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10 Lessons from Writing/Self-publishing my 1st Book (1 Viewer)


Senior Member
Writing and self-publishing my first book took 4 long years and countless hours of staring at a computer screen. Alas, my hard work is not yet done as I continue to try a variety of marketing activities to promote my new book. I’m happy to report that it was well worth the time and effort to produce my first book called Engaging College Students: A Fun and Edgy Guide for Professors. In addition to learning about the book creation process, I discovered a lot about myself and others. Below are the top 10 pearls of wisdom that I gathered from this challenging, but rewarding experience.
Before I cover each one in detail, here is a summary of the 10 lessons and general observations. I hope others find this list helpful and/or interesting.

LESSON 1: It’s a marathon.
LESSON 2: It’s not cheap.
LESSON 3: Marketing is the hardest part.
LESSON 4: Legal writing and book writing are different.
LESSON 5: Good salesmen = Successful authors.
LESSON 6: Wise businessmen = Successful authors.
LESSON 7: Not everyone will buy it.
LESSON 8: Book reviews are challenging.
LESSON 9: Watching book sales is addictive.
LESSON 10: Authors help one another.

Lesson 1 – IT’S A MARATHON: Writing, self-publishing and marketing a book takes much more time than I ever imagined. When I set out to write a book, it took me about 18 months just to pick a topic. After much soul searching, I concluded that I should pick a topic that I felt genuinely passionate about. Eventually I realized that my (part-time) college teaching career and the lessons I learned therefrom fit that criteria perfectly. With the topic selected, I publicly announced to friends and family that I would complete my first book within 1 year. Looking back, that was a very ambitious goal for someone with a full-time career, a part-time teaching job and a family to raise. Before I knew it, one year turned into two, then three and by the end of year four I finally finished and self-published my new book. What a long and interesting journey! If you are curious, here is a complete timeline of this process... http://www.engagingcollegestudents.com/college-teaching-tips-book-timeline/

Lesson 2 – IT’S NOT CHEAP: Writing, self-publishing and marketing a quality book can be pricey. To date, I have spent over 6k on my new book, and I think this amount is fairly typical from what I can tell. No doubt, recouping my financial investment and someday earning a profit on my book is a daunting challenge for a brand new author like me. If someone told me before I started this process that I’d spend that much $$$ to make my book a reality, I probably would have pooped my pants, called that person a liar, or both. But honestly, you can’t put a price someone’s life goal, and I’m so glad I wrote and published this book even if I never sell a single one.

: Talk about naïve! When I started writing my first book, I didn’t have a clue how my book would eventually be published and promoted. I just assumed that all books are listed on sites like Amazon and they sell themselves. Writing and self-publishing my book were hard at times, but marketing my book is by far the hardest part of the process. This is probably because I had full control over the writing and self-publishing processes, but zero control over someone else’s decision to buy my book. All I can do to influence book sales is spread the word about my “must-read” book through word-of-mouth, social media, book give-away contests, advertising campaigns and other promotions. Also, the fact that I am not natural-born salesmen doesn’t help (this is probably typical for many authors).

***NOTE: The above is only the first part of the full article. To view the full article for free, please visit http://www.engagingcollegestudents.com/10-lessons-from-writing-my-1st-book/

I sincerely hope some folks on this forum found this article helpful and/or interesting. Please chime in below if your experience was the same or different than mine.