Patti Johnson, Guest Author
Chances are, you have a story to tell. Or maybe there’s a message you’re dying to share with the world. Research says that 81% of us want to write a book someday; I am one of them. I’m getting closer to crossing this goal off of my bucket list in May 2014.
I pictured myself sitting in a cozy coffee shop finding the perfect words to tell my story. I’ve had those magical days, along with many very late nights, rewriting a chapter to meet a looming deadline.
An author friend compared writing a book to giving birth – one of the best things you’ll ever do, but painful just before you finish. She said it often takes at least one year afterward before you’d consider bringing another book into the world. I’m still a little over four months away from my first book birth and I get it.
I am writing a ‘business casual’ book called Make Waves: Be the One to Start Change at Work and in Life. In it, I share how changes in organizations and communities can start because of the decisions and actions of just one person.
Here are the highlights and “must-knows” of what I’ve learned so far in writing a book, in case you are in that 81 percent too.
1. Know the why. You’ll need it. ~ Know the real reason why you want to write. Is it to share a family story, demonstrate your expertise, grow your business or transition to a career as an author? These answers will influence your timing, if you self-publish or go to a more traditional publisher, the time required, and the financial commitments. Also, knowing your ‘why’ will help you stay with it when it gets hard – and it will.
2. Decide the time and financial investment that you are willing to make. ~ At first, when I was told how much time it would take, I naively thought, ‘I’m always busy. I know how to juggle.’ This is different. Before my major manuscript deadline, it felt like a recurring repeat of finals week. Remember the movie Groundhog Day? Also, understand the extra costs that an author may cover, such as a website, additional marketing support, and assistance in your ‘day job’ to pull it off regardless of how you publish.
3. Dabble and experiment to find your voice. ~ No matter how or what you write, give yourself time and avenues to experiment and find your footing. Start a blog. Write a chapter or two and invite others to give you frank feedback. Allow time for your ideas to percolate and assimilate. My agent helped me shape up my final proposal.
4. Understand the new rules. ~ Book writing and publishing work by different rules. So, if you have no experience, talk to those who do – a lot of them. It’s not just about writing, but building a community around you who’ll be interested in buying your book. Talk to those who have gone before you and use the many online resources.
5. Publishing is a business. What’s your ROI? ~ Think of agents and publishers as investors and you as an entrepreneur. Do you have compelling content and a platform to share it so that they want to invest their time and resources in you? If you go the self-publishing route, then you are making that investment in yourself. The return on investment matters regardless of how you publish.
6. Not everyone will be interested in your baby. ~ You spend months writing this wonderful book, yet some won’t be interested and when you publish some won’t like it. You are putting yourself out there and that’s why it’s amazing! Learn, listen and adapt, but then let it go and hope that your writing will influence the right person or people rather than everyone.
7. Authors are in sales. ~ You are ultimately responsible for selling the book. Yes, you may have wonderful partnerships and support, but it is ultimately up to you. You’ll have to ask for help and support often. If you don’t like this idea, consider this right up front.
8. You don’t have to publish to write. ~ Books are the historical gold standard on sharing your thoughts. But today there are so many other possibilities. Start your own blog or ask to contribute to others’ blogs. Many authors started writing their book through a series of blog posts that became essential content. You’ll soon learn if you have the passion for writing a book.
If you know your “why” and have the commitment to do it, then get started. Find your first step, even if it’s setting up your first blog. You can do that today.
Copyright © 2014 – Patti Johnson. Patti Johnson is a career and workplace expert and the CEO of PeopleResults, a change and human resources consulting firm she founded in 2004. Previously, Johnson was a Senior Executive at Accenture. Johnson has been recently featured as an expert in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, NBC, Money Magazine and Working Mother. Patti is also an instructor for SMU Executive Education and a keynote speaker on “Leading Change.” Johnson’s first book, Make Waves: Be the One to Start Change at Work and in Life will hit shelves in May of 2014. Visit Patti’s Website at www.People-Results.com.
Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” His newest book is “Ten Commitments of Networking.” Larry James also offers “Author & Speaker” coaching. Contact: AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. CelebrateLove@cox.net – More than 110 articles especially for Authors & Speakers at: www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com
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