Laura Morton has written over 40 books and a staggering 19 New York Times Bestsellers, with a wide range of celebrities, including Al Roker, Justin Beiber, Joan Lunden, and Danica Patrick—just to name a few. She has worked in the entertainment industry for more than 25 years as a writer, producer, speaker and entrepreneur, and continues to pursue projects in publishing, production and electronic media through her company, Laura Morton Management.
Her first career was as a television producer. She got frustrated because she would spend a lot of money to hire script writers and have to rewrite them. That’s how she discovered she had a talent for storytelling. The first person she cowrote a book with was Joan Lunden, Joan Lunden’s Healthy Cooking . Laura met Joan when she produced Joan’s workout video.
When Joan and Laura pitched the idea of a cookbook/weight-loss memoir to Joan’s agent he said it was a terrible idea. The book went on to become a New York Times bestseller, and the rest is history.
We had an interesting conversation about celebrity, storytelling, and what it takes to be an author. Here are some of the takeaways:
- The difference between being a ghostwriter and a co-author.
- When you would want a ghostwriter vs a co-author.
- The difference between writing in a male voice and writing in a female voice.
- How to suppress your own voice and write in the voice of your character/collaborator.
- The importance of having ownership of what you write.
- The process of recording someone else’s life story.
- The importance of trust in a collaborative relationship.
- The importance of liking who you’re working with.
- 4 hour work sessions and the point of diminishing returns.
- How long it takes to record someone’s life story.
- The power of creation and how books take on a life of their own.
- Writing a book is a good way to become recognized as a thought leader.
- A moment of transition is probably the number one reason why someone decides to write a book.
- The number one rule in writing is: write what you know
- People love to read celebrity experiences.
- People love a great victory.
- The importance of context in relation to content.
- Content is the information we see. Context is the lens we see it through. So if you’re having a bad day and your friend isn’t, and they text you a sarcastic joke you could take itthe wrong way because of your emotional state. That is context.
- The importance of being concise and to the point in your writing.
- The difference between writing and giving speeches.
- The importance of “killing your babies.”
- You don’t have to be famous to have your story told. There is value in everyone’s life experience.
- How shorter attention spans today have influenced publishing.
- Write what you love. Write what you know. Write what you have a passion to write.
- Write everyday.
- If you’re not connected to the material it won’t work. Writing a book is hard enough. You have to have a real passion for what you’re doing in order to power through the obstacles and challenges that will pop up.
- Know where you want to land and work backwards. What do you want to get out of this book?
- You can’t jump into something if you can’t go all in.
- If writing isn’t your passion, don’t choose it as a career because it will be a frustrating career.
- Making a book a success is all on you. If you self publish you’re the one that has to find a way to promote your book. If you get a book deal with a traditional publisher, you still have to be the one to promote your book. Even with big name authors traditional publishing companies don’t really do active campaigns. They just put the book out there.
- If you can’t sit down and write one day get on social media. Start building a platform there.
- Busy people are always working. If you stay busy people are going to want to work with you. You will be seeing someone with a good work ethic who has things going on.
- Enthusiasm is the most important element in what you do for a living, because what you do for a living is live your life.
- People love to be around enthusiastic people.
- Do something every day.
- As a new author breaking into the writing business, if you allow yourself to go into a dark and brooding headspace, it isn’t going to serve you. You’ll probably end up having to get some other type of job, then when you approach the end of your life you will say, “I always wanted to be a writer,” instead of, “I am a writer.”
3 Reasons People Write Books
1. It’s a branding piece
2. They need the money
3. Their writing something for their legacy. There’s something they want to be remembered for.
Links and Resources Mentioned in the Interview
Joan Lunden’s Healthy Cooking — Laura Morton’s first co-authored book.
Intentional Living: Choosing a Life That Matters — John’s book on how to achieve significance in your life.
Laura Morton Management — Laura’s homepage