Do you have a burning desire to share your life experiences so others benefit from your wisdom? Then it’s time to tell your story. Here’s how.
A lightbulb moment
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.
One is enough
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 continues as the industry’s number one resource. 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 their knowledge into an acclaimed publication, a feat that seemed so far away the first time we walked into class.
Why you hold the keys
You’ve read other write-a-book 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 did not yet exist.
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.
It’s time to tell your story
- 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).
- List the subtopics (lessons, chapters, etc.) to include in your book. Don’t overlook anything because it seems farfetched, silly, or outlandish. Write down everything.
- 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.
You’ve just identified 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 to 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 tell your story by writing or typing. I committed to the goal, 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 life experience are you ready to share with the world?
Great stuff; so great that I’m sharing the post (if I haven’t already lol). I didn’t ask for help in producing my book, so it’s totally self published. I sent my first book out to multiple publishers and after getting rejection #64 decided to go my own way. Sometimes it’s not what the result looks like as much as just getting to the result.
Thank you for sharing that Mitch, that comment and Shirley’s article are very inspiring and something I’ve got to do right away just to prove to myself that I can do it. I feel that I have numerous books in me. It’s just a matter of getting started and overcoming the fear.
Hello D’TaRelle, yes, overcoming the fear is a process, and with all that you have to share with following and future audiences, that fear will soon dissolve!
It is a true blessing to move forward and share your knowledge in a book when publishers don’t realize they have gold in their hands. Their vision is often narrow, and thankfully, we don’t need them anymore to complete the mission.
I appreciate you sharing this with your readers.
SHIRLEY!!!!!!!! (screaming and jumping up and down!!!) I am so happy to see you even if it is in print!!!!!! You look great!!!!! I really appreciate your encouragement to write a book. Looks like you are doing great and am so happy for you!!!!! 🙂
Hello D’TaRelle! I so appreciate your kind words and am happy that you’ve shared wisdom about this article. Hoping to see you soon!