Cheri Merz on The Writers Hour - Creative Conversations with Janine Bolon

Cheri Merz – Author, Coach and Course Creator13 min read

Janine Bolon: Hi, this is Janine Bolon. And today, on the Writer’s Hour Creative Conversations, I have a fellow author and serial entrepreneur Cheri Merz, and she is with me on this day because she has a Micro Summit that is happening. She has multiple books that she has published, and she does a fantastic job of helping people take their ideas and get published. She has done traditional publishing, she has done self-publishing, she has done vanity publishing. She is aware of all of those techniques and then she has recommendations that she brings to you.

Janine: So what I would like to share with you is not only has she a twenty-year serial entrepreneur, but she also returned her dream of a writing career after retirement. Today, with more than thirty self-published novels and one memoir behind her, Cheri’s mission is to help other writers fulfill their dreams of a successful writing career. Cheri teaches how to get down to the business of writing and profitable self-publishing. Her clients have achieved multiple five figures to mid-six-figure annual and come from the writing after working with her. So thank you so much for being with us today, Cheri.

Cheri Merz: Thank you for having me.

Janine: So what we are going to describe today is basically the Metaprosperity that she can bring to you because she is the right expert, W-R-I-T-E. Love the play on words well done. So kind of introduced us a little bit to what on earth made you decide to start helping other writers? What was the kind of trigger for you?

Cheri: Well, I guess the trigger as I was — Sorry [chuckles], I was hanging out in Rider groups on Facebook with other aspiring authors and I saw so many of them particularly mom’s working moms who were just deeply desirous of making writing their full-time career. And they could not figure out how to get started? How to make the time? How to make their writing pay enough? So that they could quit their day jobs and be at home with their children.

Cheri: And I recognized that desire because I was a working mom when my kids were young and teenagers, and I felt that they would have had a much better particularly teenage experience if I had been at home with them. To make them go to school [laughter]. So having figured out how to manage my time when I was writing three books at the same time. Two for clients, and one for myself, and what it took to write books that were that people wanted to read, I decided that I would make it my mission to help these folks and it just grew from there.

Janine: And what I really enjoy about what you bring to other creatives, to other authors, is the business side of writing. Do you mind talking a little bit more about what is it mean to the business side?

Cheri: Well, the business side is everything except the writing itself. And that goes for workflow management, which most people call time management. As well as the market research, you know, a lot of books. I am sorry. A lot of authors especially fiction authors have a story inside them, and they will set out to write that story some of them take years and years to get it perfect, and then they self publish it and nothing happens, and that is because they have not paid attention to the business side which includes market research.

Cheri: Not only who will read your book, but what those readers expect from a book like yours? So many book coaches teach the craft. I teach business [chuckles], which includes market research structure, creating your author platform before you even start writing a word, or if you have been writing words for ten years before you publish it at the very least.

Janine: A lot of people do not understand how important that platform is, but I would like to chat a little bit about you know, what constitutes craft? You know, we hear that a lot of artists, and whether you are an illustrator, a sculptor, or author you hear about, “I know you need to spend time working on your craft”. So what does that mean for you? Let us hear your definition.

Cheri: Well for me, it means how you use your words in telling your story. Whether that is a fiction story a memoir, or a talking about your business. How you use your words making it exciting, and intriguing, and enticing for the reader to read being professional about your language skills. It even goes somewhat into the structure of your story. So but that is a small capsule of the entire writing career. Not the major thing that almost all new authors think it is.

Janine: Because you definitely have to — If you are going to be self-published and many people are aware of this and so there is no real secret in this that if you are going to be self-published a lot of traditional publishers actually wait to see what your book is doing? And how well it is doing before they even approach? That seems to be a common trend that you will be self-published for years before you will ever be able to be approached by traditional publishers. And that was something that was kind of shocking to a lot of people when I started telling them about what folks were looking for. So as a self-published author, you need to know the business and the craft and you do that very well for your people. So kind of share with us a little bit about what you do.

Cheri: Well, my micro offer is a six-week course that begins with why you want to write this book? Because if you do not begin with the why you are not going to have the stick-to-itiveness to finish the book and it cannot be something as shallow as not that there is anything wrong with this, but it cannot be just I want to make some money. That would not sustain you through all of the learning, all of the revision, and rewrites. And if you are seeking a traditional publisher, it would not sustain you through looking for an agent and waiting for that agent to sell your book. It is a long road, especially with a traditional publisher.

Cheri: Not so much as a self-published. You can publish as quickly as you want to, but you have to begin with why you want the book? After that, I talked about how to develop your author platform? Which includes your email list. Always the only thing you really own [chuckles] besides your copyrights and your words themselves is your email list. How to develop that? Where to start? How to do your market research? And learn what people who may want to read your book will expect from it.

Cheri: That six-week live course gets you all the way to have written your first draft. And then, because I cannot expect anyone to write a book in six weeks. Although I frequently do so, I am a full-time author. I have a workshop seven to eight weeks after the course, the live sessions, and I have another live thing and it is a one-day workshop to teach revision, which most people call self-editing. I believe self-editing is an oxymoron, so I call it revision [laughter]. And then, I let my students look over my shoulder as I publish one of my books to Amazon.

