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PUBLISHING Writing my first book

Discussion in 'Business Models, Niches, Industries' started by steelandchrome, Jan 15, 2017.

  1. steelandchrome
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    steelandchrome Author of The Retail Leader Book. Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Well I am having a hard time sitting down to focus on the path I had thought was my fastlane of E-Commerce so have decided to roll with what I know from my current slowlane job and write a book on how to do it better. I am a store manager for a major retailer with over $475 million in retail sales under my leadership over 15 years so have a ton of knowledge to share with those looking to go down this career path. I have found the need based off of so many coming into these positions needing to be trained from the ground up and having little to no knowledge of how to do so without their company doing it for them and holding their hands. I know there are a million books out there on leadership but have found many were to motivational and not really functional knowledge and many others focus solely on one portion of the job and not broad enough to help someone be well rounded on more key competencies needed in retail leadership. I won't focus on the marketing etc on it till I'm closer and pick an official title so I can buy a site and hopefully get a lead form to blast out release announcements etc... I am at 24,000 words written at this point and expect that is about 25% done based off the chapters I have outlined.

    If I keep pace it will take a few more months doing it on days off and after my daughter goes to bed. I'll be seeking some people to read it and give me opinions on writing style later and then make some decisions on self publishing, all e-book, or trying to get it with someone else to publish but we'll get to that when I'm closer... Just posting as a feel good for myself right now that I'm rolling with something and to help keep myself on point to get it done.

    Thanks!
     
  2. JScott
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    JScott Legendary Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Congrats on getting the first 25% written...that's definitely the hardest...

    You didn't ask, but hopefully you're okay with some advice about non-fiction writing from someone who's done a little bit of it:

    - Don't hold off on the marketing until you're finished the book. You'll regret this. Start building a mailing list/audience now, so that when you're ready to release the book, you'll hit the ground running. Perhaps create a website, or even just a landing page, and start driving potential customers to sign up for a mailing list.

    - To go along with the above, start providing value now, before the book is done. This is the best way to build an audience. Perhaps post excerpts from the book to a Facebook page, and start getting followers that you can later convert. When they see that you have valuable information, they'll get excited about the upcoming book. As an example, take a look at the thread MJ started about his upcoming book launch -- he has an entire forum full of people reading to purchase.

    - Try to write every day. It took me 2+ years to write my first two books. It then took me 3+ years to get traction on my next book. When you don't get into the habit of writing, it's easy to go weeks/months/years between putting pen to paper. When you get into the habit of writing every day, you'll find that cranking out a book isn't nearly as hard as you expect. I set a goal to write at least 1000 proofread words per day -- this takes me between 1-4 hours/day, depending on my motivation level. But, I know that with my next book being 75K words, I should be able to complete a first draft in 2.5 months. Seeing the goal line is very motivating.

    - Figure out who your audience is. Then try to determine how many of those people are out there and what percentage of them would likely purchase your book. By doing that, you can determine early on if your customer demographic is too small. That's something you'll want to know sooner rather than later, as it may require you to change the focus of the book to hit a larger audience. That happened to me with my most recent book -- I got about 20K words in before I realized that I could be writing the book for a MUCH larger audience -- it required a major edit of those first 20K words, but better that than to have gotten 70K words in before I realized it.

    - Proofreading, editing, cover design, formatting/layout, format conversion, proof copies, etc. will all take much longer than you expect. Start thinking about those things now, including starting your search for an editor and cover designer. I typically get my editor going even before I have a full draft, so by the time I'm done writing, I already have feedback and revisions to make.
     
  3. steelandchrome
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    steelandchrome Author of The Retail Leader Book. Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Appreciate the feedback especially from someone who has done it. I own one of your books BTW ;)

    I have two titles planned for now and need to narrow to one and buy a domain to get a landing page up to build a mailing list. Social media is my next step as you've said here and will start that up within the next few weeks. As far as planned writing time I've set aside 4hrs on my day off alone at home each week at the bare minimum and am looking to do at least 2hrs in the evening across the week.

    Thanks again!



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  4. steelandchrome
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    steelandchrome Author of The Retail Leader Book. Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Well I got a basic site up to start collecting emails as I finish writing and have written another 5k words... I plan to build some social media within the next week and start joining groups on FB, Insta, LinkedIN, etc to provide feedback and hope to get likes and links to the site for sign ups from there. Just a small progress but I'm moving along. Thanks ;)
     
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  5. steelandchrome
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    steelandchrome Author of The Retail Leader Book. Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    So.... I got to about 35k words and lost interest. I am now thinking of picking back up writing this book and actually finishing it over the next month or two. Any suggestions on a decent editor to take a look at what has been written so far and/or are any members interesting in reading some of my finished chapters to see what they think of my writing style and how it comes out of my head onto paper? ;)
    The book is focus on retail leadership for brand new managers (but has higher level thoughts in there as well for tenured managers as well). I have managed retail stores for a total of well over $600M in retail sales and teams of 130-250 at a time so I have a TON of experience in growing sales, teaching process, developing others, etc... Anyways, feel free to reply or PM if you have suggestions or are interested in a rough UNEDITED draft to critique.
     
