Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed timeshare expert Lisa Schreier about her book, Timeshare Vacations For Dummies, what inspired her, and how she went from idea to publication.
Tell me a bit about who you are.
I’m The Timeshare Crusader. A former timeshare salesperson and manager who now writes about timeshare issues, educates consumers and works as a catalyst for positive change in the industry.
When did you first WANT to write a book?
About a year into my timeshare selling career, I began looking for unbiased sources of information about the product and industry, both for my own research as well as for consumers who wanted to learn. This was back in 2003/2004.
When did you take a step to start writing?
I began writing for a now defunct online timeshare magazine in 2003. Coming from an advertising background, my first columns were about what the timeshare industry could learn from the advertising industry. The more I learned about the timeshare industry, the more I realized the need for both change as well as non-selling oriented information. Voila! The Timeshare Crusader was born and my writing journey took off.
How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?
About a year. I did some research into self-publishers which took some time. Once I found one I was pleased with, it was a matter of getting the information into a readable and logical format, deciding on a cover photo, getting my headshot and of course paying the publisher for the finished product.
How long did it take you to complete your latest book from the first idea to release?
For my second book, I was already working with a publicist who put me in touch with Wiley and Sons who had been considering a timeshare related book for their popular “For Dummies” series. This book took far longer to actually write because unlike the first book, I had an editorial team that not only helped form the book, but insure that it was formatted in the “For Dummies” template. So much more back and forth, but ultimately worthwhile.
Focusing on your latest release. What made you want to write Timeshare Vacations For Dummies?
My first book was only focused on the timeshare sales pitch. I always knew that there was much more that needed to be disseminated to the public. The “For Dummies” series provided the platform to be far more comprehensive.
What were your biggest challenges with writing Timeshare Vacations For Dummies?
With both books, the biggest challenge was promoting the book. The industry wanted nothing to do with either one of them and actually did their best to suppress them. Due to the nature of timeshare marketing and sales, 99% of consumers will not seek out any information on the product, including my books, until after they purchased which is usually too late.
What was your research process for Timeshare Vacations For Dummies?
For the first book which mainly concentrated on the sales process and basic timeshare information, I didn’t need to do much research apart from getting correct legal definitions, etc.
The second book required far more research. I had to get information from some major players in the industry (developers, exchange companies, etc.) interview some actual timeshare owners, learn even more about legalities and spend a lot of time trying to ensure that the book contained all this but didn’t read as merely a bunch of facts and figures.
How did you plan the structure of Timeshare Vacations For Dummies?
For the first book, I wanted to focus on the steps of a timeshare sales pitch, basic questions to ask, etc. It was meant to arm consumers with information that was crucial to understand before they walked into the sales center. The structure was loosely based in the 10 steps of an actual sales pitch.
For the second book, the structure was dictated by the publisher who had a proven track record of “For Dummies” books. I knew what I wanted to cover, far more in depth than the first book, so it was a matter of fitting in my choice of material into their structure. I was very pleased with the outcome of both at the time.
Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did Timeshare Vacations For Dummies need?
My first book was really done by myself with only marginal assistance from the publishing house. Unfortunately, it seems quite amateurish in retrospect. I could have greatly benefited from having a good editor. I enjoyed working with an actual publisher on my second book because in part, I was working closely with a full time editor. This book is much more professional and polished. The editor was well versed in both basic grammar as well as structuring of the book.
What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a book?
Write what you’re passionate about.
Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?
Both books are outdated today for two reasons: The industry has changed quite a bit and I know so much more. I do a series of “Today’s Timeshare PSA” on Twitter and I’ve thought of putting those out in a book. There’s also the possibility that I’ll do a book that falls in between the first and second book; one that will delve more deeply into the timeshare sales pitch but without going into as much detail as the second book in order for the information to not get outdated.
And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?
Yes and yes. I learned so much in the process and being a published author does open some doors to otter exciting projects.
Pop all your book, website and social media links here so the readers can find you:
“Surviving A Timeshare Presentation….Confessi ons From The Sales Table” “Timeshare Vacations For Dummies” Blog: https:// thetimesharecrusader.blogspot.com
Facebook: Timeshare Crusader