Publishing is a business and don’t you forget it… An author confession, lesson learnt from publishing my book
Swapping an office for my living room in the quest of writing a book seemed easy. But freelance writing and publishing a book is no pyjama party, as I figured out.
I always wanted to write a book, and last year, when I found myself in between contracts for my business, I thought it was the now or never opportunity. So I looked amongst people who have done it before, but closer to home real examples with real people (as opposed to famous literary super authors).
I liked Simon Coulson (I met him at The Business Show and been to one of his training workshops). He researched and wrote his first book in 60 hours (around two weeks). His first writing experience after a career in customer service at British Telecom. Amazingly, his first book, Bulgaria Property Guide ( a place he had never been), sold enough copies to substitute the income he used to have as a full-time employee. After that, he wrote more property guides about other countries, a Rinse and Repeat of the exercise and then the successful Intrepreneur, amongst other internet business ventures.
I’m passionate about inspiring/empowering/helping other women make the most of their circumstances with the available tools. And grabbing the opportunities that life presents. So, et voila’, mixing the two seemed like the perfect idea.
I was also looking into different business models, diversifying, and was attracted to (still am) a digital nomad way of working/living after reading The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris (gazillion times) and having written about it.
So there I went …. and started to write.
NOT A PYJAMA PARTY
My long daily commute from bed to the desk via the kitchen for a (lot of) coffee involved far more self-discipline than I thought. I ended up publicly committing myself to write a daily diary to keep me accountable (the How to Publish a Book in 30 days blog series ). I discovered that I was very much the victim of the 9-5 culture. Daily I woke up and started working at ‘normal’ office hours rather than my most productive and creative hours. And felt guilty when I wasn’t (not very much digital nomad, is it?).
Writing the book was the easiest part of it all. The subject just wrote itself (almost). I was writing about something that fulfilled me on many levels (empowering women/women in leadership/women and equality). And I was getting a sense of contribution out of it and personal growth.
What I didn’t consider was all the elements associated with launching a product: the marketing and advertising of the book.
PUBLISHING IS A BUSINESS
I have been in business, whether working for corporate or for myself, for longer than I care to admit. And I have always looked at things from a commercial point of view. But this time it was different – it was about me.
Talking about me, my story (as marketers describe it) whilst being a very private person ( heck, I have known some people for ten odd years, and they still don’t know about my half of what some people put out there on the internet for total strangers to see) was very uncomfortable for me.
In insight, I should have seen that Simon was an ex-customer service professional (sales), and Tim was a marketeer/e-commerce expert and shameless self-promoter. NO criticism here. I love them both, more recognising that they do not have the same hang-ups that I might have talking about myself.
THE BUSINESS OF BEING AN AUTHOR
Self-publishing is a business ( and so is being a freelance writer). There are many people out there who are writing best-selling e-books/books with the intent of making money and using Google to search for popular subjects, what people need and then write about it using all the right search words (SEO), choosing the correct categories to publish their book into a rank on Google and Amazon. They are highly successful (i.e. they make money).
For me, just this is a bit dry ( although, of course, I do want to make money and lots of it – so please buy the book ;-p ).
But the SEO, categories, and so on is the bread and butter of running your own business (even more so for an online one), and so is a lesson to learn.
There are other lessons too, like taxation and peer envy, but those are subjects for another blog…
Thanks for reading xxx
Business & Lifestyle Experimentation Blog for #TheWomanAlchemist #SmashYourCeiling #lifeexperiment
PLEASE NOTE: this is an updated post. Reminiscing on the process and journey of writing and self-publishing my first book, “STOP IT! It is all in your head”. The book is available on sale in print from Amazon or you can download it as an ebook from Amazon and from the author, moi. To get it from me, click here.