of them were painful, but luckily there had been enough time that had passed between 2017 and 2022 that I was able to know how to take care of myself.
If I’d have a moment where I’d be like, “I want to throw this laptop across the room,” partially because my editor’s notes were so many that I was staying up until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning. It’s because I’d do my workday and deal with my kids. My clients go through this all the time. I had a job. I’m a book coach, and then I have two kids.
Now I’m editing a full book on top of it with a deadline. I was like, “I can’t do this in the workday. I have to do this at 4:00 in the morning or 12:00 at night.” There were times when I wanted to throw the laptop across the room. I couldn’t take the time to sit and sob at the laptop. I just didn’t have time for it, but I felt a lot of the feelings again and they were very empowering. They were very empowering to have that command of the word. In a way that you can feel things and you can bring that to people that can’t feel your book is a conduit to telling them it’s going to be okay.
You’re right about them getting it the right time. I remember when I was getting a divorce, somebody handed me this divorce book. On the shelf, it went. I wasn’t ready. A year later, I saw it up there and I pulled it down and I was ready. I’m saying this because if you guys feel like you’re in something abusive, go buy the book. Let it sit there until it speaks to you because it will as you grow and evolve. The first time you wrote the memoir, we all know that energy works in layers, and once you’ve healed, it sounds like you went back and did a second healing. How was writing that book the first time? Was it emotional like I’m-crying-every-day feeling for you?
I had journaled for so long, and I like to say that journaling is not book writing. I’m very clear about that. I do not hedge on that. When someone’s like, “I’ve been journaling, so I’ve been starting to write my book.” I’m like, “You’re not writing your book. You’re just journaling.” You’re not writing the book until you commit to an outline and to a game plan because that is just playing around as far as I’m concerned.
I had done a lot of playing around and journal writing. I got to the point where I was like, “These journals are not moving me anywhere.” I had done a tremendous amount of healing on the side through the journals. By the time I got to the book, it wasn’t as messy as you would think it would be. It was very mission-driven like I had a mission and a purpose.
I also put myself in the mindset. Nobody wants to read a book that’s a mess. I knew as a book coach and as making movies working with editors of movies. There are scenes, you cut them together, and they have to have cohesiveness. Have you ever seen those movies where you’re like, “I have no idea what’s going on?” I would start to focus on headers.
I’d be like, “All this writing is about God. Maybe this should be a spirituality chapter. All this writing is about not treating my Bonnie very well, so this should be a Bonnie chapter. This is all about the guys and sex. This should be a romantic chapter.” For me, that seemed really clear. This is why coaches and editors are so important and I didn’t have any for that memoir.
When I came and sold the book to WriteLife this time around and they brought in an editor, we did seven revisions. I would send something to her and I’d be like, “This is so good.” I then get a note back that’s like, “No.” I was like, “What the hell?” I got a taste of my own medicine. I’m not that hard on my clients. I’m very gentle, but they do get notes eventually where I’m like, “I’m getting a little bit tired of saying this to you. I’m getting a little over this. I’ve asked you to do this. What’s going on?” It then opens up dialogue. This editor was not a coach. There was going to be no coaching. There was going to be no kumbaya, “How are you feeling?” It was, “You need to fix this or we’re cutting it.”
In my first book, Stephen King’s editor was my editor. I had to print it and mail it. I was in a puddle when I got it back because I thought it was the best book ever. There was so much red on there. I couldn’t see the white because he was still doing it by hand. It can be a little bit overwhelming because of course we all think, “I’ve had a genius day.” I don’t know about you, but with mystery writing, I would write it and I would think, “That was amazing.” I’d go back on the rewrite and I’d be like, “What the hell was I thinking that day? I can’t spell anything right. This doesn’t fit.” I was being hard on myself in advance.
It’s true. I just finished a second book that I’m currently shopping and I’ve done some revisions to it. Basically to do the book proposal because you need a book proposal to sell any kind of self-help or memoir. In doing the book proposal, I’ll go back in and I decided to do a pass on the book. I’ll get to a passage and I’ll be like, “This isn’t even that good.” I thought it was all so brilliant.
I’m like, “This is clunky. It’s not even funny. What am I thinking?” I’ll rewrite it. That’s the beauty of revision. You get to keep tweaking. One thing I’ll say, and I say this to my clients all the time, “Don’t tweak and be inactive. Tweak and be selling at the same time. Tweak and be building your book platform. Tweak and know where you’re going. Don’t go into some dark rewrite hole and stop the momentum of the business of your book. A book is a business. It needs to be treated like a business. It needs to be taken care of. It can’t just go fallow. You need to always be networking and thinking.” People say, “I don’t know if it’s ready. What happens if I send out all these query letters and all these people want it?” That’s not going to happen.
That’s a good problem, if only it were real.
That is not because you’re going to get one hit.
You are. I’m glad you said that about moving forward because we had just started Author Traffic School. We did it because some literary agents came to us and said, “I get some really good manuscripts I’d like to pitch, but there’s no audience that will substantiate a traditional publisher picking this up and going forward.” I love that you said that because once you do get into that relationship and get an editor, the support is amazing. They’re also very busy, so you’re not going to get cuddled. As you said, you’re going to get, “Do it or cut it.”
I say to clients, “If you want a traditional publisher and you go to a traditional publishing house, the game is going to change.”
Your book is on the market now, but it will be out on the 28th of February 2023. Where can people find you at?
