I wrote a book that came out today, but we’ll get to that in a moment.
On February 23, 2012, I read a blog post that will forever change my life.
That blog post was about newsjacking via Kindle. And even though I’ve written about newsjacking before, I wasn’t particularly interested in the newsjacking aspect of the article. Instead, I was intrigued by the following:
“it took (Alan Goldsher) 72 hours to write a 15,000-plus-word manuscript, 36 hours using Vook technology to build the e-book, and then another 24 hours to arrange distribution.”
Maybe it’s serendipity, but later that same week, I stumbled across an interview on David Siteman Garland’s website about creating ebooks on Amazon. I don’t even remember how I found his site because I’m not a regular visitor and have never heard of David before.
The spark between that blog post and the interview lit a fire under my belly.
I don’t know why, but I just felt this intense urge to write a book. Now, I’ve always wanted to write a book, but the thought of spending months writing and editing a manuscript just wasn’t my cup of tea. I don’t know if I’m ambitious, crazy (don’t answer that) or what, but 2-1/2 weeks later, I am now a published author.
And it feels really good.
My book, The Hungry Games: A Tasty Serving of Business Strategies for M.A.D. (Mobile Apps Development) Success went live on Amazon this morning.
This book has a little over 11,000 words. It’s a relatively short-read and to the point, as a Kindle book should.
I know some of you must be wondering about the title of the book. So let me break it down for you:
- Yes, “The Hungry Games” is an unabashed reference to the top-selling book series by Suzanne Collins and upcoming movie “The Hunger Games”;
- I use a lot of food analogies in my book (something everyone can relate to), so the word “hungry” is befitting; and
- This book is about business strategies for mobile apps development, including game apps, ergo The Hungry “Games“.
(I don’t care what anyone else says, I think it’s quite clever.)
Am I doing a little “leverage marketing” here? Perhaps. But there’s more than meets the eye, as you’ll see.
Don’t Wait for Things to Happen, Make Them Happen!
I’m the kind of person who dives in head first when something sparks an idea for me. But I wasn’t always this way. The turning point for me was when my 87-year-old father suffered a small stroke about 2 years ago. He’s almost completely recovered now, thank goodness. But ever since then, I approach things very differently. I’ve never been known to be patient, but now, more than ever, I don’t wait for things to happen. I make them happen.
Nothing gives you a swift kick in the butt than watching a loved one face his own mortality. We should all face our own mortality sometimes … a lot more would get done in this world.
Success isn’t a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire.
– Arnold H. Glasow
Nothing teaches you faster and nothing teaches you better than actual experience. And boy, has this been an experience!
As I write this post, it’s 2:00 A.M. my time and I’ve been up for almost 24 hours straight … first trying to finish my book, and now writing this post to coincide with the book being published.
Why You Should Write a Book
Having gone through this so I can speak with authority, here’s why I think you should write a book:
- It gives you instant credibility. Why should someone listen to what you have to say? Just because you’ve written a book? No, not necessarily. But I believe there’s a cultural bias that makes us automatically elevate a person’s standing because he/she has been published. You agree?
- It helps you understand your market. Putting this book together has taught me so much about the mobile apps market. It’s one thing to be familiar with a market, it’s quite another to understand its intricacies and be able to explain it to someone else. As they say, there’s no better way to learn than to teach. And whether you intended to or not, by the time you finish writing a valuable resource for your market, you will have developed an expertise in that area.
- It helps you build relationships. I mention a lot of names and businesses in my book. People in my industry. Entrepreneurs I want to connect with. How would you react if someone contacts you and say: “Hey, I just wanted to let you know that you were mentioned in my book.”? A cold call quickly becomes a warm call.
- You can use it as a marketing tool. The book is your calling card. It’s something that you can always refer target customers to. Not a hard-sell for your book, but a gentle reminder that you are an authority in what you speak of.
The Game Has Changed
I can’t remember the last time I bought a physical book. The last few books I purchased were either Kindle digital books or audio books.
The publishing world has changed dramatically since Kindle and other self-publishing platforms gave aspiring writers a chance to publish a book without going through traditional publishing houses.
