Should You Write A Book?

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It is about two years after I decided to write a book and a year since it was published. This feels like a good time to reflect on the process and my motivations to write it. Since the advent of Amazon’s self-publishing model, it is increasingly easy for anyone to write and publish a book. If it is so easy, should you write that book? Looking back with what I know now, would I write my book?

Getting Started

I’m going to break up my thought into three parts: writing, publishing and selling it. Starting at the beginning, I became increasingly confident I could write a book after joining a writing circle. The circle is nothing more than a group of people who want to write and share their work together. The value is in the feedback and encouragement shared across the group. This really helped me keep going and gradually remove any doubt I had about my ability to write that book.

The second big ‘ah ha’ came when I hired an editor. Rod came highly recommended and I wasn’t disappointed. He brough a level of expertise and professionalism I didn’t have. At the same time, he also dismissed my first ideas for the book along with the four chapters I had already written. Painful but necessary. We ended up writing about my leadership story and those initial chapters came back as section two of my book. The hardest thing for me was writing a chapter only to have to write it again after Rod’s review. I hate redoing something but it was worth it in the end. I have had many compliments about the quality of my writing. Thank you Rod!

Publishing

Publishing it was completely new to me and Rod pointed me to a website called Reedsy. It is a marketplace for book publishing professionals. You can hire editors, artists, proofreaders amongst other skills to get your book to market. I found the quality of professionals extremely high and I recommend Reedsy to any aspiring  author. Amazon made self-publishing very easy which is why competition in the book market is so high which brings me to my last point.

My biggest Disappointment

It felt great to have published my book but marketing it was a miserable experience. Competition is extremely high and any new book is a needle in a haystack. There is no shortage of help available which all comes at a steep cost. After spending about $10,000 getting my book published, I wasn’t ready to invest a similar amount on the basis of vague promises I would double my return. The nail in the coffin for me was a book competition that came highly recommended. I had received a lot of very positive comments about my book so I was curious to get some independent feedback. Sadly, they took my money and that was the last I heard. I don’t know if it was a scam but it was a waste of my time and money.

So looking back, would I write my book? Yes I would because I enjoyed the process and it is wonderful to give copies to friends and especially my clients. I am proud of the book and I know many people have enjoyed reading it. That is enough for me. If on the other hand you have aspirations to write a best seller, I encourage you to think very carefully before starting down this path.

Comments (4)

To me your assessment of your writing, publishing, marketing journey is well grounded and very useful. Thanks so much Andy!

Thank you Phillip, I am glad you found it helpful!

This is good to know – as you know I really enjoyed the book and think the right way to look at it is did it influence even a relatively small number of readers rather than did it make you rich. A lot of academics spend their whole careers writing for audiences of 100 people or fewer but if they really influenced this relatively small number of experts they consider themselves successful. I think you should think of your book that way.

Hey Eric,
You are as insightful as ever, this is a very important way to look at it. Thank you!
Andy

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