10 Step 3: Polish Your Book

“The only kind of writing is rewriting.” – Ernest Hemingway

The process of converting your spoken words to written words, and finding the perfect writer for you… The rewriting process, and polishing your work of art.

Action steps:

1) Lightly polish your book’s draft (edit, tweak, add or remove anything from your book).

2) Personalize your book’s content.

  • Add the intros and outros to elegantly marry all your chapters together.
  • Add the chapter title, chapter headline and subheadlines.

3) Search and identify a professional writer at WriterAccess.com.

  • Recruit and short list two-to-three writers.
  • Test your writer candidates by having them rewrite a small piece of your book’s draft.
  • Hire your writer and submit your book draft to be rewritten.

4) Submit your final book draft to the editing team at WriterAccess.com. I also recommend ProofreadNOW.com for professional editing and proofreading.

The interview is complete…and, you have the recording transcribed into text. 

At this point, you may still be saying to yourself, “How is a recorded transcript going to turn into a great book?” Well, the truth is, you already have a BIG head start when you get your books outline (and the questions your book is going to answer) polished up in Step 1. When you do your work in Step 1 everything will just flow nicely (trust me). But, you’re right, your rough draft will definitely need an extreme-makeover after you’ve recorded your interview in Step 2. That’s why it’s called a rough draft. The key to transforming the spoken word into the written word is a professional writer. Remember: Great writing is rewriting.

At this point your book draft is just like a supermodel getting ready for the runway. Your book’s content is stellar, but it still needs some necessary polishing to be runway ready. Just as a supermodel needs the makeup artist, dress rehearsal and choreographer before the show, your book needs deeper scrubbing, structuring, rewriting and some final touches before it hits the bookshelf.

BUT before you reach out to a writer there are some loose ends to tie up. By doing a few small tweaks upfront, your process of engaging a writer will be even smoother.

The first thing that you’re going to do is proofread your draft for accuracy and any inconsistencies. You’ll find the low hanging fruit and make any high-level corrections along the way.

Personalize your book draft.

The next thing you will do is personalize the draft by adding the intros, outros, headlines, subheadlines and chapter titles. These personalizations are the first step to improving the flow of your recorded transcript and giving it a more book-like structure. The goal of this step is to add personal touches that will draw the reader into the content and elegantly marry each chapter together. These personal touches will also break your rough draft into neatly organized chapters, topics and subtopics. Obviously, the personalizations you make now will be subject to change, editing or deleted as you move through the book-creation process. But doing this now will help you get belly to belly with your writer. More personalizations will be needed once you have a final draft of your book. Cool? cool.

Let’s start with the intro’s and outro’s.

The intro’s and outro’s are the ways to introduce (intro) a topic and to marry your interview sections together (outro). Once you read your draft, you’ll know exactly what I mean. There needs to be an elegant way to join all your topics together into an excellent story to allow the book to flow. Most of the time your intros and outros will only need to be a sentence or two. An example would be a sentence that says, “In the next section I’ll discuss X” or “… you’ll learn X.” And in some cases it could even be a short phrase. An example would be, “Coming up…”, “Next”, or “Onward.” There are two exceptions to these examples; one is the “introduction”, how you start your book and the other is the “conclusion”, how you end it. These two areas will require a little more detail to elegantly tie everything together.

You’ll add the intros and outros to your book draft and then move to the next step…

Next up… Chapter Titles, Headlines, Subheadlines and Formatting.

Chapter titles, chapter headlines, subheadlines and purposeful formatting (highlight…etc.) should convey the key storyline and benefits in a flowing manner.

Let’s start with your chapter titles.

I recommend you make your chapter titles short and punchy. They should be easy to understand and should convey the benefits of that chapter—something that creates the desire in your ideal client to read the chapter. I prefer shorter chapter titles because they get to the point and, frankly, they make your table of contents and chapter titles streamlined in your finished book.

Next, fill in your chapter headlines and subheadlines.

The way to draw the reader in and further expand on the short chapter titles is to use a chapter headline. The headline will be your way of setting up the chapter and framing the content for your ideal client.

Your headline goes hand-in-hand with subheadlines.

The subheadlines are integral to a well-done book. They are the glue that holds the chapter together and what sucks your readers into your chapter and then keeps them interested. When the subheads are done correctly, they will tell the story of that chapter even if all the other text were removed. When perfected, someone could just skim over your chapter to decide if they’re interested. Think of your subheads as a greased slide your ideal client will come down naturally.

Formatting with a purpose.

My advice with formatting is simple, “Don’t go overboard”. For example, most times highlighting or bolding single words is a recipe for overstimulating your reader. Although the use of formatting is a personal preference, my opinion is that formatting should be used sparingly. There’s just one exception and that’s bullets. When used properly, bullets will draw your reader in and deliver your key points on a silver platter. Bullets act like magnets that attract even the laziest, uninterested readers – but only if they are relevant and packed with goodies that help your reader. If not, using bullets will hurt you. The best filter to determine how you use formatting is to make sure it’s purposeful. My recommendation is that you should limit your use of formatting to bullets, italics or capital letters for emphasizing single words, and bold or underline for complete phrases. As you’ve probably noticed, I use all CAPS (quite a bit) to emphasize single words. Everyone has their own style, just find what works for you.

