Today, I thought I’d pull back the curtain and share with you a little bit about the process of writing a book. I’ve received a lot of messages since we published, Sovereignty: The Battle for the Hearts and Minds of Men about what it took to write the book, the challenges, the victories, the things I did well, and the things I didn’t do so well in making this book available to you.
Let’s face it, writing a book isn’t an easy process. It’s a painstakingly slow journey that really causes you to question your own sanity. Sometimes you run across days you feel 100% committed and, other days, you want to quit and throw in the towel.
So, since I’ve received so many questions about the process, I figured I’d give you some insight and you can decide from there if writing a book is something you want to take part it. We’ll cover the reason you need a strong “why,” the actual process (including the tools I used), the timeline you should follow, what format to publish in, and whether you should find a publisher or self-publish.
I do want to give you a disclaimer by telling you I’m not the subject-matter expert on this process. I’m simply sharing my journey with you. If you’re genuinely ready to write a book and you want the detailed intricacies of the process, there are plenty of more qualified sources of knowledge that this fifteen-minute podcast.
I believe that you must have a strong reason for writing a book if you’re going to successfully write a book. Just because someone told you it was a good idea or you think you “should” doesn’t mean that writing a book is in your cards.
The truth is that this is not always the most enjoyable experience (as with anything) so, in order to keep the sustained movement required, you’re going to have to find a strong reason for continuing when you don’t want to.
For me, I took book writing as a challenge. I don’t particularly enjoy writing and I’ve never done much of it so the challenge was appealing. But I also firmly believe in what our mission here is with Order of Man. And, because I believe so strongly in my mission, I knew that writing a book was one additional way to spread this message to men who would not otherwise know what we’re all about.
The process is very simple. Just write. Too many people try to overlook this simplicity and game the system but, at the end of the day, if you can’t find time to sit down in the chair and crank out words every, single day, you’re never going to complete your work.
So, that’s exactly what I decided to do. I wrote roughly 63,000 words in 60 days. I committed to writing 1000 words every day. There were some days I missed but I more than made up for those missed days the following day. That’s it. It really is that simple.
I initially used Microsoft Word but switched to Scrivener very soon after so I can access the chapters easily and search very easily as well. What you use doesn’t matter as long as you’re using it and cranking out the words.
Once, I got about 30,000 words under my belt, I started researching graphic designers and editors (you’ll want both). I interviewed several until I found a good fit and the book turned out great. I wouldn’t suggest that you use cheap designers or editors (or attempt to do it yourself). If you want a professional book, hire professionals to help.
I’d be thinking about writing a book for years. But it really wasn’t until I got serious and shortened the timeline that I actually began to write. As I said before, I wrote 63,000 words in 60 days. It wasn’t easy and it took its toll on me and my business but, again, I had a really strong reason to do it and keep pushing through.
I talked with a publisher (which I’ll talk more about in the next point I make) about how quickly I wanted to get the book out to the public. It was a very, very short timeline (the next book I write will definitely be a longer timeline). I had my graphic designer working on the formatting while I was writing and my editor would review a batch of chapters at a time while I was working on the next part of the book. Everything was overlapped since we had such a short deadline to meet.
This worked for me because it forced me to keep moving but on my next book, I’ll expand the timeline since I know I’m capable of seeing it all the way through.
Play with timelines and find a schedule that works for you but just be consistent.
Format (Paperback or Hardcover, Ebook, Audio)
Since I had the idea of writing Sovereignty, I knew I wanted to do a hardcover book. In my mind, I wanted to write a “real” book (as if a paperback book isn’t real). Again, that’s just what I had in mind.
The version you choose doesn’t really matter as long as it’s high-quality. It’s easy to put a cheap piece of work out into the world but I really wanted to create something that is going to last a very long time.
Since I got the hardcover out at the same time I got the ebook out, I’ve released the paperback version and an audio version. One thing I would suggest on the audio version is that you read it yourself (especially if you already have an audience). People know you, they like you, and they trust you. Your voice has weight so if you can, use it. It’s much more powerful and relatable to your audience.
Again, the format doesn’t really matter all that much just make it work for you. My goal was to create something that would reach the masses so I opted to make every version available (hardcover, paperback, ebook, and audio).
Publisher or Self-Publish
Whether you go with a publisher or decide to self-publish is a difficult proposition to answer. There are pros and cons to both. I opted to go with a publisher on this round since it was my first and I really had no idea what I was doing.
Their expertise was invaluable when it came to formatting, hitting the timeline, and making sure we worked into all the distribution channels available.
On my next book, I will self-publish. I know a little more about what I’m doing, I’m lengthening the timeline for more flexibility, and have complete control over the process itself. Self-publishing is easier than it’s ever been and it’s becoming more and more popular for a reason.
That’s the process. It’s really not all that complex but it certainly isn’t easy. If you are interested in writing a book, wrap your head around the idea of a writing schedule. To me, that’s the most important factor (and pick a schedule in which you can maintain consistency). From there, it’s having a strong reason why you want to write a book, coming up with a timeline, deciding which format to go with, and whether or not you’re going to get a publisher or self-publish.
For anyone who wants to write a book, I would first try to talk them out of it because it’s not for the faint of heart and it will take its mental toll but if you cannot be convinced to table the idea, I’d suggest you get started. It’s not easy, it takes time, there will be ups and downs, but it’s one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve taken part in.