  6. steelandchrome
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    steelandchrome Author of The Retail Leader Book. Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I am up to 41k words and have about 6 chapters outlined that I want to hit before I think it is done and ready for some fine tuning. Just posting for an update so I don't lose track again and let it sit for a year. I wish I would have just finished it when I sat down and started but better now than never.
     
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  7. Busy Muse
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    Busy Muse Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Good job on picking it up again!
    It seems you're on your way to finish this time, and that is great.
    If I may advance an opinion, you wrote that in your book you will be focusing on helping new managers, but have some thoughts that could help seasoned managers as well. While having more "advanced" thoughts doesn't hurt, I worry that perhaps it would work better if you focused on one type of manager; if the majority of the book is aimed at new managers, I would suggest to stick to it - probably not many seasoned managers will pick up a "beginner's" book just to find a few interesting thoughts for them. That also gives you the opportunity to continue your production by writing a second book aimed at tenured managers, or you could even do a trilogy -beginner, intermediate, seasoned.
    With your experience on the field I am sure you could have insights on all three levels.

    Other than that, I don't know if you already had help with editing, but I would be happy to give a look at a few chapters to give you an idea of where you stand with the draft (for style, grammar, writing). I'm not an expert in managing, sales, etc, but I proofread and write as a freelancer, so maybe I can be of help.

    Anyway, keep on going!
     
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  8. steelandchrome
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    steelandchrome Author of The Retail Leader Book. Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Thanks. I am a bit worried it is too short so have added 3 additional chapters to the outline and am planning on going back over each one and seeing if I can add a few more real life examples to chapters where it makes sense to stretch it out a bit while adding value and not just trying to add words. I am going to finish it no matter what this time and get it out there. I'll keep you in mind as I get ready for editing etc. I do have a family member that can do that as well but I am sure I'd take the feedback and criticism/changes better from someone else ;)

    On a side note I let my website expire because I had lost interest in writing so I need to get one back up and start building a marketing list as well. I intend to put most efforts into actually finishing the book first though because I spent a good amount of time on other things like the site etc that I would have been better spent on just plugging away at writing.

    Thanks

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  9. Busy Muse
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    Busy Muse Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Sounds like you have a plan!
    As far as the domain/website, yes I agree that first you should get a first draft completed so that you will be sure you will still want to publish, etc. But as far as picking the name of a domain, I would suggest to not pick exactly the title of the book as a domain IF you think you may want to expand on top of that book. Basically if you get a domain that is more general but still speaks to the audience (managers, your type of business, whatever that may be), it could be useful to have so that you can build a platform around the book itself.
    Just my 2 cents, obviously, I just thought maybe you may want to keep doors open for possible avenues of business/income/reach aside from the book.

    In the meantime though, happy writing!
     
  10. Daniel...D
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    Daniel...D Contributor

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    For me, you're a hero. I can't imagine how it to write a book by myself
     
  11. steelandchrome
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    steelandchrome Author of The Retail Leader Book. Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Hit 46k words and am at roughly 197 pages.. Spoke to an editor who gave me some crap that it would only be good for ebook if under 90k words and not to even consider a paperback version. I expect to end up at maybe 215-230 pages of actual writing at a 6x9 page size and I've seen plenty of others around that size or smaller even so what do they know. Anyways... Plugging along and just updating since I had a day off work to write today and made progress.
     
  12. steelandchrome
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    steelandchrome Author of The Retail Leader Book. Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I am by no means a writer but I believe I have valuable information to share and others would benefit from it so i am giving it a shot. I downloaded a free book template from online and then outlined chapters based off what I felt I would need to cover to have it all be worth doing. Then I just started typing. If you have info to share and want to write then you could try the same ;)

    On a side note I trimmed a few things amd combined a few like topics together and have the first draft completed as of this afternoon. I am going to read it myself from start to finish and make sure I have things in the best order chapter wise and see if I need to add some more color commentary for real life examples to a few areas and then will send it off for official editing. I wrote half of it a year ago so might have to clean up some overlapping of ideas or writing styles but feel fairly confident in it for now. Happy that I picked it back up and resolved to finish it.

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  13. steelandchrome
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    steelandchrome Author of The Retail Leader Book. Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Well, I feel like I have the book wrapped up and did a self edit today as I read it from start to finish. I will send it off for official editing soon and hope to launch in a reasonable time frame but now have to get a website up and running and try to create an email list for the official launch.

    Yes I know I should have had that website up and running and a list started a long time ago and am behind on progress as a result.

    On a side note, just curious if it would be a bad idea to launch on Amazon as an ebook without an official launch or hard copy (I do plan to have real physical paperbacks printed) or if it would be better to not launch it in e-book form until I have that list ready to blast out and real books to ship?
     
