Earlier this year, with much trepidation, I released my very first book. (That’s right, I’m a freaking author now! I’ve come a long way since the days of only reading books so that my parents would buy me presents.) I am proud of what I created and I learnt so much from the experience. I’m even writing a second book now!
Here are my top five take-away lessons from my journey:
1. Writing a book isn’t actually that hard.
Yes, you have to be committed to sitting down and writing, but if you can manage that, you can nail out a book in no time. I’ve heard stories of people only taking a week! Mine took three months – working in my spare time – to develop my first draft, but I’m not as pedantic as many people. Perhaps if I was, Number 2 would not have made it to the list…
2. There will be errors.
It doesn’t matter how many times you read and re-read, or have your manuscript edited. There will be mistakes. Mistakes suck, but we are all human. I think it’s more important to focus on the message of your book and ensure that you are getting your point across. That’s not to say I won’t more meticulous with editing next time.
3. It takes a fuck-load of effort to launch a book.
Well, actually, it probably takes a lot of effort to launch any product, but it was news to me. I put so much energy into it, but without knowing what I was doing, I did a crap job.
You have to create a big build up to the release of it, come up with a good reason why people should by it, target the right people, employ the right people to help, consider using a book publicist, and make it readily available for people to purchase from wherever they are in the world. None of which I did. What I did do though, was take careful notice of all the things I fucked up so that next time, I won’t do the same thing.
4. You have to sell yourself.
Over and over again. I haven’t mastered this one yet, but it’s on my ‘To Do’ list. I have to admit that I struggled/struggle with the big sell. I’ve never liked having to sell anything to people, let alone myself.
What I have come to realise is that you have to see selling yourself/your product as simply letting people know about you or your product. Or like putting your sign out about what you have to offer, rather than forcing anyone to do anything. There are probably thousands or people who authentically want what you are selling, but if they don’t know about it, they can’t buy it or benefit from it.
5. Your book will help people.
My book is a self-help book, so that was kind of the aim, but even if your book is fictional, it can help people feel good by enabling them to escape their lives for a bit. When the first person told me that my book really helped them with where they were in their life, I cried like Roger Federer in the 2009 Australian Open.
It may not be the people you expect it to help, but be certain, it will find its way to someone who needs it, and they will be grateful that you took the time to create it. There will be people who won’t like it too, but don’t take it personally – your book was never meant for them.