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Welcome to Season 2 of The Book Marketing Action Podcast with Becky Robinson, where we give you information that you can immediately implement to increase your influence and market your books more successfully. In this episode, we are joined by Cathy Fyock—Author, Book Strategist, and Certified Speaking Professional (CSP).

Today’s episode is continuing the author journey series. The series is based on Becky’s book, which is scheduled for release from Berrett Koehler publishers in April 2022. The book is called Reach: Creating Lasting Impact for your Book, Message, or Cause. One of the things that you’re going to hear from Cathy in our upcoming conversation is this idea that books are magic. So I’ll be curious once you listen to it, if you agree that books are magical.

About Cathy Fyock

Becky: Kathy, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today. I’m really interested in diving in and talking to you about the major pivot that you made in your career. So after years in HR, and recruiting roles, and as a speaker to HR audiences, you made a pivot to a business as a book strategist. Cathy, I would love for you to tell me about the journey to build your brand in a new area.

Cathy: Well, one of the best ways to rebuild a brand and to create this new persona as a book coach, is to write a book. It’s interesting, I was giving a presentation for the National Speakers Association and I was asked to codify my process and I thought, this is so interesting. I don’t know exactly what my process is, but I’m going to learn what it is by having to sit down and codify it. So when I gave the program, several of my friends came up to me and said, Cathy, have you ever thought about becoming a book coach? I thought, no, but I liked this idea. So that was really the launch. But then I was thinking, okay, so what am I going to do? The only credential I really had was being a small business owner and entrepreneur, and having been an author, and growing my business through authorship. But I thought, okay, if I’m going to do this, I need to write a book about how to write a book and that is my new credential, and the really cool thing is it absolutely worked.

Becky: A follow up then. So why do you think it worked so well?

Cathy: I think because I tell my clients, books are magical, books have a power unlike a blog and unlike articles, and unlike any other product or service or offering. Books are magical, and they have a power, maybe because they are hard to write. It does take an enormous amount of energy and effort and clarity and focus. It takes all of that, but in the clarity and focus, and in that whole process of articulating your expertise, you are really getting so clear about what it is that you do and what the magic is that that is what your book contains: is the secret sauce, the powerful ingredients of your process, whatever that might be. So having a book, as the credential is just…there’s nothing quite like it.

What was the timeline of pivoting to a new business?

Becky: So Cathy, could you talk for a moment about the timeline. So from the point that you decided to begin this new type of business, and what that’s been like for you, because I know it’s been close to 10 years?

Cathy: Yeah, it’s been like 7 plus years now. So it was actually in the spring of 2013 that I gave my presentation to the chapter on how to write a book. Then I got the idea that if I was going to do this business, I needed to write the book. So I wrote the book that fall, and I wrote it in six weeks, true to my formula, and launched the business in January of 2014. Basically, in my first months as a book coach, I did more talking to people about the idea of writing books. I put together my initial package, and then I just started having conversations with people about what it is that I was doing, using the book as the key leverage or the key way to articulate what it is that I’m doing, and how I’m doing it. But really, the business has grown enormously since then. I started the business in January of 2014. I’ve helped now nearly 200 professionals become published authors. I have authored five more books, and it just keeps growing. I keep seeing opportunities to serve my clients in new and different ways and I’ve never been more fulfilled in my work ever.

Becky: Wow, that’s amazing. So the first book, though, that you ever wrote was the one that you wrote in 2013. Is that correct?

Cathy: No, the first book that I wrote about writing. So my books before were on human resources issues. But my first book on writing, it was basically saying, “I have expertise on this new topic. You don’t know me for knowing this topic, except that I have written books in HR.” But writing that book about how to write a book has really launched everything for me.

What’s been most important to you on this journey? 

Becky: That’s really powerful. Thank you for clarifying. So I’m curious what’s been most important to you on this journey, Cathy?

