I’ve had a lot of fun conversations over the last several months with writers and I’ve enjoyed every one of them. Now that my book has released I’m turning my attention to new projects. Today I’m compiling some commonly asked questions I’ve received and featuring some resources for you to consider as you pursue writing opportunities.
How did 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. Recently the theme of lions was one that continued to repeat in multiple formats. I sorted through the information I was collecting from devotions, sermons, and a newly released worship song with the photo of a lion on the cover I realized there was an order to the information. The longer I studied lions in general the more clearly I heard God’s voice. I looked up the Scriptures from the sermons as well as many other times lions are mentioned in the Bible. Several questions I’ve wrestled with for a while were clarified through this as I wrote everything down and journaled my prayers.
I’ve found the same style of writing helps me reflect on life experiences. As I’ve shared what I’ve learned over the years many people have expressed appreciation for what I’ve shared. As you’ll learn in my book, the process of understanding my calling has clarified that writing is a gift God has give me and part of that calling includes sharing what I learn publicly.
How long did it take to complete your book project?
To extend the lion story, right now the information is for me, however, at some point, God may prompt me to share what he’s teaching me with a wider audience. There isn’t a set time frame on this obedience. 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 able to formulate a table of contents and continuous structure. Each chapter took about 16 hours to write once I collected all the content. From there the chapters went to two beta readers. I took their input and edited each chapter which took a few hours. Then I started over and editing everything one more time before sending the entire project to a professional editor.
We 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?
The thing that kept me motivated was participating in a monthly mastermind group. I knew that every month I was going to have to show my progress on my work to other writers. I was going to have to answer questions about why I did or didn’t do something and because I was participating in a group that was taking time out of their month to invest in helping my project better 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 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.
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 Called Creatives and Hope Writers that invest in developing writers year-round.
Now, I can’t speak directly about the groups although several friends do participate. What I can tell you is that I have had dozens of friends participate in in person writers conferences and as far as marketing goes, there is a lot that is omitted. In fact, I am so disappointed in the lack of information that’s provided I’ll be dedicating multiple future posts to this subject.
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.
Let’s Talk Book Marketing
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 graphic designer, designed my book cover. Bridget, our Website Ops Lead, helped me create my landing page and found the coding I needed for removing certain elements. 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.
In fact, having gone through this process twice now (once supporting another author and once for myself) with two different publishers, I started asking my author friends some specific questions and realized that there are some significant gaps in knowledge expectations. Ryan and I are teaming up to develop a Masterclass focusing on all the digital marketing information you need to know that they don’t cover at writing conferences.
There were a lot of things I was pretty sure I would say no to this fall so I could focus on football, and supporting our team. But our football season is now supposedly going to start in February and but God has already nudged me toward starting a few things that don’t have deadlines. I have a rough outline for my second book. The subject matter focuses on how vital relational mentoring is and incorporates a lot of practical application. It is likely to be much shorter than Lessons from the Sidelines which is 278 pages.
We’re Called to be Salt and Light
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.Matthew 5:13-16
Before that project get’s too far along though I’m looking forward to connecting with you in my Mighty Network and cheering you on as you pursue your calling. When you order my book you can start working on Appendix A today! The Understanding Your Calling 7 Step Actionable Study is designed to help you focus on identifying and clarifying you calling with steps that will allow for bible study, internal processing, self-reflecting, honest conversation, and even more prayer.
When you’re ready to discuss what you’re learning we’re waiting for you over in my Mighty Network!