Podcast 83: Lessons from Writing a Book: A Year LaterSep 23, 2021
I can’t believe it’s been a year since my book was published and over two years since I sent the manuscript to the publisher. I’ve learnt a lot about myself from the process and recognised the things I’d do differently next time (if there is one!).
Check the timing
A book is a great asset for any small business owner, but the timing of writing one must be right – and it probably wasn’t for me.
I was so flattered by being invited to write a book, I got side-tracked from my business plan and there were other projects that had to take a back seat. In addition, I lost 6-weeks when I had an operation and wasn’t able to work fully.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing and knowing what I do now, I should have waited a couple of years and established the other areas of my business like building my new website first.
Saying that having gone through the process - I’m very pleased I’m not in the middle of writing it now!
It’s a huge undertaking
I totally underestimated the amount of work involved in writing a book - everything takes three times longer (at least) than you think it will.
If I’m really honest, I was a bit arrogant and I can remember thinking I have all the information across hundreds of blogs – how hard can it be? Well, it is hard, really hard work and there were many times when I just didn’t want to carry on.
There are a lot of steps and it feels like a never-ending job – you get it off your desk, give a sigh of relief only to have it come back again, and again, and again.
To add the workload, the actual writing is a fraction of the work needed – it’s just the starting point, you then have to market it if you want anyone to find out about it which takes time and effort.
It’s never perfect
This lesson was tough for me. Growing up as someone that believed they couldn’t write (well anything worth reading), the book bought out all my demons. It was really tough and I had to do a lot of mindset work on myself just to get it done.
It was written before the pandemic hit and launched in the middle of it. It’s so frustrating as there are elements, I’d love to add to make it even more useful in today’s changing world working in health and wellbeing.
Interestingly, I haven’t read it fully as a final printed copy, I tend to dip in and out of it for reference. I read what felt like thousands of times before it was published (ok – probably an exaggeration, but it was a lot!), and I’m scared I’ll find a huge and obvious mistake that I missed. It will be some time before I’m ready to revisit it fully!
Newfound respect for authors
I had no comprehension of the work involved in writing and publishing a book and I’m in awe of anyone who makes a living as an author.
When you’re writing a book and networking with other authors and the publisher, you’re surrounded by people who have walked the walk. Your book is a little fish in those circles, and I found myself almost dismissing it as just a book. It’s totally not – it’s a massive achievement and I did it and I’m proud of myself. In reality, not many people have written one and it’s something to celebrate.
Writing a book won’t make you rich, but it does open doors
Writing a book is very unlikely to make you rich, well unless you write the next Harry Potter series!
For me, the aim of the book was to provide an affordable, step by step resource for practitioners, and to raise my profile and open me up to new opportunities like speaking.
It was still quite a shock when I realised how small the number of sold copies actually are!
I was deflated by my first statement numbers, so I Googled it and discovered the average sales of a non-fiction book in its first year is 250 copies, with 95% of authors selling less than 100 copies – ouch. I’m feeling better about my numbers now - at least I’m above average and I have had a number of other opportunities present themselves.
Accountability of a contract
Whilst many people chose to self-publish these days, I’m not sure my book would have ever gotten finished. Having a contract was the accountability I needed to get it done!
Having someone to guide me through the steps and a publishing house having the confidence in me to invest in editing and printing, made it happen.
All in all, I’m pleased and proud to have my little book out in the world. It has been amazing to get feedback from practitioners who have found it useful which makes it all worthwhile. Having the book has also raised my profile and helps me to stand out in the crowd and I look forward to another year of new opportunities unfolding.
Podcast 83 show notes:
- (01:14) Check the timing
- (03:06) It's a huge undertaking
- (04:58) It's never perfect
- (06:58) Newfound respect for authors
- (08:22) Writing a book won't make you rich