Scared was an understatement.
I had just opened my first shipment of books. The smell of that box is forever stamped in my memory. I was excited to experience a reality I had only dreamt about years earlier. That was until I started thumbing through the pages.
At first there was one.
Then were were two.
They started to add up.
Why where there so many mistakes in my book?
Maybe it was because I was a self-published author on a shoe string budget which required me to do most of the editing myself. Maybe it was because I needed to wait a few more months (or years) before everything was perfect? Maybe it was because I had no idea what I was doing?
Whatever the reason I was face to face with about 100 books and I had to make a decision about what to do next. So I did the only thing that made sense. I told the world that my book was available and I sold as many as I could.
In the back of my mind there was a thought that this entire thing was foolish. Without a book contract from a major publisher the idea of getting a book out there is a big mistake, right? I batted away those back of the mind thoughts like flies at a cookout.
Based on my math I’ve sold nearly 700 copies of Leading While Green (if my math is correct the actual number is 693). The Kindle version of Leading While Green was downloaded over 500 times in during my kick off promotion week. That’s nearly 1200 copies of a less than perfect, self-published book. Not bad for someone who almost started from scratch.
Here are three things I’ve learned about the books and success along the way.
You Have To Actually Write The Book
No one else needs to hear you talk about how great your book idea is. You’ve wasted too much time pointing out the flaws in the the next person’s work. Get your book done. Yes, good is the enemy of great but perfect is the enemy of done. The right time to write your book is now!
In his book Presentation Secrets, Carmine Gallo interviewed Pooja Sankar the CEO and founder of Piazza. Sankar suggests, “Get that first product out there. It’s never going to be the right product out of the game. It’s all about iteration.” Don’t know where to start? Here are a couple of resources to get you moving.
Chandler Bolt – Self Publishing School – http://self-publishingschool.com/
Chandler Bolt’s free webinar series helped me get over my fear of the writing process and came with a few downloads that helped me create a unique process that worked for me. Using the process I was easily able to outline and schedule my writing.
Michael Hyatt – Get Published Course – http://getpublishedcourse.com/webinar/
Hyatt’s Get Published materials helped convince me that there was a place in the world for my book and that writing it was vital to growing my leadership platform. Hyatt has been on all sides of the game from CEO at Thomas Nelson (a big deal publishing company) to life as an entrepreneur.
Jeff Goins – How To Write A Book – https://goinswriter.com/tips-writing-book/
Jeff helped me reconnect with my passion for sharing my experiences. Consuming content from Goins was like having a chat with a friend at a coffee shop. His blend of encouragement and personal challenges kept me motivated.
I soaked up as much as I could from the free content guys like Bolt, Hyatt, and Goins were giving away on their webinars and blogs. There are scores of other people out there sharing their strategy for book writing. Use the resources available (free and paid) to create a plan that fits you. The method is not as important as the mission to get the book written. Oh, you’ll probably need an accountability partner to check up on your progress from time to time.
Tell Your People About It
As self-published author you won’t have a huge marketing team behind you. One of the biggest mistakes that people make is expecting the world to come running to congratulate them about their book. Newsflash, no one is going to be more excited about your work than you.
Not your mom and dad!
Not your spouse!
Not your best friend!
People will only be as excited as you are.
Your excitement needs to push you to share with your book with your social media connections, your church, your kickball team – and just about anyone else who will listen. The key to making new connections is to use the connections that you already have. One blog post or one tweet about your book isn’t going to cut it. One phone call or one email about your book won’t keep it at the top of your best friend’s mind. Keep sharing your accomplishments with those close to you. Not only will they buy it, they’ll become your cheerleaders and inspire others to buy it too.
Ask People If You Can Come And Talk About The Book
My less than perfect book has lead to some really great opportunities over the last two years including:
- Keynote presentations at major conferences
- Seminars at colleges and universities
- County Government Training Sessions
- Church Leadership Trainings
- Nonprofit Training Sessions
- Library Book Signings
Many of these opportunities came because I placed a book in mail or sent a series of emails asking for people to checkout my book and website. Having a book gives you an added level of credibility. If I had kept the ideas in my head, instead of transferring them to paper (or ebook), the opportunities would have never come. Yes my mistake sprinkled, perspective on life and leadership has even led to the following response from New York Times Best Selling Author Kevin Kruse:
I’m also proud to say that I went back and fixed many of the mistakes found in the first edition of Leading While Green and recently published the second edition. Now I’m on a mission to sell 893 more so that even more people can take steps toward becoming effective leaders.
What about you? What project on you working on? What if your work could change someone’s life if it wasn’t held hostage by your fears? Put it out there and make the changes you need along the way.