In a previous post I talked about How to write a decent book, where I shared the process of writing Join The Playful Revolution. But writing it is the beginning of the journey from October 2020 to March 2021, when I handed in a first draft. Publishing is a whole different world, starting with a pre-sale campaign in April 2021, a very needed break in the process, revision and more.
Here you can read my retrospective of the process at different time points.
(December 6th update)
Surviving a crowdfunding
The team at Creator Institute had a full pre-sale process with templates you had to populate in order to make the pre-sale process simpler. They did it over a crowdfunding platform called Indiegogo.
It was a whole month of anxiety, promotion and calls. It was also a month of catching up with people, meeting new people and learning to articulate the essence of my project. And I was really humbled by the response I got. In addition, I came out with a stronger intent of seeing the book message grow.
Now, I ended up exhausted and needed to take a break from the process.
My learnings on this phase where several:
I was out of my comfort zone since day one. That feeling didn’t go away, but I developed the habit of doing what I had to do anyway because my purpose was more important than my mild introversion. For the introverts out there: your book probably will aim to educate or entertain to some level, or anything else. You owe it to the readers who can benefit from reading it to make the best effort to reach them, otherwise, you will be doing your book and your audience a disservice. Swallow your introversion and follow the steps without looking back, the crowdfunding is just one step of the path you have chosen.
The Book Creators program is US based. When they suggest arranging 20’ calls for quick interviews, it is ok for US based interviews. When they suggest ‘catching up’ calls of 20’… well, that timeframe doesn’t work in Spain or other mediterranean, latin or more relational cultures. You just don’t come out of the blue and keep it short. So, for those introverts, or from more relational cultures, I suggest it may be better to start catching up with people as soon as you start the book project. You may mention in passing what you are up to, opening the door to more detailed explanation closer to the time. Then you will be able to keep it shorter than 60-90’. Otherwise, you will need to allocate a lot of time to crowdfunding month. Some other people did a longer campaign, but I was so tired I just wanted it to end.
I chose the program because it was in English, but my backers happened to be mostly Spanish speaking. Many of my international co-authors struggled with something similar. I managed by translating my campaign page, and providing digital only perks, to avoid the international shipping. Also, I moved the translation of the book to the top of my priority developments (I already have a first draft).
To sum it up, give yourself enough time to reconnect with people way beyond it is required.
When I finished my first draft, I was happy I had put it all out. Over 50K words of content that had to be polished.
Four months after submitting the first draft, I started the revisions. As soon as I started reading the acquiring editor’s comment the pride wore off. Another humbling moment. This was going to be a piece of work.
I went into procrastinator mode because I didn’t want to face it. Eventually I got started. Adding details, explanations that have been left unfinished and transitions between ideas. And starting to break sentences down too: five line sentences are a little too much. I ended up with near 60K words, and I had not yet created the most practical part, with detailed techniques and session blueprints, nor bibliography.
They told us to be ruthless in the editing, and I followed through. I have managed to silence the editor mode while creating but this was the editing stage. I thought I would be using the scissors… but ended up using a chainsaw cutting down 35% of the content.
I have a special place in my heart for all the editors and beta readers who had to read through my earlier versions… They are the heroes of the final product. Although the book could be better, I think it is readable, and that is thanks to all the editors and beta readers’ contribution. And we are talking about more than ten people…
My learnings on this stage:
I wrote my first draft trying to put everything I had to share about the topic. The editing process was a practice of putting the reader at the center. I wanted a better and useful experience, thus, I removed non essential principles, theories, techniques and stories. I hope it is less comprehensible but more actionable.
It takes a village to create a book, and having a coach with you is amazingly helpful
Writing a book is a challenge, and a big commitment, but having a team behind you who have worked out the process, frees you to focus on your book and topic. You save endless hours of finding out what to do and how to do it. Plus, as a deadline writer, I benefit from having a clear calendar of the process.
This part is a little more fun. You send parts of the book out to gather early praise. You share three cover concepts with your backers to gather some feedback, do copy editing revisions, proofreading, layout design, choose final title and cover, choose amazon categories… And you start to see the final product. You start feeling this become real. It is an exciting time.
In this stage you are going to be transitioning from writer of a book project to a published author status. You toy with the “what next” theme. But what is clear is that you are just starting the journey to reach your audience.
Being published is a huge milestone in itself. But if you aim to impact readers, you need readers, and that means marketing. And as a self published author, the responsibility is all yours.
In the Book Creators program, they cover this from day one, starting to document your journey in social media from the get go. But from now on, it is a critical task, regardless of what you think of it.
(April ’22 update)
Compared to the long-term effort of writing and revising the book, publishing (as for ‘uploading’ to stores) was easy. The publisher New Degree Press has set it all up so you just have to follow the steps.
Brian Bies shared a video with all the steps to publish on Amazon, Kobo and Ingram, so our books will be distributed all over the world. The video takes about an hour to watch but if you want to stop and do the steps, it may take between 2 and 3 hours, to take it slow and steady.
To be able to publish across platforms in just one sitting, we needed some preparation in advance. We prepared author profiles, researched categories and filled a table with title, pricing, and other details. By the afternoon you decide to publish you can do it all in one go by copying and pasting. They simplified the process for maximum reach and effect.
The only tricky part is the categorization in Amazon, but they have you covered on that too. If during the writing process we had a developmental editor, for the revision and publication we are paired with a MRE that holds your hand until the very end.
What next? Life as a published author
Fact: most self published authors sell between 250-300 books over time.
With this reality check, we have to accept the fact that unless you do something differently, we are not going to get rich by selling books. I will talk about non-fiction here.
Marketing-wise, former book Creator authors have made more money from workshops, speaking and coaching opportunities they received because of the book, from people and organizations who wanted to put the content into practice or learn more about it.
Your goals may be different, but the direction you take should be informed by your intentions for the book and the type of impact you aim to achieve.
In my case, I’m not so fuzzy about the specifics, but I need some monetization that will probably be reinvested into translation to Spanish, audiobook and marketing to reach more people. So if you know any possible sponsors, let me know!
New Degree Press runs a few marketing workshops after publication, so you get some help along the way. They just created a Discord channel for authors of all cohorts to meet and support each other.
With all this in mind, I will be defining my next steps. I will keep you posted.
Book writing and publishing conclusions
As my final conclusions I am impressed buy the whole setup of the program that takes you by the hand it brings a lot of professionals to help you out. You learn from speakers, you meet other authors, you help other authors and you are helped by all the others. You have a community of like-minded people creating networking opportunities.
If I had the opportunity to write some other book with the Creator Institute program again I would do it (even though price has gone up, it is still a good and affordable deal). I would recommend it to anyone who has a book in them but doesn’t want to be dealing with the whole editing-publishing process on their own and who wants accountability and community. There are not many programs like these from zero, even without the idea for a book to publish the book, even to selling books.
Stick to shorter number of words if you want to be meeting deadlines more easily and simplify the editing process (25.000 words draft better than 50k).
Start building an audience as soon as you start the program. If you are an introvert or from a very relational culture you may need extra time (two or three times) or longer periods (in months or weeks) depending on the time you can devote to crowdfunding. Also, if you are a foreigner and your people don’t speak English or your topic is not of general interest.
But, this is a marathon, so don´t stress yourself over this. Some deadlines can be stretched, some life events may and have to take over… Just set your goals aligned with your lifestyle and modify them if big things happen – I would suggest you can change gear, but keep the engine going, so eventually, you reach your destination. But this is a very personal choice. (I needed a break, or I would have broken down).
Just trust the process, show up and do the work. All I can say is that I’m a happy published author now.