Why On Track?


Since releasing my first book, On Track: Life Lessons from the Track & Field, almost two weeks ago, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to many people about the book.  People at my office have asked me about it.  People at my church ask me about the book.  And people from the other circles of my life have asked me about the book.

It’s fun to share, but it has also been an adjustment as I walk the line of promotion and humility.  I sometimes wonder if this is normal for first time authors.  I want people to know about the book.  I want them to read it.  And I want them to share it with their friends and family.  But I also don’t want to be arrogant, prideful, or cocky.

I have so much to learn about writing, and I truly believe the best is yet to come.

When I share about On Track, I feel compelled to share the story about why I wrote the book in the first place.  I thought it would be healthy for me to share the story here.

I’m an engineer.  Writing a book was not on my radar until the past few years.  I started blogging nearly seven years ago as a place to process life’s stretching experiences.  Early on, I realized my thoughts in the blog could also be a catalyst for helping other people to stretch.  The more I wrote, the more I realized I had something worth sharing.  Readers began to ask me when I was going to write a book.  I put these comments to the side doubting that a book could ever be in my future.  After all, I was an engineer and not a writer.  Somewhere in the past two years, I started to move thoughts of book writing to the forefront.

I started writing On Track a year ago when I wrote several posts about related to the track and field world.  Here are the posts:

I don’t remember the specifics, but one of the Stretched readers (Steve Y) suggested I put together a book based on my observations of the track and field world.  This seemed like an interesting idea, but I didn’t do anything about it for a while.

As many of you know, I have a big heart and passion for short-term missions.  My experiences the past couple of summers propelled me to write a lot about missions on the blog.  As I considered writing a book, a book about short-term missions and developing a mission mindset seemed like the natural direction to follow.

I started brainstorming and creating an outline for this book about missions.  I prayed about it.  I talked about it with my wife and a few close friends.  And I decided to move forward.  I worked diligently on the outline for this book, and I sent it out to a few trusted friends and authors for their feedback.  As the feedback started coming in, I began to realize I was stepping into something pretty big.  I have big ideas for this book, but I didn’t have any experience whatsoever on how to proceed with the project.  Do I pursue a traditional publisher, or do I go down the self-publishing route.  How do I write a book proposal?  How do I handle the cover design?  How do I handle the editing and formatting?  How do I launch this kind of project?  The feedback for this book was terrific and encouraging, but I realized I needed to step back and try something a little smaller first.

And this is when I remembered the suggestion from Steve Y.  I looked back on my old posts, and I started scheming on how I could adjust and add to these posts to create something worth publishing.  In a sense, On Track became a “test” book project.  The book gave me the opportunity to see how self-publishing works.  It also gave me the opportunity to work with a graphic designer and editor.

Initially, I had thoughts of giving the book away for free in an effort to build my mailing list.  After all, this is what the experts on platform development tell you to do.  As I went deeper into the On Track project, it became more than a “test.”  On Track became something I believed had an important message – a message worth sharing.  And so, I decided to release it on Amazon in paperback and eBook for a small price.  (A digital copy of the book is available for FREE when you subscribe to the Stretched Newsletter.)

Since the release of On Track, I’ve been learning a lot about the challenges of “marketing/promoting” a book – especially when you are busy raising a family, working at a demanding job, and living a life that keeps you on the go.

I have so much more to learn, but I’m thankful for the journey so far.

Tomorrow, I’ll share the introduction to the book.  For those who haven’t read On Track yet, I think this will give you another look at why I wrote On Track.

If you have read On Track, I hope you’ll leave a comment on Amazon, and let me know what you think right here in the comments.  If you haven’t read the book yet, click the link below to purchase the book at Amazon, or pick up a digital copy for FREE by subscribing to the Stretched Newsletter.