Hey friends, I hope you had a great Christmas and New Year! I definitely enjoyed having a long break and getting to see my immediate family.
Today I thought I would give you a behind the scenes look into how I wrote a book in less than a year! As I mentioned in my post about Why I Wrote A Book, I was inspired to write this book in February of 2020. You know me, I don’t take on a project like this without going 110%. So once I decided to do this, I knew I needed a plan.
Step 1: Research
Before writing my book, I thought it would be smart to see what other books are out there related to marriage self-help, especially ones that talk about goals or habits. I decided to read four books to see what I could contribute to this arena of marriage self-help. This was great because not only did I get some great resources for my book, I also started thinking of how to differentiate myself from other authors.
While I was reading, I interviewed a few other published authors and authors-to-be about their process, which was very informative. At this point, I was looking into options for going with a publisher vs. self-publishing, and did a ton of research on the pros and cons for both. The most helpful piece of advice I got was to purchase a book called Published! by Chandler Bolt. It’s a guide for self-published authors and it provided a great overview of how to write and publish your first book. This sealed the deal for me because I learned I would have more control over my book and likely make a bigger profit. I also determined the purpose of the book, the problem I was trying to solve, and what “success” meant to me. This was really helpful when I was lacking motivation or getting distracted.
Lastly, before writing I used a program called Clickup to make a task list, create a timeline, and keep documents for myself. I’d highly recommend it for any project management you need to do (and I get nothing for saying this so you know I mean it!)
Step 2: Write
Using the method outlined in Published!, I created a mind map of all the topics I could think of to include in my book. Then, I narrowed it down into chapters. After that, I made outlines for each chapter and came up with the standard flow for each one. Then I wrote! For about one hour a day, three days a week, I wrote my book. As I went, I sent chapters out to various friends to get their feedback, which was so helpful. Surprisingly, I finished in less than two months! It felt like a huge accomplishment. Shoutout to my coach and friend Mathew, who helped me develop a “creative confidence state” so that I could stay motivated while writing my book and do it in a healthy way.
Step 3: Edits on edits on edits
Y’all. I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Writing a book is NOT hard. It’s everything that comes after that is the real challenge! Once I finished writing my book in June, I decided to take a little break since I was ahead of schedule. Then I asked some friends to do a peer review, where they each read two chapters and provided me in-depth feedback. This was so helpful because there were only so many times I could read my own writing and find mistakes!
After my peer-editors, I went in search of a content editor. Bet you didn’t know there was more than one kind, huh? Neither did I. But I quickly learned that books need different types of editing. I prayed that I would find good editors to help me polish my book without costing an arm and a leg, and God provided! I found out one of the new med school wives, Olivia, was an editor, and she really helped me develop the ideas and content in my book. Next, I needed copyediting, which is more fine tuning the manuscript before it’s ready to publish. I interviewed several editors from Upwork and landed on a great editor named Elizabeth who challenged me to tighten things up and provide more clarity on my premise. The editing process was long and a bit painful at times, but I know my book is so much better as a result. Thanks to everyone who helped me edit it!
Step 4: Format and Design
Wow was I ready to get to this step! I knew that once I had a cover designed, things would start to feel real. I found two designers on Fiverr, and ended up going with Les from Germancreative. I sent her a pinterest board of other covers I liked, and she went to work. I loved her design so much and was thrilled to finally see my idea come to life! At the same time, I worked with an interior layout designer named Nirbheek for the interior layout. He was great at working with me for both the print and e-versions of my book. My friend Meredith helped me with the last details of formatting right before Christmas because she’s amazing! During this stage, I also got to take some amazing author headshots with my wonderful friend Lauren.
Step 5: Marketing
The one thing I read in all the author forums and heard from authors I know was that whether you’re self-published or you go with a big publishing company, you will have to market your book. Thankfully I do have marketing experience, so it wasn’t as overwhelming to me, but it was still a lot of work! To give you an example, I have a document with what I need to do for blog posts, social media, facebook groups, email campaigns, ads, connecting with influencers and publications, and the list goes on. There’s about 40 things on there! One of the most helpful sites for marketing has been https://www.startawildfire.com/ recommended by my editor.
One of my biggest marketing things was creating a book launch group to help spread the word – shout out to my launch team!
This process has had a big learning curve, but it’s been a really fun project to work on this year. I hope you enjoyed my behind-the-scenes info on how I wrote my book in one year! If you ever want to write a book, I would be happy to share what I know.
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