I just released my first book - The 40 Best Sales Techniques Ever - on Amazon (http://a.co/0huTehH), and man, did I learn a couple of things about myself, my network, the publishing world, and the art of self-promotion.
If you’re considering taking this plunge - or perhaps you’ve already started - here are five major lessons that really resonated for me:
Just Do It. The book won’t write itself; you need to write it. Set aside 30 minutes at night and on weekends and just let your words pour out onto the page. You can refine the writing later, but at this point the important part is to express your thoughts. You’ll find that one page turns into five, and five turns into ten. Before long, you’ve got a book. Remember Lao-Tzu: A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
Share Early and Often. This advice was given to me by another author, and it was incredibly helpful. Don’t hide away like Dr. Frankenstein in the lab until your creation is ready; share it with friends and colleagues. Let them read a chapter and ask for their thoughts. These are your potential readers, after all, and their feedback may send you in new (and fruitful) directions.
Self-Publish. Want to publish your book on your timetable and keep most of the profits? Self-publish on Amazon. I spoke with a few agents, and many book publishers have a 1-2 year backlogs on books, meaning your finished book may sit on a shelf until they can fit it in. Oh yes, and between the publisher's cut and your agent’s fee, there’s very little left for you. Amazon makes it easy to self-publish, and I highly recommend this path.
Consider a “Short”. In retrospect, I wish that I had taken my one long book and turned it into two shorter books. We live in the age of limited attention spans, and you could feasibly write a 40-50 page book and publish it on Amazon in three months (or less). A couple of months later, write and publish the next book in your series and you have TWO books. Rinse, lather, repeat.
Promote Yourself Silly. Contact every person you’ve ever met and ask them to buy and review your book. With millions of books in print, you need to embrace guerrilla marketing tactics and pull out all the stop to get yourself noticed. Facebook, LinkedIn, alumni associations, town newspapers, press releases. . .take full advantage of all of these and never stop pushing. After all, you know your book is terrific, and now the rest of the world will know it as well.