Jeff Goins

You are a Writer, So Start Acting Like One [Jeff Goins Interview]

As a part of our 2016 Self-Publishing Success Summit, we brought in Jeff Goins for an interview to discuss what it means to be a writer. Jeff is a full-time writer living just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. He is also a husband, father, and has a pet Border collie. He is the author of four books, including the national bestseller “The Art of Work.” His website, Goinswriter.com, has been visited by more than four million people from all over the world. During his interview, he talked about what drove him to become an author and what it truly means to be a writer.

Here are some of our favorite Jeff Goins Self-Publishing Success Summit takeaways:

Act Like the Person You Want to Be

Jeff is a huge advocate that you are a writer when you say you are a writer. It’s a mindset, not a name someone can give you. If you want to be a writer, simply start putting words on the page! Activity follows identity, so think of yourself as “a writer” and the activity of writing will follow. “Act like a writer: activity follows identity.”

Know Why You Want to Write

Jeff focuses on the reason he writes. He is passionate about helping people through writing and believes he has met his calling and purpose through writing. Writing is not always fun, but it’s always gratifying. Figuring out what drives your passion to write will help you keep writing when it gets hard or you hit a roadblock on the page. Keep pressing on!

Blog, Blog, Blog

Keeping up a blog can be a big training tool as you learn to write a book. But it can also teach you some bad habits. Focus on the discipline of writing, write regularly, and get into the habit of sitting down at the keyboard everyday. Adding content on a regular basis will help you add quality to your content. Remember, the process is messy. With the last book he wrote, Jeff says he wrote it all down, then scrapped it and researched and rewrote. Embrace the process and your writing will excel.

Every Movement Begins with Words

Connect people with ideas. Create words that change and impact culture. Talk is not cheap. Talk sparks conversation and every movement begins with words. Jeff talks about the importance of taking someone out for lunch or coffee and explaining the idea of your book to them. You don’t even need to tell them you want to write a book, simply talk to them about your idea and see if they get excited about it. This will help you find out the interest of potential readers. Start with words over coffee, then take them to the page because according to Jeff, “It all begins and end with words.”

Research!

Read books in the genre that correlate with the idea you have. Check to see if you have anything new, different, or interesting to say. You don’t need to repeat what someone else has said. Find a niche that still needs filling and fill it with your writing! Put your ideas into an Evernote folder so you can keep track of them and maintain easy access. Research is important because it helps ensure you write a book an audience wants to read. Write in a way that connects with your audience, and write to help people. Proper research will enhance your ideas and turn them into a viable book. The right idea at the right time will produce tremendous results.

Always Move Forward

Writing a book with a strong character arc or a strong plot is a huge factor contributing to success. However, writing every chapter with a great arc is vital to the movement of your story. Every chapter should move the book forward. Every word counts. Don’t let this stop you from writing. You call yourself a writer, so write! Be encouraged as you progress word-by-word and chapter-by-chapter. But make sure you have a good chapter arc for every chapter. The plot isn’t just at the beginning, middle, and end. It’s a thread that winds throughout the entire book.

Jeff Goins finished by reminding us anyone can be a writer, but it rests on sitting down to do the work. The best marketing is done before the work is finished, so enjoy the process. Share your excitement with those around you, and take note of when they get excited as well. Think like a writer, write, and you will be a writer. Take that writing and get it published, and you will be an author.

As Jeff says, “It all beings and ends with words!” So what are you waiting for? Time to get writing!

For more information on Jeff Goins and to learn how to get 10,000 fans, write a book, and $100,000 in 18 months, click here!

For more information on the Self-Publishing Success Summit, you can check out our All-Access Pass to receive LIFETIME access to all the Success Summit master classes, a private Q&A session and community, and $1,141 in bonuses.

Self Publishing School Announcement

This Is My Biggest Announcement of 2017

This is HUGE (you’re going to love it)!

I just released a BRAND NEW video training for 2017.

Over the last few years, I’ve invested over $20,000 and thousands of hours studying how the greatest authors and experts alive wrote, published, and launched their first books to bestseller status – and how they kept publishing bestsellers year after year like clockwork.

I studied how they used their books as tools to grow their business, brands, and authorities.

Then I took everything I learned, refined it into a step-by-step system anyone can follow, and put it to work in my own business (and grew my business to over 7 figures in less than 2 years as a result).

