hook for your book

We all have a book inside us. We may even have several! If you want to write a book based on your life, are you clear on the type of book you would like to write? I have seven options for you—six nonfiction and one fiction—that might fit well with your plan to write a book.

I like to say a book is a credibility card that solidifies your brand and message. Should you write a memoir, focusing on your personal story?  Would it make more sense to write a book about what you have learned, one that features pieces of your story and a short summary of it at the beginning of the book?

Many of my clients have struggled with the question of what type of book to write to most effectively communicate their ideas and establish their brand and get their message out there. Some of my clients have pivoted with their brand, and a book has been instrumental in helping them do that. For example, one wanted to move from a more straightforward health brand to one that was more lifestyle oriented.

Other clients of mine have wanted to write their story as a book so they can inspire others but soon came to see that a memoir needs to be about a specific theme in their life that ties into their central message.

My video, How to Write a Book Based on Your Life, goes into some detail about the seven different types of books you might write. They are:

An autobiography or personal history. This type of personal project lets you tell your story to future generations. How I wish that my great-grandmother had written such a book so I could know more about how she went from having just a six-grade education to running a family business! Your great-grandchildren would surely appreciate a professionally written book telling your life story.

A memoir. Memoirs are thematic and often focus on just one aspect of a person’s life. Some authors write more than one memoir. Common themes including coming of age and the hero’s journey. Memoirs have a wider audience than an autobiography or personal history.

A life lessons book. Like a memoir, a life lessons book is thematic, but the themes are summed up with compelling statements. I love the title of the book by Starbucks founder Howard Behar, written with Janet Goldstein: It’s Not About the CoffeeWhat a great title that summarizes the book’s central message! All of his chapter titles are statements and lessons that we can learn from.

A business book. A business book can be part memoir, part life-lessons book. The key is to know your best stories and match them up with key ideas you want to put across (for example, that the Starbucks brand is NOT about the coffee!)

A self-help book. I specialize in helping people write this type of book. You may have seen my video on how to structure a self-help book. In it, I offer a structure that I have seen work time and time again. The book should take readers on a journey from here to there so that by the end of the book, they feel their life has changed and they know how to apply your ideas to their own life to make it better. There are two key elements in self-help books: the takeaway and the action plan. (You do not necessarily need an action plan, but you definitely need takeaway, as I explain in my video on How to Write a Book Based on Your Life.)

A parenting book. I cowrote an evergreen parenting book that continues to sell year after year (hence “evergreen”). In fact, it has sold over 130,000 copies. Now, I am not the expert of all time on parenting (my son would agree with me on that!). However, I did interviews and research, synthesized ideas, drew on my own experiences as a child and as a parent, and put it all together with the help of my coauthor, my son’s occupational therapist who treated him. We came up with a parenting book filled with tips and strategies I knew parents needed. I turned myself into an expert in the process. (Two book award committees and dozens of reviewers and endorsers apparently agree, because Raising a Sensory Smart Child has gotten a phenomenal response from those folks.) My coauthor, Lindsey Biel, OTR/L, provided the therapist’s perspective, which broadened the appeal of the book. You might want to consider a coauthor or at least a foreword from someone who has professional credentials who can vouch for the credibility of your parenting advice.

A novel. You can “fictionalize” your life and start writing a novel. Know whether you are going to make it a mystery, a romance, commercial women’s fiction (such as a novel about a mother and daughter who experience conflict they have to resolve), or a work of literary fiction. Know the conventions of these types of books so that you are clear on what you are writing. If you are going to write commercial women’s fiction, read some novels in that category. There’s an old saying: To be a good writer, you have to be a good reader. Did you know that bestselling novelist Jeffrey Archer said he read 100 novels before starting his own? That might have been more than he needed to read, but it goes to show you really do have to familiarize yourself with the type of book you want to write.

I also talk in my video How to Write a Book Based on Your Life about using sensory detail and storytelling so that you “show, don’t tell”—another old saying in the book biz. When you write, put us in the middle of the action and the moment of the scene, even if you are just writing an anecdote in a business book so you emotionally engage us. You don’t have to go on for pages giving us exhaustive detail about a client you worked with, but give us a sense of what it was like to be in the situation that went from uncomfortable to a sense of possibility for change. Show us how you overcame your bad habit of saying “yes, of course” and instead saying, “I’ll need to get more details before I commit to doing that.” Even a nonfiction book has a narrative arc. Perhaps you will show us how you went from hating your body to feeling grateful for the healthy body you inhabit, from weighing yourself obsessively to telling your scale, “Kiss my butt, buddy,” and weighing yourself once a year, not obsessing about the number. You started at a low place and achieved success in some area of your life. People want to see how you did that, and your book can do the job of conveying your story.

Need help conceptualizing your book? Stuck on the title and overarching theme? Not sure if you should go with life lessons around your parenting successes or with a funny memoir? I can help. Give me some details about where you are in your process. Think about where you see yourself going with this book (doing podcasts and public speaking? being on local TV and radio talk shows? having a blog and newsletter along with a popular Instagram account?). And let me know if you’re ready for a one-hour consultation call and perhaps some coaching as you start your writing process. Contact me at info@nancypeske.com and let’s get you firmly on the road to writing and publishing your book.


how to write a book 7 ways

How to write a book based on your story or work: I can help you figure out what type of book you want to write.

