How I went from an IDEA and a blank screen to published book in 6 months with zero budget.
In November 2014, I had a general idea of what I thought would make a great book and a blank laptop screen.
Nothing. Just an idea.
People say ideas are the most valuable thing.
Ideas are worthless.
Ideas exist only in your mind. They don't mean anything until you manifest them into something other people can experience.
The world's greatest work of art, or the catchiest song isn't much use when it's in your mind.
Execution is the most important thing.
Like so many others, I've always dreamed of writing a book. There's something that feels so cool about imagining your name on the cover, but most people only ever dream of it and don't put the work in to make it happen.
I was intimidated by the thought of having to create an entire book out of just a few ideas I had. This was a crossroad I had to make a choice. I could have made the decision that I wasn't ready and kept thinking about it OR I could simply start, knowing I could figure it out as I went.
After all, the book was going to be called JUST GO, I better be able to take the advice myself.
I started writing small articles to post on my blog a few days a week. The blog wasn't getting a ton of clicks, but more than zero. When I do something and get more than zero clicks, I know it's worth doing. I've never created anything and got zero clicks. Maybe I will soon, and maybe that'll be my lesson that I've done something wrong.
But someone keeps clicking on my stuff. Sometimes a lot of someones, sometimes only a few.
I kept writing. I kept posting. People kept clicking.
I was able to get almost instant feedback on what people liked because I was tracking how each post was doing online.
After gathering a nice collection of short essays, I compiled them in InDesign to see how many pages it would be in book form.
I'd like to make it a point that before this, I had never even touched InDesign. I didn't have a clue what I was doing, but after a few youtube tutorials, I had the basic layout of the book and less than 100 pages.
I made an arbitrary goal to make the book 150 pages. There was no reason for that number except I thought that would make it feel like a "real" book. I may not have known what I was doing, but I wanted to trick people into thinking I did.
I kept writing more articles (or chapters, as they became part of the book), I dug up every interesting photo I could find from my tours, and added more content that was never published on the blog.
I was glad I made a random number of pages my goal, because as soon as I hit that number, I knew I had enough to fine tune the material to make it feel like something you might pick up at a bookstore.
I kept running into issues with InDesign and kept finding more solutions on YouTube and Google. Anyone that says they don't know how to do anything is simply lazy (or stupid). I don't even have to finish typing my problem and strangers on the internet already answered the exact question and offer a step-by-step solution.
I made decisions about font size and spacing and decided things were 'good enough'.
I had a terrible art teacher in elementary school who insisted on saying "Good enough is not good enough."
Everyone hated her.
Good enough is exactly what it is - GOOD ENOUGH.
It's important to have pride in your work, but it's also important for ideas to become reality, remember?
My book was good enough but I didn't submit my idea to a single publisher.
Publishers can tell me they don't like my book. They can tell me NO.
Enough people have told me no. I don't want to hear it anymore. I want to hear YES.
If you don't want to hear NO, then you have to position yourself where people will say YES. Often the only person who will say YES is yourself.
This is where Amazon's self publishing platform createspace.com comes in.
Create Space allows you to publish your own book with no money up front. You pay for the copies you want as your personal copies, and they fulfill orders from Amazon as print on demand.
I simply saved my InDesign file, created my cover art (I did this by googling more PhotoShop tutorials) and uploaded everything to Create Space. They send you a proof copy to approve or make changes. I did some additional proof reading and fixed a few layout issues, ordered another proof and approved.
In November, 2014 I had nothing but an idea and a blank screen.
On May 9, 2015 I had my first book published on Amazon.
152 pages. A real book.
I did it.
No one said NO.
I didn't allow anyone to say NO because I said YES.
Have you been asking for something and keep hearing NO?
Are you willing to ask yourself and say YES?
It comes down to a simple decision, JUST GO.