Three Things Every Entrepreneur Needs To Know Before Writing A Book
Entrepreneurship can be a stressful, terrifying, and lonely journey. Even for individuals with great support networks and co-founders, it can still be difficult to find an outlet to vent.
That’s why I love to write. Writing provides the perfect platform for explaining, exploring, and digesting everything that I encounter as I build my business.
With that in mind, it might come as a surprise that it took me years to finally build up the courage to write a book.
Fear of failure and concerns over what the publishing process would entail always put a stop to the idea when I got the itch.
Last year, however, in a moment of weakness, I decided to take the plunge and write my first book, "Enlightened Entrepreneurship."
One year after publication, I can confidently say that the process the ultimate learning experience.
Many of my fears proved to be unfounded, while other things I was confident about proved to more challenging than I ever expected.
Getting published is easy
Most of my initial reluctance centered around my lack of knowledge when it came to publishing. Blogging is one thing; publishing a book is an entirely different matter.
Many friends who have written books in the past have spoken of the challenges associated with finding a reputable publisher.
Since I wanted to make the process as easy as possible and have relatively few contacts in that space, I opted to self-publish instead.
In the past, I looked down on self-published books, thinking they were somehow inferior to works that come from traditional publishers. In some respects, that bias holds true.
Self-publishing lowers barriers to entry, which in-turn allows for a lot of poorly written material to see the light of day.
However, in recent years that has begun to change. Mainstream writers, such as James Altucher, have wholeheartedly embraced the self-publishing model.
As a great fan of Altucher’s work, I looked to his process for inspiration. As it turns out, he frequently utilized Amazon’s self-publishing solution to produce his work.
I ended up taking his lead and using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing service for my book. From start to finish, the entire process took me about three months; far less than I initially expected.
Marketing your work is hard
Once the book was published, I sat back and waited for the sales to roll in. I developed a nasty habit of habitually refreshing my sales statistics, watching for someone, anyone, to show interest in the work I created.
Unfortunately, after the first few months or so it became clear that this wasn’t going to be an “if you build it, they will come” scenario.
I couldn’t count on Amazon or anyone else to drive traffic to my book. I had to hit the streets and market it.
Of course, I found that was easier said than done. After all, it took me years to figure out how to successfully market my company’s product, BodeTree. When it came to the book, I was starting at square one.
As it turns out, people don’t buy books the way I do. I usually go through four to five books per month and think nothing of spending money to fuel my reading habit. I learned that most consumers, however, read less and are more sensitive to price.
Fortunately, Amazon and other retailers had resources that helped me overcome these challenges.
Amazon, for example, supports the ability to host book giveaways and offer temporary price promotions. Both of the require the author to invest, but they increase awareness and ultimately the ranking of your book.
Still, I learned that marketing a book is a constant battle. It requires the author to get creative, explore every opportunity, and become a tireless defender of their work.
Make sure you’re writing for “the love of the game”
At the end of the day, it’s important for authors to keep their expectations in line with reality.
Are you going to get rich quick by writing a book? Absolutely not. Will it be an easy process where the retailers do all the marketing work for you? Nope. Will it still be worthwhile? Absolutely.
For most of us, writing is about “the love of the game.” It’s a difficult and often thankless journey, but ultimately we do it for ourselves rather than fame or money.
Publishing can be a fun and rewarding experience, as long as you learn to keep your expectations in line.
I’ve learned a lot throughout the process, and I’m happy I embarked on the journey. In fact, I’m already working on my second book and am confident that the second time around will be even better.