For somewhere around 4 months, all of my friends heard me throwing around the idea of writing a book. Someday, I want to write a book, I’d think. The urgency was eating at me more and more though and all of my family and friends knew it.
A friend told me about a course he had heard about, called Self-Publishing School. We hopped online and took a look at the course and it made a wild promise to go from blank page to bestseller in 90 days!
WILD! I thought.
This has to be a scam! Right?
One thing that frustrated me was the idea that if I wanted to publish a book, I’d have to send out inquiries, go to writing conferences, work hours on a proposal and all of that sounded…exhausting! I just wanted to cross
write a book off of the bucket list. I didn’t want to wait months or even years vying for an agent’s attention.
THE DECISION TO USE SPS
I spent a little time perusing the Self-Publishing School website and my friend and I decided we were doing it! We both signed up at the same time and figured a little accountability couldn’t hurt. That was April 20th-ish, give or take a few days (I don’t remember exactly).
My sweetest friend, Lynette, gave me a big hardback notebook titled, “Dreams and Schemes” and boy did I ever take that to heart. I started on May 1st, 2016. I watched Chandler’s first video and I was SOLD. So excited. Taking notes. Trying to take it all in. I was pumped! (The notebook in this picture is my real “Dreams and Schemes” notebook I used.) I started right in on my Introduction.
Within days, my adrenaline was pumping. I was assigned a writing coach through SPS and the first time we Skyped, I was blown away by his encouragement. I felt like I could conquer the world. I started getting up early, staying up late, fitting it into kids nap times and every spare moment was taken up by………(you guessed it!)…….writing.
Often times, I found myself sitting on the floor in our playroom surrounded by toys and my little ones, just plowing away at my draft.
STUCK AND UNSTUCK
Part way through I got stuck. I knew I was on the right track but I wasn’t quite ready to cross the finish line. I asked my friends if anyone wanted to meet at my local coffeeshop and read what I had so far.
I printed out several copies of my “half of a first draft”. Their ideas and suggestions, notes and questions spurred me on. As I neared the end of the 30 days, I hustled like I had never hustled before. Watching Chandler’s videos, following the course, and calling my writing coach. It was a more than full time effort until June 7th when I stepped back and (PHEW!) I was done with my first draft. I ended at about 20,000 words. I wrote daily as much as I could and I wrote it in chronological order.
I did not do an outline. It was a right brain effort and an outline never felt right. I did, however, use post-it notes. I cleared a wall space and any time I had an idea, I’d post it on the wall. I started clumping notes together categorically. If the ideas or thoughts were similar, I would put them together. It helped me to tremendously as I organized my thoughts.
I went back and “bulked up” my draft by adding in an additional 7,000 words. I finished somewhere around 27,000 words.
EDITING AND BEYOND
I followed the SPS plan as closely as I could. I just felt like they were the experts and I wanted to do it the right way, whatever that was! Everything was new and uncomfortable so I relied on their advice.
I hired a freelance editor and I loved working with her. It was really scary at first looking at all of her suggestions and edits. I had only thought I had crossed the finish line. In reality, the work was just starting.
She did five rounds of editing, all very different, requiring me to respond and collaborate, accept the changes or not. It was so very very very time consuming and tedious. I cannot stress enough how difficult this part of the process is, truly. I knew I was so close, yet so far away. By the end, I was sick of my own book. Ha!
I hired a local graphic designer that I knew and liked to do a cover design and format the book after the final manuscript was sent to me by the editor. I let him know my aggressive timeline and he made it happen.
While my book was being formatted, I got to work building a launch team and planning the launch. I planned to upload my book as an e-book to Amazon. (I had no thought of printing it in a paperback at this point!) SPS had specific instructions and yet again, I followed those exactly.
I chose August 1st for my launch date because it was 90 days from when I began, and while I’m not at all a TYPE A personality, I was part excited and part in disbelief that I had actually written a book. I totally believe that the super ambitious deadline was part of the adrenaline rush needed to actually get it done.
I formed a FB private group page and an email list by asking family and friends to help me launch the book on Social Media. I got them involved: voting on cover designs and titles, keeping them posted on my process with personal notes and videos.
A few days before the launch, I had friends and family test it out by downloading it and making sure it was working. I let everyone know when the Amazon link was live and asked for reviews. I asked a lot, via email and the FB page and gave really clear instructions on how to leave a review.
I’m being brief and leaving out lots of details, but I can’t stress enough how SPS was giving me exact instructions.
This was SO much work. But also, I was so excited and proud of myself too. I was grateful for the support and as the reviews started to come in, the tears began to flow. Serious tears, people.
I was in awe. It was done and I didn’t quit! I completely surprised myself and on top of that, the response was nothing I expected.
THE REST IS HISTORY
If you’ve been following along on social media, you might know the end of the story. A publisher found my book on Amazon and offered me a deal. (I WAS SHOCKED.) I reached out to a literary agency to help me interpret the contract and the agency offered me a contract one year to the day that I started writing the book, May 1st.
I signed with the agency and now the journey continues…
If you have any questions at all, please feel free to ask in the comments below! I love sharing about it because I loved my story.
GO FOR IT
If you have any desire to write a book at all, I think you should go for it! I have never once regretted taking on a big project like writing a book.
Here’s the link to Self-Publishing School. Check it out and see if it’s a good fit for you. I cannot stop gushing about my amazing experience. https://xe172.isrefer.com/go/sps4fta-vts/brookesailer