I’ve heard that over 80% of Americans want to write a book, but less than 1% ever do. That’s too bad! I wish I could have a minute to talk with each and every one of them and share my experience. I think some of them would be persuaded to actually put in the effort. Because the truth is, writing and publishing my first book changed my business (and my life) more than any other single action ever has. It was the catalyst that catapulted my success to where it is now.
Becoming an author expanded my audience exponentially, made me a go-to authority in my niche, created an additional stream of passive income, and positively changed my life in so many ways.
(Before we get into all that, though, I have to tell you a little secret: I wrote my first book in just one month. And I didn’t even have a fancy publishing deal — I self-published. And the benefits were still amazing!)
I hope you’ll take a minute to hear what publishing did for me, because I think you might just be inspired to take action and create similar results for yourself — especially once you understand how little work I actually had to put into this book.
So, without further ado, let’s jump into what changed when I became a published author.
1) My audience grew 1000x.
Before I wrote my first book I was virtually unknown. I had a few followers, but they were mostly family and friends plus a few randoms. Aside from that, I literally had zero audience.
Publishing a book changed all that! First of all, just through the process of launching my book, I gained so much exposure — people get excited about new books coming out, so you become more interesting. People pay more attention to you, and I was interviewed on a number of podcasts.
Secondly, once published, my book was listed on Amazon. Can we just take a moment to acknowledge the impact that being in a public marketplace can have?
So many people write great “free ebooks” and put them on their website as a download to encourage people to subscribe to their email list — but that only works if people visit your website in the first place. No matter how good your product is, nobody will be interested in it if they don’t know it exists!
That’s what’s amazing about putting your product or content on Amazon: people actually find it! As the largest marketplace in the world, the exposure you get on Amazon is unrivaled.
So, to say that my audience grew 1000x is really probably an understatement. I went from less than 50 followers to tens of thousands. Huge. I still can’t get over how amazing it was!
2) I got thousands of new leads.
Not only did I gain exposure, but that new audience actually converted into leads! What I mean by that is: people didn’t just hear of me and then forget about me. They bought my book, got to know me and my message by reading it, and then proceeded to subscribe to my list.
Talk about warm leads! These new subscribers were HOT (don’t tell them I said so!). Because they were first introduced to me as an author, they saw me as an authority figure. And because they thoroughly learned my message before subscribing, I didn’t have to spend any time “educating” them on what I was all about. They already knew me so well and had chosen to subscribe because they already knew that they liked me.
(So, the lesson here is: when you write your book, make sure that you include a motivating incentive for people to visit your website and join your list. If you don’t do this, you’re missing out on an amazing list-building opportunity!)
3) I became known as an authority in my niche.
In my niche, and out of it, when I say, “I’m an author”, people say “Wow!”
Is it really that impressive? Maybe, maybe not. Regardless, people find it to be so.
I’ve thought a lot about why this is, and I think it comes down to one thing: An author is someone who is confident and clear enough in their message that they are willing and able to teach it to others.
Writing a book is like creating a manifesto — you’re telling the world what you stand for. Putting it down on paper is brave because once it’s out there, you can never take it back.
Why it works isn’t so much the point — the fact is that it does. People perceive authors to have authority, and readers often become serious fans.
So many doors were opened to me as an “expert” in my field. Other influencers suddenly saw me as their peer and were eager to collaborate with me. This allowed my audience to grow even more, and introduced me to so many amazing people!
(Plus, it’s pretty cool when people want to hear what you have to say!)
4) I became WAY more confident in my message.
The act of working through everything I teach, clarifying it, and turning it into one long, cohesive document helped me get SO clear about my message. It really allowed me to see how everything fitted together, and nail down all the details.
There was no more being wishy washy, one day saying one thing, and then the next day second guessing myself and saying something else entirely. Once it was all written down — and published! — I became much more confident in everything I was teaching, and in my ability to teach.
(Of course, that’s not to say that I stopped trying new things or experimenting. I still iterate like a crazy person. But it helped me become more confident and stop second guessing.)
5) I created a textbook to use with my clients.
Not only did I become more confident in my message, but clarifying everything made it so much easier to teach.
Organizing everything into a book made me think through how everything flowed together. This made my message much easier to teach because it was no longer a scattered mess of ideas — instead, a logical process was created.
This helped me and helped my clients! Now, most of them use a copy of my book while we work together. It helps them understand how everything works together and where they are in the process. Plus, it acts as a reference book to help them between their consultations.
6) I created a consistent stream of passive income.
All this is great, I know, but did I actually make any money? Yes, yes I did!
At first, I honestly wasn’t sure if I was going to. I’d put about $1000 into publishing and I had no idea how much (if anything) I would earn from my book.
