FAQ on Writing a Book

Are you considering pursuing publishing a book? Are you a podcaster, public speaker, or professional who wants to increase your reach? While the accessibility to publish a book has increased considerably, the process of writing a book hasn’t gotten any easier. It takes a team to complete a high-quality book, whether you self-publish or go the traditional route.

How did you decide to write a book?

I discovered a long time ago that my thoughts are scattered until I write them down. Many times when God is drawing my attention to something, I will find a theme or image inescapable until I spend time prayerfully researching the subject. I often sort through information I collect on subjects I’m drawn to, such as devotions, sermons, and worship songs, when I’m trying to make contextual sense of a subject. Writing a book was an organic result of years of conversations, journaling, mentoring, and prayer.

It developed over time with the encouragement of my editor, my mastermind group, and different conversations with people throughout the years.

How long did it take to complete your book project?

The stories in my book span over twenty years. Part of the development of this content took that long. But that doesn’t mean every book will take twenty years to write.

I started meeting monthly regarding this particular project in February or March of 2018. About one-third of the content was outlined at that point and I was able to formulate the table of content and skeleton structure. Each chapter took about 16 hours to write after I collected all the content, which included interviews, research, or reviewing previous blog articles I’d published.

My first draft was read by two beta readers. Using their input, I edited each chapter. This took a few hours per chapter. Then I started over at the beginning and edited everything cohesively one more time before sending the entire project to a professional editor.

My professional editor and I worked together on a substantive edit which is also known as macro, content, or structural editing. This portion of the project was about a two-week process and included an assessment of the overall manuscript and detailed recommendations for improving the content, organization, rewriting, and/or restructuring. 

How did you stay motivated while writing a book?

The thing that kept me motivated was participating in a monthly mastermind group. I knew that every month I was going to have to discuss my progress on my work with other writers. I was going to have to answer questions about why I did or didn’t do something. Because I was participating in a group that was taking time out of their month to invest in helping my book improve, I wanted to make sure that I showed up with something for them to evaluate every month.

Did you go to a writing conference?

I attended the Breathe Christian Writers Conference two years in a row. I chose this conference for several reasons. First, it was very close, and reduced the time I would need to be away from my family during the football season. Second, it was incredibly reasonably priced. Finally, I was able to go with some writer friends, which made the experience a lot more enjoyable. This conference will not exist after 2021.

There are many conferences out there. Some are online, some are in person, and they all offer different opportunities. I do not believe that you need to attend a writers’ conference to publish a book. However, I do believe it’s a worthwhile experience to consider if you have the finances.

Networking is always a great thing for every career. If you don’t have the finances or time to travel, there are groups like COMPEL and Hope Writers that invest in developing writers year-round.

As a previous member of Called Creatives, I can tell you that the membership includes mastermind groups and monthly training in addition to networking opportunities. Additionally, I have had dozens of friends participate in different in-person writers’ conferences, and as far as marketing goes, there is a lot of information that is omitted. In fact, I am so disappointed in the lack of information that my company created a self-paced course to fill in all the gaps for small business owners and authors. Check it out here.

Do you need an editor?

Yes. Full Stop.

The longer answer here is also important. The input from my beta readers was invaluable. They were the ones who helped inform the freebies I’ve created for you! They also helped shape the writing in that they took ideas that weren’t clear and pointed out where I hadn’t fully explained something. At the same time, my beta readers weren’t reading with an experienced eye for my audience. My editor was reading for thousands of readers rather than herself, with a combined 20 years of experience in writing, editing, and publishing in her background.

It doesn’t matter how great your friends are at finding spelling errors, they aren’t going to help you identify things a professional editor will know to look for, and their contribution is worth every penny.

Do you have to do all your own marketing for your book?

Well, I wouldn’t say I had to do ALL my own book marketing. However, part of your book proposal includes a marketing plan for a reason. Publishing houses have cut costs by delegating marketing back to authors. This is one of the reasons I’m not opposed to self-publishing. If you have to market things for yourself either way why not earn the bulk of the money and keep the rights?

I know you may think I touched on this above, but for this section, I’m going to focus specifically on my book. I’ll admit marketing, in general, is a space where my day job was a huge benefit. I am deeply grateful for the SMA Marketing team. Ariel, our former graphic designer, designed my book cover. Ariel has since passed away. Bridget, our Website Ops Lead, helped me create my landing page and helped me redesign my website. Ryan, the best boss ever, gave me every Friday off for months. He allowed me to flex my hours and work long days four days a week so that I could dedicate Fridays to writing and still have some sort of family life. He also was the first to make sure that my website was optimized for my target audience years ago when I started this project.

I have now released two books myself and worked behind the scenes on the marketing side for an author, helping launch their book. I started asking my author friends some specific questions and realized that there are some significant gaps in knowledge about marketing expectations. When I shared the gap in the knowledge, it was Ryan who agreed we needed to create Simplified Digital Marketing for authors and small business owners.

Are You Ready to Learn More About Your Calling?

One of the offers I developed for my first book is The Understanding Your Calling 7 Step Actionable Study. It is designed to help you focus on identifying and clarifying your calling with steps that will allow for bible study, internal processing, self-reflecting, honest conversation, and even more prayer. It’s available for free as a download and as an appendix in the back of my book. If you’re interested, you can start by taking this short Thrive in Your Calling Quiz to start clarifying your calling and living on mission today.

Check Out Lessons from the Sidelines Here

Lessons from the Sidelines Book Cover

Whether you’re a coach’s wife, the wife of a professional athlete, a pastor’s wife, the wife of a CEO, a military wife, or a college administrator’s wife, you have unique challenges to navigate that differ from the struggles of other women.

This Book Will Help You:

  • Engage 7 steps to clarify your calling, identify your sweet spot, and implement strategies that will enable you to live on mission.
  • Identify how the 5 Stages of Burnout can impact your marriage and your ability to fully embrace your calling.
  • Tackle the unique hurdles of parenting in the public eye.
  • Learn practical tips for getting through the harder parts of the calendar year.
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