Have you ever thought about writing a book? Statistics show that 80% of you just said (or thought) “yes!” And I know from personal experience that this is the case, because whenever people find out that I’ve written and published my own book, they invariably ask me about how they can do the same. However, even though you may have a book inside of you, chances are something has kept you from writing and publishing it. And as is the case with most things in life, what usually stops most people is that they just don’t know how to get started! As such, this post is intended to compel you to get going on publishing your book and provide some guidance on the steps involved in getting started.
To be transparent, I am not in the business of publishing books and I don’t sell self-publishing packages or anything. Likewise, I’m not some kind of guru on the process of writing or publishing, so I can’t provide the “one key that will turn you into a successful author” or anything like that. I decided to write this post simply because I wanted to share the learnings of my own experience. I would love for you to feel the same joy that I felt the first time I held a copy of my book, The Transformative Leader, in my hands. I want to help you experience, as I have, the opportunity to have your book make a difference for others and feel the satisfaction that comes along with that.
The disclaimer I would offer again is that I am certainly not an expert on book publishing; while I believe the content I am about to share will be useful to most of you, I am not suggesting you stop signing that $10 million book contract offer you just received. If that is you, stop reading this post and go sign that contract right now! For everyone else, however, if you aren’t sure where to start and would like a little nudge in the right direction, this post is for you.
Why Publish a Book?
To be rich and famous, of course! Right? Nope! While having a published book does enhance your credibility and preserves your knowledge or story for posterity, getting rich and famous is never the right reason for getting a book out there. (It is also hardly ever the result of just publishing a book anyway). I remember experiencing this when I was writing my book. It all started with the noble intention to make a difference for others, and while I wrote with that intention, content was just flowing into my head and onto the pages of what would eventually become my book. Then, I started entertaining the idea that I was going to be a published author, and that I might become famous and maybe even rich! It may be hard to believe, but right at that moment, ideas stopped flowing completely and I experienced writer’s block like never before.
It wasn’t until I realized that it was no longer about them and it was all about me and I intentionally shifted my focus that my creative juices started to flow again. So, my advice is that if you are going to publish a book, do it because you are out to make a difference. Remember that, while you are “the One” writing the book, the ultimate success of the book depends on it being “not about you.”
There are many ways in which your book could serve a purpose. The book could be a legacy you leave behind for your family and friends, or learnings you wish to pass on to future generations. It could be a way you exercise your creativity and inspire others to do the same. It can serve as a teaching tool that would not only make a difference as a standalone instrument but could be utilized to supplement the teaching, coaching, or consulting you may be doing. I know this is definitely the case for me, as my clients and I often refer to the contents of the book in our conversations.
Net, getting your message or your story out of your head and into a book is an extremely gratifying experience with infinite potential to contribute to others.
What holds people back?
There is literally no time in the future when you will say to yourself, “Gee, everything is perfect now and I think it is absolutely the right time to publish my book!” There will always be forces that will hold you back if you let them, and they will always show up as excuses. One reason you might hesitate could be that you don’t think you have anything significant to say. Remember everyone has a story and everyone has had experiences that others can learn from. Another reason might be that you’re just not sure your work will be received well and you’re not ready for your work to be criticized. If that is you, just get over it! Don’t deprive the 95% from benefiting from what you have to say simply because you are afraid of what the 5% might say. If you play it safe all the time, you will never accomplish anything great. And anyway, you might get criticized for the fact that you haven’t published your book after thinking about it for so long! Another roadblock could be that, while you have overcome your fears and concerns, you just don’t know where to start and how to go about writing and publishing a book. If this is you, the good news is that once you decide that you’re going to go for it, there are all kind of resources that are available to you for free online. The other good news is that you can start by downloading a guide that my team put together as we learned—through the school of hard knocks—how to take a book from concept to being published and available on Amazon.
In the old days, you pretty much had to find a publisher who would be willing to publish your book and they would take a huge cut of the profits. If you are Stephen King or Tony Robbins, going that route is still a great option because the publishers are knocking down your door to publish your books and you have leverage to negotiate the terms. This may also be a great option for those of you who have a book that you believe has tremendous potential to make it big and you are willing to knock on a few doors and get in on a deal with a famous publishing house that will take care of the marketing and distribution of your book. (Make no mistake, marketing and distribution is a huge deal when it comes to successful book runs, but, beyond recommending Tim Grahl, I won’t be going into that in this post). For the rest of us, however, there is great news. You can now self-publish online just as easily, if not more easily, than going through an established publisher. This takes out the effort of having to convince someone else that your book is worth selling, and as a third option, you can use one of the many self-publishing support services that are available which offer a hybrid approach of helping you self-publish and market your book for a fee.
We went the complete DIY route, which the guide will take you through roughly. Self-publishing totally on your own is kind of like building your own house and contracting everything that you can’t do yourself to other experts. It is the most cost-effective way to do it, but you are the one in charge and responsible for bringing all the pieces together, and thus the one to blame if things start falling apart. Again, we have had significant success with my book. We have shipped it to over 20 countries and we sold 5-6 time the number of books that the average book sells in its first year, and we are still selling books on a regular basis, but it was not a turn-key launch by any means.
On the other hand, using one of the self-publishing services is like designing your house, then hiring a builder to construct it your house and manage the sub-contractors necessary to complete the job. You still have a lot of control over the process, but you pay an additional fee in exchange for their experience and for not having to deal with the details.
What to do next?
I’d suggest you check out this guide we have put together for self-publishing your book and then decide if you want to go through the process. If not, you can look into self-publishing/hybrid services such as BookLogix, Lulu, Kindle Direct Publishing, and Goldfinch Publishing.
Feel free to leave your comments and questions on this post and I will get back to you with any helpful perspective I can offer.
I wish you the very best as you share your message!
Join me next week for part 2 of this post, where we will take a deeper dive into the absolute most important part of publishing your own book: writing it!
About the Author: Amir Ghannad is an international keynote speaker, author of The Transformative Leader, leadership consultant, culture transformation champion, and founder of The Ghannad Group. He has made it his life's work to guide leaders and equip them with the tools, skills, and the mindset necessary to create extraordinary workplace cultures that deliver breakthrough results. Download his free e-book, titled 5 Practical Steps to Make Your Culture Transformation Stick by clicking here.
As always, have a great week! May you Boldly Declare, Courageously Pursue, and Abundantly Achieve the Extraordinary!
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