However, in the first two months I made a few thousand dollars, more than covering my costs. Yay!
What was even better than the short term profits was the long term passive income that the book created. Every single month since it was published, I’ve consistently earned a couple of hundred dollars with absolutely no additional effort.
A couple hundred dollars isn’t all that much in the scheme of things, but every additional stream of revenue contributes to financial stability. I’d much rather earn a few hundred dollars from ten different sources each month than a few thousand from just one source. That way, if any of them dry up, my situation isn’t really affected. This makes me way, way less concerned about money, which frees my mind to create even greater financial results in the future.
7) The door was opened for me to appear on podcasts and other blogs.
Not only did I get a lot of exposure when the book first came out, I now receive regular invitations to appear on podcasts and guest post on other blogs.
This means that my audience continues to grow with relative ease! Before I was published, I would have had to hustle SO HARD to get the amount of exposure that I now receive with minimal effort.
I’m not saying this to brag. I’m saying this to persuade you to write your own book so that you can have similar results. 😉
How to Get Published Yourself
Want in on the action? Well, getting published isn’t as difficult as you might think! Here’s the process:
1) Market Research
If you have an idea for a book, make sure that you study your market before you start writing. Find out whether or not people are actually interested in your topic and are looking for whatever solution your book would provide. This can save you so. much. time. writing something that people might not want to read.
2) Write Your Book
How long should you expect this part to take? The answer varies, of course, but I strongly recommend that you do the math and figure out how long it’ll take you. Having a definite end date can really help you pace yourself so that you are able to stay committed and see it through.
Personally, I knew I wanted my book to be around 35,000 words (for reference, a 500-page novel is about 75,000 words). I wanted my book to be all substance — not just a bunch of fluff.
After writing for the first couple of days, I learned that I could write about 1000 words in one hour. (Of course, I can type much faster than that, but it takes more time when you’re formulating ideas.)
I carved out an hour each morning (yes, that meant that I was getting up at 5 am every day) to write, and made it a goal to not stop until I hit 1200 words. Sometimes I got there in 45 minutes, other times it took 90.
I knew that as long as I stuck to my goal, I’d finish my book in just 30 days. Even as someone who hates commitment (oh my goodness, you have no idea) and gets distracted every day, I knew that I could manage to write for thirty days to achieve my goal of becoming an author.
So figure out how long you’ll need to stay committed, outline your book, put pen to paper, and then don’t stop until you’re done!
3) Form a Launch Team
WARNING: Do not skip this step.
A launch team is a group of people who agree to help you promote your book when it comes out. And the importance of this step CANNOT be overestimated. These people will make the difference between a successful launch and a flop.
4) Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Edit, Format
Yes, you need to edit. 😀
Even if you’re a good writer, you will underestimate the amount of time it will take to edit your book, and how many revisions you’ll feel compelled to make.
Long (very long) story short: allow plenty of time for editing. You’ll need it.
5) Submit your book to CreateSpace for pre-approval.
The easiest (and least financially risky) way to self-publish is to use a print-on-demand service, such as is provided by publishing company CreateSpace.
CreateSpace is owned by Amazon, so using them makes it incredibly easy to get your published book listed on Amazon.
To use CreateSpace, simply submit the files for your book digitally. They’ll review it for errors and formatting issues. Once accepted, you can click a few buttons to get your book officially published and ready for sale, and CreateSpace will take care of the rest for you.
Publishing with a print-on-demand service is completely free. They print copies of your book whenever sales are made, and then pay you a royalty (around $5.00 for most books).
And that’s all there is to it! In a matter of months, you can write and publish your first book, then sit back and reap the benefits.
Self-Publishing Launch Strategy
Of course, individual results vary greatly. However, I believe that my experience was quite “middle of the road”. Some authors sell way more copies, make more money, and increase their audience a lot more. Others sell very, very few copies and don’t even recoup their expenses.
What makes the difference? While there are a number of factors, the aspect that has the greatest impact is your launch strategy.
A launch strategy is a plan outlining when you will launch, who you will tell, how you will promote your book right out of the gate, how you will persuade others to promote your book, how you’ll get reviews (very important!) and a number of other factors that help your book to have the greatest chance of success.
Don’t underestimate the impact that a good launch strategy can have. It can mean the difference between a successful release and a total flop.
If you’re planning to publish your own book, I recommend that you not only do your research, but also seek out people who have had success with self-publishing and find out exactly what their launch strategy was.
Finally, I encourage you to make the effort to write and publish your own book! Becoming an author really can have an amazing impact on your business and your entire life. You’ll never know what you’re forgoing unless you actually do it.