Everywhere that you want to buy books. It’s on Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Bookbuzz. It’s on all the platforms where anyone can buy books. It can be requested at any of your local bookstores. Support and go into indie bookstores. It is on a distribution platform. I just had a book signing at Village Books, and they were able to order 25 books and get them right away. If you go into your local bookstore and say, “I want this book from Kim O’Hara,” they can order it for you.
I love that you shared that because our indie bookstores need support. They’re being eaten up by the Amazons of the world. I don’t know if you know this, but we have a lot of spiritual authors. Let’s say The Green Man is near you. They’ll go into The Green Man. The Green Man can order it, and they’ll do a workshop with a book signing.
I don’t know The Green Man. Where is The Green Man?
I haven’t lived in California for six years, but I think it’s somewhere near Burbank. I’d have to look it up. I’ll send it.
Send me the link. I’ve never heard of that before. Are you sure it’s still around?
I’m not. I’ll have to jump on it and see because that would probably be a great place for you, too. I used to go there all the time. I love the crystals and all the woo-woo. I knew a shaman there, so it was really cool stuff. Back to the indie bookstores. These guys need your support. Once we put a book on a platform and we give it the right percentages for bookstores to make a profit. You can walk into any bookstore and get it ordered.
That is so important for these guys to know because a shelf life of a book is about three weeks now. A lot of times, it doesn’t make good sense for you to want to have that book in a bookstore because if they don’t sell them in three weeks, they’re going to return them and you’re going to get chargebacks. I love that. It’s a really good way to do that.
I knew an author several years ago who did a national book tour. They couldn’t have the signings in the bookstore, so they went to friends they had, and they said, “Can you do this at your HOA? They would get book orders in advance and walk into the local Barnes & Noble and order 200 to 300 books for the event.” They made the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller list doing that because they got the orders in advance, went to the retail, and then did the signing elsewhere. It doesn’t always have to be in a bookstore, but if you buy it retail, you can have the same effect and probably a lot more fun with your friends, cocktails, and the whole nine yards.
Yes. I’m not in a place at the moment where I want to do a book tour. I have a 13-year-old. I have a 17-year-old getting ready to go to college. It’s not a great time right now, but I’m keeping myself open for possibilities. There’s a conference I might be invited to speak at in April 2023. Maybe once if I know in March that I have a seat at that conference and I’m going to drive to Arizona anyway, I might find a bookstore and say, “Here’s my video for my last book signing. It was an amazing time. Great turnout. Would you be up for having this event?” I just don’t have the bandwidth to throw these events all over the country. If I was 60 and my younger daughter was out of the house, what fun that would be? I’d say to anyone who’s an empty nester that’s written a book, what a great joy to be able to travel the country.
Yeah, and they had a lot of fun. We all are connected to people in other cities who can do that for us as well. Kim, if somebody wants to work with you to develop a book, where do they go to find you?
They find me at KimOHara.com, which is my main website. I’m also everywhere on social media. It would be hard to miss me. I’m @KimOHaraCoach on Instagram. You can read my emails on my website. The book is available, No Longer Denying Sexual Abuse: Making the Choices That Can Change Your Life. We have launched a series. It starts this Sunday, February 26th, 2023 based on the book. It’s a 21-week series. There are 21 chapters in the book, and it’s called Abused No Longer. I invite collaborative authors every single week who have either been abused or have written about solutions for that particular week, and they’re going to be joining me every two weeks to teach on Zoom. Abuse survivors of any kind. The only cost of attending is the price of the books.
That is amazing. This is coming out on March 28, 2023, but definitely send me materials if they can jump into the middle.
It’s per session. There’s no requirement to do the whole 28 weeks. The website is NoLongerDenyingSexualAbuse.com. It’s very simple. That’s the landing page. You just click on the sessions you want to go to. They’re always Sundays from 4:00 to 5:30 every two weeks. It’s going to go all year.
That’s 4:00 to 5:30 PST?
Thank you so much for sharing this.
You’re welcome. Thank you for having me.
- Author Traffic School
- You Should Write A Book About That
- International Coaching Federation
- No Longer Denying Sexual Abuse: Making the Choices That Can Change Your Life
- Village Books
- Instagram – @KimOHaraCoach
- Abused No Longer
About Kim O’Hara
Book Coach to Best Sellers® Kim OʼHara has countless examples of coach/leader/executive clients who, when writing about their journey, illuminated and inspired readers through their narrative. Called a book sherpa, ride and die, BFF, miracle maker, and guardian angel by her clients, Kim provides clarity to hopeful authors about their purpose in writing a book and a foundational structure to execute their vision to a wider audience.
Her two-decade career in Hollywood as a movie producer and screenwriter adds that special edge of storytelling and crafting a story that entertains as well as evokes emotion. She sees the greatest potential in anyone who is willing to voice that dream. She has been a guest speaker for womenʼs leadership and empowerment conferences around the country.
She is a publishing consultant at a state-run institute and teaches teleclasses for the International Coaching Federation on book writing. She has contributed articles to Biz Journalʼs Biz Women, CEOWorld Magazine and the YouTube Channel Film Courage. Her essays have been published in top literary magazines. She produces and hosts the popular podcast You Should Write A Book About That.® featuring authors and amazing people with a story to tell. Kimʼs clientsʼ books have appeared on the Wall Street Journal and USA Today top ten lists, as well as #1 non-fiction and business books in Barnes & Noble and Amazon.
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