On using publishing to stand out in the marketplace my lessons on how to start writing and standing out
The Book as Business
Two books are now published from my “publishing company” The Next Step.
I have always dreamed of being a published author and within the last 6-8 weeks, I have made that dream a reality TWICE.
And there is more to come. I have already begun working on the next books in the series for Entrepreneur-ING (on going from zero to launch) and College and Career Readiness (on how to graduate with a job offer).
I wanted to make a post to share with you how I did this whole process. I think I might have a potential competitive advantage in terms of creating content because I love to write. If you do not love to write, no lessons from me can get you to sit down and create something in this way. And that is ok. Not everyone dreams of being a published author.
I will say, though, that as an entrepreneur or even just to be extremely competitive in the workforce, having a published book could be the way to stand out in the crowd.
I do know of some cases where it was laughably not a big deal. I had met someone within the last two years who was a published textbook author and trying to become a teacher for the NYC Board of Ed and he had to take a specific class in order to be certified. The class was being taught using his own textbook so he tried to get a waiver to not need the class since he literally wrote the textbook on it – and it was a no go. He still have to take the class even though he WROTE the textbook. That story still boggles my mind – and it goes to show that sometimes being an author does not get you out of even the most specific focused activity…
Why 2 Books at the Same Time?
That being said, my writing process is an intense one but I tend to be very focused and “quick” once I get some time to myself in an hour or two, I can write 2 chapters (or more). When I decided to write a book to help me establish myself as an expert in early January, I began my drafting out the chapters.
I was inspired by the Entrepreneur-ING post I originally did for my blog and then expanded on for LinkedIn in late January titled Using Entrepreneurial Skills for Your Career. I then began to draft out chapters and thoughts on what a book on this topic would look like and though I considered doing a choose your own adventure style book where you would do even chapters for entrepreneur small business building and odd chapters for using the skills in your career ultimately I decided that the topics really applied to both aspects and that in learning one way it could be applied to the other so I wanted all of my readers to get the best of both worlds on how to apply this skill set to their lives in any way possible. Ideally, everyone who reads this book will be inspired to do both – be entrepreneurial in their careers and consider a side-gig or their own business ideas, too.
At the same time, I was launching and executing on my College and Career Readiness Seminars at local Staten Island high schools and I decided I wanted to write a book based on all of the content I was building for the seminars and as a way to include more lessons and know-how for my readers and potential seminar attendees. There is only so much you can share in an hour presentation so the book was my way of keeping a record of all of the great lessons and content I have learned over the last 13 years in higher education and as a mentor for students preparing to enter college.
Chapter Mapping and More
I had both documents mapped out and chapters decided on at the same time. I literally would spend an hour or two per day writing in one or both books to keep building content. I was not sure which book would finish first but I had guessed the College Readiness up until the point where Entrepreneur-ING was done with over 17,000 words.
Just a step back here, when I set up my chapters and flow for the book, I decided on keeping them to about 15,000 words so I could publish the work with the general average number for a business-type self-help book (between 15k-20k words). Novels are generally between 50k-+ words. These books are slim, inspirational and can be added to by the reader in the print versions I left worksheets and assignments built into the book for people to fill in their answers, plans and ideas. Although both topics are different, there is the overarching sameness in terms of my focus on being entrepreneur-ING to always learn new skills and to keep practicing old skills. These guidelines push through in both books and are represented to the core of ME and who I am as an entrepreneur, educator and executive.
A word on content – I was speaking recently with some networking partners and discussed how much content I create. I blog almost 5 days per week (I do take off on major holidays) and I also have been creating these 2 books (click here to buy my books Lisa Vento Nielsen Author Page on Amazon.com) that I do feel sometimes my content on the blog is awesome and sometimes it is just ok but at the end, the point is in building consistency, being transparent and showing like how the sausage is made.
As an educator, I cannot help but show the inner mechanization of running this business because ultimately it is through teaching that I learn and I am very interested in learning all I can about this initiative that has been causing me to get some real business, real potential earnings and more.
So, while creating content for my blog, I was also writing my books. The content was not the same. For example, I could have theoretically taken my blog posts, copied and pasted them into a new Word document slapped some chapter titles on stuff and published that. I did not. Instead, I recreated everything based off of my chapter plan. Some of the theories might sound similar because it is all mine and from my brain and hands (typing) but the actual sentences, flow, tie ins and lessons are all original and were not included on the blog.
I tried to get a chapter or two done at any given time when I could sit at the laptop and type. Have I mentioned recently that I work as an adjunct at College of Staten Island, teach as a substitute teacher for the Board of Ed, have two children under 10 years old oh and also have other meetings, events and you know, laundry to do… So if you think to yourself that you have no time to do this, come sit and sip some tea with me… (ha).
I started writing whenever I could and sometimes even when I could not. I would draft ideas in my notebook when I was away from my computer. I used Dropbox exclusively to save my drafts so that I could write anywhere without needing my laptop. Before I knew it, I had almost 17k words done for Entrepreneur-ING and had completed my chapter plan and edited it and published it.
Shortly after (I published Entrepreneur-ING on 2/17) on 2/27, I published the College Readiness book. This process was smoother because I knew better how to use CreateSpace and set up the files so that it could be ready after one review instead of having to reformat over and over again like I did the first time. I also got to over 20k words with the College Readiness book.
Motivations for YOU
For everything I did in a seemingly short amount of time, it all started with zero. I started with zero words. I started with zero blog posts. I started with zero YouTube videos. I started with zero Twitter followers. You get the idea. Everything starts with zero so you can, too. If you are interested in learning more from me on publishing and writing, please Sign Up Here for The Next Step Exclusive Content and Offers or reach out to me via any of my social media or contact information here. Also, I am including links to the kindle versions of my books here and the print version of the Entrepreneur-ING book. I will update this with the link to the print version of the College Readiness book.
Let me know what you think about using content and books as a competitive advantage. Happy Hunting!
Lisa Vento Nielsen