Ten Things Every Aspiring Book Author Should Know

I am an author!

As of April 22nd of this year, I can officially make this proclamation.  This is the day my first book released to the public.  Since the book released, many people have asked me how it feels to be an author.

It feels great, and it feels a little weird.

People have also asked what it took to release my first book.  I have a lot to learn, but I think I can also provide a fresh perspective to people who are thinking about writing their first book.  With this in mind, I came up with a list of ten things to know about writing your first book:

Ten Things Every Aspiring Book Author Should Know

  1. Writing a book takes time.  Writing a book doesn’t happen by snapping your fingers.  It will take you some time.  My On Track book took three months which does not include the time I spent last year writing a few of the blog posts that initiated the idea of writing a book related to the world of track and field.  This is important for me to remember as I consider my next book projects.  I’m hoping to have another book to release before the end of the year, but it may take longer.
  2. Writing a book requires the attitude of a student.  There is so much to learn in the world of book writing and publishing.  I have talked to many other authors.  I have read many blog posts and articles about writing books.  There are many, many great resources available for aspiring authors.  I still have so much to learn, and I’m excited to learn more.  If you want to write a book, ask a lot of questions and prepare to learn.
  3. Writing a book requires humility.  I asked for feedback from several people as I prepared to release my book.  I gave the manuscript to editors, book authors, and potential reviewers in exchange for their honest feedback.  A lot of the feedback required me to set aside my pride, so I could produce a better product.  If you are writing a book, ask people to provide honest critiques of your work.  It will make you a much better author.
  4. Writing a book is work.  It is not easy to write and publish a book.  Besides taking time to write the book, you have to work with cover designers, editors, format people, book store owners, agents, publishers, and many others.  You will probably need to write guest blog posts and do interviews.  You will have to promote your product in an effort to get your book out there.  This is a lot of work.  No one explained to me how much work it took to write and publish a book.
  5. Writing a book is fun.  Honestly, I have enjoyed the process so far.  It has been fun to figure things out along the way (maybe this is the engineer in me).  It has been fun to tell other people about my book or about the progress in completing my book project.  It is fun to watch your initial book sales and to open your first box of books as they arrive at your house.  And it is fun to autograph books for those interested.
  6. Writing a book is habit-forming.  I wrote the first book as a practice for the second book.  My guess is that my second book will be practice for the third book and so on.  Some authors are once and done, but my guess is that many first time authors become second time authors.  They can’t help themselves to do it all over again.
  7. Writing a book provides an amazing opportunity to share with others.  I’ve written about it in previous posts.  I am amazed at the number of opportunities I have had to share with others about my book and about the message behind my book.  You have something worth saying, and a book will provide many unique opportunities to say it to a captive audience.
  8. Writing a book will stretch you.  Do you want to grow?  Do you want to stretch yourself?  Start writing a book.  I have been stretched in so many directions as a result of diving into my first book project.  I thrive on stretching.  I want to live a life marked by growth.  My book project has pushed me to new places in my life.  I am having opportunities to go places I have never gone before as a result of the decision to write a book.  If you want to stretch, start writing.
  9. Writing a book does not guarantee a financial windfall.  So far, I’ve sold 98 copies of my book.  I’ve made about $110.00 so far.  In my dreams I will be a best-selling author one day.  In my dreams….  Did you know that over 90% of authors sell less than 200 copies of their book.  This doesn’t bode well for anyone hoping to making a ton of money by writing books.  I would love to do some amazing things with money made from book proceeds.  I have dreams of building 100 houses in Guatemala using proceeds from my writing.  It’s possible, but it will require a lot more work and a lot more writing.  If you are planning to write a book, you should have realistic expectations for the financial outcome of your book.  You should also remember your initial reasons for writing.  I write to reflect on my stretching marks and to stretch other people.  Why do you want to write a book?
  10. Writing a book is possible.  I never imagined I would be able to call myself an author.  I’m an engineer and a manager.  I’m a husband and a father.  I’m a runner.  But I never imagined I was an author.  That changed in April when I released my first book.  If I can do it, you can do it too!

Have you ever thought about writing a book?  What is stopping you from pursuing becoming an author?  If you have already written a book, what would you add to this list?

On Track – Life Lessons from the Track & Field is now available on Amazon in paperback and for Kindle.  Click the link below to get your copy today.

As a reminder, I am offering a FREE pdf copy of the interior of the book to subscribers of The Stretched Newsletter.  Head over to the main page of the blog and sign up on the right hand menu bar to get your copy today for FREE!