I have mentioned before that since becoming a writer (did I just call myself a writer?) several people have commented on how they have always wanted to write a book. “I have a story to tell!” “I really think what I have been through can help others.” “I have half of a manuscript written!”
Usually the next thing that they say is something about how they will never write it or they don’t have the time, or they don’t know how to get started.
I understand. It is hard. It does take time. It is challenging to know how to begin.
But isn’t anything that is worth doing hard, takes time and challenging? Of course it is!
Will anyone want to read what I write?
Some will. Some won’t. And that’s ok!
I had to press through this one.
Then I learned that I didn’t need nor want everyone to read my books. What I want is a loyal following of those who truly enjoyed my writing. That means that many people won’t like or be interested in what I write about. I realized as a reader, I am the same way. There are some well-known and well-liked authors that I don’t care for their stuff. Why would it be any different for my writing?
Interestingly, I have to admit when someone tells me that they really like my writing, or that I am good writer, I have a hard time believing them. But that is a whole other issue.
I decided that I need to make sure that I am my best fan. I need to enjoy what I write. I laugh because as I have gone back and read portions of my book or a blog, sometimes I exclaim out loud, “Hey, that’s really good!”
What do I write about?
I finally decided that I was going to give this writing thing a try. My next big question that perplexed me? What do I write about?
From my many conversations, some already know what they want to write about. That wasn’t me!
I had no clue what to write about. I didn’t have a manuscript already written. I didn’t blog. The only regular writing I did was journaling. I hadn’t written anything for someone else since college.
I wrote down a list of ideas and topics that interested me. Then, with the help of my wife, I chose a topic and began writing.
I also became a student of writing. I read books and articles about writing. This lead me to blogging. I realized that publishing a blog would help me in my writing. But I didn’t know what to write in a blog either!
I wrote this blog, How I Decide What to Write in a Blog, after I had blogged for a while.
How do I publish my book?
After I began writing my first book, I got sidetracked trying to figure out how to publish the book. Granted today many options exist for publishing. But don’t allow this to keep you from writing your book. Publishing is the easy part. Writing is the hard work.
I break the publishing options down into three main categories:
- Self publishing as the general contractor. As with all self publishing, you are the decision maker and it is your money. As Michael Hyatt calls it, you are an Author as an Entrepreneur. Resources abound for you to act as the “general contractor” for your book. If you have the skills to design a cover, design the interior layout, format for different e-book platforms, contract a printer, market, etc. then you can do all of it. Or, you can contract other professionals to do this for you.
- Assisted self publishing. For years publishing houses would give all the needed services to publish your book using your money. These were called vanity publishers. “Serious” authors didn’t consider this a viable route if they wanted their book to be more than a book for family and friends. However, as digital printing or print on demand has made self publishing more attractive and accepted, many traditional publishing houses now offer a division for authors to use. An author can choose from a selection of services that use the ability of the publisher while retaining ownership of their book.
- Traditional publishing. This is exactly what it sounds like. The basics are finding an agent who then shops your manuscript to publishers. The publisher uses its resources to edit, print, and market your book. However, I have learned that traditional publishers expect for authors to play a large role in the marketing of the book.
Still struggling on getting started?
Here is a good blog from Jeff Goins—10 Ridiculously Simple Tips for Writing a Book that should help!
What other reasons keep you from writing that book?