July 1, 1996 was the beginning of my professional writing life.
On that day, I walked into an adult school class for a three-day, nine-hour course on how to get a book published.
Eight people, including me, took a chance to learn about preparing and submitting documents to book publishers so each of us could brand ourselves as author.
The teacher, a poetry book author, introduced herself and asked us to do the same.
One man spent 30 years as an insurance agent. His goal was to “blow the lid off the industry” with a tell-all book.
A woman was heavily into art. She planned to create a coffee table book on the topic.
Others either announced their goal or weren’t sure about what they’d write.
I shared my gift basket background and also expressed that I wasn’t clear on how it would translate into a book. The teacher instantly gave me clarity on the topic.
I was excited and worked diligently on my manuscript which, in September, was sent to 28 publishers.
Rejection letters soon began arriving. My hopes were far from dashed. I knew, from everything I learned, that it only took one publisher to say “yes,” and that’s what happened two months later.
My first book, How to Start a Home-Based Gift Basket Business, was published the next year. The book is now in its fifth edition and No. 1 in its category. That book was followed by two more business books printed through the same publisher and several e-books I’ve published on my own.
I don’t know the outcome of the other students. My hope is that they, too, achieved success by turning what they learned into an acclaimed publication, a feat that seemed so far away the first time we walked into class.
You’ve read other articles on this site and know that this story has nothing to do with applauding myself.
This is about you and the book you want to write but don’t know where to start.
My manuscript was compiled and researched with help from the library and bookstores because the Internet wasn’t available.
Help to create your book is now found worldwide. You have many tools at your disposal on the web. Still, don’t overlook help that’s found at libraries and bookstores, and don’t worry that others have written about your topic. They can’t bring the subject to light the same way as you.
Here’s how to proceed.
1. Write down on paper the subjects that are closest to your heart. It could be fiction (romance, mystery, thriller, science fiction) or non-fiction (self-help, crafts, medicine, children’s subjects, health).
2. List the subtopics (lessons, chapters, etc.) that will be included in your book. Don’t overlook anything because it seems farfetched, silly, or outlandish. Write down everything.
3. Look at your list and choose the one topic that stands above the rest. It’s the subject that you know inside and out, the one that you can talk about for hours.
That is your soon-to-be-published book.
From here, your mission is to find a website and/or printed book that guides you on:
- Submitting a manuscript publishers
- Publishing the book yourself, or
- Writing an e-book for quick distribution
A good friend of mine, Flora Morris Brown, publishes her own books, which to me is a tremendous feat. You’ll find her sage advice at ColorYourLifePublished.com.
There are lots of moving parts to writing and publishing, but if it were a difficult process, books would not exist.
It’s time to reinvent your life by putting your story on paper. I committed to writing a book, and the experience was more successful than I imagined. Believe that your future will be as fruitful as or even more successful than mine.
What experience are you ready to share with the world?