We all have a book in us.
Ever heard that? I had, a lot.
In late 2011 I got offered my first book deal. I turned it down. I wasn’t ready. I was busy doing other ‘stuff’. I simply didn’t know enough about the topic. Who would buy a book written by me, anyway…?!!
You name it, I came up with every excuse under the sun to NOT write the book.
Then in late 2012 I teamed up with a literary agent, and put together my first ever book proposal document for a project entitled ‘The Freedom Factor’ (what was I thinking…!!!?). After a few name changes, Virtual Freedom was born and sent out to 16 publishers.
I received four offers.
I was shocked. I mean, if the 4-Hour Workweek can get turned down 26-times before getting published, how was this happening? After the initial shock of an actual real publisher wanting to publish an actual book… of mine… I jumped on it, signed a deal and started writing.
And as we get closer to that book hitting the shelves (official publication date is April 1st, 2014) of every major bookstore – both online and in the ‘real world’, I thought it might be fun to share some of the things I learned along the way, in case you decide to write a book of your own (a fantastic personal branding choice) at some point in the future. So, here we go…
1. It’s Not Like Writing a Bunch of Blog Posts
A lot of bloggers think that writing a book is like producing a bunch of related blog posts and then literally stringing them together. It’s not the case. There was a lot more thought that needed to go into the different sections and chapters in the book. Not to mention the fact that I needed to come up with a way to break-up the ‘how to’ elements of the book, which makes up around 70% of the content. I eventually added fantastic case studies and entrepreneurial spotlights, peppered throughout the manuscript, to show the reader how other business owners are already utilizing virtual teams in their entrepreneurial pursuits.
2. It Ended Up Being WAY More Work Than I Anticipated
When I became an entrepreneur, I never imagined I’d be writing a book. But, here I was contracted to write 45,000 words – which at the time sounded like a lot (and it IS a lot!). But, it became very evident to me, pretty early on that I was going to need a lot more than that target to cover this subject as in-depth as I wanted to, answering all of the questions that I knew the reader was going to have. I ended up with a first draft manuscript which was almost 70,000 words. It’s now been edited down to approximately 62,000 words – or around 280-pages.
3. It Made Me a Better ‘Thinker’ of Thoughts
Planning the project out in front of me, instead of just diving into writing a blog post, really switched on my thought process more. It was as if I was putting myself into the shoes of the reader and I found myself consistently asking “Is there a better way to get this point across?”, or perhaps “Is this part of the book really needed?”. The result, I believe was a much more thought out, concise why of getting my points across and guiding the reader into the right direction to begin their virtual staffing journey (or to take it to the next level).
4. It Was Fun at Times and Very, Very Tough at Others
I started writing with as much energy and passion as you might imagine. It’s like the first idea you get for a new business, product or service. You go at it at 110%. I was like this for the first 20,000 words or so. I had all the content in my head. But, then it became harder to manifest my thoughts into actual words, exercises, guides and checklists – which the book is now full of! Even though I’ve spoken about thinking like a business owner and not a blogger, when I found myself struggling throughout the writing (and editing) process, I would simply walk away from the computer (as I do when writing posts), do something different and come back to it. There’s no secret sauce here… you just need to take a break and come back to it.
5. It Got Me Thinking About My Overall Brand & Message
I’ve been known as the go-to guy in the outsourcing and VA industry for a while, especially where the Philippines is concerned. It’s actually something I’ve struggled with in the past, as I didn’t want to get pigeon-holed into one specific area of expertise. However, when I realized that this was the way forward, brand wise, I ran with it at 180mph! Writing the book got me thinking about this part of my overall brand, and different ways that I can continue to build on it – exciting times are ahead.
6. It Enabled Me to Answer So Many More Questions Than Normal
Having the ability to go into real, hardcore depth about a certain topic in relation to outsourcing allowed me to really dig deep into the archives of my experience. I got to tell lots of stories, share lots of situations that I’ve encountered and a ton of solutions to problems that I know entrepreneurs face when working with virtual staff. It was really liberating, actually.
7. It Got Me Re-Thinking About a Lot of Things I’m Currently Doing
Have you ever read a book, enjoyed it, and then read it again and it blows your mind to bits? That’s happened to me twice before. Once with the 4-Hour WorkWeek and once with Crush It. It also happened to me while writing Virtual Freedom, too. Here I am giving lots of advice about delegation, team building, role specific outsourcing and even breaking entire work flows down (there’s an entire chapter on just that!), and I realized that although I’m pretty good, I could still tweak a few of the things I’m doing and follow some of my own advice a little closer! Love it.
8. It Was a Great Decision to ‘Go Traditional’ and NOT Self-Publish
I could have self-published this and gone to market with it waaaaaay sooner than I am. However, there are a few major reasons why I decided to go the traditional publishing route:
- It builds more overall authority.
- Brings along more opportunities for press.
- Self-published books cannot become traditional bestsellers (Think NYT, or WSJ)
- Self-published books rarely get stocked by large bookstore chains.
Going the traditional route also allowed me to see exactly how the book publishing world works. The additional things like cover design, cover copy, marketing, PR and a general emersion into the publishing world was a real eye-opener. Plus, lets not forget the feeling of affirmation – knowing that an actual book publisher believes that this book should be published (and the advance that goes along with it!).
9. It Enabled Me to Discover Who My REAL Friends Are
Throughout the course of the writing and editing process I reached out to several people for feedback and support. Overall, they were great – however, there were a few people that I did expect a bit more support from, and that left me feeling a little deflated. Also, when contacting people for blurbs to help promote the book, it become really apparent who my real friends were in the business world. Those that gave me a blurb – thank you.
And now that we’re about to start marketing the book, I’m getting a really clear picture as to who my real buddies and allies are. All I can say is that I am blessed beyond all my expectations – you’ll know what I mean when you start to see everything happening in the next couple of months!
10. I Can’t Wait to See the Final Product
The picture that you see in the middle of this post is me with the advance preview addition of my book. I was excited to get a package of ten of these bad boys sent to me at the Rio in Vegas, when I was speaking at NMX recently. Holding just the preview copy in my hands was one thing – but, getting to hold the final version, with all the bells and whistles that go along with it, is going to be a remarkable feeling – hoping that’ll happen real soon.
Why I Want YOU to Follow My Book Marketing Journey
I believe that publishing a book – either traditionally like me, or self-published is paramount to building a brand in towards business world. It’s one of the third main ingredients, in fact – blog, book, speak. But, publishing the book is just the beginning.
It’s the marketing that will SELL it – and in the next 8-weeks I am going to be into serious marketing mode with my team.
And it actually starts today – with the launch of the brand new Virtual Freedom Podcast on iTunes, hosted via SoundCloud. I’m embedding the first episode here (direct from SoundCloud), and I’d love for you to go check out the other four episodes that are already live and subscribe on iTunes (even leaving a quick review and rating if you have the time!).
There’s going to be a limited number of these released and each episode is going to focus on solving one particular problem for the listener, in relation to VAs, building virtual teams and utilizing them as much as possible to grow your business.
I want you to come along for the ride.
I want you to see what I do right, and what I do wrong (I aint perfect, that’s for sure!), so that when the time comes for you to put pen to paper (read: fingertips to keys!) and write your own book, you have an idea of whats required from a marketing standpoint.
What d’ya say..? Wanna come along for the ride?