Now, I’m releasing that entire system to you for free. It’s broken down into 3 training videos that show you exactly how you can write your book in record time (even if you don’t have an idea), launch it to bestseller status, and leverage it to bring you a 6 figure income – in just 30 minutes a day.

I just dropped the first video yesterday, titled The 3 Steps to Writing Your First Book in A Weekend.

video training series

Go check it out now (it’s only going to be live for another day or so).

This is completely new training and content that no one else has seen before.

If 2017 is going to be the year that you finally take action and build the business and life you deserve…

Then you need to watch this video now.

Once I pull this video down – it’s gone. I’m not sure if I’ll make it public ever again (my marketing guy wants me to sell it as an advanced training course).

So I’m telling you as a reader of the SPS blog to watch it for free now, rather than pay hundreds of dollars to watch it later.

You can thank me later 😉

To your success in 2017 and beyond!

-Chandler

finish your book

Eliminating Distractions and Practicing Deep Work to Finish Your Book [Cal Newport Interview]

In our 2016 Self-Publishing Success Summit interview with Cal Newport, he discussed the different approaches you can take to eliminate distractions and practice deep work to finish your book.

Cal Newport is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University. In addition to studying the theoretical foundations of our digital age, Newport also writes about the impact of these technologies on the world of work. “Deep Work,” which is his most recent book, argues that focus is the new I.Q. in the modern workplace. The ability to concentrate without distraction is rare in our society but extremely valuable. Cal previously wrote “So Good They Can’t Ignore You,” debunking the long-held belief that “following your passion” is good advice, as well as three popular books of unconventional advice for students.

Here is what he had to say about what you can do to finish your book:

Know Your Format Before Writing

Cal says to know your format before you begin the writing process. If you know where you are headed it’s much easier to get there. Having a goal and understanding what needs to be written will make for a much smoother writing process. Know how much you want to write and when you want it to be finished, then work out the math backwards. This is a method for success.

Separate Planning from Writing

Thinking about his book about a year before he actually sits down to write, Cal stresses the importance of mentally planning the book before writing a single word. You can use commuting time to add to the hours needed to accrue a new book. This would normally be time spent zoning out, but using it for deep focus on the topic will quickly grow the planning process.

Mentally decide to plan as you walk, literally, and notice when your attention wanders. Cal enjoys going for long walks and planning his books out as he walks. This is a great stimulant for the mind and can enhance planning.

Treat the Process with Respect

Like any job, working only when you feel like it will not get the job done. Purposefully sitting down and putting words on the page comes with the territory of being a writer. Treat the process of writing with respect by growing that word count, regardless of whether you feel like it or not. Don’t wait until the last minute. It won’t always be easy, but it comes with the privilege of being a writer! Just as training to be an athlete takes time and consistent dedication, so does training to become a writer. Don’t give up! The process is what creates the result. Cal says, “Writing a book is like a job. It’s not supposed to be easy all the time and it’s not something you’re supposed to just wait till three weeks before some self-imposed deadline and then just go crazy. That’s just unprofessional.”

Prep for Writing as if You Are an Athlete

Work deeply, embrace boredom, and quit social media. Really! According to Cal, working deeply is a specific type of work ethic that can be learned…but it takes time and effort. Learning to stop grabbing your phone at the first hint of boredom, and rather embracing the boredom, will keep your mind focused. Think about one topic at a time and your writing will improve. Part of focus comes with limiting distractions – notably, social media. It is far too easy to log in to Facebook, check your Twitter feed, or scroll through Instagram at your first inkling of boredom. Taking a break from social media will improve focus and ultimately, enhance your writing!

Slow Down for Business

These days everyone is busy, right? Cal said being busy is like having the flu. It slows you down and hinders you from getting the important tasks done. Business takes away from your focus, forcing you to split your thoughts between multiple tasks. Instead, slow down and focus on one or two majorly important things. You’ll be surprised at how much your work will thrive!

Hone Your Skills

Every book you write will hone your skills. Writing more will grow you, and even if the end result is not exactly what you were hoping, for you will still learn from the process! Just like it takes countless reps to gain muscle, writing requires many hours in order to build your competence in the craft. Write in time that presents itself for you (Your meeting was cancelled? Write!) as well as time you specifically give yourself (Set your alarm half an hour earlier, write on your lunch break, or go to bed a little later!). Breaking down articles of people you respect will also teach you invaluable lessons as you learn from those a little further down the writing road.

