Write And Publish Your First Book in Six Months!
I’ve dreamed of being a published author ever since I was 8 years old and wrote a little story book with my best friend. Growing up, I loved to read, and the idea of being paid to write was intriguing and sounded so… romantic. Authors are always portrayed as such deep, creative souls with so much frustrated purpose. Right up my alley.
Throughout my school years, I wrote on and off but rarely made it past the first chapter of anything. (Frequently I’d only get so far as the first page before I became distracted by some other, more interesting idea.)
Then college came, and I really fell off the writing train. College taught me to read only when I had to and write only when it was required to earn a grade. (I also learned a few good things at college, but that’s a completely different discussion.)
This mentality of writing being a chore, plus an insanely busy schedule, made me put down my pen for a few years. I would still think about writing — about becoming an author — but it didn’t seem so practical anymore. After all, I’d never even made it past the first chapter in the past! It seemed more practical to work on things that were actually making me money.
But those nagging thoughts on writing and being published continued, until I was at last compelled to sit down and just do the math. How long would it actually take me to write a book?
I’d always heard stories of authors slaving away for years before they finally finished their first draft. Then several more years of trying to get the damn thing published.
And, while that sounded delightfully romantic, I wasn’t so sure that my soul was deep enough (or my patience long enough) to put up with that sort of endeavor. In fact, if I had to guess, I’d probably call it quits about a month into the 10-year process.
(My husband is pretty grateful that I’ve managed stay interested in him. Our marriage is probably the only thing I’ve ever stuck to for more than two years MAX.)
Anyway, so like the nerd I am, I sat down and did the math. How long would it actually take me to write a book anyway?
Well, I can get about 1,200 words written in an hour. I knew I didn’t want my book to be terribly long — about 40,000 words seemed like a good length. That meant I needed to write for a total of about 33 hours.
What? Only 33 hours? What about all those years of writing I’d heard of?
Well, of course, those 33 hours of writing didn’t include any research, editing or formatting. So the book wouldn’t really be done in 33 hours. But the bulk of the writing would be!
For me, that number was life-changing. That meant that if I just wrote for a bit more than an hour every day for one month, my book would be mostly finished! And even I can stick to something for one month.
With this in mind, I started to write. Sure enough, one month later, my entire first draft was finished!
Now, I’m not going to paint this as some ridiculously easy process. I had a hard time churning out the words consistently, even for one month. I had to wake up at 5 a.m. each day to have enough time to do my writing.
And, honestly, the writing was the easy part of the process. After that came the editing. And more editing, and more editing, and more editing. It took me and two other editors nearly three months to finish all the editing. And then there was the formatting, designing, and covers. It was quite a process.
But five months later, my book, SORTED: Freedom Through Structure, was finally ready to publish! I was very excited, but also completely unsure of how the launch would go down.
Fortunately, planning is my happy place, so I spent plenty of time creating a killer launch plan that would give my book the absolute best chance possible. Would it work? I really didn’t know. As a first-time, self-published author I had no idea what to expect.
On May 14, 2016 SORTED was published and released on Amazon. Of course, I was hoping for it to do well, but I was completely blown away by the incredible response it received. Within just the first three days it was downloaded over 10,000 times! It’s now gone on to have sold over 15,000 copies. Absolutely crazy.
Here’s what I’ve learned about writing and publishing your first book:
First, it doesn’t take years. Not at all. The entire process from concept to published took only six months.
Second, it doesn’t only take 33 easy hours of writing. The writing was the shortest, easiest part of the process. The editing took much, much longer (and was way less fun).
Finally, all that work was totally worth it! Not only was it an enjoyable, interesting process, but nothing else I’ve ever done has had such a significant impact on my career or business. (Not even going to college, which took a heck of a lot more time and work.)
Are you thinking about writing a book? I’d highly recommend it! I’ve put together a complete checklist to show you exactly what I did to take my book from the first concept to a successfully published work. You can click here to download the guide for free.
You also might be interested to read my recent article, “Book Launch: What I did to get 10,000 downloads in the first 3 days, with NO audience.”
Gillian Perkins is a #1 Amazon bestselling author and serial entrepreneur. She’s the owner of several businesses, including Aptus Creative Marketing, Northwest School of Music, Sorted Life Organization Consulting, and Gillian Perkins International. Gillian is a marketing strategist who helps creative entrepreneurs get their ideas noticed online. She works with clients to help them turn their creative work into profitable businesses. She lives with her husband and two young children in the beautiful, green Willamette Valley.
#1 Internationally Bestselling Author, SORTED
Founder, Gillian Perkins International www.gillianperkins.com
Founder, Northwest School of Music www.nwschoolofmusic.com
P.P.S. Editing is my jam, and I can help you get your first book ready to be published. You can find me and an exclusive free chapter review offer at www.housestyleediting.com