Back when I was an insecure high school freshman, I worked on a school play in the costumes department, and looked up with admiration to the senior girl in a lead role. She seemed so sure of herself, so confident on stage. I hoped someday to have those qualities she had—and wouldn’t you know that many years later, the universe would bring us together again in collaboration through our professional lives? Susan Wehrley came to me as an editing client through my colleague Stephanie Gunning when Stephanie and I were both living in New York City.  When Susan and I realized we remembered each other from our little high school and that play long ago, we knew we were destined to work together—and eventually, we became good friends. Her work and mine are simpatico, and I think there’s much you can learn from Susan and her insights into how we hold ourselves back from living the lives we desire and enjoying the success we deserve.

Susan Wehrley’s new book, EGO at Work, will be released this spring, and she is currently offering a related webinar called EGO Challenge. It will run Wednesday nights, April 8 through July 15 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. CST and includes live Q&A sessions so you can get coaching for success from Susan, who has worked with business leaders and teams in Fortune 500 companies such as Pepsi-Cola and Harley Davidson, as well as helped build companies from the ground up! Susan  is the author of several books on personal and business success and has been featured in an hour-long PBS special on WMVT-TV in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She is brilliant at getting people to play well together in the sandbox—and we all know how important that is! Moreover, she gently but firmly coaches people into finding their purpose and passion so that they can be more effective at work and at home. Susan’s a dynamic coach and business innovator who created her own company. called Biz Remedies, to help entrepreneurs collaborate with each other. I asked her about her book and her insights into EGO at work.


 I think many of us, particularly if we’re authors or in the mind/body/spirit field or both, second-guess ourselves about our egos—we worry, are we being egotistic, or should we embrace our ego?

There is a lot of misunderstanding about the EGO.  I have written a book about it because many people, not just authors in the mind/body/spirit field, have this same concern.  The book explains how I see the EGO in three ways:

1)      Little EGO, which is our insecurity and self-doubt that keeps us from attaining our purpose and goals. It tends to blame others and circumstances and finds it hard to be compassionate, collaborative and innovative with others because it is easily offended and takes disagreement and difficulty personally.

2)      Big EGO, which is our mask of grandiosity that covers our fear and self-doubt. It keeps us from attaining our purpose and goals, because it tends to blame others and circumstances and gets easily angered when things aren’t going as it thought it “should.”  It tends to push people towards what it deems as the “RIGHT” way (our way)!

Both of these aspects of the EGO come from our fear-based thinking and way of being. We are   egocentric or self-absorbed when in little EGO or big EGO.

3)      Ego-strength, is our authentic self that knows who we are and what we are called to do or say. It is the part of us that is resilient and doesn’t take others’ opinions personally, because we are not focused on safety, security, love, and belonging like we are when we’re in the other two aspects of our EGO.  As a result, we are more focused on purpose, passion, power and peace and can be more compassionate, collaborative, and innovative with others.


 I LOVE that you took on this topic of the ego at work–meaning the workplace but also in our lives. Why did you capitalize EGO in your book’s title?

I capitalize EGO to remind us that when we are in our little and big EGO, we are Edging our God-like Self Out and also Edging the Group Out because we are so absorbed in our own thinking of what is right or wrong or how things “should be.”

Susan Wehrley's new book, EGO at Work. Consider attending her webinar!

Susan Wehrley’s new book, EGO at Work. Consider attending her webinar!



How does our “little ego” prevent us from being compassionate, collaborative, and innovative?

Many believe the little EGO is being humble, but it is not. The little EGO is very self-absorbed and insecure.  It tends to be more focused on pleasing others because of its concerns with safety, security, love and belonging. With this focus, it is hard to be compassionate with others who may think differently, and to agree to disagree, which is the essence of collaboration. If we don’t get out of the scripts in our mind, how could we possibly create something new and be innovative?


You talk about being in our “ego strength.” What is that, and how does that help us to be compassionate, collaborative, and innovative?

When we are in our Ego-strength, we respect that we all have a different point of view and are open to agreeing to disagree.  We don’t take others’ opinions personally and instead of being offended or angered by a different opinion, we are curious to discover another person’s point of view. It takes Egosstrength to stand tall in who you are and allow someone else to do the same. The conversation, when it is this open and honest, can lead to an “a-ha” moment (a heightened awareness) that helps all parties realize something neither of you realized before. This compassionate, collaborative and innovative connection is, in my opinion, the most spiritual connection we can have with others, because we are stretching even beyond our Ego-strength and connecting with something bigger than our selves: our Intuitive Self.


What’s an example or story of ego strength allowing someone to achieve these three goals?

I actually tell four great stories and examples in the book. The one your audience would likely love the most is about the spiritual author who is just launching her book and falls in love with a fireman.  It starts out hot and heavy, but then he pulls away from her because he fears losing himself. Her EGO gets activated as she is thrown into the unknown, wondering if she is “enough”–not only “enough” to make him happy but to be a success in her book launch and new business.  Everyone can relate to this EGO story, as it is about how stretching ourselves to reach our purpose can put us in the unknown and back into our deep-seated insecurity and EGO-scripts. The moral of the story is: “It’s not about him. Every relationship is an extension of our relationship with self—so what is the insecurity about within YOU?” That is what we solve in the story!