Cathy: I think really listening to what my clients are telling me and what they’re asking me for, and what they are saying about the process. So as I’ve been growing my tribe, I really tried to listen to what my clients have said. So they said, “I really am having trouble with this,” or “I don’t think this is long enough,” or “I think that you need to add this service.” I’ve really tried to flex and be as responsive as I possibly can to what my clients are asking for. 

For example, early on, some of my clients asked me for help in some area that I had no expertise in. And one of my clients said, “Well,if you don’t have the expertise, why don’t you just get a guest on a program and offer webinars about the topics that you don’t know about, but that your authors are interested in learning about and that, frankly, I’m interested in learning about, too.” I thought that was brilliant. So I have lots of friends that are related to publishing, promoting, and writing your book. So those became my guests for my master classes. I don’t call them webinars anymore, I call them master classes. I do them at least monthly and it’s a great strategy for offering value to my clients, for educating myself and building my tribe in my community, and offering incredible value to my clients and information that they want and need.

What have you learned about what it takes to expand awareness of your thought leadership in a new area?

Becky: That seems like a great strategy. So I’m wondering, Cathy, what you’ve learned about what it takes to expand awareness of your thought leadership in this new area?

Cathy: Well, I think continuing to write. So I didn’t just write the first book, I have written several books in the space. So my first book was On Your Mark: From First Word to First Draft in Six Weeks which was the fundamentals/basics of the process. My next book, written a couple years later, was Blog2Book: Repurposing Content to Discover the Book You’ve Already Written, which came to me again, as a result of listening to people. I was attending a conference of the National Speakers Association and within four hours, I had four people come up to me and say, “Cathy, I love what you’re doing. I really think that I need you to work with me. I’ve been blogging for several years and I feel like there’s a book there. Maybe you could help me put it together?” I’m thinking, oh my gosh, that’s a service I should be offering. And then I thought, oh, my gosh, that’s a book I should be writing. Then I wrote it as a blog book, meaning I repurposed a lot of the blog content that I had been writing. So I actually modeled a blog to book. And then my next book was The Speaker Author, because I found that a lot of my authors did not know how to leverage their books into growing their businesses, which is kind of my fundamental reason for helping people write books, is to grow a business. So I wrote The Speaker Author as a way for my clients to better understand the magic, the power of a book, to grow your business, and to use it in a smart and effective way.

What challenges have you encountered?

Becky: Thanks, Cathy. I’m curious about any challenges you’ve encountered on your journey?

Cathy: This has been the most magical journey. It’s, in some ways, been a long journey. It’s been seven plus years, but it has been so much fun. So it’s been hard work, but it’s been easy, if you know what I mean. It has just been a labor of love. I know, I work hard at what I do, but it has been so enjoyable, and so rewarding. So, yeah, I feel like I’m in the zone.

What are you most hoping to achieve?

Becky: That’s amazing. So Cathy, I’m wondering what you’re most hoping to achieve?

Cathy: What I say now to my authors is that, as speakers and authors, I believe that we can and do change the world, one word at a time, and we make a difference. My authors are all trying to make the world a better place in some way in their corner of the world. And that’s what I want folks to do. In stepping into thought leadership, they are really stepping into bringing their whole potential to the world and they’re also helping bring others into their full potential. So it is this wonderful cycle of developing and growing and becoming more.

Becky: So how will you know when you’ve achieved your highest goals for your work in the world?

Cathy: Well, I have no plans to retire, even though I’m technically at retirement age, so I’m just enjoying the process. I plan to have a more condensed workweek, but I’m continuing to work and I have no plans to quit, because I love what I’m doing. So until no one needs me anymore or calls on me, then I will be offering my services to aspiring authors.

How has generosity played a role in your journey?

Becky: So I’m curious, Cathy, what role has generosity played on your journey?