  14. steelandchrome
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    steelandchrome Author of The Retail Leader Book. Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Got a basic site up at www.TheRetailBook.com and have a facebook account set up for it as well. I am not a fan of how godaddy has the contact form for building an email list so am open to suggestions on either the site or where to direct for a better email list. (Currently the contact form emails me each time someone fills out the contact form and I would have to manually build a list). Otherwise I can add a sign up list through them and it only works if they sign up and then click a link verifying they are interested in the list. Plus it has a 50 person limit and you pay extra after that...
    I will be hitting up fivver for a cover design soon unless someone here wants a crack at it then PM me.

    On another side note I am starting to look at print on demand or ordering my own stock to send to amazon. Looks as if POD will allow it to be stocked at many more locations with no inventory but much lower margins. Any feedback from those who have done real physical print would be appreciated as well.
     
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  15. rogue synthetic
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    rogue synthetic * Not actually Rutger Hauer Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    You might do well to look into picking a email provider sooner than later. You'll want the automation once you get any kind of traffic.

    There's a ton of these out there though Mailchimp is usually the go-to suggestion for the beginner. They have a pretty generous free plan and reasonable paid rates once you grow past 2000 subscribers. They'll give you code for a decent-looking subscription box, which you or a designer can edit to taste.
     
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  16. SvvyDO
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    SvvyDO Shooting til it hits Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Nice progress! I'm also on my final revision of a 70k+ word book.

    How much did they quote you for the edit BTW?

    I'm also pretty curious on the print-on-demand, I'll most likely be going that direction too down the road.
     
  17. steelandchrome
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    steelandchrome Author of The Retail Leader Book. Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I haven't gotten the official price for editing yet. I have a family member who used to be a newspaper editor and I'm going to try and have her do it if she has the time and is reasonable. After that or even before I suppose I need a cover done. Any forum members interested in doing a book cover?
    ;)

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  18. loop101
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    loop101 Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Wouldn't the market size for Retail managers be a little small? I would suggest making a book that a Retail chain can license, and distribute throughout their stores. That way, the new manager would not be paying out of their pocket, and the store could refer them to your "bible". You could be an "authority" on training retail managers. You could also make some video presentations they could license, maybe DVD's new managers could take home. Classroom/seminar materials, etc. If that is your one area of expertise, you may have to go WIDE in to a bunch of associated things (books,DVDs, posters, etc).

    Producing those materials would also help you get job offers/raises, if you were interested in that.
     
  19. steelandchrome
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    steelandchrome Author of The Retail Leader Book. Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Hard to say. There are 1,870,000 retail manager jobs available for application right now on indeed.com so I would say it's a very large market. I like the other ideas but will stick to the book for now.

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    Last edited: Mar 4, 2018
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  20. JScott
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    JScott Legendary Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    I used Wordpress, a $99 theme and constant contact, and had a site up and running for my most recent book in about a day...

    http://www.negotiatingbook.com/

    Let me know if you have any questions...

    Createspace is an easy way to do print-on-demand and get a paperback book released almost as simply as the eBook. You'll need to format it for print and spend a week or so going through the proofing process (you'll get a physical sample mailed to you), but other than the $10 you'll spend on the proof, it free to get the paperback created and listed on Amazon. And Amazon/Createspace will handle all the payment and fulfillment.

    This way, you can also sell your book yourself of through your own online store -- you can order on demand from Createspace as orders come in...
     
  21. steelandchrome
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    steelandchrome Author of The Retail Leader Book. Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Thanks for the feedback, you are the second person to suggest createspace so I will be checking them out today. I appreciate all the support from the forum!

    I did get a quick site up at www.theretailbook.com and got some feedback that it was a bit too generic and no personal info on the author with wirk history for proof. My dilemma is that I am still employed by the big box store and am not sure how kindly they would take to me revealing that info especially with a lot of personal experience stories in the book.

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  22. JScott
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    Are you writing under a pen name? If you use a pen name and no picture, you likely don't have to worry about anyone ever realizing it's you...
     
  23. steelandchrome
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    steelandchrome Author of The Retail Leader Book. Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I hadn't decided yet. I was going to see how much concern that was for people to take faith into the book without a real name behind the book or if it would turn them off for a pen name on a book like this. I already had someone accuse me of making up the sales numbers because there was no name behind the author to look up. That does appear to be a concern and something I have to decide before I market and publish. Same goes for creating the cover and adding some testimonials of my leadership career and skills to the website.

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  24. steelandchrome
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    steelandchrome Author of The Retail Leader Book. Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I made a few changes to my website and added a free chapter download option. I need a few testimonials so will look to find a few people that run sales locations to offer it to for free to see if I can get a few testimonials to use on the book value itself other than ones I have on me personally as a leader.
     
  25. steelandchrome
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    steelandchrome Author of The Retail Leader Book. Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    So I started sending out feelers to a few fairly prominent people in the field of my book and seeing if I can find some people willing to read it to provide a short testimonial for the cover when I get that going. No responses yet, but a few have connected with me on LinkedIn as a result of the inquiry so hopefully that's a good sign.
    Anyways, I will send off a few requests a day till the book is done with editing and hope to be able to send out digital copies at that point so I can get the cover completed with those on there for the print copy. Would it be a good idea at that point to just send a copy of the book with the request going forward or maybe just a few sample chapters or is that too aggressive?
    Thanks

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