As someone who writes books and gives people advice in a public way, I open myself up to being called a narcissist or egotist. And I don’t want to let my little EGO get in the way of being compassionate toward people who don’t agree with my advice and who might take potshots at me as a person because hey, who am I to put myself out there as an expert? So many authors, whether they’re beginners or have been writing books for a while, struggle with being vulnerable when they are in the public eye. Any advice?

That is a normal concern because our EGO chatters, “Little missy…who do you think you are to be an expert?!” It is not really others’ opinion of you that makes you worry about being a narcissist or egotist. It is an insecurity script in your mind that is getting pulled up for you to look at and work out. I have a tool in the book called, “EGO Workout” that helps us look at the trigger to our fear, the judgment we have and where it came from, and how to problem-solve to reach our purpose and goals.


Your books are always so rich in practical takeaway—it’s one reason I’ve loved working on them and I recommend them to other authors! And EGO at Work is no different. But if you could give us just ONE technique that is core to the book, what would it be? And how would it benefit anyone looking to be more successful with their work?


It is the EGO Workout tool I just mentioned. I had a client use it the other day and here’s what she said: “I realize now that doing the EGO Workout is no different than doing my physical workout every day. If I don’t,  I’m stressed, don’t feel good about myself, I’m not focused, and I believe the lie that the issues are outside of myself—which  by the way—I  can do nothing about! But when I do the EGO Workout I realize what is really bothering me, where it came from, and what I need to do about my situation.  It is really empowering!”


Thank you, Susan. I’m looking forward to your webinar based on EGO at Work!


And if you’d like to attend the webinar and receive the benefit of Susan’s coaching, the cost is $585 UNLESS you sign up through THIS LINK, which allows you to save $100, allowing you to attend as many nights as you like for $485.


Interested in learning more about Susan’s work and her book EGO at Work? Follow Susan K. Wehrley and Associates on Facebook

How can life go from perfect to insane in a matter of seconds? We all know how the loss of a loved one can turn your life around, but what happens when it’s YOU who gets turned around and you find yourself living a nightmare? That’s exactly what happened to Karin Volo, who she shares her horrific tale in her new inspirational memoir 1,352 Days: A Journey from Jail to Joy. I had the pleasure of working with Karin on turning her harrowing story into a memoir that will inspire, educate, and uplift readers–a goal I know many of you have. I hope you will read her book: You can access the first chapter of Karin’s journey for free here:  volo.ontraport.net/t?orid=11608&opid=4

When I first heard Karin Volo’s story, I was shocked—unjustly incarcerated for almost four years while her young daughters were growing up without her, raised by her boyfriend and family thousands of miles away, overseas?! It all began with signing some papers for her husband when she was nine months pregnant–just a formality, she thought–and then, years later, a tap on her shoulders as she was about to fly home from a John Assaraf workshop she’d just attended in California. What followed was incarceration for what would be 1352 days as she fought for her freedom.

I knew Karin had an amazing hook when she first talked to me. She explained that rather than despair during this time of uncertainty, she treated the experience as a spiritual bootcamp and did all those self-help exercises we mean to do when we read the book–exercises designed to help us let go of our anger, own our choices, and co-create with Spirit a new reality. I was mesmerized as she told me about working A Course in Miracles, using the edge of a piece of silverware as her mirror to recite her affirmations! And when I heard she held on to no anger or regrets after being incarcerated for nearly four years, I knew I wanted to help her get her story on the page. 1,352 Days truly is Orange Is the New Black with a spiritual, inspirational twist! I’m not surprised she has collected endorsements from inspirational authors Colette Baron-Reid, Carmen Harra, Jacquelyn Aldana, Marcy Shimoff, and Peggy McColl! And here’s the most inspiring part of Karin’s story: Karin is donating her profits from the book to Not for Sale, a not-for-profit organization for helping people escape the slavery of human trafficking. 

There are many lessons you can draw from Karin’s story of jail to joy, told in her page-turning memoir 1,352 Days. One of those lessons is to take control of the power of your mind to envision something better for yourself starting in this very moment. Karin used visualizations, affirmations, and taking care of her body’s needs to keep her spirits up. (If you think you have a hard time getting exercise, sunshine, quality food, and opportunities for self-care, imagine trying to do it when in a county jail with rule after rule designed to take away your freedoms).

Honestly, Karin’s story is so compelling that I must urge any of you who are looking to write an inspirational memoir, or to write a self-help book and create an author platform around your story of survival and triumph over hardship, to read her book. Do something good for yourself and help a great cause. Enjoy a free sample of 1,352 Days NOW! volo.ontraport.net/t?orid=11608&opid=4


Inspirational memoir 1,352 Days is like Orange Is the New Black with a spiritual, inspirational twist.

Inspirational memoir 1,352 Days is like Orange Is the New Black with a spiritual, inspirational twist.