Cathy: You know, people have been so generous with me. One of the things I love about the National Speakers Association is that it is an organization of caring and sharing, and I love being a part of that. And that really suits me and fits me. I find that the more generous I am in helping others, I believe that there are times to provide a break for folks or give them a leg up or help them in ways that are sort of beyond the call of duty, and I love doing that. So being generous is definitely a philosophy that I have, that the more generous I am, the more generous the world is to me. It’s not me doing one to make the other happen but it’s just it seems to me you can’t be generous and not have it come back to benefit you in some way.

Do you think you’re famous?

Becky: Thank you. I’m curious, Cathy, do you think you’re famous?

Cathy: I don’t think I’m really famous, like a celebrity famous, but in my own little corner of the world, you think there is maybe some fame there. I’ve certainly helped a lot of people and a lot of people give me credit for being the encourager that has helped them go on to achieve things that are on their bucket list, like writing a book. So that has been fun. And maybe in that way, I’m a little bit famous.

Is there anything about building thought leadership or building influence online that you wish I’d asked you?

Becky: A little bit famous, I like that. So Cathy, is there anything about building thought leadership online or building influence online that you wish I’d asked you so that you could share it with our audience?

Cathy: I think continuing to really pay attention to what your clients are asking you for, what they need and writing on those things, writing books, or writing blogs, or writing content around those things. So paying attention to what your people are saying, what your tribe is saying. Really listening, asking good questions, and I think that’s part of what it means to be a thought leader.

What is a tribe and what does your tribe mean to you?

Becky: So I want to pick up on one more thing. A few times on this call, Cathy, you’ve mentioned your tribe. So how do you know who your tribe is and what does your tribe mean to you?

Cathy: I’m a big fan of Seth Godin’s book, Tribes, and I read that early on in my book coaching career. So it really struck me because as I was reading it I was thinking, “Oh, yeah, this is what authors need to do.” We’re all building our tribe, we’re all building a community of folks who are interconnected and support one another, and are here for one another. So it’s not just clients, that doesn’t do it justice. My tribe, they may be business partners, like you, Becky, other publishing partners, I’m not a publisher, I’m not an editor. So it’s thinking about all the folks who come together to help one another in making the world a better place, one word at a time. So it’s the totality of that, it’s this big community that is absolutely connected to one another in amazing sorts of ways. I love that about the work that I do.

How do you set expectations with the authors you’re coaching?

Becky: Thank you. I have one last question. I’m curious about how you help authors set expectations for what a book can do in their work and in their businesses, because I heard you say earlier in our conversation, books are magical?

Cathy: They are, but as I say they’re magical. It’s sort of like books are like having a magic wand. They don’t do magic on their own, you have to wield the magic wand. You have to know how to use the magic wand. And I think that’s true with a book. Just writing the book and putting it out there in the world is not going to create magic. Now, there may be some that just happens, but it’s unlikely. But it’s how you use the tool. It’s how you give it away, how you offer it to others, how you gift it sometimes to others, how you repurpose the content, how you get it out there in the world. So you’re making the most of that opportunity. You’re looking for opportunities to do interviews, you’re looking for opportunities to do presentations, to do podcasts, to do all types of different events that will get your thought leadership out in the world. That’s where I think some of this magic starts to happen.

Action Steps

Becky: Today’s action steps are specifically for those of you who aspire to write books, but haven’t written them yet. If you are someone who’s always dreamed of being an author, but you haven’t yet written a book, I would encourage you to think about my conversation with Cathy, and her idea that books are magic. 

  1. I’d encourage you to either journal about or talk to a friend about what the magic is that you hope a book that you might write, would have in the world and for your business. I encourage you to let that sink in and motivate you toward your next steps on your author journey. 
  2. The second action step for those of you who aspire to write books is to identify a partner for this early part of outlining what type of book you might want to write and how you might bring it to the world. Cathy Fyock is a great person to contact. You can find her at her website, or I’d always be happy to talk with you about your writing dreams. If not Cathy or me, you may have a friend who could be a great asset to you on your journey. I would encourage you, as an action step of listening to today’s podcast, to contact someone, Cathy or a friend in your life, who can be an encouragement to you to move closer to your goal of publishing a book.


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