I'd like to have a book published. You? A lot of us do. Maybe you're a little bit like me about it: it's on your bucket list, you have a Pinterest board about it, and you love reading blog posts about how other people got their book published.
But have you sat down to write the book? Have you made a book proposal? Contacted agents? Done the real work of getting published?
I'm not ready yet. Not for the Big Book that feels near and dear. Oh, I'm working on THE STUFF of the book. I'm refining my point of view and techniques and testing my theories with real people to see how they hold up. I guess this is the research period. I have to check in with myself and make sure it's not the making excuses period, but doing research and getting hands-on experience is legit and that's where I'm at. So I'll be a-researching a little longer, and feel like the make-this-book-happen phase is coming in the next couple years.
So how, then, will my first book be published this August?
I got a book deal already. And not on purpose.
On a Thursday in November I got an email from an editor in New York. They had a title that already had the green light that was in collaboration with a major artist, but they needed a coach to do the writing. The topic was how to start a drawing habit. Was I interested?
I wasn't sure. Was I?
It was super flattering to be asked. Just being published would be cool, but not a good reason to write a book. Starting a drawing habit? What did I know about drawing? I know there are some artists in the community here, but it's not like I'm know for working with people who draw. But I do have some thoughts on creating and sustaining creative habits. I nerd out over that stuff. My ebook Roadmap to Action was fun to create…this could be really good practice for the BIG BOOK…I think I could help people who want to get more serious about drawing…I was in.
A hot topic in the among entrepreneurs is knowing when to say no to something and when to say yes to something. There's the common advice that "If it's not a hell yes, it's a hell no." I think that kind of forced polarity has its advantages when you're first learning to turn "opportunities" down, but there's a more nuanced option available.
If it's not a Hell Yes, and it's not a Hell No, it could be a Yeah Ok.
This book was a Yeah Ok for me. Yes, I wanted to do it, but the idea of doing it didn't bring me off the charts joy. But it was way more Yes than No, and something I wanted to try.
Funny thing: as I've spent time writing the book, it's grown into a Hell Yes. Now, I love this book. I'm learning so much by doing it about me as a writer, how to work with an editor, and the topic: starting a creative habit.
Where did they find me?
Maybe you're wondering how this thing fell into my lap. I was, too, so I asked.
The editor had already reached out to another coach about being the author, but she already had a book in the works and couldn't take another one on. She recommended me.
Someone recommended me. I'm not close to this person, we've never met in person. We've exchanged some complimentary words on Twitter. That's the extent of our relationship. She just thought I'd be a good fit for the book.
And I had almost four years of writing samples on my blog to speak for me. And had released two ebooks on my own. And built a decent social media presence. Of course, there's that. Let's not discount all of that work. If luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity, then I had done my side of the equation.
So that's my accidental book deal. The book that showed up when I was just minding my own business, doing the work, and being visible.
What can you take from my story, the story of my first book, ye hopeful authors?
1. Write. Write a lot.
2. Share your work. Share it a lot.
3. Make friends and be kind to people in a genuine way.
4. Be open to "getting published" being easy.
5. Consider the Yeah Oks because they just might grow into Hell Yeses.
Ok, I have a book deadline, so I gotta go write. But tell me...
Do you want to be published? What steps have you taken so far?