I love to read books. Especially books by someone who has some skill or knowledge that I would like to learn. I’m really fond of books that start with the words “how to.” What I like even more is when someone elegantly incorporates their philosophy of life into the book. Not by hitting me over the head with a 2 x 4, but by weaving clues into the text about what drives this person. Who is he or she?
Photo by neil conway via Flickr
I like some humor and inspiration. Make me laugh and give me confidence, and I’ll follow you anywhere.
Share Your Unique Experience With Others
You have something to say that no one else can say because your experience is unique. Your experience is a valuable example for others, something that they can learn from and perhaps copy and build on to improve their own lives.
In my first book, Fix ‘em Up, Rent ‘em Out, I wrote about my experiences repairing houses and renting them out. Since I had been doing this for 7 years and it had become a source of extra income and a font of inner satisfaction, I could write genuinely about my experiences.
You may think, “There are already a lot of books written on my topic, so there’s not much more to say.” The same could be said of love songs, but people keep writing them, and hopefully always will.
Yes, there are many books written, but I think the world would benefit from one by you. You can bring your authentic experience to the table, an experience that is unique and that connects with other people.
Your Book Meets a Need in Your Own Life
When you write a book, you not help others by sharing the lessons that life has taught you, but you also fill a need in your own life.
Writing your experiences and opinions on paper forces you to focus on what you have accomplished and learned. To put ideas into words on a page requires a thoughtful analysis of what you have done. This analysis deepens the experience for you and when written down, immortalizes the experience. Now it is forever etched in your mind and on the published pages.
Writing a book is not for the faint of heart, but I don’t think you will ever regret the time that you spend doing it. Writing a book requires such a great effort, to organize your thoughts, to edit & re-write, and to go through periods of doubt and mental stress. But by the time you finally finish, you feel a wave of relief and accomplishment wash over you. And that feeling never really goes away.
Meet Your Two New Best Friends
I encourage you to buy two things to get started:
- a new spiral bound notebook, and
- a new pen.
These are “special.” Use them only for recording information about your book. Take them with you everywhere you go. I take my notebook to doctor’s appointments, to lunch, to kids sporting events, to church, and it sits close to me when I am sleeping. Write down everything that comes to mind about your book.
Before you know it, ideas will start popping into your mind like popcorn in a microwave oven. You’ll read something in a magazine, or hear someone say something in conversation, or see something in a movie, that will spark ideas or quotes for you to note in your special notebook.
Why Self-publish Your Book
There are three reasons to self-publish:
1. Unlike a few years ago, it’s fairly easy to produce your own book.
Formerly, books could only be formatted by using specialized programs, but now anyone can write and format a book in Microsoft Word.
Printing companies, such as LightningSource.com, can inexpensively print your book, and automatically ship copies to Amazon, and other on-line book stores, for seamless sales. They even deposit royalties in your bank at the end of each month. What more could you ask for?
2. You keep more of the profits if you do everything yourself.
If your book was published by a traditional publishing company, you would typically receive a 10% royalty for each book sold. By self-publishing, I receive a 55% royalty for each book sold.
3. The unvarnished truth is that it’s unlikely a publishing company will want to publish your book.
They have bigger fish to fry. They’d rather publish a book by Justin Beiber. There’s something askew in a universe where memoirs are written by 16 year old boys.
However, just because your book is self-published, that doesn’t mean that you can’t sell a lot of copies, because you can and will. It’s primarily a matter of having a good message, and effective promotion.
Some Overlooked Ways to Promote Your Book
Internet promotion is one obvious piece of the promotion puzzle, but two often overlooked, yet highly effective pieces, are radio promotion and public speaking.
- Radio Shows. Radio shows have time to fill and authors have something to say — a perfect match. Although sometimes it takes some effort to actually contact the radio host, it’s nice to be able to do your interview via telephone from the comfort of your own house.
- Public Speaking. One component of public speaking is contacting clubs, organizations, and associations, all who are in need of speakers. A second component of public speaking involves making videos for YouTube.
Don’t Over-Think Promotion
The better people know you, the more they are likely to read your books and listen to what you have to say. Don’t be caught in paralysis by over analysis. Just accept radio and public speaking for what they are, which are tools for you to connect with people.
Douglas Adams said,
If you take a cat apart to see how it works, the first thing you have on your hands is a non-working cat.
In my first video, I was so afraid I would make a mistake that I had my 12 year old son hold the script right next to the camera, so I just could just read it aloud.
Frankly, people don’t care if you make a mistake. They will listen to you anyway, if you just freely share your knowledge with them.
Let the Journey Begin
There are few things more rewarding than writing and publishing a book.
Mark Twain said,
Really great people make you feel that you can be great too.” When you write a book, you tell your readers, “I was successful in doing this, and you can do it too.
Don’t keep that book simmering inside of you. Let it out, where it belongs. Many people will have their lives enriched by the experiences that you share. You may change their world, and your own.
For more articles about writing a book and self-publishing, please visit Carve Out Your Niche.
Terry Sprouse formerly worked at the University of Arizona for 10 years. During that time, he started a business in his spare time buying fixer-upper houses and turning them into rental properties. In addition to his real estate business, he also writes books about real estate investing and how to become self-reliant, rather than relying on a 9-5:00 job for security. He is the author of Fix em Up, Rent em Out, and most recently, Carve Out Your Niche. He also the author of Fix em Up Rent em Out.