Name: Helena Bouchez
Business Name: Executive Words
Website URL: executivewords.com
Social Media Links:
What services do you offer?
I’m a non-fiction book strategist, developmental editor, and co-writer specializing in marketing, marketing technology and business principles. I also do biographies. Basically, if you are a busy executive with tremendous subject-matter expertise and a budget but have no time or desire to sit down and write a book, you work with me to figure out what the book is about. It then becomes my job to get the book out of you and follow through until it is either up on Amazon under your own imprint, in the hands of your contact at a traditional or academic publisher.
Who are your ideal clients?
Owners of professional services businesses (marketing, marketing technology, research) and owners of big home-service busineses who understand the value of a book to business development, i.e., building trust with prospective clients. I’ve also done a few books for people who have one foot in academia and the other in consulting — those are fun and challenging.
How did you get started in your business?
It was a journey! Editing is the fifth or sixth incarnation of a long and varied career so let’s talk about how I started the book editing business.
In 2014, I had a content creation business but I was tired of it because it wasn’t moving the needle enough for my clients and suddenly everyone and their brother was now doing “expertise content,” most of them charging a lot less money than me.
I longed to be the provider of something that would have more impact, something that I would feel good about charging a ton of money for because I knew my clients would be able to recoup it and more if they used the end product effectively. I’d edited two books under the umbrella of the content business and both of them had an enormous business impact. Like, huge. I just had to figure out how to pivot and keep enough money coming in during the transition.
Then, in October of 2014, my mom got sick and I had to drop everything and travel out of state to help. Coincidentally, within a week, all but one of my clients resigned. It was scary but a blessing because instead of scrambling to get more work I didn’t really want, I did the pivot. My darling husband kept us afloat while I refused new short-form work and networked like crazy until I landed a book client. It’s been a series of referrals since then!
What are some common issues you help your clients with?
The job I’m hired to do is to deliver a manuscript worthy of serious consideration by a top-tier publisher—even if the author decides to self-publish. There’s a continuum—sometimes there’s just an idea, in which case I’ll work with the author to figure out if there’s enough there for a book or not. Then, sometimes there’s an existing manuscript that needs fixing or even a finished book that needs reworking. The one piece of advice I would offer to people who want to write a book is to get some professional help in figuring out what the book is about first and what buckets of information you need to put in it—so you don’t end up with a “what I did on my summer vacation” kind of book.
For my authors who want to self-publish, I act as art director and project manager to get the book designed and up on Amazon with the right categories, etc. My mission is to get the book completely done so the author and I can hold it in our hands. When a traditional or academic publisher is involved, I also do the book proposal but my job is done once the manuscript is handed off at deadline. Both project types are always stressful at the end—just different types of stress!
Can you recommend any books or resources to other members?
- Storygrid by Shawn Coyne
- The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
- Seminars with Robert McKee (lifechanging). Mckeestory.com
FYI: The three of these guys know each other well so it’s the same lineage; thus the methods are complementary.
- On Writing Well by William Zinsser
- Eric Vanderhope http://ericvanderhope.com/
Can you offer one “pro tip” to our members?
Invest time in getting really clear on what you are trying to create with your business or your book. It will make the execution portion of things 100 times easier.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I work on non-fiction books exclusively and my clients are true subject-matter experts so it’s getting paid to go to school. I am always learning. I love it.
What’s next for you?
I want to figure out how to unpack my book-planning process in a way people can do it themselves because thorough planning simplifies the book writing process tremendously. I’m thinking maybe it’s an online course with some live demos. Sounds like a good side project for 2020!
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