You’re reading this with a skeptical mind. And I would have, too, just 60 days ago – before I wrote and published my first book. So set aside your doubts and see how to make this work for you.
How it Began
It started as a pleasant lunch in my favorite “working” restaurant – you know the one with great service, a quiet afternoon atmosphere, and, for me, sunshine coming in the window. On that day I took a new book from a friend of mine – 101 Power Strategies: Tools to Promote Yourself as the Contractor of Choice. He had given it to me a few weeks before and it looked interesting.
As I began to thumb through it, my mind started clicking. Let’s see, Paul’s Strategy #1: Talk to everyone you know. In my online world that’s the equivalent of Gather emails.
Paul’s Strategy #2: Say it in an elevator. Hmmm, online that would be Use a signature file. And so it continued. As I read each of Paul’s strategies, I wrote down the equivalent in my area of expertise – online business. Naturally, one idea triggered another until I had over 100 ideas by the end of lunch. Wow! The outline for a book, although it had no chapters or sections at this point. But I had the ideas down on paper. Less than 2 hours work – and a pleasant lunch.
Five Minutes per Page
So what do you do with 100+ ideas? You start adding substance to them. I had recently read the sales letter for Steve Manning’s How to Write a Book in 14 Days and signed up for his email lessons. They promised to teach me how to write in 5 minute stretches. Yes, I had to set aside my skepticism in order to recognize that he was onto something.
Indeed, he showed me that I could write 2/3 page in just 5 minutes. No longer a skeptic, I ordered the full course and devoured it when it arrived!
Now it was time to apply my learning. I took my list of 100 ideas everywhere. I applied the 5-minute writing technique to one idea at a time – while waiting for an appointment, sitting in Barnes & Noble, waiting for a restaurant order to arrive, on the plane, in meetings. I spent just 5 minutes on each idea. 101 ideas x 5 minutes is only 8 hours and 25 minutes! The first draft was finished! I had written a book over lunch!
Next came the organization. I put each idea (now called Tactics) on an index card and started sorting. I came up with 6 or more structures, but finally settled on the current table of contents that fits my larger Online Success System.
I went back to Paul’s book and looked at the section intros, the front matter and the back pages. I decided what I liked and what I would add. Then I started writing – it was easier this time.
So how long did it take to finish the book start to finish? Approximately 60 days from my first day in the restaurant I had a finished draft ready for layout and final editing. Getting it to the final copy, with cover, sent to the printer took another 30 days. Recognize that this was not a full-time job. I wrote while doing my full-time consulting business and launching 3 new web sites.
The most important thing is it’s finished! After years of thinking “I need a book” I now have a book. It’s not the large, comprehensive reference manual I had envisioned for my first book. But it’s a quality product that sells and provides good experience on how to market a book.
So what’s keeping you from having a book?
“I don’t know what to write.” My suggestion: pick up a book you like and model your book after it. I highly recommend Paul’s 101 Power Strategies since it provides solid, general business principles (and it has a solid track record for inspiring others!)
“I don’t know how to write.” My suggestion: Go to How to Write a Book in 14 Days and sign up for the free email course. You’ll learn enough to recognize the value of the full product – and you’ll be a more confident, faster writer.
“I don’t have time.” My suggestion: See suggestion above. You’ll learn the 5 minute technique and be writing in no time. After, can’t you spare 8 to 10 hours to write a book?
Regardless of your excuse, the important thing is to Start Writing!
I pioneered a new concept in this book and even created the name of the concept, as well as a logo. This has now gone on to become fairly standard in books nowadays. But in 2001, the concept of having a website that provided additional information beyond the book was new and revolutionary.
I added the Web-Enhanced logo to each page of the book to indicate there was more information online. I really wanted to do this for several reasons:
- To keep up with my readers
- To make sure the book’s information remained relevant as long as possible
- To provide added value
It worked! For several years, I kept the site updated. Today, I would create a free membership site based on a WordPress blog. It would be much easier to maintain than the HTML-based site originally created!
One other note about the front cover. I had no desire to have my picture on the front of the book. I wanted a picture of my target audience there – so that it would attract other people “like him.” I tried several women for the front cover models, but finally settled on him. When I update the book, I WILL put my picture on the front this time. Experience and confidence go a long way!
And a final note. In the “olden days” there was no Kindle publishing. No way to have CreateSpace publish your book for you. You either had to have a contract with a book publisher or you had to “do it yourself.” I knew I wanted to do it myself. So I set out to learn how.
- I read books on how to self-publish a book. Thank you, Dan Poynter!
- I read books and attended a workshop in New Orleans on how to market your book. Thank you John Kremer (who I’m still following on Facebook and Pinterest! Some of us stick around…)
- I established my own publishing company and named it after after our daughters and the “towers of my life”. Unfortunately, it was formed in June, 2001 – and it was called Twin Towers Press. Obviously, it’s never “recovered.”
- I purchased my own ISBN codes and labels.
- I paid a book cover designer to create the cover, add the testimonials, and the ISBN codes so I could sell it on Amazon.
- I printed 1,000 copies of the book and had them shipped to our garage. Pretty exciting day!
- We shipped every copy ever sold – either directly to the buyer or to Amazon or other book distributors.
Now you can appreciate how EASY it is to publish your book. You have NO EXCUSES!