Where to start? Cal says for the next two weeks, for four hours a week, work at your one most important task. Turn off your phone and eliminate social media. Pick one activity that pushes you to concentrate and make one change to show yourself you are prioritizing your time. This will result in deep work, work that you will appreciate and find satisfaction in. Remember, the goal is to appreciate deep work and find satisfaction, not for it to seem easy.

Writing is a hard craft to learn, but the rewards are worth the effort!

For more information on the Self-Publishing Success Summit, you can check out our All-Access Pass to receive LIFETIME access to all the Success Summit master classes, a private Q&A session and community, and $1,141 in bonuses.

Using Blog Posts & A Crappy First Draft To Write A Great First Book (Taylor Pearson Interview)

Using Blog Posts and a Crappy First Draft to Write a Great First Book [Taylor Pearson Interview]

Taylor Pearson is an entrepreneur and the author of “The End of Jobs.” Inc Magazine rated his book, “The End of Jobs,” a Top 25 Business Book of 2015. In addition to this, it was rated as one of the top three Start Your Own Business Books of 2015. Needless to say, Taylor’s book was a great success! Sometimes having a really bad first draft for your book can make a major turn for the better. We interviewed Taylor during our 2016 Self-Publishing Success Summit and he had some incredible insight to give to those working towards writing their first books.

These are the top takeaways and words of wisdom from Taylor Pearson:

Everyone’s First Draft is Bad

He began by explaining everyone’s first draft is not polished or professional. We should not be discouraged by this, but simply realize we have to start small in order to go big. Bestselling authors do not usually sit down and decide to write a bestseller. Instead, an aspiring author sits down and thinks through an idea, struggles through finding the words to explain it, and eventually creates a book. That first rough draft is where it all begins, and you read that correctly – it’s called a “rough draft” for a reason. Don’t be discouraged by the roughness of your draft, be encouraged you have a draft to show for all your hard work!

Where to Start

Have emotional insecurity about writing your first book? Don’t let this keep you from success! Taylor himself experienced the same insecurity. A good way to start writing that first draft is by listing off ideas, then writing about those ideas one at a time, organizing the ideas into sections, and lastly, editing the sections.

Don’t Read Your First Draft!

Not reading your first draft until you’ve finished writing it is an important tip from Taylor. Using Scrivener’s word count feature will help you stay on track and get the required number of words completed prior to your read through. First drafts are always “rough,” and reading it early in the writing stage may discourage you from wanting to write further…and we don’t want that!

The Importance of the Book Proposal

Writing a book proposal after every draft is helpful as it enables you to better understand your own writing as well as the target audience. Spending time writing a proposal after each revised draft is a good practice to get into, and a practice Taylor made for his first book. It is a great habit to form early in the writing journey! He says: “The act of writing a proposal is really good for forcing you to clarify what makes the book marketable.”

People Will Remember Book Three

You may be slaving over your first book, and rightly so, as excellence is an important factor to include in writing, but don’t worry too much about the first two books. According to Taylor, “Everyone’s first two books suck, just get them out the door and get to the third one as soon as possible.” After all, “If you want to be good at something, you have to be willing to suck at it.”

Trust Equals Marketing

Even if you are a genius at marketing, if you haven’t earned people’s trust all the marketing in the world will do little to help you. Getting an interview slot on a podcast is a great way to put your name out there and build trust with your target market. Podcasts are great for exposure but can take a lot of work if not setup properly. A lot of pre-planning is needed if you truly want to get on a podcast. Personally writing out the podcast, including five main points and any other necessary details, will heighten your chances of being interviewed. Getting your name out on the Internet multiple times a week will help build trust as well. Blogging the book before its release will draw people in to the excitement and as the blogs are released their trust in the product and in its author will grow. Taylor blogged 70% of his book prior to its publication and this did not lessen his sales at all!

At the end of his interview Taylor reminded us all of two important takeaways: He loves in person meet-ups. This one-on-one advantage is possible when you are not “at scale” like the other big businesses or successful authors. Take advantage of personally getting to know your readers!

Lastly he says, “Just do it.” Just write your book, and start building trust now. Whether it is through a blog, a podcast, going to conferences, or having lunch with someone who is interested in similar things, trust will be made and the writing journey continued.

