“Wow Amanda, you write your blog posts so well; you’ve got mad talent.” “Amanda, you should totally write your own book.” These are just some of the feedback I got from friends and family and motivated me to go on and write a book. Unfortunately, none of them told me of the painful truths about writing.
You see, writing a book isn’t an easy task, and it involves a lot more than just writing. As I was writing my book, I made many mistakes and discovered some harsh realities. Had I known them before, I’d have saved myself from a lot of stress and setbacks and would have written my book much faster and sold numerous copies.
Are you pondering getting a story on paper or sharing your life knowledge and experience with thousands that could benefit from them? Here are the things that I wish I’d had an excellent understanding of prior to writing and publishing my book.
Put Writing First
I liked to put writing off, and say I would do it later. After waking up, I would have plenty of time to check emails, review my bills, arrange meetings, and do everything else except write — not even 500 words! Little did I know that whenever I put writing last, nothing substantial was going to happen.
When I had the guts to write, it was hard to squeeze out all of my literary juices. I could hardly recall what I was trying to say or where I left off the previous time I wrote. Picking my writing up where I left off was a real struggle.
I took a while for me to realize that when writing a book, the most important thing one has to do is write. I had to minimize interruptions and put my writing first — before email, social media, the news and many other things. I needed to have a daily writing routine, which I could fit in around taking care of my family and my job.
So are you putting writing first? Prioritize writing, and work toward doing it every single day. If you don’t write regularly, you’ll lose focus and get stale.
I used to think that once I wrote my book, I would easily find a publisher. Needless to say, I was wrong. It’s important to know your publishing options before finishing your book. Once you know them, it’s easier to set your new project in motion before you’re done with the manuscript.
It’s also worth noting that marketing a book on your own is a daunting task. I was overwhelmed with the demands of the release, the huge workload I had to keep up with to put food on the table, the small follow-ups and many decisions related to the book that I had to make. Finding out if the editor got her copy, the number of copies to supply my next conference with, and purchasing tickets for my next couple of trips were some of the many things I found too much to handle.
You shouldn’t market your own product. For your book to really sell, you need to have someone else market it for you. The publicity department of a publisher can help you significantly. But you should also remember that your publisher’s publicity people may have many other titles to promote alongside yours, so try to be patient with them. You may be mad at how they’re handling your book, but it’s almost always never their fault. The strains on this industry are grueling.
It’s Expensive to Write a Book
First-time authors usually get small advances or none at all. Even the few that may be lucky enough to get a significant advance won’t get it in the form of a single fat paycheck. Contract negotiations take months, and payments are often split into three sections — these authors get a portion when they sign the contract, another chunk when they submit the manuscript, and a portion on the publication of the book. And you know what? The period between the offer and the book being published can take 18 to 36 months. And let’s not forget about the many expenses related to book writing. Even that huge advance can shrink quickly.
Get rid of the notion that it’s possible to live off an advance as you write your book. My publisher doesn’t give any author advances, so I crowdfunded my book. There’s no shame in looking for a second job. Book writing money can be unpredictable, so having a paycheck from elsewhere can come in handy. The additional income will take the pressure off yourself, allowing you to write about something you love rather than desperately figuring out the kind of topics that would sell the most.
You Can’t Survive Without a Website
As I was touring and promoting my book in different places, I noticed one thing — potential readers will quickly look for an author’s website to know about him or her better that is why I contacted guys at Webs Union to help me with my books promotion. That implies that in this day and age, you miss a fantastic promotional opportunity if readers can’t find you with a few keystrokes. I came to learn from experience that these website visits can easily translate into many books sold.
Over time, a website gets stronger as it continually connects an author with readers. The stronger this connection, the more likely the readers will become zealous advocates. As a result, they’ll spread the word to family and friends.
First impression matters, so it’s important for authors to pay attention to aesthetics as well as functionality as they design their sites. An author site must respond and perform for it to be successful as a component of book marketing.
Using free web design tools just didn’t cut it for me, so I sought the services of a professional. Hiring help relieves frustration, quickens the design process, and offers peace of mind as you rest assured your website will be set up properly and look professional. A website designer will help get your site off the ground, ensure everything is rightly placed, and provide guidance on how you can manage the site yourself.
Writing that book can appear to be an endless endeavor, but it’s very possible to make it. The secret is to learn from your mistakes (and mine too) and work hard to improve your craft. You’ll reach The End and hold that book in your hands. You just have to keep soldiering on.