ABOUT SALLY WOLFE
Sally Wolfe’s passion and purpose is to help writers and professionals bring their wisdom and stories to the world (fiction and nonfiction).
Since 2007, Sally has worked with New York Times-reviewed authors, self-published writers and professionals, including a 2016 nominee for National Book Award. She served as story editor for Narrative Magazine for five years. (Read what people have to say about her work here.)
Before she found her calling as an author (published novel Consolations), editor, and book coach, Sally enjoyed a successful 17 year marketing career as a publicist and award-winning copywriter in Silicon Valley where she honed her communications skills.
Want the whole story? Read on.
Twelve years ago I was a marketing executive in Silicon Valley making a six figure income and living in a beautiful house that I had bought and remodeled. I led marketing teams that successfully launched over 50 products into the high-tech marketplace. I was in demand as a strategist, copywriter, publicist, and speechwriter. I played an instrumental role in two successful initial public offerings. It was exciting and lucrative, but there was no soul in it for me.
I left to find my purpose, exploring various healing and spiritual paths. I studied yoga and began to practice meditation. I spent time in monasteries and spiritual communities. I learned Qi Gong and dived into all kinds of therapy and bodywork. I did a tremendous amount of healing and then spent a year in New York City, developing a desktop publishing program for homeless youths, serving as the program director and instructor.
When I returned to California, I heard a clear call to write a novel. It took five years to write. When I finally landed an agent, she couldn't sell it. Meanwhile I was steadily draining my once large money market account. Then my marriage disintegrated and I went through a painful divorce. I lost my house—and worse, my confidence. I got some freelance gigs, but it was barely enough to pay the bills.
I began to lose heart. An old back injury acted up and I had less and less energy. Then something happened. I submitted a low-ball bid for a project and I found myself hoping I wouldn’t get it—in spite of the fact that I desperately needed the money. In the middle of the client meeting, I suddenly saw myself. And what I saw horrified me. I had given up!
From that moment on, my inner landscape shifted. What was it that I really wanted to be doing? How did I want to do it and who did I want to do it for? I took some time. I talked to people I trusted and hired a business coach who had a powerful spiritual perspective.
The turning point came when I started editing manuscripts for authors in my writing group. (Two of those authors’ books are being released this year to considerable acclaim.) My copywriting and publicist background was especially applicable to non-fiction. I discovered I was really good at identifying and articulating the vision behind the work. Soon my new mindset magnetized my success and my agent started sending me manuscripts—I was on my way.
After a few years of working with authors, I saw sadly that many stopped short of completing their books. I realized that they needed more than a good editor. They needed a clear vision of where they were going. I’m not talking about an outline or a TOC, although both are essential.
I’m talking about another kind of tool I call a Book Manifesto. A Book Manifesto fulfills three important functions. First, it gives you a map so you know where you’re going and WHY. A brief, but vital document that captures your vision, articulates your passion, and defines your purpose.
Second, it forms the basis for your marketing and the creation of your author brand. A Book Manifesto provides the foundation for understanding and defining HOW your book is different from the thousands of similar books that get published every year.
But it is more than that. It’s intended as a process of discovery. It invites you to enter your “source” story, not always a comfortable place. A place we might not want to look at—or experience directly. However our willingness to enter that territory is what will make our book be the best it can be. How? By increasing the authenticity and impact of our writing.
Your source story is where the deepest, often unconscious, motivation for your work lives. Read Maxine’s story to learn more about this process in my popular article, “Book Manifesto: How to Zero in on the Book You are Destined to Write.”