After all, that is the point, right? We do not simply “aspire” to be writers who go far down the writing journey. Anyone can dream. Rather, through time and hard work, we become writers!

For more information on the Self-Publishing Success Summit, you can check out our All-Access Pass to receive LIFETIME access to all the Success Summit master classes, a private Q&A session and community, and $1,141 in bonuses.

productivity

Take Control of Your Productivity as a Writer (Claire Diaz-Ortiz Interview)

The theme today is productivity: how you can take control of it and make the most of it as a new writer or even as someone who has been writing for a long time.

Our interviewee from the Self-Publishing Success Summit, Claire Diaz-Ortiz, is an accomplished author, speaker and Silicon Valley innovator who was an early employee at Twitter. She holds a MBA among other degrees she has received from Stanford and Oxford Universities. She has been named one of the top 100 most creative people in business today by Fast Company and has been featured widely in print and broadcast media. On top of that, Claire also produces valuable content at her in demand business blog: www.clairediazortiz.com.

Being a journalist and best-selling author himself, Claire’s father was her biggest influence growing up. Naturally, writing has always been second nature to her. Had she been asked what she wanted to be as a grownup at the age of four her response would automatically have been writer.

It was a few years after finishing grad school that Claire seriously considered writing her first book. The first action she took was Googling “How to write a book.” That yielded her some information but she hit the jackpot of her search when she refined her wording to “How to write a book proposal.”

The internet is an invaluable tool that can lead you to discover various resources that will help you get started and guide you on your book writing journey.

You should banish any attempts at perfectionism unless you don’t want to make any real headway. Claire says, “It’s much better to have 10 terrible chapters than three great ones and seven that you haven’t even started.” 

It was during grad school that Claire was assigned a book called “The Clockwork Muse” while writing her thesis which greatly impacted her own writing productivity. In it the author proposes a methodology which assists prospective writers develop a workable time framework to complete all their projects. You can time your muse by setting up your writing schedule to conspire for your success. By understanding how you write, when you write best, and scheduling accordingly you can own your writing process instead of allowing it to overwhelm you.  

For your brain, the act of researching is very different from the actual writing process therefore it is crucial to separate the two tasks. If research is required for the type of writing you are doing it is better to complete this separately since you will want to call upon this information during your writing process. Otherwise, you will constantly be distracted from writing if you have to keep browsing the internet for supporting articles and other forms of research to back your claims. You have to keep trying to just write. When you focus your energy on one task it generates the best results. When you intentionally give yourself less time to work with through Parkinson’s Law your work will expand to fit into the time allotted for its completion. Editing down your time on tasks is another great tool because it forces you to focus.

Here are some helpful tips Claire gives on controlling your productivity:

Seek help from others: It is valuable to consider what others think about your writing because they could provide you with some great insight on how to make it even better. Regardless of how “right” you think you are due to the sheer amount of time and effort you’re putting in, it is wise to hear people out. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring someone’s input, criticism can turn into one of your best teachers.

Write when you’re most productive: Figuring out what time of day you have the most energy is vital. You may even discover what specific days of the week you’re more productive as well. This process is easy to do. You take two weeks out of your schedule and intentionally omit caffeine out of your diet. Then you proceed to monitor how your energy is feeling on a scale of 1 to 10 at every half hour or hour mark. You will soon see consistency with energy levels during certain times of the day versus others. By tapping into your “Magic Hour” you’re really unlocking a new level of productivity.

Plan a writing retreat for yourself: One final golden nugget that Claire relayed to you is to go on a writing retreat. The best way you can make some real progress is by literally disconnecting from the world around you and only focusing on your writing for a concentrated period of time. Even spending one full day will leave you with a lot of valuable thinking and work done to get your writing process moving forward. Ideally three or more days work best to get your first rough draft completed. Figuring out spaces where you can be creative and focused is critical to your success no matter if you’re in your usual daily rhythm or on a retreat. 

Increasing productivity as writers is becoming more challenging in a world where the number of distractions and demands upon our time and attention is growing. Given these circumstances it’s not surprising why so many people want to write but very few follow through. In spite of this, the advice you have been given can alleviate this struggle if you choose to apply them and adjust them accordingly to meet your personal lifestyle needs. Claire Diaz-Ortiz is just one shining example of an individual who took action on these tips and turned on the ignition to her successful career. Knowing what you now know, will you be next?

