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E2: Writing a Book - The Learning Curve (6-10)

Where to start...

Welcome back! In edition #2, we'll dig into the essentials I learned as I began to dig into preparing for my journey.

Learnings 6-10

6. Write a proposal first: I was told this by an author years before I wrote my own book. Whether or not you’re going to self-publish or pitch a publisher, this is a VERY important point. A proposal lays out the summary, the target market, identifies the books that are like it, begins to lay out how you’ll plan to market the book, the chapter structure and even who you might ask to endorse it. When you’re done with the proposal, you’ll know whether your book will be worth writing, and more importantly, worth reading. Four years ago, I wrote a proposal for a book idea I had, and when I was done with the proposal, I realized it wasn’t very exciting. When I wrote the proposal for The Transparency Sale, I was more excited afterwards than before. I knew I was onto something, and it became my guide.

7. Buy URLs around your idea: URLs are cheap. When you have an idea for your book title, go onto Namecheap or GoDaddy or whomever you use, and buy the URLs. I immediately bought transparencysale.com, thetransparencysale.com, sellingtransparently.com, transparentsellingbook.com, sellingwithtransparency.com, etc. I wasn’t sure what the final title of the book would be, so I wanted everything close to it. I will let some of these lapse at renewal, but it’s better to have them and not need them versus the other way around.

8. Self-publishing versus using a full blown publisher, versus the in-between “hybrid” publisher: I had no idea what I was getting into here, but I knew that if I chose to self-publish, I would probably never get it done. I needed someone to hold me accountable, and to basically tell me what to do. And looking back now that the book is out, I was right. Couple that with the fact that the book wouldn’t look this great, wouldn’t have this much success, and wouldn’t be on the shelf at my local Barnes & Noble right now. However, the publishing route was a bit daunting. I’ve heard stories of publishers who basically tell you what your book is going to be about. For me to do this “bucket list” accomplishment and take the time and financial burden from doing so, I needed this book to be mine. I chose a “hybrid” publisher. The hybrid acts as a go-between. You pay them. They connect you to the best editors, proofreaders, cover designers, and have all of the distribution and warehousing resources. Then they manage those resources for you. It was perfect for me.

9. Your outline is everything: Don’t just sit down and start writing. Have an idea of how you will structure the book first. What are the sections going to be? What are the chapters? How will they flow? This will serve as your guide not only for your daily writing ritual, but for all the countless ideas that you have through the journey. Remember how, in #5, everything suddenly looks like an idea for the book? You need to know where to put those ideas you see walking down the street, in the shower, at the gym, or wherever something strikes you.

10. Using software to manage the writing process: I bought a tool called Scrivener for my writing, which is essentially Microsoft Word for the author. It creates your chapters, you write in it, it manages your footnotes, your references, you pop your ideas in a window to the right of your content, it tracks your word counts, and it allows you to publish to practically any format. The downside is that it doesn’t sync between devices, so I had to do all of my writing on my Mac...which was ok for me. You could probably get away with using Microsoft Word or Google Docs, but Scrivener helped manage my madness.

Next up - we'll talk about the grueling editing process, and what I screwed up in my first draft that made it all the more painful. On to E3...which can be found HERE.

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