Many believe writing a book is beyond their purview.
Not true, according to author Cori Wamsley.
The North Strabane Township resident’s latest book is her first foray into nonfiction, “The SPARK Method: How to Write a Book for Your Business Fast,” scheduled for release Jan. 22.
And she knows the subject from experience.
“I run my own business. I have young children at home. And I did that book in six weeks,” she said.
As for how she managed to accomplish that feat, Wamsley offers plenty of insight within the context of the title acronym, which stands for System, Purpose, Audience, Results and Knowledge.
“The system is what I provide, so it’s the framework for developing the book,” she said. “I wanted to show people how easy it is to write their own books, because I bump into people who say, ‘Oh, maybe I should hire a ghostwriter,’ or ‘This is years down the road. It’s going to take me forever.’”
That couldn’t be farther from the truth, Wamsley said.
“You already have everything inside of you, and chances are you’ve already written a lot of your work, by doing talks or doing Facebook Live,” she said. “You already have the bulk of what you want to encapsulate in your book.”
From there, some key facets involve making the material count.
“You don’t just want to write a book and throw it out there,” Wamsley said. “You want to write to your audience. You want it to be specific for a purpose with that audience.
“When you’re writing a business book, you want your audience to come back to you and say, ‘I’d love to book you for a speaking gig. I’d love to work with you as my coach,’” she added. “You want them to be able to sit down and really apply that to whatever they’re doing.”
“The SPARK Method” represents a continuation of the services she offers as a writing coach, teacher and editor, drawing from her experience as a professional writer for the U.S. Department of Justice in Clarksburg, W.Va. – she’s a native of nearby Bridgeport – and the Department of Energy in South Park Township.
Her new book also continues to showcase her versatility as an author.
While she was studying for her master’s degree in English literature at West Virginia University, after her bachelor’s in biology and English, she had a class assignment that eventually became “Martina Mackenzie: The Diana’s Eye.”
Targeted for middle-grade students, her first book combined her collegiate experience of working in an ice cream shop with a fantasy world of her creation, and it laid the groundwork for three sequels. It also garnered her a Top 100 pick in the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards.
But it didn’t come easily.
“I had all these ideas of how a book is constructed: You just sit down and write all night and spill it all out,” Wamsley said. “Well, I got through three chapters that night, and I don’t think I kept more than five words out of it, because I didn’t have a point to it. I didn’t have any sort of structure set up. I just sat down and was dumping words on the page.”
She applied that particular learning experience to subsequent books, plus it helped pave the way for “The SPARK Method.”
Following her work on the Martina Mackenzie saga, she switched gears, with good reason.
“I got through four of the books before I started having kids,” she said about daughters London and Talia, “and I kind of had to put that aside. It’s very hard to write something that involved and be constantly interrupted.”
And so she embarked on a book for grownups, “Confessions of the Editor Brigand,” about a young woman with an obsession about proper grammar.
“One of her best friends is very enabling of her: ‘Here’s a marker. That sign needs to be fixed.’ It becomes quite an adventure, where she’s traveling around visiting her friends and going out in the middle of the night changing signs,” Wamsley said.
And for those wondering, at least regarding a less-extreme degree of public editing: “I went through a phase like that,” she admitted.
Her next project was a children’s book, “The Knight and the Ninjas,” an epic poem complete with proper cadence and rhyming schemes. Plus she illustrated it, and the whole package caught the attention of her older daughter.
“When she was 5, before she started kindergarten, she came to my office and said, ‘I really want to write a book,’” Wamsley recalled. “She starts telling me about her stuffed monkey that’s been her constant companion since she was a baby. She said, ‘Monkey comes to life and grants wishes.’ I started taking notes and asking her questions, and then I helped her through the writing process.”
So London Wamsley has a co-author credit for “Monkey Mermaid Magic,” which Mom also illustrated. And her sister – Talia is 5 – has been asking about her turn to write a book.
Taking all of that into consideration, it’s good that it took Cori just a month and a half to complete her latest, which she hopes will help folks who become authors take the next steps in their pursuits.
“Writing a book can give you instant ‘expert’ status,’” she said, “and if you want to be known as a leader, that’s something you need.”
“The SPARK Method: How to Write a Book for Your Business Fast” will be available for Kindle on Jan. 22. That day only, it will be free to download, and afterward, available for $1.99. A launch party will be held in February. For more information about Cori Wamsley, visit www.coriwamsley.com.