8-year-old-writes-publishes-book_v2

Self Publishing at Any Age: 9 Steps That Took an 8 year old From Idea to Published Author

Self publishing at any age is a major accomplishment, but when you have to balance your responsibilities as an author with homework from your 3rd grade teacher, you deserve special recognition. Which is why Emma Sumner is gaining tons of media attention for “The Fairies of Waterfall Island,” a 10,000-word, 120-page book now available on Amazon.
Self Publishing at Any AgeBecause of her young age and big dreams, Emma has been booked for on-air interviews with local media including NBC, ABC, FOX, CBS, and PBS to talk about her book, and more offers for interviews are coming in daily.

How did this young girl go from idea to published, without an agent or publishing company? As her father, I was right there with her throughout the process and in this post I am going to show you how she did it, including pictures, links to recordings, and the precise breakdown of costs.

The nine steps an 8-year-old took to go from blank page to self published book:

The tips and tricks that I share below come straight from Self-Publishing School, where Emma and I learned from the best in the business. Click here to find out more about Self-Publishing School.

#1 Start with a Challenge

When Emma first came to me and said she wanted to write and publish a book, I wasn’t sure if this was just a passing idea in the mind of a bored grade-schooler, or if it was really going to something she would be passionate about and continue with. I was happy to help her if it was a real goal and not just a whim, so I gave her a challenge.

Emma’s challenge was:

  • Complete 1 chapter to her story
  • Write at least 150 words
  • Create 3 different characters with backgrounds
  • Have a plan ready for the rest of the book

What did Emma do? She came back that same night with:

  • A handwritten story in her spiral bound notebook that had 172 words (she made sure I counted),
  • Four distinct characters
  • A plan for a total of 10 chapters and four other characters that she would introduce later in the book.

It was clear from her effort that she was serious — so I was, too!

Here’s a look at the first draft of what she wrote:

Self Publishing at Any Age

At that time, the 170-word story was the longest thing she had ever written. It gave her a taste of what was possible if she put forth the effort.

YOUR TURN: How can you challenge yourself? Be creative and find ways to create achievable goals and then turn them into a challenge. You can write them down as a contract with yourself, or even bring on a friend as an accountability partner to encourage and motivate you.

#2 Build a Rewards System

Emma’s first reward was a simple one. We decided that the next morning after she finished her first 150 words I would wake up early and before I went to work I would sit down and give her story my full attention as I read it from start to finish.

The next morning I read her story and instead of giving constructive criticism, I just gave encouragement. I told her how much I loved it and left a small sticky note for her to read when she woke up.

It is vitally important in the beginning to forget about the little things like grammar or spelling and just be proud of the fact they (or you!) completed the challenge. Most children (and adults for that matter) are most vulnerable in the writing process the first time someone reads their words.

Whether you’re reading your child’s, friend’s, or your own work, focus on the good. There will be plenty of time for the rest later when it comes time to edit.

Here are some examples of the rewards we used to motivate and encourage Emma during the writing process:
img_7532Challenge: Complete detailed descriptions of your top 4 characters
Reward: We will go onto Fiverr.com and get someone to do a pencil drawing of the character based off you description

Challenge: Finish Chapter 2
Reward: I will copy your handwritten notes to the computer and teach you how to use Microsoft Word

Challenge: Finish Chapter 10
Reward: We will sit down and write an email to a cover designer

YOUR TURN: What is your reward? Find something that you can get excited about that will also lead to more progress with the book.

#3 Make a Plan

After Emma completed her first challenge of 150 words, we decided that we needed to have a plan for moving forward. Instead of just writing everything out and hoping it would all make sense, we sat down to plan out what we wanted to do.

Each week we met on Saturday morning, waking up before the rest of the family. During our “strategy sessions,” we would have breakfast together and plan out the week. Oftentimes these planning sessions would happen at a local Panera Bread or Starbucks.

Self Publish at Any AgeThese sessions became about much more than just the book, as we enjoyed the father-daughter bonding time without distractions. To this day, these Saturday morning meetings have been my favorite part of the entire process.

After the first couple weeks we started to bring my laptop along with us so she could sit down and write for 20-30 minutes after we finished our “business,” before we went home.

