I know a lot of people who have writing a book on their bucket list. I was one of those people. I wrote my first book, Essential Meeting Blueprints for Managers, in 2015 and my second, Manager Onboarding: 5 Steps for Setting New Leaders Up for Success, came out in 2016. My third book, The Recruiters Handbook: How to Source, Select, and Engage the Best Talent, is scheduled to be out over the next couple of months.
The reason I’m mentioning this is because writing books is a very interesting experience. After each one, I take some time to think about the writing process. Think of it as a personal debrief. For those of you who have also been thinking about writing a book, here are a few lessons I’ve learned along the way.
- Know why you’re doing it. There are many reasons to write books: money, experience, etc. Your reason will help you make decisions about the process – especially when it comes to publishing (i.e. self-publishing versus niche publisher versus big name publishing house). Believe me, there’s a huge learning curve here.
- Be open to inquiries. You don’t need a literary agent – unless, of course, you want one. You can get a book deal from an email. If you’re a blogger, keep in mind that publishers might be reading your blog to see if you have book potential. And if you’re not a blogger, but you want to eventually write a book, maybe starting a blog is a good first step.
- The process takes longer than you think. There are proposals, research, outlines, writing, revisions, etc. I would say that every book I’ve written takes well over a year from idea to publish. When you commit to a book, it’s a long-term project. You have deadlines. Be prepared for the writing process to be a very big priority in your life.
- Find a routine that works for you. And your friends and family. Speaking of long-term projects, one of the best things I do is establish a writing schedule. Keith and I agreed that Saturdays would be “writing day”. This kept me on track and I didn’t feel guilty about locking myself away. Figure out what works best for you so you can meet both your writing and family obligations.
- Always ask yourself, “Would I buy this?” It’s great to write a book because you have something to say. It’s another thing all together to get people to buy it. One of the things I really enjoy in my book writing process is the part when reviewers are given my draft for comments. They were asked, “Would you buy this?” I got some terrific feedback which only made the final version stronger.
- Editors exist to make the outcome better. If you plan to write a book, get ready for people to critique and edit your work. Looking back, I’m grateful for the writing opportunities I’ve had with publications like Mashable because it allowed me to get used to people editing my work.
While writing a book is a long process and a lot of work, I really do enjoy it. And if presented with the right set of circumstances, I’d probably definitely do it again.
Is writing a book on your unretirement list?
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby at the 34th Street Graffiti Wall in Gainesville, FL