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JJ Barnes The Table Read

Written by JJ Barnes

I interviewed entrepreneur Dawn Marcotte about her career, the writing process behind her book 9 Lies Online Entrepreneurs Need to Know, and the advice she has for others.

Tell me a bit about who you are.

Dawn Marcotte, author of Success Guaranteed 9 Lies Online Entrepreneurs Need to Know, interview on The Table Read
Dawn Marcotte, author of Success Guaranteed 9 Lies Online Entrepreneurs Need to Know

My name is Dawn Marcotte. I am a a mom, entrepreneur, marathon runner and freelance writer. I have worked as some form of executive assistant in the corporate world for almost 30 years. I consider freelance writing to be my ‘retirement’ career.  It is something I enjoy doing, and it brings me a nice side income, but I really enjoy people and being in an office environment. Currently I am working toward the goal of running 1 marathon in each of the 50 United States (I have completed 12.)

When did you first WANT to write a book?

I have always loved to write, even as a child in school my favorite class was always English. However I never thought I would be able to write and publish a book, because it was such a hard industry to break into before the internet arrived. That idea changed once I saw other people self-publishing books on this new platform called Amazon.

When did you take a step to start writing?

In the early 2000’s I needed to make some extra money for my family to cover some medical bills (one of my children is autistic and at that time insurance didn’t cover therapy.) I needed to do something that was flexible in how much time I spent and still paid well – so I checked out the internet where there seemed to be a lot of opportunity. I started by writing for what are called content mills – short articles that were stuffed with keywords in order to rank well and sell advertising. Then I moved to freelancing and writing articles for online magazines, ghost writing other people’s books and finally to writing my own books.

How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?

My first book, The App Age, was not very long and available only as an Ebook. At the time my kids were young and I was very passionate about them not spending more than 30 minutes a day in front of any kind of screen. (television, computer etc.) I had a blog where I posted an article almost every day. The book was a compilation of those posts as well as some new information added. Compiling the information and adding the new took about a month. Writing the original blog posts happened over the course of about 3 months.

How long did it take you to complete your latest book from the first idea to release?

My most current book, Success Guaranteed 9 Lies Online Entrepreneurs Need to Know, took about 6 months from the idea to publication.  This is the first time where I used a professional editor, cover designer and even hired a book coach. It was a great experience.  This book also involved interviewing 20+ entrepreneurs, consolidating that information and some back and forth as they approved what was going to be published in the book.

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Focusing on your latest release. What made you want to write Success Guaranteed 9 Lies Online Entrepreneurs Need to Know?

I have been an entrepreneur as a side gig for almost 15 years now and when covid hit I saw a lot of people jumping online, trying to make a business and quickly getting overwhelmed. I firmly believe the internet provides the opportunity for anyone to build a business. You don’t need a business degree or lots of money or even any business background. However there are marketing tactics used that make it seem like it should be fast and easy. This creates unrealistic expectations and people give up because they feel they can’t figure it out. For most people it takes about 1 year before they start to see consistent income – that is a far cry from the 30 days, 60 days or 90 days that many expect when they first get started.

I wanted to write a book that shares the reality of online entrepreneurs, shares actionable information people can use right now and also inspires them to keep going.

Dawn Marcotte, author of Success Guaranteed 9 Lies Online Entrepreneurs Need to Know, interview on The Table Read
Dawn Marcotte, author of Success Guaranteed 9 Lies Online Entrepreneurs Need to Know, by Dawn Marcotte

What were your biggest challenges with writing Success Guaranteed 9 Lies Online Entrepreneurs Need to Know?

My biggest challenge was incorporating the interviews into the book. There was so much information from so many people. I recorded the interviews and converting them to text, then figuring out the best places to put quotes took me a lot of time and effort.  There were several common themes among the interviews and I didn’t always remember who said what, so I had to go back and find the exact quote I wanted to use.

What was your research process for Success Guaranteed 9 Lies Online Entrepreneurs Need to Know?

Because I have been an entrepreneur for so long I have my own experience to draw from, but I wanted to include other perspectives as well.  My first step was to choose the 9 lies included in the book. To do that I went out on social media and asked new entrepreneurs, “What surprised you the most about being an entrepreneur?” and “What are the 2 biggest struggles in being an entrepreneur?”  I used Google forms for this research so that all of the answers came back to one central location and I could read them.  I repeated this process as I got information until I had a list of 9. Then I used the same process to verify that the lies I chose resonated.

Then I was ready to start interviewing. I used a couple of Facebook groups I belong to that connect podcast hosts with guests and asked for volunteers to be interviewed for the book. The response was overwhelming – I got over 50 people who were interested. That seemed like way to many to include in my book so I narrowed it down to 25.

The interviews were done on zoom so I could record them. I transcribed them from video to text using a software called (this was a huge time saver.) While all of this interviewing was happening I was writing the first draft of the book.

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How did you plan the structure of Success Guaranteed 9 Lies Online Entrepreneurs Need to Know?

This was something I also did a lot of research on. The lies themselves created a kind of table of contents, but I wasn’t sure what order to put them in. I finally took a poll online and the most popular lies came first in the book. I also added a couple of sections as a result of some advice from one of the first people I interviewed. He suggested including some references, both people and books, to help my readers find reputable resources if they didn’t know where to begin.

My book coach was essential in helping me move some of the content around too. She would tell me a particular paragraph  had a lot of impact and so should be moved up in the book, or something that was not as important should be put in an appendix. It was fantastic to have a set of eyes that was impartial and concerned with the quality of the book.

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Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did Success Guaranteed 9 Lies Online Entrepreneurs Need to Know need?

One of the things I loved about having a book coach was her access to editors and graphic artists. Because I worked with her she has people that she recommends in various price ranges. I was able to choose someone to edit for grammar and punctuation. That took about 2 weeks to have that done. Diane, (my book coach) had been editing for content all along the process, which took about 2 months of actual writing.

What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a book?

I think my advice would depend on why they are writing a book.  If this is something you are doing to gain authority in your business or as an additional revenue stream my advice would be to verify your topic is wanted/needed. Go out to your target audience and ask them about the topic and what they want to know. This will allow you to write something that actually sells even if you don’t have a big audience.

If you are writing a book because you enjoy writing or you hope to become a professional writer my advice is to schedule time on your calendar at least several times a week to do the actual writing. It doesn’t matter if what you write is horrible, just spend time putting words on a page. Writing is one of those skills that gets better the more you do it.

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Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?

My next topic is currently titled The Introverts Guide to Social Media Marketing. I am an introvert and it feels like a lot of advice given to people who are learning how to show up on social media for their business assumes they are extroverts. I want to provide some advice for those of us who are not.

And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment?

Was it worth the effort? I am very proud of the books I have written. I feel like they have provided help to people who need advice, but don’t have the time to do the research.

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