What I learned writing my first book
I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination. Let’s just start out with that statement. Ok? Good. So, these thoughts are my own and mine alone. But I thought I would share what I learned from writing my first book.
1. Get started. I don’t care where you start but get started. Put pen to paper, fingers to a keyboard, or speak into the voice recorder on your phone. But start writing the content. I’ve been trying to get started for a couple of years now and I’m my own worst enemy. I figured that no one would buy it. No one would care. Everyone would think I was silly for self publishing a book. (spoiler alert: I was wrong. People have been so very, very supportive and have purchased way more copies than I ever could have imagined.)
2. Do your research. There are a LOT of self publishing companies. A LOT. Each one is very good at their certain niche area but you have to decide what is right for you. I chose blurb.com because they have their own software to lay out your book. I learned the hard way though if you choose to use blurb.com then you really need to use their software, BookWright, to do the layout of your book. There are a lot of youtube tutorials, websites, and blogs that say you can build a book elsewhere like canva.com and then import your file to BookWright and then publish. Well if you can figure that out, please let me know because I NEVER EVER could get my canva file to upload whatever I did. I had to literally layout this book twice. But it ended up being a great learning experience for future use as I had wanted to sit down and learn about Canva and I certainly did.
3. Edit, edit, edit, and then edit again. If you can have someone help you or several someones help you even better. Yes you can nitpick something to death, but my horror is producing something with multiple spelling mistakes or verb usage problems (I’m sure there’s a couple I just haven’t caught yet). If you don’t have anyone to help or are afraid to let someone else read your manuscript in the early stages I would say take your time editing. Let the book sit and soak a few days, and then come back at it with new eyes. I lost count on how many times I read through the 30 or so pages that make up the text of this book. To me editing will make or break your project. Take your time and you can do it.
4. Release perfection and let it find a new home. Yes we all want our work to look professional and flawless, but you’re not Random House. I doubt if you’ll have a team of editors and copywriters looking over your work. You will probably be a one person show and because of that there will be little things in the final product you don’t like, want to change, or just don’t come out the way you envision. That’s okay. Honestly most people won’t notice if a margin is a little off or a picture isn’t perfectly centered. Perfection is my enemy in all things. I. WANT. IT. PERFECT. I have been known to scrap entire projects because of one little flaw that only I would ever notice. You will never get anything done if you let perfection paralyze you. This is the biggest reason it has taken me seven forevers to get a book published. Do the very best you possibly can but throw the unattainable vision of perfection out the damn window.
5. Don’t sell yourself short. The first price I set for my book was entirely too low. A quote I saw on the Blogosphere Magazine’s Instagram page said, “Don’t be afraid to be proud of yourself for making money off the back of something that you’ve worked hard on.” Be fair with your pricing but don’t give it away. I spent hours and hours putting this first book together. Some of it was due to my own mistakes but some of it was just doing the work. This writing thing is hard yall! Like I said, be fair and know your market and charge a worthwhile price for your hard work.
6. Market smarter not harder. I was very strategic about how I marketed on Facebook and Instagram. I let people know I was working on a book, showed the cover to tease what the book would be about, and tried to involve my audience without being obnoxious about it. I don’t wanna be one of those people that shouts, “buy my stuff, buy my stuff, buy my stuff….BUY MY STUFF!!!!” We’ve all seen those people in our facebook feeds and more often than not we start scrolling by everything they post and not just the posts about their products. I hope I was respectful and did not blast my feeds. (Please let me know if I over did it friends.) Every time I would post though another new person would ask to buy a book. Be smart in your marketing. Be respectful. But also don’t just post about it one time and expect for the world to beat a path to your door. Find that balance.
I hope this helps someone. If it’s just one person. I’ve been reading a lot of great blogs and watching some inspiring coaches that offer free courses and info to get you motivated to get out there and put your stuff online. If you have a heart to teach and educate then get out there and do that. There is so much opportunity to share your story or your passion these days. Ebooks, print books, online courses, video, podcasts, the list goes on an on. Have a great day my lovelies and be inspired!