I’m always hearing people say how much they want to write a book someday. It seems to be a popular dream high on a lot of bucket lists.
Most people don’t know where to start, don’t think they have time, aren’t sure what they would write about, don’t know the first thing about the publishing process, and write it off as a dream that will never come to be.
As the launch of my second book fast approaches (in six days, but who’s counting!), I wanted to take a few minutes to reflect on my process having self published a book and having worked with an author coach and publisher. I’ll offer some insight to anyone who is considering writing a book or just loves living vicariously through others.
DIY Self Publishing
A few years ago, when I had my first child, I wrote a book somewhat accidentally. Friends encouraged me to start a “mom blog” with all the funny stories about things that happened on my journey into motherhood. Like when our car froze to the street and we couldn’t get to the pediatrician. Or when I locked my daughter in the vestibule and forgot my keys in the house.
My father strongly urged me to compile them into a story and print a copy for him for Christmas. I did and it was a hot mess of a book full of typos and stories that ended abruptly. The book included black and white pictures of my daughter being cute and was organized by month so that you could see her growth and how much our lives were changed by introducing a child into our world.
My husband spent hours designing a cover with a collage of all the photos from the book.
And then my dad started selling copies of it to his friends!
It was so rough that I was beyond embarrassed and decided to clean it up as best I could without spending any money.
A family friend edited the manuscript for gross typos and tried to fix my poor grammar. One post was written in the present tense with the next post in the past tense, and the one after that switching randomly from one tense to the other.
I created a cheat sheet of words that needed to be hyphenated and capitalized so that I could be consistent with my edits. I used Photoshop to re-size the pictures. I spent endless hours formatting the Word document to make the book look presentable. I learned how to create an automated table of contents and set formatting standards in a document. I designed my own cover using a photo I had taken on our vacation to see my sister-in-law. And then I convinced my husband’s aunt to do another round of edits.
The manuscript came back with a sea of red edits that I entered into the Word file. I made final tweaks to the formatting and uploaded the file to CreateSpace.com for a proof.
All in, I invested maybe $500 into the book. Unless you count the $500 camera and gazillion hours writing, editing, proofing, and designing it. Even more if you add in the computer and software. I did buy an online training course put on by an author who explained how to promote a book in the early days of self publishing. I also bought a set of 10 ISBN numbers which identify your book in a unique cataloging system.
It’s called, Lions & Tigers & Babies! Oh My!: One Mom’s Journey Through the First Year of Motherhood. But I never really promoted the book and, to this day, most people don’t know that I even wrote a book about my journey through the first year of motherhood. (Nevermind that it is part of a seven-book series detailing the first seven years of motherhood, and I have drafts of the six books that follow it.) I did buy a set of 500 bookmarks, that I designed, for less than $100. I gave those out as business cards to any moms I happened to randomly meet.
And my proud parents continued to call me an author and give or sell my books to everyone they knew. All told, I think there were 100-200 copies in circulation six years later and I heard that the library in my hometown had a copy that had been checked out several times.
I wrote it for my own personal enjoyment and learned several tricks and new skills along the way… mostly about how to improve my writing and grammar.
Fast forward a handful of years to me as a business owner. I went to a coaching conference in Atlanta and roomed with a woman who had an author coach and was publishing a book the next month. She instantly knew I needed to write a book and within a week, I was signed up to join a three-month program that would have my book published and promoted to all of the world.
Unlike the do-it-yourself method I knew, having an author coach, an editor, a book cover designer, a proofreader, and a launch team was a big, much needed, and awesome change.
My job was to figure out who I needed to write my book for and then write the book. Sure, I did edits, and made suggestions for the cover, but having someone lead me through the process, answer all of my questions, and help me get unstuck was priceless. Instead of taking years to write, the book was done in three months. Instead of doing it alone and never really promoting the book, I was part of a team of 20 authors all launching books on the same day! There was pressure for me to not let them down. I saw them struggling through the process and they saw my frustrations. But we didn’t stop and we did it together.
Instead of telling my family and friends I wrote a book, I had a launch team. It included my friends and family, the author coach’s staff, and the other 20 authors.
Instead of posting my book on Amazon, without any sort of launch party, and hoping it would be discovered, I was going to be interviewed on the red carpet at The Author Castle in Washington, DC with my story being broadcast to hundreds, if not thousands, of people.
Instead of selling 100 copies of my book (or having my parents give 100 copies away to their friends), I was projected to hit the best seller list within the first 48 hours of launching the book!
I invested a lot more money into this book, but I did so strategically. You see, this book is designed to share my signature process with entrepreneurs who are looking for more clarity in their business. It’s meant to give them a taste of the results that I achieve with my clients and acts as an invitation for struggling business owners to reach out to me for help. We can talk about the issues they face in their business, and see if it makes sense to work together.
And more importantly, for me anyway, is that by promoting this book, and sharing it with the world, I’ll have the chance to help a lot of people find clarity in their business. They won’t all hire me, but they might find a way to be 10% happier in their business. And if that’s the case, it was worth the investment of time and money to make a difference in the world and make someone else’s life a little better, and their business more successful.
To get your copy of Finding Clarity: Design a Business You Love and Simplify Your Marketing, visit Amazon.com. And be sure to write a review.
If you’re interested in writing a book… or want access to over 18 amazing books (that will be FREE on the 19th), sign up for the January 19th, 2016, launch event here. If you can’t make it to the event, sign up anyway to receive a recording of the event, links to 18 books for free, and incredible free offers from the authors!