It’s been said, though I can’t find the source of the quote, that we all have at least one book inside of us. For me, that works, as we all have a story to tell. Writing a book, particularly one that is autobiographical is very exposing and takes a massive amount of courage. In my case, it was literally exposing myself as I included pictures of my naked body before, during and after my surgery. Why do we do it then? Because we know deep down inside of us that we have something of value to share, to help others in some way. And it is exciting – to be able to call yourself an author...well it was for me.
There are a number of things to consider if/when you are thinking about writing a book.
- Firstly, be absolutely crystal clear on your why. What do you hope/plan/expect the book to do?
o Is it a glorified business card?
o Is it a free giveaway/opt in for your business?
o Is it to gain credibility within your industry?
o Is it just sharing your personal experiences with no business relationship?
o Is it to be sold or just given to family and friends?
o Is it a tool for sharing some really valuable, practical information? Etc
- Be realistic about your expectations relating to the commercial success, if that is one of your aims. JK Rowling was rejected 12 times before finding a publisher that would print the first in the Harry Potter series. Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen received over 140 rejections for their Chicken for the Soul series. These are just two instances where theyhave gone on to have massive commercial success, but it’s not going to happen for everyone.
- Even with how easy it an be to self-publish these days, as opposed to successfully engaging a publishing house to do it for you, there is still going to a truckload of effort to get it out to people. Amazon has made that easier for the eBook, but there is still work to be done.
- Decide whether it is going to be an eBook, in print or both
- How many words? There is an organisation that states that most people want shorter books these days – ones they can read on a couple of hours plane ride. They suggest around 30,000 and even suggest a 30 day challenge, where you commit to writing 1,000 words a day. That breaks it down and make it seem less daunting.
- Get yourself a fantastic editor who can work with you through every single step of the process, who specialises in your genre and truly understands your intentions for your book.
- Get your book proof read- multiple times...and then again...and then again
- In terms of judgement, as with all things, you are not going to be able to please all of the people all of the time. Your book needs to written like every other piece of copy of marketing material with your audience in mind.
- In terms of fear, what’s bigger? The fear of doing it and potentially being judged for it, or the possibility of regret for the road not taken
My book Accepting With Grace - Mastectomy & Reconstruction, My Choice Before Breast Cancer, was for a very specific audience, though when I wrote it I thought that everyone would be fascinated and interested in it – wrong!! That has resulted in well over half of the printed copies still sitting in my garage 6 years down the track.
What I did get right however, was the why. I wrote it to assist other women facing a similar decision to make an informed choice about what was right for them. I received numerous letters from women telling me how helpful it was, with one lady even taking it into the hospital with her when she had her surgery. She states she would freak out about something, then look at the book and say, “Oh, Sharon went through this, it’s going to be OK.” You can imagine how spectacular that felt to get that letter.
Getting the printed copies of my book in my hands was an absolutely exhilarating feeling – there is nothing I can suggest that comes close. And when the first copies were purchased – wow, that was sooooo exciting!!
I would suggest that if anyone is truly passionate about their topic and are absolutely clear on their why and what the expect to result from the creation of their book to go for it. At the end of the day it is often said that the things we regret as we age are the things we didn’t do.
Peace & blessings,