On Writing Bestselling Non-Fiction Michael Levin header

As one of the most established ghostwriters in the nation, New York Times best-selling author Michael Levin has written, co-written or ghostwritten more than 100 books, of which eleven are national best sellers.

He has also made contributions to the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes.com, Politico, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, the Jerusalem Post, Writers Digest, and CBS News.  Michael taught writing classes at the University of California – Los Angeles and New York University. He even appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank in 2012.

Michael always wanted to be a writer from the time he was a little kid. He first fell in love with storytelling when his father read Ask Mr. Bear and Winnie the Pooh to him. His choice of career solidified when he saw a film strip ingrade school of an author reading proofs of his book. That was when Michael said, “I want to be that when I grow up!”

This interview covered a wide range of topics. Here are some of the takeaways:

  • The most important thing for any new writer is “behind-in-chair time.”
  • The importance of persistence
  • The key to production is low quotas. Michael told his students at UCLA to simply write two rotten double spaced pages a day.
  • Here’s a secret: you cannot write better than you can write, and you cannot write worse than you can write. Simply strive for quantity and you will get better.
  • Write every day.
  • Don’t put pressure on yourself. You’re going to have to overcome enough self-doubt anyway. Don’t make the burden greater.
  • What’s different about writing books today.
  • The short human attention span.
  • People will see you as a thought leader simply because you’ve written a book.
  • You don’t have to be published by a major publisher to get that respect. A lot of people don’t even know who the major publishers are.
  • How traditional publishers fail to understand the marketing equation.
  • How titles and subtitles work for nonfiction books.
  • What the table of contents is for in a nonfiction book
  • In terms of selling a book, the name of the author is secondary. The name of the publisher is immaterial. The primary concern of the reader is, “Will this book solve my problem?”
  • The importance of defining and selling to your niche audience.
  • The importance of defining what success looks like.
  • The importance of defining the purpose for writing your book.
  • How to use your nonfiction book to get more clients.
  • How to use your nonfiction book to prequalify your clients.
  • How to make a successful call to action.
  • The importance of generating a conversation with your reader.
  • How generous you need to be with your information.
  • How to structure a proper call to action chapter.
  • Drive people to your website throughout the book, and give them free stuff when they get there.
  • Build a relationship with your customer.
  • Keep your customer fascinated.
  • Prove your value by showing how you’ve helped your other customers solve their problems.
  • Emerson’s law of compensation. Simply put: You get what you give.
  • Make your information valuable and only sell other products at the end of the book.
  • How to answer the question: “should I self publish, or go with a traditional publisher?”
  • The pitfalls of traditional publishing.
  • How Amazon creates a level playing field.
  • The power of shorter books.
  • The value of calling your book a manual.
  • Don’t worry about being a best-selling author, be the best earning author.
  • The future of the book industry.

On Writing Bestselling Non-Fiction Michael Levin quote image

Three Questions to Ask Yourself When Planning a Book.

1. Who is the specific niche audience for your book? Who are you trying to sell to? The truth is there is no mass market audience today for anything.

2. What is the next step you want people to take after reading your book?

3. What knowledge is in your head, that if your audience knew that you knew it, would cause them to take the next step with you?

Links and Resources Mentioned in the Interview

Business Ghost — Michael’s ghostwriting company
Strategic Coach — the coaching program that Michael is a part of

Contact Michael Levin

email: [email protected]
phone: 1-800-637-6856

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