Here’s what you can expect if you go the traditional route: (1) it can cost tens of thousands of dollars to produce and market a book (my only expense so far was for the book cover design), and (2) it may take 16-18 months for the book to arrive on the bookshelves. That’s a lifetime in the digital age! What’s worse, by the time your book comes out, some of the information may already be outdated. And who wants to read an outdated book?
Speed is the Name of the Game
My book is the perfect example. Two HUGE developments in the mobile apps industry happened while I was writing my book: (1) Google integrated and re-branded Android Market into Google Play, and (2) Mozilla Marketplace, the game-changing app store, officially opened for new app submissions.
Because of the flexibility of publishing on Kindle, I was able to immediately incorporate these new developments into the book. I would hazard to guess that I have the very first book out that mentions these 2 very significant developments in the mobile apps industry.
Do you see how powerful that is?
The great thing about digital books is I can update them as often as I want. They’re as up-to-date as I want them to be. Similar to software, the current iteration of my book is Version 1.0. It’s my way of letting the readers know that my content is current.
I want to make it clear that even though it only took me 2-1/2 weeks from start to finish, I did NOT write a fluff book (I can be quite the prolific writer when I put my mind to it). First of all, this book got its basic framework from a Harvard Business Review paper written by a preeminent authority on strategy. I wanted to write a book that not only provides real value to my primary audience, but also present it in a way that anyone would enjoy reading.
The one thing I have no expectations of is making money from this book. This book was part experimentation, part vanity (yes, I admit it). Just finishing it and having it up on Amazon has filled me with such a huge sense of accomplishment like you wouldn’t believe. It’s a natural high and I highly recommend it! And if it happens to make a few bucks from people who find it useful, then that’s just icing on the cake.
How To Publish Your Own Kindle Book
- Come up with an idea for your book. I had started out wanting to write about mobile apps development. I checked Amazon and saw that there were already several books on this topic. I didn’t want to get into an already crowded space. So, after some brainstorming, I settled on business strategies for app developers. I did not find any books on this topic, which may or may not be a good thing. But my goal wasn’t really to sell books. So that wasn’t a big deal.
- Find a scholarly writing on a general subject that you can incorporate into your book. In my case, I found Michael E. Porter’s seminal work on strategy in the Harvard Business Review to be perfect for my needs.
- Start outlining your book as soon as possible. I had my basic outline done within a couple of days.
- As soon as you’ve come up with a title for your book, get your book cover designed. Having a nice book cover to look at while I wrote my book provided constant motivation. I got mine done at 99designs. I used them for my mobile app icon and was very pleased with the result. So, I did not hesitate to get my book cover designed there as well. You can check out the design contest for my book cover here.
- Start writing! Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect. You’re not writing a college paper or submitting it to a major publishing house. You don’t have pay strict adherence to The Chicago Manual of Style. Just write for your audience. Let it flow. As long as you can get your point across in a way that will be enjoyable for the readers, you will have succeeded. Provide value, no fluff, and you have nothing to worry about.
One Last Plug
While app developers are my primary audience, the principles on strategy I discuss in this book are equally applicable to businesses in any industry. So, if you’re reading this post and are curious as to whether this book can be applied in your business. I can tell you that it does. Look past the surface discussion of the mobile apps industry and you’ll find sound business strategies.
Translation: you should check out my book! (By the way, if you have Amazon Prime, you can actually read it for FREE.)
Look, if you buy the book and decide that it’s not for you, you can always get a quick refund from Amazon. But if you do buy it, though, would you mind leaving an honest review on Amazon? Give it to me straight, I promise I won’t hold it against you. I’ll have a bottle of single malt scotch ready just in case, though.
NOW is the Time!
Finally, I dedicated this book to my father, Cary. For me, he is a constant reminder not to waste our precious time. No matter how old you are, everything can change in an instant. Don’t wait until then to wish you had done this or done that. If writing a book is something that you’ve been thinking about, I urge you not to wait any longer. There is no better time than NOW!
Undertaking a project like this is an investment in your business, your reputation, your brand, and your knowledgebase. In short, it’s an investment in YOU!
Lest you think writing a book is too difficult, or if you’re a perfectionist like me, it will take too long, I will leave you with this great quote from Seth Godin:
“If you are in love with the perfect, prepare to see it swept away. If you are able to dream of the impossible, it just might happen.”