Janine: And that to me is worth its weight in gold. I wish when I was published back in 2005. I had somebody that I could look over their shoulder and watch them walk step by step through the process of getting published on the KDP platform because that is a whole different world. All in and of itself and you can waste hours and hours and hours because you do not click or right button or you do not know what menu to work on and so to me.

Janine: When I was first speaking with Cheri it was like, “Oh, that is worth the price of the course right there” [laughter]. I mean to somebody like myself who has a lot of time commitment to my business. The last thing I want to be doing is learning yet another platform that I need to publish on. So that in and of itself is brilliant. So moving on with some of the stuff, we were here mainly because I would love for you to talk to authors about your Micro Summits that you produce. Mind sharing a little bit about that?

Cheri: Sure. I learned this technique from a brilliant lady who taught me that until you have an audience, it does not matter whether you have an author offer or not [chuckles]. And for the same — By the same token, it does not matter whether you have a book or not. If you have no one ready to read it. So my Micro Summits were designed to develop an audience. And what they are is five to seven experts around a theme that I produce once every four months, and offer free to anyone who would like to watch these recorded videos and hear from the — Well, they call that the horse’s mouth.

Cheri: Not that nothing [laughter] fewer figures are horses. But no from the experts themselves, what their take is on my thing. So we have covered how to plan your memoir? How to start writing your book? How to market it? And the latest one, which will be available on February 1st, is all about how to monetize your book beyond the sale of the book itself. And that one I am very excited about because I have some world-class speakers including you, Janine.

Janine: Yeah. I am lucky enough to be a part of that. Yes, and I will be happy to let people know how to make money because I think I have made all the mistakes on how not to make money so I can definitely let us steer people away from things that definitely do not work. So in a way, I kind of feel a little bit like the light bulb, you know, Edison and his light bulb. I know the nine hundred ninety-nine ways that do not work and I will be glad to share with you the one way that I assure you will work. So yeah, and you have a lot of other experts that are going to be on there helping people monetize their platform.

Cheri: Absolutely. I have a mentor who is also going to be a speaker this time, who says the one thing you must do in your business is to make money. Now, it cannot be the only reason, but it is a very important reason because if you do not make money, why bother?

Janine: Well, and like I like I love sharing with artists and creatives. I am like, “Look, I do not like it any more than you do that we have to make money to live”. I think it is a pain in the barrier. But you know, unfortunately, that is the way this thing kind of works. And so you have to make a profit, you have to make money, you have to make a profit because I want your next piece of art and an author’s case I’m like, “I want you to be able to afford to publish that next book”.

Cheri: That is right.

Janine: And so if for no other reason, just make sure you stay profitable, stay out of debt so that you can create that next book because I assure you if you have any set of readers they are going to clamor because they are going to want to have the next book. Everybody knows how loyal readers are to an author man. They will and they brag about it, right?

Cheri: Yes.

Janine: You know, you have it on your own platforms or they are like, “Oh, yeah, I have read every single one of her books. I know she has written thirty-seven but I have read every single one of Cheri Merz’s books”.

Cheri: [laughter]

Janine: And you know, I am the ultimate fan let me tell you all the other things that she has done for me, right? You know, it is lovely as an author to have that. So what are — You have this eight-step process and I do not feel like we must go through all eight steps. But can you kind of chat with us a little bit about the first, you know, one or two or three steps you decide that authors kind of neglect when they are first getting started that you would recommend for new authors. You know, people is their first book.

Cheri: Thank you for asking that and we have already covered the first one which is to discover your why, and you know, I more or less touched on the rest of them that eight steps are to discover your why, to create your author platform first by talking to your circle of influence about whether they would read your book. And researching further with those who would find out exactly what they want to know. Whether that is what your fiction story is about, or what your personal story is about, or what your business is all about.

Cheri: What do they want to know about it? Because if you start writing something that they do not care about, they are not going to read your book or they are not going to continue to read your book. So goes into market research on your categories, your keywords. It goes into the structure research. How to write your book? How to plan for your book? And then with apologies to Stephen King, I have a few rules for writing myself [chuckles].

Janine: Yes, he does have a few rules [laughter]. Well, thank you so much for sharing that with us. I appreciate it. And I encourage folks to definitely check out Coach Cheri. She likes to refer to yourself. If you are this is your first time writing a book, let me tell you the power of having a guide. Having someone who comes complete with the community that can help walk you through the process. It is just incredibly valuable to have all of that. So Cheri, if somebody wants to get in touch with you, what’s the easiest way for them to reach out and connect with you?

Cheri: Oh, there are many ways, but probably the easiest way is to email me at coach dot Cheri at or to visit that website.

Janine: Right, visit the website.

Cheri: Right.

Janine: Those are the easiest ways to connect with Coach Cheri so that she going to help you out with your writing project and make sure that she is a good fit for what you want to do, and what you want to accomplish. So thank you so much for taking time out of your incredibly busy schedule. Thank you for sharing with us the attitude and the mindset that are necessary for self-published authors, and we look forward to having you on our show again after you have finished with your Micro Summit.

Cheri: Okay, thank you.

Janine: This is Janine Bolon, with the Writer’s Hour Creative Conversations. Keep yourself firmly planted on the ground, but do not ever give up on that dream of creating your own content, your own book. Keep reaching for the stars, stretch, and make sure that you reach out to the community to help you finish that book. Have a great day.