Carol looks down at her collie dog Gus

Carol Clark :

Carol Clark is a medical doctor turned dog behavioural expert. She's written four books (so far) and this is her story...

“I needed to know more about how to write a book and how to make it really good…”

A long time ago, I wrote my very first book, Pesky Puppy to Perfect Pet. It was very much just writing down the sorts of things I told people every day about how to bring up a puppy and avoid behavioural problems.

I was just so fed up of saying the same things about puppies over and over again to clients. I thought it’d be a lot easier to write it down in a book and give it to them. Yes, we had help sheets and things, but bits of paper get lost; people don’t keep them. So a book seemed the sensible way to do it.

I didn’t realise at the time how much writing a book would help grow my business and cement me as an expert.

My first book was a very good puppy bible for those getting a new puppy…

But I was aware, having listened to Vicky’s talks, that I needed to know more about how to write a book and make it really good. So I worked through her online self-study Published In 90 Days course. I was lucky enough, too, that Vicky let me be a beta reader for How The Hell Do You Write A Book, and it is truly excellent. So good to read.

I wrote my second book in summer 2018 using a lot of what I learned from the Published In 90 Days course: Chaos to Calmish, Diary of a Pesky Puppy’s First Year. It was really just an adaptation of the diary I kept for my own dog when I got him.

“I wrote it much more quickly than the previous book…”

But my third book, Problem Pooch to Perfect Pet, is book one in a series of probably three—and I really have used everything you taught through the course and in your wonderful book, which made it a lot easier to write my book.

I wrote it much more quickly than I’d written the previous one. Not in 90 days, I have to admit—it did take a good six to nine months. But we got there. It took me about six months to write it, then three months to tidy it up and publish it. It’s amazing how long those last few steps can take, actually. It’s important for people to realise and think about.

You know, people are always amazed that you’ve written a book, as if it were some amazing thing. But actually it’s not. It’s not that difficult to do if you actually know what you’re talking about. And anybody who’s worked in any area of anything for a decent length of time should know what they’re doing.

Then all you have to do is write.

The most difficult thing is realising that what you’ve got to say is still important, even though there may be plenty of other puppy books or dog behaviour books out there. There are other books on dog behaviour, but my book is different from most others because I deliberately made it different.

And it’s my book, my voice, my experience—and that’s what makes it important to me. I am getting older and I won’t be here for ever—but my books will be, and that’s a lovely thought.

“Where do you even start?”

When I wrote the first book I thought I’d just get it printed locally by local printers and that sort of worked. I’ve still got a lot of copies, which we give out for free as part of our puppy packages and as rewards.

I did so many things so wrong, though. I started writing without any real clear plan. I knew vaguely what I wanted to say, but I hadn’t written it down. I hadn’t written an outline so it took an awful lot longer than it should’ve done to write the book.

When I wrote a chapter, for example, I’d go through it and realise I’d forgotten to say something. Whereas with the other books, I had an outline. For my most recent book I had a very clear outline and that made writing a lot easier.

Problem Pooch to Perfect Pet is probably twice the length of the first one, but I wrote it in half the time and because I planned it properly, which is something Vicky teaches in her course and talks about all the time. Vicky is quite right. It does make it so much easier.

“Would it be worth it?”

Before I started the course, I was worried. I’d already written a book, so how was it going to help me? Especially the first bit, which was all about why you should write a book. I thought, ‘Well I’ve done that so do I really need this bit?”

But there’s gold in there. Even in those early chapters. It’s important and I’m actually working through it again now because it’s been updated and there’s a load of new stuff there as well. And it’s just still really helpful and really practical.

I don’t regret paying for it at all. It’s really good.

I think when you’re thinking about writing a book, all you can think about is how do I get the words down in whatever program you’re using to write it? How do I actually get the words there? And you think when you put the words down, that’s it.

But it isn’t. That’s very much the start. There’s so much to do after that.

I would suggest that if you’re thinking about writing a book, do one of Vicky’s courses, and buy her book because the book says it all and it really is a super complement to the course.

“I’m not alone!”

It might sound a bit odd, but what I found best about working with Vicky was realising, gosh, there’s other people struggling with exactly the same things I’m struggling with and it’s normal to be struggling with these things.

It’s reassurance that this is a journey everybody can take and everyone will hit these sorts of barriers and have these sorts of questions—and these are the answers. That’s the most useful thing about it.

And, of course, working with Vicky gives you what you need to be able to write and publish your own book.

If anybody’s thinking about writing a book, then get How The Hell Do You Write A Book, do one of Vicky’s courses. No question.