Navigating the Overlap Between Your Book, Courses, and Talks

From Mic to Manuscript

Laura B Fox | The Guru's Ghost
6 min readMay 28, 2024

You’ve been sharing your wisdom and expertise through your courses, coaching programs, and talks, and your audience has been loving it. Now, you’re ready to take the next step and transform your teachings into a book!

A book signing scene

You might be wondering, how can you create a book that complements your other offerings while still providing a unique and valuable experience for your readers?

I want to share with you what it looks like when your book and your course work together to reach more people, how to incorporate your signature stories and methods into your book without merely recycling content, and how to structure your book to create a cohesive and engaging reading experience.

Creating a Virtuous Cycle

One common worry among the coaches and teachers I work with is that releasing a book containing material from your programs might lead people to opt for the book instead of your more high-touch offerings. Not to worry — your book will not replace the other ways you support your people.

Each medium serves a different purposes and caters to different learning styles. By diversifying your offerings, you’re expanding your reach and creating multiple entry points into your teachings. Your book will invite people into your world who may never have discovered your teachings otherwise. Readers will connect with your book, then seek out your course when they’re ready to put into action what they’ve read on the page.

At the same time, your course participants become natural ambassadors for your book. They’ve experienced the power of your teachings firsthand and are eager to share your wisdom with others. They’ll recommend your book to friends and family, post about it on social media, and leave glowing reviews.

Story Time

I worked with a client, let’s call her Carla, who had a wealth of wisdom to share, but she wasn’t sure how to translate it from her courses into a book. She was worried that her book would feel like a rehash of her courses if it included too much of her existing content, or that it would be so different that her audience wouldn’t recognize her voice if she introduced a lot of new material.

As we worked together, Carla began to see her book as a complement to her courses, rather than a separate entity. She included the powerful anecdotes and exercises that had proved effective in her courses, and she also added new material that enhanced and expanded upon her teachings.

As a result, her book not only reinforced the value of her course but also stood on its own for those who would not have encountered her teachings otherwise. People who took her course before reading the book appreciated that it provided a tangible way to deepen their understanding of her teachings. People who read the book first eagerly signed up for the course so that they could share encouragement with her community as they put her teachings into practice.

In essence, Carla’s book and course created a virtuous cycle, each one enhancing the value of the other and allowing her to reach and impact more people than she could have with either one alone.

Incorporating Your Signature Stories and Methods

So, how many of the same stories, methods, and exercises you’ve used in your courses and talks should you also put in your book? And which ones? Because absolutely, you can and should teach your tried-and true methods and tell the stories your audience knows and loves, but you’re absolutely not going to slap a book cover on your transcripts and call it aday.

Think about it this way: if your favorite local band finally released their first studio album that contained all the songs you loved from their live shows, would you feel cheated? Probably not. I bet you would be thrilled to have a high-quality recording of those songs that you can enjoy anytime, anywhere. And the new songs on the album that they had never played live anywhere before? What a great bonus!

So while your book should contain elements that will be familiar to existing students, it’s not going to be a rehash of your course. It’s an opportunity for them to see your teachings in a new light. And for new readers, your signature stories and methods will be the entry point that draws them into your world. They’ll experience the power of your teachings for the first time and be eager to learn more.

I think of one of my favorite teachers, Cynthia Bourgeault. I’ve heard her tell the story of accidentally attending a mass, thinking it was a concert, countless times. I’ve heard it in her talks and read it in magazine interviews, and I’ve read it in her book The Wisdom Jesus. And each time I hear it or read it, it resonates with me in a new way. The repetition doesn’t diminish the power of the story; it enhances it. It becomes a touchstone, a familiar anchor that draws me deeper into her teachings.

When you include your signature stories and techniques in your book, you’re providing that same anchor for your readers. You’re creating a sense of familiarity and continuity that encourages them to engage with your teachings on a deeper level.

Structuring Your Content

Writing a book based on your teachings really is a lot like creating a studio album. You take the raw material of your live performances and refine it, adding new layers and crafting a cohesive experience. Your book allows you to provide in-depth backstories, share personal reflections, and guide your reader through thought-provoking questions. Your reader can pause, reflect, and absorb your teachings at their own pace, revisiting passages that resonate with them.

To create a book that stands on its own while still complementing your courses and talks, consider the following:

· Begin with a clear vision of your book’s purpose and how it fits into your overall body of work

· Outline your content, creating a structure that flows logically and keeps readers engaged

· Expand on your stories and examples, providing rich context and personal insights

· Adapt exercises and practices to suit the self-guided nature of a book, with clear instructions and reflection prompts

· Develop a written voice that captures the essence of your speaking style while still being tailored to the written word

If you’re worried about readers who have already worked with you feeling like they’re getting recycled content, address it head-on in your book’s introduction. Explain how your book dives deeper into the concepts, offers new perspectives and insights, and provides additional tools and practices to take their understanding to the next level.

Embrace the Overlap

Your wisdom has the power to transform lives, whether it’s delivered in a course, a talk, or a book. Go ahead and embrace the overlap between these mediums and use it to amplify your message and reach even more people.

Your book can be a powerful complement to your other offerings, a way to create a virtuous cycle that draws people into your world and keeps them engaged. So don’t be afraid to weave your signature stories and techniques into your book, surrounding them with new insights and perspectives. Your audience will appreciate the mix of the familiar and the fresh, and they’ll value the deeper, richer experience your book provides.

Your audience is waiting to hear from you, in whatever medium resonates with them. So keep sharing, keep teaching, and keep transforming lives with your wisdom!

If you’d like to be in the know when I offer new articles, workshops, courses, and my next book, I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter. Each week, you’ll receive valuable insights and advice on planning and writing your book.

--

--

Laura B Fox | The Guru's Ghost

Ghostwriter, book coach, and off-grid goat farmer. Author of The Soul-Driven Author's Nonfiction Book Planning Guide. MA in Social Ecology and Anthropology