Final Draft

This morning I finished my final draft!  It is a little hard to believe.  I know I still have a lot of work to do before publishing.

First, my wife will read my manuscript while I decide on some professional editing.  I have not decided yet if I will have an editor from a publishing house or a freelance editor do the work.

I will also make a decision on the publishing route.  I have decided that I will contract with a “self publisher”.  I researched many of these options online.  Now, I will make some calls to interview the ones that I am interested in.

While doing that, I will be also putting more time into developing my online presence.  This includes my website, enhancing my blog, and networking through the various social media sites.

My hope is to have a solid following by the time my book is ready to be published.  Not only will this help with marketing of the book, but it also could catch the attention of a traditional publisher.

As I started my morning today, I was thinking about finishing my final draft today.  I had not been confident that this day would ever come.  Even though some had encouraged me over the years to write, I was not sure that I would ever take the time to do so.

I thought about how so many people have a story to share, but in comparison so few take the time to write it.  Just like any endeavor or project, many excuses prevent someone from writing a book.  I am proud of myself for jumping that hurdle and sharing this story.  Hopefully, there will be more to come.

Refocus

I really thought that I would finish my final draft last week.  However, I bogged down on a chapter.  I did not like the way it was structured.  I was having a hard time seeing it written differently.

So, I shifted gears and worked on homesteading some social media sites with the name of my soon to be published website.  That took me a little longer than I expected.  But, I have a Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, and a Pinterest site now homesteaded.

What I mean by homestead is that I have signed up for the accounts with the name that I want to use.  It is the same name for all sites and my website.  Personal Branding.

I still need to take some time to set them up and begin networking.  In fact, tomorrow I am spending some time in the afternoon with a photographer friend for a head shot photo shoot.  The idea is to use not only the same name for all the sites, but also the same personal photo.

What is the reason for that you ask?  By using the same name and photo, over time, people will recognize that it is me.  Again, Personal Branding.

This morning, I returned to working on my final draft.  Spending a couple of days working on something else helped unlock some ideas on how to restructure my chapter.  So, I hope to finish the final draft sometime this week.  Then, I will give the manuscript to my wife to read.

I am getting closer!

More on Personal Branding

As promised, here is an update on my work on developing a personal brand.  I have contracted with a web host company, and I am in the process of setting up my personal website.  I could give you the address now, but you would not see anything yet!

The website will be my main online hub from which all other social media, including this blog will spin off from.  This includes any other blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and any other social media I decide to utilize.  Ideally, all will have the same “brand” or name.

The idea is to provide the most consistent brand possible.  So that, if a person sees my Facebook, Twitter, or website, they will immediately know it is the same person.

This will hopefully help in developing a larger and loyal following.  This takes social media beyond entertainment and begins using it as a business and marketing tool.I have learned that especially for nonfiction books, publishers want to see that a perspective author already has a following or personal network.

So, as I am getting closer to finishing my final draft of my manuscript, I am also developing my personal brand.  Once I have all the pieces set up, I plan on blogging about more specific topics found in my book.

Hopefully I will have my website set up next week along with my other social media sites!

Personal Branding

I promised in my last blog post that I would share some of what I am learning about marketing which leads me to this title – Personal Branding.

When I began to embrace the idea of being a writer about one year ago after many years of encouragement from others, especially my wife, I had no idea of what all would be entailed.

As I wrote in my last blog about being a little bit overwhelmed by all of the publishing options that are available today for an aspiring author, I also find myself feeling the same way about the whole idea of self marketing.

With the growth of social media, the ability and opportunity to present yourself, your voice, your message in a consistent manner is incredible.

I have had a few factors that caused me to be resistant to the whole social media scene.  First of all, being in my early 50’s , I am used to more of a face to face way of networking.  I want to know who I am talking to just as much as that person probably likes being able to know me as well.  I like to look into the eyes of the person I am talking to.

Secondly, I have been overly protective of my online identity.  A couple of reasons for that.  One is that I have done missionary work in some countries where it was prudent to be “unknown”.  The other reason is that I have not wanted to be naiive about online relationships.  I know that it can be fun and sometimes beneficial to reconnect with old friends and create new friendships.  But, I have chosen to not go there out of respect of my marriage.  I believe it is important for me to build strong hedges.

Thirdly, and not lastly, but all I will share here, is that I have avoided the social media world so that I would not become addicted to it.  I have friends, as I am sure you do too, that spend countless hours on their social media sites.  I know myself too well.  Because I can easily become OCD about things, I made a decision to not even be tempted by it.

All these things were true because I viewed social media mainly as just that, a “social” activity.  I understood that it could be very useful for someone who was networking for business or politics, etc.  But, I had not seen the value for me until now.

Finally, I am getting around to the objective of this blog!  I am learning that I am not just writing a book, or hopefully, books.  I am beginning to form a business around who I am and what I have to say.

Now, I am beginning to see the tremendous value of creating personal brand.  And, social media is a powerful way of getting the word out about that brand.

As I mentioned in the last blog, Michael Hyatt has a lot good information on his blog about this topic.  www.michaelhyatt.com.  He even has taken a lot of his blog posts on the subject and has written a book about it – Platform – Getting Noticed in a Noisy World.

I found a lot good supporting and additional online also about personal branding.  Just a few of the general tips I have learned are:

  • Know who you are.
  • Know what your message is or you want it to be.
  • Be consistent in your message.
  • Know your audience and how to connect to them.

So, this is where I find myself.  I laid in bed the other night processing out loud with my wife about creating my personal brand and platform.  I less overwhelmed and becoming more excited about developing my personal brand.

Stay tuned to see how I roll it out in the weeks to come.

 

More research on publishing options

As I near completion of my manuscript, I continue to research publishing options.  The more I research, the more options I seem to find.  The first decision that I need to make is whether I want to go the traditional publishing house route or the quickly expanding self publishing route.

If I go the traditional publishing route, then I should strongly consider contracting a literary agent.  Someone who understands the publishing world and has the necessary contacts.  Being a beginner author, this relationship would be crucial for me.

Traditional publishing houses understandably receive tons of requests to review new manuscripts.  Because there are only so much time in a day, most manuscripts that are submitted without some kind of relationship already in place get quickly rejected.  It is not that the book is not a good one, it is just not the best way of acquiring a book deal in today’s marketplace.

If I go the self publishing route, I need to decide how much I want to partner with a publisher.  Many of the traditional publishing houses now have developed a division dedicated to self publishers offering them various packages in helping with the process.

My friend, Lance, turned me onto Michael Hyatt’s blog – www.michaelhyatt.com.  Michael Hyatt is the former Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, one of the largest publishers in North America.  His blog offers tons of great advice for authors, both experienced and novice.

Here is some advice he gave in a blog about deciding if self publishing is for you:

  • You are passionate about your book idea but can’t seem to find a publisher or agent who “gets it.”
  • You are weary of the rejection letters and just want to get your book into print—now!
  • You really don’t care about selling a gazillion copies and becoming famous. You just want something to give to your family and friends.
  • You are a public speaker and need a book to sell at your events.
  • You want a published book to explain your business philosophy and provide a “calling card” for prospective clients.
  • You know that even if a publisher agrees to publish your book, you are probably not going to get A-list treatment. You might as well do it yourself and keep the lion’s share of the profits.
  • You are the pastor of a church and want something to drive your sermon series more deeply into the life of your congregation.

I am not sure if any of these fit my situation exactly, as I have yet to try the traditional publisher route.

Another great piece of advice that Michael Hyatt gives is about the importance of self marketing regardless of the publishing route that I choose.  I will blog more next time about what I am learning about all of that.