Here are some of the things that we would do each week:

  • Decide on goals
  • Pick out rewards
  • Talk about the story line
  • Talk about any struggles

In order to allow Emma to refer back to what we talked about each week we would record the session with the audio recording feature on Evernote on my phone. With the recordings available to her on our iPad at home she could just tap on the button for this week’s strategy session and review it whenever she wanted, even if I was still at work.

To hear a small clip of one of the first “Strategy Session” recordings click here Audio for Strategy Session

YOUR TURN: Do you have a plan? If not, it is time to start getting back to basics like mind mapping or outlining.

#4 Create Accountability

For Emma we found a great way to keep her accountable while also promoting her book and making it fun for her. Inspired by Pat Flynn and the group he created to help launch his first eBook, we created a private Facebook group filled with friends and family called “Emma’s First Book.” Each week she would record a short video to the group and report back on her progress.

The group quickly grew from 20 people to over 200 people within a week as friends and family started to message me asking to add one of their friends or coworkers who was interested in watching Emma’s progress.

As people began to comment on her videos and post encouragement for her, we began to incorporate this as one of her rewards. If she finished the weeks goals she could spend 20 min. commenting back to the people in her group.

Here is a picture of Emma’s group taken the first week she started it.
Self Publish at Any Age

YOUR TURN: Who is going to keep you accountable? Find someone in your life, in person or online, that you can meet with for 10 minutes each week and check in on your goals. They may not be writers, but maybe they have another goal in mind for weight loss or exercise, and you can work together to keep each other on track.

#5 Celebrate Big Wins

As I mentioned earlier, Emma and I would create weekly challenges and rewards to make the week-to-week process more fun and exciting, but beyond that we also celebrated each time she achieved a big milestone.

More important that just the celebration was the fact that we were doing it together. She was able to share her victories and be proud of her accomplishments, and I was there to cheer her on. During these celebrations we did not talk about strategy and details but we just reflected on how far she had come and what more she could still do.

For example when the book was half way done we celebrated with dinner out on the town.

img_7099

YOUR TURN: Who can you celebrate with? Find a friend, family member, pet, stuffed animal… anyone who can help you enjoy the wins.

#6 Hire The Pros

Based on my experiences with publishing my own books, I knew there were four things we needed to hire professional help to accomplish: illustration, editing, cover design, and formatting.

There’s a wide range of costs for each of these items, so as a family we worked out a budget and made a decision on what we could afford. Then we contacted outsourcers that fit our needs, based on a list of preferred contractors from Self-Publishing School.

This was a time-saver since we didn’t have to waste time or money dealing with an untested resource. Before starting with each we discussed our project, described the book and Emma’s personality, and asked some questions about their style via email to make sure they were a good fit.

We worked with people from Boston, Michigan, Mexico and even Sweden. Emma was involved in communicating with each of them by both email and video chat.

What did it all cost?
Illustrations: $75
Editing: $115
Cover Design: $450
Formatting: $150

Total Invested in the book: $790*

*Unless you want to count all the hot chocolates and breakfast sandwiches during our Saturday meetings, in that case I should probably add another $150 🙂

Depending on your budget you can choose to go much lower or even much higher. The range is huge for each category. You can pay well into four thousands for each category, depending on what you decide to outsource and who you use. Don’t let that scare you, though, as you can even choose to do it on your own for little to no money at all.

That being said, we are extremely happy with the choice that we made. Check out the cover below:
publishing at any age

To get access to the Preferred Outsourcers that we used along with many others check out Self-Publishing School.

#7 Try New Things

While working on this project, Emma learned much more than just how to write a book. At each stage we took any opportunity we could to introduce a skill or technology that would expand her knowledge and comfort level.
img_7166For example, when she was ready to transition away from writing in her spiral-bound book to computer, she learned how to use a laptop, start Microsoft Word and type her story.

Here are just some of the programs or skills Emma has learned during the last year:

  • Typing with Microsoft Word
  • Using a thesaurus
  • Typing and sharing documents with Google Docs
  • Using Skype to do video chats
  • Posting, commenting and doing live videos in Facebook

YOUR TURN: What new skills are you looking forward to learning? Make a list of things that you want to try and incorporate them as you go.

