When I wrote my first book, I had no thoughts about how it might help me; I just wanted to write a book. I had no idea about what might or could happen I pressed publish, and I certainly didn’t expect everything that came after.
Connecting with people every day is easy because social media, and I love interacting with my online audience. More recently I’ve been speaking with aspiring or established business owners who are in the process of putting their words onto paper, and the conversations we have are always the same.
Since I published my first book in 2013, I’ve written and published a few more, got a degree in Creative and Professional Writing, and started a business. The world looks a little different for me now and this is why I’m writing this blog post.
I’ve learned some valuable lessons over the years and I’d like to share some gems of wisdom with you:
Writing a book is an incredible achievement. It’s not an easy task, and it’s even more challenging if you want to write well. This doesn’t even include your family, work, and other life commitments.
But also, writing a book doesn’t guarantee you instant success. You may not win a publishing contract, in fact, it’s more likely that you won’t. Aspiring authors dream of achieving the financial success that J K Rowling did with the Harry Potter series, but I assure you that is rare.
In fact, you probably won’t generate a huge income from your book alone. Especially if you self-publish.
Being published traditionally is another dream, but the publishing industry is extremely competitive. You could write the best manuscript ever, and still receive rejections from literary agents. This is usually why people self-publish.
Prove to yourself that you can do anything
I’ll be honest with you here, I always wanted to write a book. I loved reading as a child and I loved the idea of becoming an author when I grew up. But I never knew I’d actually do it, you know? It seemed like a faraway dream and it took (what seemed like) forever, so when I finished the first time I was super amazed.
I impressed myself – and that doesn’t happen often. Then, after that lots of amazing things happened for me. It was a huge boost of confidence for me and it encouraged me to explore what else I could achieve. I’m convinced I wouldn’t be living this version of my life if I hadn’t finished writing that first book.
For you, I expect it will be the same. You’ll feel a sense of euphoria at finally completing a long-awaited goal. Then you’ll feel a bit of anxiety at navigating the publishing process. Fear might creep in once your book is available for purchasing. You might even dance with self-doubt at your book launch if you decide to hold one. (You absolutely should, btw). Or maybe you won’t know how to feel. Maybe it’ll be a mixture of different feelings, and I’d say that is normal too.
Once you’ve written your book, it might inspire you to see what else you can do. And that really is exciting, because anything is possible.
Think about the bigger picture
Writing that book won’t guarantee millions in your bank account.
It’s important to look at the bigger picture and think about what your book can lead to. Think of your book as a passport and it allows you to travel to different continents, which perhaps you wouldn’t be able to do without it.
Writing a book is more than that one book, it also leads to other great things. For example, perhaps you write a money mindset book or one about confidence-building or something else around personal development. From that one book, you could also do:
- an online course related to the book
- workshops related to the book
- a coaching or mentoring programme related to the book
- public speaking gigs at events
- radio and podcast interviews
- feature in online magazines and local press
This is not an exhaustive list.
So what you perhaps don’t make in book sales, you can actually make in other book-related activities.
You will build your network
Being an author is quite a conversation starter. People are so curious and will ask all sorts of questions. I actually love this part because I love to talk about my work and what inspired me to begin.
You writing a book will spark conversations with new connections, and that will open doors you never knew existed. Networking is a great way to let people know about who you are and what you’ve written. But also find out about what other people in your industry are doing too.
I say this because being a social butterfly has worked in my favour many times. I’ve delivered writing workshops for organisations that contacted me after someone else recommended me. My name comes up in rooms I’m not even sitting in, but that’s because I’ve written books and made a point of getting my name out there for years. And where these are paid opportunities, even better, because this is what I want for you too.
Plus, it makes sense to build your network because your book may lead to other things. You may decide to write a script from it and want a director to make you a short film. Or perhaps you want to reach out to a photographer because you want some professional headshots taken for an event you’re speaking at. The way you’ll think about who you could approach for that, is the same way you want people to think of you when looking for an author for their event or workshop.
Remember, your book will give you something to talk about and is also something tangible for people to engage with and talk about after.
Sit gracefully on that pedastal
Writing a book gives you credibility. People get excited about it, consider you to be a bit of a star, someone to know and respect. I’m not making this up, I’m telling you this because it is true.
You’ve done something not many other people have done, and you’ll become a person of interest because of that.
Now, if you’ve written a book about business or personal development, this adds even more credibility to your name and/or your business. You’re putting yourself out there as an expert, or at least this is what people will think of you. You’re positioning yourself as an authority figure, which can only enhance your personal brand and anything else you’re working on.
A book adds value, especially if you’re already working on other projects, such as workshops or events.
You write your book and you create an online space that you can stand in and talk about it. Awesome. But now more people know your name, that also means more people will talk about you.
You should especially keep this in mind as you navigate the online and real-life worlds. Think of this in every interaction you have, especially with what you post, and what parts of your life you choose to share online.
Ask yourself, how would I like people to experience me for the first time online? And work to ensure that is always the case. Because word of mouth travels fast, so better it is good things people have to say about you. Or at least the people you want to connect with most.
You will build a fabulous and loyal audience
When you write and publish a book, you also need to be thinking about the people you want to read it.
You need to think about who they are, where they are, and how you’re going to connect with them.
It goes without saying really, but no audience means no book sales. And it’s fine if you’re not writing for anyone other than yourself, but I imagine many of you want your words to be read by someone.
In a time of the internet and social media, authors are more accessible now than they ever were. This is awesome for two main reasons:
- You get to connect with your audience reguarly and share parts of your life/values/wisdom with them in live time.
- You get to learn more about the people you want to connect with.
I’m a writer who wants her words to be read by people. For that reason, I’m on social media, have a website, and a mailing list where they can read more of my writing. I’m conscious also that I’m a woman they’d like to learn more about and are sometimes inspired by. So, in my own way, I create social media posts, occasional blog posts, and newsletters where I can give my audience more of what they want.
It’s important because when I write another book or put on another workshop, I’ll need people who are interested in buying a book or a workshop ticket.
It’s fair to say that once you’ve written your book, you will need to do a great deal of marketing so you can finally connect with the people who will connect with your words most.
I could write a whole book on connecting with people online, maybe I’ll do that one day. But for now, there are already some great resources out there that you might find as useful as I did.
These are affiliate links, which means I earn some commission, but it will be at no extra cost to you.
- Connect, Don’t Collect by Brian Hollingworth
- Slashed It! The Social Media Marketing Guide by Unsah Malik
Thank you so much for reading this blog post. There’s much I could touch on here but I hope this has given you a good idea of how writing a book will help you.
Love what I’ve written here?
I love writing and sharing my thoughts, especially when I have such an incredible and supportive audience to write for. If you’ve loved this blog post, I’d love you to do one or two of the following:
- Leave me a comment and let me know what you’re writing! Or thinking about writing.
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Thanks again for being awesome.
Love Annika x