Interview with Lisa Robbin

Interview with Lisa Robbin

Lisa Robbin is one of many multi-talented classmates I had the pleasure of working with during my formative years. She is an accomplished singer, actress and author, and now works as a marketing coach for creative-types. One of these days I’d like to hire her myself to help me sell more books and get more people to read this blog. In the meantime, here are her thoughts on writing her two most recent books.

What inspired your book?

I have two books. This first (a business parable) was inspired
by an encounter on an airplane. A woman told me I was going to write a book
called “The Secret Watch” and by the end of the flight, I had the
entire book outlined. My second book was the direct result of 20 years of
working with creative entrepreneurs. It outlines my approach for helping
creatives make good money doing what they love.

Did you start with an outline or did you make it up as you went along?

Both books started with an outline, though the second book had a
much richer outline.

What researching methods did you use?

Google is my friend. For terms, definitions, and fact checking,
I looked to the Internet for confirmation. For my second book, I also used
personal interviews with experts and case studies from my clients.

Did you draw on personal experience?

My first book is less autobiographical, though it does draw on
some personal situations that are more universal in appeal. The second book
draws heavily on my own personal experiences as a business coach for creative

How did your publish?

I opted to self-publish both books. My brand is about not
waiting to be picked, and the lead time for a high-quality, traditionally
published book is easily a year or more. I didn’t want to wait that long to get
my content to market, plus, I wanted to actually make some money on the book.
New authors rarely get a large advance, and the royalty checks are a fraction
of the cover price. Self-publishing gave me complete control over the entire
process — and a larger share of the revenue.

Who did your cover and marketing?

I hired cover designers for both books,
but when it comes to interior, I didn’t know what I didn’t know on the first
book. I highly recommend Tracy Lay at for book cover (and
interior layout). I did my own interior on the first book and it shows. My
second book is SO much better because I hired a designer that does great work
on the cover and the guts.

Because I am in the marketing business, I’ve done my own
marketing, which has its pros and cons. Being so close to the work, it can be a
challenge to promote the books frequently enough with my audience. And doing it
myself means less reach. I built a street team to help me launch both books,
but all ongoing marketing efforts are my own. And that’s something pretty
common in publishing these days. IF you can get a publisher to pick up your
book, they’re still going to expect you to help do some of the outreach and

How many revisions did it take to get a publishable book?

My first book had about 13 revisions, because I worked with a
professional editor. My second book had 4 revisions before we went to press.
Even still, I managed to find a couple of things to fix after publishing.

What is the ratio of time you spent researching to time you spent writing?

I write first (a LOT) and then research the points I’m making, so maybe 1 hour of
research for every 10–12 hours of writing. But my books aren’t research-driven.
I would expect a technical or historical book to require much more research

How did you make time to write?

I have
a saying: if it’s not scheduled, it’s stressful. I allotted twice as much time
as I figured I’d need to write the books and put it in my calendar as writing
time. If I don’t put it in my calendar, it simply doesn’t get done.

How does your published book enhance your other ventures?

My books are the foundation of my speaking and training
platforms. I sell them at conferences and events, and use them as content for
my courses. My first book also became the foundation for a new coaching card
deck (merch) that I created.

What methods did you use to research for your book?

Interviews and google. I also developed an assessment that has
been taken by thousands of people over the past 3 years.

Who are the people that would benefit the most from reading your book, and how did you determine that?

My audience is creative entrepreneurs. Each book serves a
different segment of that audience. The Secret Watch is more inspirational in
nature, while Creative Freedom is a step-by-step how to for people serious
about growing their creative career in a way that works for them.

How did you decide what order to present your topics in?

Narrative non-fiction lends itself to a classic storytelling
flow, so for The Secret Watch I started with the conflict and unravelled the
story to the resolution at the end. Creative Freedom, being a how-to book
needed to start with some context before jumping into the nitty gritty. Then,
it was a matter of taking readers through the same process I use with my

How did you ensure that your advice, memories, and recollections were accurate?

Fact checking, looking back over recorded conversations,
transcripts, and verifying the results of my clients for the past 20 years.

What would you like your readers to gain from reading your book?

All my books are written to inspire and encourage creatives to
do what they most love and stay the course on their dreams… and hopefully
make some good money in the process.

What are you writing now?

I’m currently working on the follow-up book to Creative Freedom which
focuses on taking a creative from profitability into a six or seven figure
career doing what they love.

What is your advice to other writers?

Write because you can’t NOT do it. Don’t write for the money.
The money doesn’t usually come straight away…. at least, not from the book.
It comes from the following you create and the Raving Fans that you develop as
you write. Build relationships as you write, and don’t stop writing. Even when
things seem hard or weird, make sure you take time to get at least a few word
down. Those words add up to big ideas over time.

And don’t try to do everything yourself. Don’t write in a vacuum. Talk to
people you trust. Hire an editor or a designer. Pass off all the stuff that
takes you out of your zone of genius as soon as practical. You may not be able
to hire out everything, but do what you can to take the pressure off yourself
to do everything to bring the book to market. Don’t be afraid to start smaller
than you’d like, either. Most of us aren’t ready to win the Pulitzer Prize with
our first book. That’s okay. Keep writing. Don’t stop writing.

Be sure to get your copy of Lisa’s book “Creative Freedom: How to Own Your Dreams Without Selling Your Soul: A guide to personal and financial success as a creative entrepreneur”now!

Storyteller and published author of 4 novels.