#8 Remove Barriers

Often, small points of resistance can keep you from moving the entire book forward. These little things can cause you to stop your progress, lose your inspiration or even cast doubt that you should be writing at all. If you can identify those small roadblocks and find a way to remove them early on, then you will be more successful

For Emma, one of her points of resistance was that she often worried so much about her spelling and grammar that she would not make any progress. She would see the red line under the word show up in Microsoft Word and get completely distracted, and then end up feeling discouraged. Then her progress or creative momentum would be ruined.

Our solution was simple: If spell check was the issue, let’s get rid of it! We disabled spell check completely and chose to forget about spelling until the entire first draft was done. Then instead of having her worry about it, we let the editor handle it. 🙂

YOUR TURN: If you find something that is blocking you from moving forward, take the time to identify it and find a solution. When you think about writing (or completing) your book now, what barriers do you predict? Make a plan to get rid of it!

#9 Build a Launch Team

A launch team is a group of people chosen to help you market the book and spread the word about your launch to the rest of the world.

By the time Emma was done with her book, she had a large group of people who had been following her progress and were ready to help her by being part of her launch team.

To make it easier to get information out to the group we created a small landing page and invited her Facebook group, and other other groups including the Self-Publishing School Mastermind Program, to sign up.

self publishing at any age

Starting about 2 weeks prior to launch, we began sending emails to everyone who had signed up, letting them know what to expect. Then a week before our official launch, we put the book up on Amazon and only notified those on the launch team. Many people on the team had never purchased a book on Amazon before, much less read a book on Kindle or left a review, so we had to be very detailed on our instructions.

She had a total of 95 people sign up to be on her launch team, and in just one day after we hit the publish button on Amazon she had 87 books purchased and 16 reviews up.

YOUR TURN: Start thinking about who will be on your launch team and how you will manage it. I strongly suggest signing up for an email service like ClickFunnels, Aweber, or MailChimp so you can collect email addresses and contact your launch team directly.

#10 Give Back

As part of this journey we wanted to make sure that Emma learned more than just how to write a book, and one of the biggest lessons we were able to incorporate was the idea of giving back to charity.

Here are just some of the benefits of giving back with your book:

  • Inspiration: Inspire others around you to be a part of your journey.
  • Motivation: When the book will help others either directly or indirectly, then you will have even more motivation to continue.
  • Satisfaction: Giving back to a charity to which we feel personally connected has given both Emma and me a great feeling of pride and satisfaction that would not have been possible without that participation.

In order to maximize what you can do for a cause, pick a charity that can work with you to help get the word out about the book.

Here are some things to look for:

Where is the donated or pledged money spent?
You can use websites like Charitynavigator.org or Charitywatch.org to find out more about any charity.

Does the money stay locally or go to a national or international fund?
You may want to find a charity where the money stays to help the local community.

Do they have a local chapter or contact?
It helps to have one person that knows the local area to help you set up speaking engagements

What kind of social media presence or email list do they have?
Part of raising money to donate means getting the book in front of those who will be willing to buy it. If the charity has a large contact list, they can help send that information out to more people — which will help them AND help you!

Does the charity have a marketing team?
Many large charities already have a marketing and PR team in place that can help create engaging posts or advertisements, as well as using their already established network to get your book into the media.

Don’t be afraid to ask these questions when you get in contact with the charity. After all, you want to make sure you are donating your time to the right cause.

home___autism_speaksEmma and I talked with several charities before finally deciding on Autism Speaks, a wonderful group with both national and local ties.

You can find out more about this great charity at AutismSpeaks.org

YOUR TURN: What charities or causes do you feel passionate about or connected to? Start now by using the resources above to evaluate your options.

A Dream Come True

“The Fairies of Waterfall Island” has already exceeded our wildest dreams. Every time we talk about it Emma says “I am just so excited, I never thought it would actually get this far.”

Each new step from writing to editing and now to publishing has been challenging, but the rewards have been incredible — in our relationship, in the growth I’ve seen in Emma, and in the inspiration she’s been to other children and adults.

To support Emma and her book go EmmaLovesBooks.com where you can find a link to purchase the book and more information on Emma and her journey. Remember that all proceeds for the first 3 months go to Autism Speaks.

I hope that with this post you can see that anyone can turn their dream into a published book. You just need to follow the steps, and you will be there with Emma before you know it.

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Sean Sumner
(Proud Father)