I didn’t mean to write a book. I’m not one of those people who has always wanted to write a book and if you’d told me a couple of years ago I would not only have written it but it would have been a Amazon bestseller I would probably have laughed at you.
But here we are. And one of the things I’ve learnt as I’ve matured a bit is that you should never say never (I’ve spent my whole life hating caravans and just spent the summer in one and loved it!)
As I’ve been telling people about it the book I’ve written, the question that comes up most is BUT HOW? How did you fit it in, get it done, who edited it etc so I thought I’d answer all those questions in a single post for those of you who would like to publish your own book.
Why write a book?
This is very important. Don’t skip this bit as I think without it you will flounder. I wrote a book for two reasons. Firstly I went to a days workshop with a guy called Daniel Priestly who helps businesses become successful. He advocates positioning yourself as and expert and one of the ways to do this is to publish a book. It was all very convincing and if you want know more then I recommend the book Key Person of Influence or attending one of his workshop days.
The seed was planted. Maybe writing a book was a good idea.
About this time the planets must have aligned as a second thing happened that really got me on the road to writing. A woman I’d met through a business networking group shared a Business Book Proposal Challenge she was running. The group was incredibly supportive and I thought I’d join the challenge to help give it some publicity (because I didn’t intend to write a book you know?!)
However, with Alison’s help I ended up writing a proposal that was so convincing that I convinced myself it was a book worth writing. I ended up signing up for a Book Writing Bootcamp that helped me to shape the actual book and then there was an offer of a manuscript review if it was completed within 12 weeks of the bootcamp start. I work really well to that sort of deadline and sure enough within 12 weeks Alison had the first draft on her desk. You can find out more about the Proposal Challenge and Alison here. And if you do want to do it then get on her email list as she usually does a discount for her followers.
So how did I write it so quickly?
Tip 1 I wrote 1000 words a day till I was done
1000 words a day, 40 days = 40000 words. Boom.
I tried to do this before anything else so that it was done and out the way. I wasn’t too fussy to start with about how the words came out but was focused on getting 1000 down on the page. I got faster and faster at that (this blog is about 1300 words and took me just under an hour and a half to bash out).
I used a really cool app to track my progress. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be available any more which is a shame but there is a similar app called Wordly (Apple only sorry) which does much the same or a better online tool called WriteTrack which lets you create a nice graph of how you are doing against a target. Being able to say how many words you wanted to write by when and then having a daily target was really motivating for me.
A word about Scrivener
Scrivener is a piece of software designed to help people write books. It’s got all sorts of useful features and you can easily move blocks of text around so that that after you’ve dumped all the words onto the page you can play around with them. It also has an inbuilt word counter so you could use that but for me the separate counting app was much better!
If you are going to use Scrivener I suggest you do a bit of training to get it all set up and working right for you. I wrote half the book in it then decamped to Word to finish it as I got a bit fed up with it. I know some people love it so give it a go, particularly if you are trying to hold references and character descriptions etc which I think it would do brilliantly well.
Tip 2 Find your reward
I ate a LOT of jelly babies. But your reward can be whatever makes you happy. One jelly baby every 100 words and you’ll get typing pretty quick I can tell you. Or maybe it’s something you do at the end of each 1000 words. Whatever it is, reward yourself for your excellent self discipline of getting your 1000 words done.
Tip 3 Remember why you are doing it
Hopefully you didn’t skip past this important bit, establishing why you were writing a book. Keep your book proposal to hand and if you waver have a read to remind you why there is a good reason to keep going.
I’ve got a manuscript but I haven’t got the mindset
So within 6 months of attending Daniel’s workshop I had a first draft, which Alison thought was in pretty good condition. But did I do anything with it? No I did not. Actually I did talk about it a lot, just not take any action. So this is a formal apology to those patient business friends who tolerated my circular discussions on what I should do next.
In reality I was probably just scared. However, at this point I read another book, The life changing magic of not giving a f**k. I picked it up as a bit of a joke but while it didn’t address the issue of being terrified of what people would think if you wrote a book, it did make the point that living your life to please other people was a bit nuts. It nudged me a little closer to committing to publish the book but still I wasn’t convinced.
During the next year I had conversations with a range of book experts. I learnt a lot about the complexities of publishing a book. The overriding thing being that I had absolutely no interest in doing any of it myself. I didn’t want to know about typesetting, ISBN numbers or distribution centres. Then in July of 2018 I finally took the plunge and signed up to get Practical Inspiration to publish the book. This is a paid partnership where I paid them to do all the aforementioned tasks plus a whole load of things I don’t even know about and I provide the manuscript and approve changes as required.
Without the Practical Inspiration team to drive things forward I’m sure there would be no book. I needed that external accountability to help me ride the fear and do it anyway!
The final part of publishing is the book actually going live to the world! I had a small group of fans and friends who I invited to a launch party. Rather than make this a physical event, I had an online party. I gave away some party packs with copies of the book, mini bottles of Prossecco, snacks and of course party hats which I posted to some of the attendees. Then throughout the party I gave away prizes of some of the things that had helped me reach the point I was at. It was great fun (see the picture below of the lovely people with their books!)
So there we have it… how to write a book. I’d love to know if you are tempted and would be happy to talk to you if you want any info on how the publishing partnership works or the other options I explored to save you the leg work. Just drop me a line or book a slot in my diary.
I nearly forgot (such is my British modesty)… on publishing day I got to no 1 on Amazon for 3 categories including Small Business and Entrepreneurship. For a brief time I was beating Marie Forleo, Elon Musk and Simon Sinek. Not a bad result for someone who never wanted to write a book!