Here’s the deal—when done properly, your headlines, subheadlines and formatting will prepare the readers, draw them into your chapter, add emphasis, and draw attention to the key points (of the page), benefits or the offer to help your ideal client.

When you get it right, the result will be a chapter that is easier on the eyes and visually appealing; you will increase the focus on your message and enhance the overall improved flow and reader experience.

NOTE: The 5-Hour Author process will produce a REAL paperback book that’s the perfect size for paperback and digital books. Of course, there are several factors that will determine how long your finished book is: the length of your interview, how fast you speak, any additional sections that you add to your book, how much writing and editing is done to your rough draft and how you format your book.

The Art of Revision

OKAY, now it’s time to get your draft into the hands of a professional writer. You’ve already done 80% of the work, and now it’s time to hire the big guns to clean it up, polish and marry everything together for you. I recommend WriterAccess.com to locate a professional writer.

Here’s why: WriterAccess has attracted some of the best US-based writers. You can locate the professional writers you need by their skill level, performance and customer reviews. I recommend using their 6-star writers for your book, which will ensure that you get top-shelf writing. This includes but is not limited to writing brand-new content and weaving it into your draft, reworking your draft to make sure it delivers a clear and cohesive message, and rewriting and editing your content for improved flow and impact.

Because you’ll be delivering a tight-knit book draft that has a laser-targeted message and is 100% YOU, a professional writer will quickly be able to follow your book’s TONE and STYLE, which will make it much, much easier for him or her to transform your audio conversation to the written word. In fact, once you zero in on the perfect writer, you’ll get a book that’s so authentic your own family, friends and business associates won’t believe you didn’t write it.

Getting started with WriterAccess.

You can start by signing up for a free account just to test drive their platform, but when you’re ready to start your book I strongly suggest that you sign up for their Plus Service. To put it simply, the Plus Service is for people who are serious about time, money and authoring a client-getting book. With the Plus Service, you will get a dedicated Account Manager who will do a kickoff call with you to learn about your requirements and your goals, and who will then work closely with you to find the perfect writer for your book. The great part about the Plus Service is that it doesn’t cost you anything extra. It’s based on the amount of money you plan to spend with WriterAccess, and in the case of the Plus Service, it’s a deposit of $2,500. Coincidentally, the cost to rewrite, edit and proofread your book will be in the same ballpark, so why not take advantage of their concierge-like service? And if you don’t use all of this money or any of it, no sweat, just get a refund or apply any extra funds to your future projects. WriterAccess guarantees your happiness anyway, so you’re doubly protected…

Here’s what I recommend you do at WriterAccess…

Recruiting the perfect writer for your book.

Just as in any other industry, the most talented writers are not seeking out work, they’re being sought out. So the best way to find a writer will be through direct recruitment. Besides the fact that WriterAccess has the largest pool of top writers, they also have a slick platform that makes it easy to source and recruit the best talent for your needs. Their platform gives you the power to search and connect with only the writers that match your requirements (or if you use the Plus Service, to search with the assistance of your dedicated Account Manager).

WriterAccess also has a unique feature called Casting Call. This is a sophisticated recruiting tool that allows you to share the details of your book project with specific writers at WriterAccess who can apply for the chance to work with you. Email notifications are sent out to the writers who have the proficiency and industry expertise required (as indicated on their profiles), and they can respond with details as to why they’re the best fit. I recommend using a Casting Call if you have not had success finding a writer directly.

Put them to the test.

Once you’ve narrowed the writer pool down to two to three prospects, the next step is to find out who’s the best fit by putting them to the TEST.

The way to do this is to simply give the writers a small assignment that will test their writing skills and help you find out who’s the most qualified for your book. I suggest having them rewrite the same 300-500 words of content, something from the beginning of your book (based on your directions, specifications, project details, etc.). Give them a day or two to complete the assignment, then pick the winner. This is a low-cost method to ensure that you have a writer who will produce the best results for you. Plus, this test will kick-start the rewriting of your draft.

Be up front with your writer candidates. Let them know that you’re indeed trying them out and this is just a test to see if it’s the right fit for both of you. Simply let them know that they’re competing with a couple other writers and if they’re the right fit for the job, then they will receive the remainder of the assignment. If for some reason this test does not uncover an acceptable candidate, it could mean you need to revisit your project details or simply rinse and repeat another test. But if you spend the time up front narrowing down your candidate pool and clearly defining your project, you won’t have any problems.

Hire your writer.

Congratulations, you found a writer. The next thing you’re going to do is hire that writer through the WriterAccess platform to complete the rest of your book.

The rule of thumb is your 5-Hour Author-style book should take approximately 2 weeks for your writer to complete. Of course, you’ll ultimately determine this by communicating directly with your writer and your Account Manager (if applicable). In the end, it’s all about good communication and setting appropriate and achievable expectations for all parties. For example, be clear that you expect your writer to continue this assignment within 3 days of the hire date. Let your writer know that he or she has 14 days to deliver your final draft and then 2-3 days to make any revisions that you request.

