How to Be a Better Writer & Get a Book Deal Without Trying (with Jeff Goins)

  • January 12, 2012 by Caleb Wojcik

We just recently stumbled across Jeff Goins, who blogs at Goins, Writer, and were impressed by how many big name people read and share his work.

Then we heard he got 1,000 subscribers to his blog during the week he launched The Writer’s Manifesto earlier this year. Then we saw that he was also just featured as one of the top 10 blogs for writers by Write to Done.

We knew we wanted to hear from him about his multi-year journey towards his “overnight success”.

In this video interview you’ll learn how to get a book deal without writing a proposal, why first drafts are always bad, and why you need to focus on becoming a better writer.

(If you are reading this in an email or RSS feed, click here to view the video.)

Be sure you check out everything Jeff is up to over at Goins, Writer.

Now we want to hear from you, how can you focus on making your writing better?

Feel free to ask Jeff any questions in the comments below too.

Thinking about starting a blog? Next week we’re launching our new course How to Start a Blog that Matters. This is a 90 day action plan for starting a blog that could change your life. Stay tuned next week for more details.

Written by . Caleb Wojcik is one of the 3 C's at Think Traffic and He writes at and hosts the Cubicle Renegade Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @CalebWojcik.

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Dwayne January 12, 2012 at 7:07 am

HOLY SCHMOLY!! 1,000 subs in your first week?!? I always thought I was a pretty good writer but this will definitely make my writing a crapload better. Thanks, Corbett and Jeff!

Jeff Goins January 13, 2012 at 6:16 am

Well, keep in mind that it wasn’t the first week of the blog. It was several months in. But yes, 1000 people downloaded the the book and signed up for the newsletter in a week.

Erick January 12, 2012 at 7:15 am

Great interview and glad to have learned about Jeff’s work!

Question for Corbett: I like how your video switches back and forth depending on who is talking. Could you tell me what software you’re using to do this? Thanks.

Caleb Wojcik January 12, 2012 at 3:03 pm

The recording was done via Call Recorder for Skype and then edited in Final Cut Pro X.

Jeff Goins January 12, 2012 at 7:20 am

Thanks for having me, Corbett. Really enjoyed the interview.

Note to self: Look at camera more.

Second note to self: Get the same video camera as Corbett.

Farhan Syed January 12, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Hi Jeff.

I think no matter which camera you use, if you are doing a web chat the quality of the image is bound to go down. I don’t know the technical reasons but a Sony camera shop salesman told me so, when I was buying my webcam.

But you were great. You were speaking with authority.

Michael January 12, 2012 at 7:35 am

Hey Corbett, Great post as always. Just started following your and every post is valuable.

I’m curious as to which camera you use for your post today. The resolution is excellent.

Corbett Barr January 12, 2012 at 4:38 pm

I use the Panasonic Lumix GH2 with a Lumix f/1.7 20mm lens.

Mandy January 12, 2012 at 8:53 am

Very interesting interview! I love seeing success stories like Jeff’s. It’s inspiring that it all started with the simple notion of thinking about his dreams. I went ahead and purchased Writer’s Manifesto for my Nook and I am excited to sit down and read it!

Also looking forward to the “How to Start a Blog that Matters” course. I’m starting a new green blog project within the next few months and the question I’ve been asking myself the most is how this new blog will inspire action from the readers.

Corbett Barr January 12, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Awesome Mandy, thanks for watching!

Jeff Goins January 13, 2012 at 6:17 am

thanks, Mandy!

Garry Stafford January 12, 2012 at 11:47 am

Awesome to actually hear, and see, you Jeff! And great to hear some of the background information that you’ve experienced as well as what you have planned for the future.

Thanks to you too Corbett for providing this!

Jeff Goins January 13, 2012 at 6:18 am

thanks for watching, Garry.

Ryan January 12, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Great interview. Thanks for sharing your mind, process and goals, Jeff. It’s always a pleasure to learn from you.

Jeff Goins January 13, 2012 at 6:18 am

my pleasure

Farhan Syed January 12, 2012 at 2:08 pm

Interesting video.

But I’m wondering how did you made it? I mean Jeff is on webcam and you are using a proper camera. So did you edit the pieces together? Or is there any software that records the two videos together?

Caleb Wojcik January 12, 2012 at 3:02 pm

We used Call Recorder for Skype to get Jeff’s piece and then Corbett recorded on his end with a different camera.

Don McAllister January 12, 2012 at 5:57 pm

I have been following Jeff’s blog for quite a while now, and really enjoyed this interview. Thanks!

Jeff Goins January 17, 2012 at 10:27 am

Thanks, Don.

Jeff Dolan January 14, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Thanks for sharing guys. Nice encouragement.

Jeff Goins January 17, 2012 at 10:27 am

Appreciate it, Jeff.

Al Pittampalli January 17, 2012 at 10:36 am

Great interview.

Rodrigo @ The Brave Man Blog January 17, 2012 at 8:12 pm

Nice interview, I just got the Writers manifesto and it’s great, I will be putting it into practice since tomorrow, right now I will go to sleep but surely it has opened my mind and sent me back to the right road, I was starting to think what to write in order to get traffic but it always comes to the same place, I just have to be authentic :)

Thank you for reminding me that Jeff, I will be looking more at your blog :)

More Web Site Traffic Guide January 17, 2012 at 10:53 pm

I just downloaded the Writer’s Manifesto, and I can’t wait to sit down and read more about it. This interview is great. Now I am thinking of conducting my own interview to be published on my web site. The video looks good too. The editing job is excellent.

Mike Cleveland January 23, 2012 at 11:18 pm

This is great interview. I took away from this we should write to serve our audience. Help our readers. This is the best way to gain subscribers. You give and you get back. You should keep your journal writing in you personal dairy.

People are not always interested in the things that we as writer feel are important. I would add, you should have a find way to hear the needs of your audience. Then, You meet those needs through your writing.

Alan | Life's Too Good May 1, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Hey Corbett/Jeff,

awesome interview, I heard Jeff once already on a podcast and was really impressed with what Jeff said in that interview about writing, so I nearly didn’t listen to this, but I’m glad I did, great stuff!

I think many people will benefit from listening to this – I’m sure there are tonnes of people out there (myself included) who struggle with lining up their passion, unique voice and selling proposition,

take care & best wishes,

Ani July 20, 2012 at 10:18 am

interesting interview.
I realized about my mistakes concerning my blog fw days ago and here it is boom! your mistakes were identical :)

Is there a way I can message you Jeff? Need your feedback on something..


Corbett Barr January 12, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Yeah, Jeff, I had an unfair advantage. When your video is recorded over Skype the quality is dependent on Skype. A better video camera would help, but it wouldn’t turn out like my side of the conversation (which I recorded with the camera directly, no Skype involved).

Jeff Goins January 13, 2012 at 6:17 am

aw shucks… thanks.

Corbett Barr January 12, 2012 at 4:39 pm

My side of the conversation is recorded with the camera directly, Jeff’s was recorded with Call Recorder via Skype. In Final Cut Pro, we combine the two as you see in the final video.

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