Welcome to the SPI Comprehensive Guide to Writing and Publishing a Book!
Here at SPI we have supported Pat in self-publishing not one, not two, but three books: Let Go, Will It Fly?, and Superfans. That’s right—as of 2019 all of Pat’s books have been self-published. In addition to supporting Pat’s books, several members of our team have years of industry experience as publishing professionals working as writers, editors, and consultants for other authors on books that have been both self-published and traditionally published. As a team we have made plenty of mistakes, but we’ve also done a lot of things right, landing one of Pat’s books on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list and hitting the number-one bestseller spot in multiple categories on Amazon.
All that to say, a lot of collective experience has gone into gathering the best information on writing and publishing a book that we can and compiling it in one place. Our goal with the SPI Comprehensive Guide to Writing & Publishing Your Book is to make it super easy for you to find what you need depending on where you are with your book and what type of publishing you’d like to pursue.
This epic guide, and the others that we publish here on SPI, is our way of sharing the knowledge and experience we have gained in book publishing directly with you, for free. Why? Because we know how valuable it is for you and your brand to have a published book with your name on it as the author. And if publishing a book is something you’ve been thinking about doing, we want to help you accomplish that goal, for your sake and the sake of the people you serve with your business.
One of our core values here at SPI is to pay forward what we’ve learned. So let’s get right into it with you, your book, and getting it published for your audience to actually read!
Let’s start with one question, and perhaps the most important one to ask . . .
What is the benefit of writing and publishing a book?
If you’ve been in the online business space for even a short amount of time, you’ve probably heard someone say that the best way to spread an idea or message is with a book. And it’s true. Imagine that a prospective client or customer lands on your website for the first time and they are trying to navigate through your massive content archive to find out what you’re all about.
Now imagine that you had a book that neatly packages and organizes your core message in a way that is meant to resonate with your exact target audience. It’s the most essential stuff all in one place, and can be read in a relatively short amount of time.
Speaking of the most essential stuff, writing a book forces you to get clear on your message because you can’t include everything, and you have to make decisions about what to include and what to edit out. It’s no easy task, and when it’s done it demonstrates your fortitude and dedication to honing what you want to say, actually writing it, and seeing a huge project through to the end. You may have done this in other areas of your life, especially in your business, but how can you showcase that work that’s so often behind the scenes? A book is a visible, tangible way to tell your story, one that will continue to live on the shelf even long after it’s been read.
A book is also a way to establish yourself as an authority in your field or niche. It used to be that only the experts (famous people with big accomplishments) or established writers had access to getting published and were invited to write books. That is no longer the case in the twenty-first century, but there is still an association of authority that is inherent with being an author—if someone has written a book, then they must know what they are talking about.
Lastly, what about the benefit of making money from a book? Yes, a book can absolutely be a new revenue stream for your business. That said, in our experience the goal of making money from a book shouldn’t be the only reason to write and publish one—a book can definitely drive revenue, but you have to remember that the revenue it drives will likely be more than strictly sales of the book itself. The book will be building brand awareness, getting people to know, like, and trust you, and even promote your business philosophy or service. Once people are familiar with you because of your book, they are more likely to spend money with you for your other products or services.
What to Expect in this Epic Guide to Self Publishing
Many aspiring authors get overwhelmed just thinking about writing a book and never take action. This is completely understandable—writing and publishing a book is a huge undertaking. There are a lot of steps, a lot of moving parts, and it’s not something that can be easily done in a month or two (not unless it’s the only thing you’re working on). We get it, and so we’ve broken this guide down into smaller, manageable components that will help you to also think about your book projects in smaller, manageable pieces.
One last thing before we move on: some of the following chapters are written by Pat about his firsthand experience writing and self-publishing his three books, while others are written by me, Janna Maron (content director for SPI), focusing on processes and options that can be applied regardless of how you choose to approach your own book project. Don’t worry—we’ll always let you know who you’re hearing from in a given chapter.