Once you’ve delivered your rough draft and clearly outlined your goals, requirements and time line, you’ll work closely with the writer on the iterations of your book draft.

When you get your final draft back, you will review it and make any necessary tweaks before you send it off for editing.

It’s time for professional editing and proofreading.

Once all the revisions are complete, the next thing you will do is send your final draft off to a professional writer for editing and proofreading. No good book can exist without good editing, so don’t shortcut this step, EVER. Why? The only thing that makes good writing better writing is better editing. The editing will also improve the flow of your book, and it will enhance the overall message of your book. Think of editing and proofreading like getting a second opinion.

First off, it’s easy to jump back in and place an editing order with WriterAccess. They have a dedicated team of editors that go through your book with a fine-tooth comb checking for spelling, word choice, sentence structure, grammar, clarity, tone and style.

Or another service I recommend is the professional writers at ProofreadNOW.com. With ProofreadNOW’s Level 1 service, two professional editors will read and review your book for clarity, as well as suggest changes and corrections.

The great thing about both of these services is that you’ll see the BEFORE and AFTER version of your draft as part of their service. The editors will provide you with suggested changes and comments that you can review and compare, then you can quickly make the changes and revisions needed to ensure you have a literary masterpiece.

Tips on how to work with your writers.

Although your draft will tell a lot about your tone, style and overall storyline, it’s best to communicate as much as possible so you can be 100% sure to locate the best writer and editors for your book.

That means the more you give them, the more you’ll get. Start this by typing up a project description that clearly outlines your job, requirements, specifications and any comments you want them to read before they start working from your draft or editing the written book. For example, let them know that the assignment is to rewrite your book’s draft that was created from an audio interview, or, in the case of the editor, to proofread the rewrite. Tell them your intended audience, your ideal client avatar. Tell them the industry you’re in. You can give them an idea of the tone and style you desire for the book, things to add, things to avoid and more. And don’t forget to let them know when you need it. Name the deadline and the best workflow, including how much time you need for review, revision and approval. When you send them your draft, let them know ALL your requests so they can make every attempt to conform to your wishes. Just as with any successful project you embark on, the foundation is good communication. So be willing to build a good relationship and a rapport, and take an active role up front with your writer and editor.

You’re almost to the finish line! Now it’s time to finalize and publish your book.


More on Writer Access //

Why do the best companies rely on WriterAccess? In minutes, you can access over 10,000 US-based writers, then pinpoint the exact skills and industry experience you need. Plus they have a fantastic support team and an easy to use web-based platform. And they guarantee that you’ll be delighted with the results you get or you don’t pay! Get started at www.WriterAccess.com

More on Proofread NOW //

ProofreadNOW will proofread your business documents 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. An important feature of their service is that every document you submit is reviewed by two expert editors, and then sent back to you via a secure server—within a matter of hours or days (your pick). This double review is a standard part of their service, and there is no additional charge for this. What this means is you can trust them to catch the mistakes that you could otherwise miss on your own.

They have two levels of service that you can choose from:

  • Level 1: Clarity checks for spelling errors, punctuation errors, typographical errors, and grammar errors. (Recommended for The 5-Hour Author).
  • Level 2: Style includes their Level 1 service as well as content editing and rewriting.

Find out more at www.ProofreadNOW.com

Automated Editing Tools //


Grammarly is an automated proofreader that follows me around all day. It makes me a better writer by finding and correcting my mistakes. It even gives me occasional word suggestions so I can sound more intelligent…

Grammarly is like a Big Brother for your everyday writing and communications. It even follows you around the internet. So whether you’re writing an email in Gmail, sending someone a message on LinkedIn or writing a letter, Grammarly’s got your back. But aside from their intelligent software robot that helps fix and diversify your writing. They also have professional proofreaders available to double-check your most challenging assignments. Check it out at www.Grammarly.com

Hemingway App:

Hemingway scans and analyzes your writing then highlights the areas that need improvement. It points out wordy sentences, adverbs, and passive voice. It also identifies the unnecessary words and phrases that are getting in your way. Allowing you to write with power and clarity.

A powerful combination. I love to use Grammarly’s grammar and proofreading features inside Hemingway’s online editor. Get started at www.HemingwayApp.com

Audio On Demand:

One of my favorite ways to review my work is to use the SPEECH function on Mac computers. I highlight the text that I want to listen to, select the “Speech” option and then “Start Speaking”. I can listen to it right away, or I can select “Add to iTunes as a Spoken Track” if I want to save it as an audio file. I can quickly identify any inconsistencies that I didn’t catch during the reading process. Plus, when I listen to my content it puts me in the shoes of the reader…

There are also mobile apps that do text-to-speech. The one I use is Voicepaper. I like it because it reads my notes and documents directly from Evernote and Dropbox. You can check it out at VoicepaperApp.com.


The 5-Hour Author™ Copyright © 2018 by Travis John Agency LLC. All Rights Reserved.


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